Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Ultimate Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Guide: Thanksgiving Day


Happy Thanksgiving! Time to sit back, relax and let your appliances take care of dinner for you. The marathon is over, the finish line is in sight and all that is left is pouring some cocktails, sipping a glass of wine and chatting with your favorite relatives. Put on your stretchy pants and get your crock pot going. Its game day!

Thanksgiving Day

Here's a tentative Thanksgiving to-do, aiming for a 3 PM dinner with a 12 pound turkey roast. Adjust timing accordingly based on your family and bird size.
  • 11 AM:
    • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
    • Put your crock pot to use and save valuable over real estate by making Slow Cooker Stuffing. Please all of your guests by substituting olive oil for butter and Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base for chicken broth. This will keep your stuffing dairy free and vegetarian!
    • Make mashed potatoes. Drain the pre-chopped potatoes from last night, boil, and mash. Try my Kale Mashed Potatoes for a sneaky serving of vegetables or Dairy Free Mashed Potatoes for a crowd-pleaser.
    • While potatoes are boiling, cook Freezer Friendly Pigs in a Blanket as directed.
    • Once potatoes are boiled, mash and place finished product in an oven safe container, cover with foil and keep in warming drawer until dinner time.
    • When Freezer Friendly Pigs in a Blanket are fully cooked and golden brown, remove from oven and place in warming drawer. Increase oven temperature to 425°F to make roasted vegetables. They require a hotter over than the turkey. You don't want your smoke alarm going off because you needed to kick up the heat for your veggies while the turkey is still going! Get these cooked and into the warming drawer early to avoid temperature conflicts later. Simply mix your pre-chopped veggies from last night with some olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs of choice and roast at 425°F for about 20 minutes.
  • 11:30 AM: Once veggies are cooked, preheat oven to 325°F and roast turkey based on its weight (check your calculation from yesterday). Sprinkle with kosher salt, stuff cavity with aromatics, etc. Be sure to allow an extra 15 minutes if the bird is stuffed and 30 minutes for it to rest.
  • 11:30 AM - 2 PM: Relax, catch the end of the parade and watch some football!
  • 2 PM: Using a small crock pot, reheat the Creamy Dairy Free Butternut Squash Soup on warm or low. It will be ready to serve by the time guests arrive in 1 hour.
  • 2:30 PM: 
    • Remove turkey from oven to rest. Remember to check the temperature before pulling it from the oven. Don't serve turkey under 165°F. If temperature is reading 165°F, remove turkey from oven and allow to rest until dinner time. If temperature is not reading 165°F, let turkey continue to cook. Check internal temperature every 10-15 minutes until 165°F is reached. If this happens, don't stress. Grab a glass of wine and remember, no one will remember that dinner was 10 minutes late, but everyone will remember if it was on time and under-cooked they're sprinting to the bathroom tomorrow. 
    • Serve appetizers.
  • 3 PM: Carve turkey and cheers, its dinner time!

Check out the rest of the Ultimate Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Guide: