Here are a few things that I always do the day before Thanksgiving to help make things go smoother for the actual cooking day. First, I clean out my turkeys today. I do not stuff them ahead of time because that is unsafe, but I have them cleaned and put in the roasting pan. Tomorrow morning when I get up I will only have to preheat the oven and quickly throw the stuffing together and stuff the bird. I cook two turkeys so I start my first turkey around 3:00a.m. (Don't worry, I go straight back to bed for a few more hours of sleep)!
Today I will also cut up my celery and onions for the dressing. I will also bake the cornbread and toast the bread for the breadcrumbs. This is a huge time saver. I crumble all the bread and I am ready for tomorrow to assemble the dressing.
Our family loves fresh cranberries. I cook them several days ahead of time so I am not worrying with these on Thanksgiving day. I will only have to transfer them to a beautiful serving dish.
I will also make my sweet potato casserole this afternoon. I will assemble it, but I will wait to bake it tomorrow. I don't think that early assembly hurts the dish at all, but I do want to bake it the day I serve it.
I will also make my pie crusts today. I always serve Pumpkin, Pecan, and Chess Pies. Each of these pies are easy to mix together, but the homemade pie crusts take a bit extra time. I usually already have my pie crusts made, rolled out, and frozen. This year I didn't feel like that so I will go ahead and make them today. I could bake my pies today. I don't think that would be a huge issue, but I really like my pies best the day they are baked so I will wait. Plus if I bake them today, I have to spend extra energy to guard them from the teenagers that prey on food in the middle of the night!
I hope these ideas help make your Thanksgiving more enjoyable. I love to cook Thanksgiving Dinner, but if I wait until the last minute on everything it can become a challenge. I have found that doing these simple steps the day before makes my day a lot more fun.
grace and peace,