Easy Thanksgiving Meal Prep

This year we'll have some of my family visiting for Thanksgiving. Since they're traveling from about five hours away and leaving at the wee hours of the morning I didn't ask them to bring anything for the meal. (But I'm super grateful my sister offered to bring an apple pie.) We look forward to spending the next few days with them.

In the meantime, I think I have finally figured out how to make preparing a Thanksgiving meal, with plenty of sides, a lot easier.

1. Gather your recipes.
Have all of your recipes ready to use. If you use the internet for them, have the printed out. You don't want to have to look up any recipes or even how long to roast the turkey when you're knee-deep in Thanksgiving meal prep. 

This year I tried something different. I put all of my Thanksgiving recipes into one document. Using the "landscape" format with three columns, all of my recipes fit on one (front and back) piece of paper. After printing it, I laminated it, just like I did for all my recipes years ago. 

(I desperately need to update those laminated recipe cards! Since I prefer to use mostly the same recipes that I know we like, this method works for me. However, I have 20-30 new recipes to add to my recipe sheets.)

2. Prep some dishes the day before. 
Typically I only prepare the breads and desserts in advance. However, this morning I prepared the cheese sauce for broccoli casserole, the sweet potato casserole (minus the nuts), the sausage stuffing (celery, onion, sausage), and the corn bread pudding. 

I placed all of the prepped food in baggies or bowls instead of baking dishes. I did this for two reasons: My fridge only holds so much and these stack and smoosh easier than baking dishes. Also, I prefer my baking dishes to be room temperature, even if the food isn't when I bake it. (I do plan to take the cold items from the fridge 30 minutes prior to baking to get them closer to room temperature.)
It may not look like much, but it will save me a lot of time tomorrow morning!

3. Decide which baking/serving dishes will be used.
I cleared off my counter and brought out a lot of my serving and baking dishes. Using sticky notes, I determined which dish will be used for which food. It works for me.
My husband's grandparents used to have turkeys on their farm. Grandma gave me some tips on how to prep the turkey-especially when there are always some ice in the cavity. Read about Grandma's frozen turkey tips here.

You may be wondering when I'll bake all of my side dishes when the turkey doesn't share the oven. I have taken the turkey out of the oven and still had it steaming HOT two hours later. Read how to keep your turkey hot for hours here.

Thanks so much for stopping by This Simple Home! If you want to know what I'm up to with my writing these days, visit www.AnnetteWhipple.com.

Happy Thanksgiving!
~ Annette
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1 comment

  1. A few years ago when I hosted Thanksgiving with my in-laws, she was greatly amused because I had pre-chopped as much as was possible before Thanksgiving. Of course, she was very confused I wasn't putting celery into the stuffing because I don't like celery in it.


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