Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving hints!

Good morning!  We are in the home stretch with school, the semester will end around December 12.  I am more than ready for that day, it's been a tough one.  Working around homework, I am trying to get ready for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a time to be together, enjoying each other and the day, not about one person spending the entire day away from everyone else in the kitchen. 

I don't know about you, but I am not a fan of the thought of busting my butt the day before and getting up at the crack of dawn on Thanksgiving to get the Thanksgiving meal together.  There are things that you can do early to make it easier.  

Just a few hints:

You can make pie crusts a head of time and freeze them right in the pans.  It doesn't take much time at all to thaw when you're ready to fill or bake.

Dinner rolls can be done early too.  You can make the bread dough early, follow your recipe up to the point of shaping into rolls.  Freeze them on a wax lined pan, then put into a Ziploc bag.  

The day or so before Thanksgiving you can pull them out and let them rise.  You can also par-bake them so they're almost done.  Then on Thanksgiving day, you can finish baking them for a couple of minutes and have fresh rolls that don't tie up your precious oven space.  

Have the kids help by setting the table the night before.

If, like us, you have stuffing and chicken and noodles at dinner, make some chicken stock a few days ahead of time and portion it out to what you need for each item.  Homemade is easy to make and doesn't have a ton of salt or preservatives in it.

I also make the noodles a week or so in advance, dry them out and store in a Ziploc or a Tupperware type bowl with a good sealing type lid.

I also save the heels of bread or any that may have gotten a little stale and I dry them out in the oven.  Generally, after I have baked something or made dinner in the oven or what have you, I'll put a tray of dried bread in there after I've pulled out what I'm baking and shut the oven off.  Make sure the bread is in a single layer, as the oven is cooling, there is enough heat to dry it out well.  Gram used to include some leftover cornbread as well.  You can put those last couple of pieces or so in the freezer until Thanksgiving and thaw them out and dry them in the oven.

Remember, if there is any cutting, chopping, dicing, etc. that you can do the day or so before, do it.  You can store the items in Ziploc bags in the fridge, if you get the air out of them, they'll lay flat and stack.  If you dice up onions, double bag them to control the smell in the fridge!

It's no secret that I am a list maker.  The joke is that my lists have lists...LOL.  Anyway, make a menu for the day, go over it and decide what you can do early and what is definitely a last minute to-do.  Make a to-do list of things a week early, a few days early, the day before and the day of.  This will help you keep the day running smoothly.  It will also let someone out of the kitchen a bit to enjoy time with family and friends.

If you haven't started yet, make a list...Thanksgiving is in a few days!

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