Thanksgiving is coming, and just like everything else in 2020, it’s going to look a little different this year. However, if you’re still having some kind of a family dinner (taking all safety precautions that you can), it’s time to start preparing. I can’t stress enough the importance of prepping as much as possible in advance. Not only does the day of your dinner run smoother, but the food usually tastes better when the flavours have time to ‘marry’ in the fridge.
If you’d like to know how to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time, here are 8 things you can do this week to make the big day just a little easier:
- Make pie crusts: Feel free to do this ASAP and tuck in the freezer until needed.
- Make the cranberry sauce: This can be done up to five days in advance, so if you plan on eating your turkey dinner on Sunday, feel free to make a pot of your favourite Thanksgiving condiment as early as Tuesday evening. Allow the sauce to cool completely before storing in a lidded container in the fridge until needed.
- Make any sauces or vinaigrettes: These can be prepped up to three days in advance.
- Wash and trim the vegetables: Brussels sprouts, squash, cauliflower, broccoli, and sweet potatoes can be trimmed and prepped up to two days in advance.
- Start the stuffing: Cut and cube the bread, and saute the onions, celery, and garlic up to two days in advance. Don’t add any eggs or stock to your stuffing until just before cooking.
- Defrost the turkey: Give the turkey at least 24 hours for every 5 lbs of turkey. Meaning, if you have a 20 lb turkey it will need four days in the fridge to defrost. If you’re purchasing a fresh turkey, make sure it’s ordered by now.
- Brine: If you plan on doing it this year, the turkey should rest in the brining liquid for 12 to 24 hours, so plan for that and be ready by Saturday.
- Order rentals: I usually have 21 to 25 people for Thanksgiving dinner. Obviously gatherings are changing this year, but to make things easier for myself, I usually order rentals for the day and usually have dinner and dessert plates, cutlery and wine glasses delivered to my house. Not only does this provide me with enough dishes for everyone in attendance, but the rentals go back into their containers immediately and are returned dirty, meaning there are fewer dishes that will need washing.
Do you prepare parts of Thanksgiving (or any holiday) dinner in advance? If so, what do you like to do before the big day?