I made the coffee a little extra strong this morning. It’s the day before Thanksgiving and, in my kitchen, it means there’s WORK to be done! After getting my backside kicked years ago with the first holiday I hosted in our home (it happened to be a Thanksgiving), I’ve learned that the more you can get done the day before the big day, the less stressful the big day, itself,will be.
And everyone gets to eat on time, as opposed to two hours later. People sure get antsy when they’re hungry.
One of the things I do the day before Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter is (admittedly) a little extreme… maybe a little eccentric… possibly anal… but, there you have it. I clean off my dining room table and set out everything I’ll need for preparing the meal. All the broth, the mixing bowls, mixer, beaters, measuring spoons, casserole dishes, green beans, etc. There are a few methods (and benefits) to my madness:
- I quickly discover if I’ve come up short with any ingredients. Better to find out on Wednesday than Thursday.
- I can hit the ground running on Thanksgiving morning without sorting through cabinets or drawers.
- I always get pizza the night before a holiday (!!) – after all, how can I cook when the counters are covered and my cooking utensils have already fallen into formation? Getting a night off from cooking when I’m on the cusp of a cooking marathon is priceless.
Below are 10 things you can do the day before Thanksgiving to preserve your sanity and keep the natives from getting restless.
- If you make cornbread stuffing or dressing, prepare the cornbread the day before. Same with biscuits or other bread you’ll use in your stuffing/dressing. In fact, making your bread the day before is actually best because dressing and stuffing are best when the bread is dry.
- Pre-Cut and pre-measure the onions, sage, celery, and other vegetables you’ll use. Store them, separately, in tightly covered containers or, better yet, plastic Ziploc bags (after all, they don’t have to be washed). When all you have to do is grab ingredients and toss them into your casseroles or stuffing, you’ll be singing your own praises.
- Double-check the things most of us tend to overlook: Napkins, aluminum foil (plenty for cooking AND covering leftovers), tablecloth, whipping cream, butter, drinks, ice (uh oh, we need more ice), drinks, lemons for tea, candles for mood…
- A lot (and I do mean a lot) of people actually assemble their dressing the night before, refrigerate it, then bake it on Thanksgiving day. I’m not sure why, but I’ve never been able to bring myself to do this. I’ll pre-cut everything but, somehow, pre-assembling it makes me anxious. If your holiday backbone is stronger than mine (and it’d almost have to be), it’s something you might consider.
- Clean out the refrigerator and possibly even the freezer. Nothing’s more aggravating than trying to park leftovers in unavailable parking spots.
- Most desserts can easily be made the day before. Pecan pies, sweet potato pies, pumpkin pies, cakes, cookies, and brownies are just as good the next day. Sometimes they eve seem better, dont’ they? The last thing you need on Thanksgiving Day is more work or more competition for precious oven time.
- Be sure everything is charged up – telephones, ipads, and any other technology that may be furthest from your mind at the moment.
- Most cranberry sauces and even cranberry salad can be made the day before. I’ll be making my cranberry salad this afternoon – It tastes just as good the next day (and even the one after that).
- Boil eggs for deviled eggs the day before. Peel them, pop them into a plastic bag, and the only thing you have to do the next day is assemble them.
- Go ahead and make your pie dough and even roll it out and put it into your pie plate. Simply refrigerate it for use the next day.
Most of all, cherish and enjoy every minute. Whether you’re doing prep work (as your cat watches your every move as though you’re the most fascinating person in the world), sneaking into the olives again, or talking about the big game – Thanksgiving is all about time spent with your family. Make every moment count double!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones. I hope it’s your best one yet.
Also See: Thanksgiving Facts, Tips, and Tidbits