Thanksgiving Prep Kit

November 20, 2016

It’s that time of year again friends.  Thanksgiving!!!  I love Thanksgiving.  So much yummy food.  I am already dreaming of leftovers!  So I am hosting Thanksgiving again this year.  What are you doing?  Where are you going?  What are you making?  I wanna know!!!

Here is what I am making:

  • Roast turkey
  • Rosemary, thyme, apple, walnut and chicken liver stuffing
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts
  • Candied sweet potatoes
  • Homemade gravy
  • Orange-cranberry sauce

I like to keep the menu traditional and simple.  Even though it still takes days of planning and hours to cook.

How do you time all of this preparation?

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I pick up the turkey I pre-ordered.  I am very specific about the size.

One year, I ordered my standard 12-15lbs turkey and the butcher gave me a 28lbs bird.  I was mortified.  Apparently the farmer the butcher got his turkeys from had larger birds than expected.  I cried and cried.  I thought Thanksgiving was ruined.  There was no way this turkey was going to fit in my oven!  I was so distraught the butcher offered to come over and cook the turkey for me.  They were going to spatchcock the bird.  I was so upset!  Who presents a spatchcocked bird on Thanksgiving???  True story.

Anyway,  on Tuesday I prepare the brine and when it cools I keep it in the fridge until I am ready to brine the bird.  Here is a link to my favorite brine.

Also on Tuesday, I bake my bread for the stuffing.

On Wednesday, I make the orange cranberry sauce in advance. This keeps easily in the fridge. Here is my favorite recipe along with what to do with left over cranberry sauce.

Wednesday is also a good day to prep all the onion, celery, walnuts and herbs that I will need for the stuffing. That way, come Thursday I just need to sautée it all up and assemble the stuffing/dressing.

Wednesday night, before bed, I place the turkey in the brine.  I brine the turkey for about 8-10 hours and rinse it well the next morning.

Thursday morning, while the turkey is roasting, I prepare the rest of the vegetable.  I peel the potatoes for the mash, keeping them in cold water until I am ready to boil them.  I also peel the sweet potatoes and trim the Brussels sprouts.

I have enough spare room in my oven to make the candied sweet potatoes and then the dressing.  I warm them up again while the turkey is resting.  Also while the turkey is resting, I can roast the Brussels sprouts in the oven, while I make the gravy.

And that’s that!  The next day, I dream of left overs.  Here is what I do with them.

So are you panicking yet?  No need.  Here are some other links I like to help you along this coming Thanksgiving:

1.  New York Times tells us how to roast the perfect Turkey.

2.  Marilyn Monroe had a stuffing recipe!

3.  Melissa Clark talks gravy.

4.  How about some kick in your cranberry sauce?

5.  Mark Bittman’s Brussels sprouts with garlic!

6.  How about a million ways to make sweet potatoes?

Finally, I love this article about all the different Thanksgiving traditions in this melting pot called America.

Good luck and enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!


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