12 Easy Thanksgiving Do-Ahead Tips
Avoid the stress of last-minute holiday preparation with these time-saving steps
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Start with a plan
Always check the specific recipe, but Thanksgiving recipes in general have plenty of make-ahead possibilities. Little steps taken ahead can really speed up putting a dish together for the big feast.
Start with a plan. Sketch a countdown chart, noting how long each dish takes, what can be made ahead, and what has to be accomplished simultaneously.
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Desserts or components thereof (such as sauce, crust, pie filling, or topping) can often be made at least a day ahead, if not more.
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Bread for stuffing can be cut up the day ahead and stored in a paper bag (remember: dried-out bread is good for dressings!).
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Aromatics for most dressings (onions, celery, mushrooms, etc.) can be cooked the day before and then tossed with the bread and baked on the big day.
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Have turkey as prepped as possible (salted, even spiced and rubbed with butter, in its pan) and ready to go in the oven.
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Salad dressings can often be made at least a day ahead.
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Wash, dry, and wrap lettuce in paper towels, and store in a resealable plastic bag in the fridge until ready to toss.
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Chop, grate, season
Vegetables can be chopped, cheese grated, and spices or seasonings measured out the day before.
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The roux (fat and flour mixture) for gravy can be done several hours ahead using butter instead of rendered fat ― just reheat and add stock and pan drippings.
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Most soups benefit from being made a day before they're eaten.