Let us know what you do to get ready for Thanksgiving. This can include how you prepare food for transporting, cooking the dinner, travel plans, traditions.
As Thanksgiving is the largest cooking holiday in our family, I've learned that preparing early is very helpful. One week prior I buy all the canned goods, clean out the fridge, and start thawing the turkey. The day prior I make most of the side dishes, desserts, and make one final grocery run. Then all I have to do on Thanksgiving is make the turkey.
My family loves a simple supper dish that I make from Thanksgiving leftovers. Dice some of the leftover turkey and mix it in with some leftover stuffing and an egg. Form into patties the size of thick hamburgers. Wrap each with a strip of bacon, secured with a toothpick. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees F. for about 30 minutes, until the bacon is cooked. Serve with cranberry sauce and/or leftover turkey gravy if you have some.
Sue - Edmonds, WA
Every Thanksgiving, my son and his cousins make hats for every one. Some of us are Pilgrims, some of us are Indians. It's fun for the kids. By comparing pictures of past Thanksgivings, we
can see how different their imaginations are each year! It also teaches the kids about the first Thanksgiving.
Begin buying canned goods I'll need for Thanksgiving; earlier if possible. This will spread out the cost over several weeks, so that it's not such a big deal. I also buy a turkey about a month ahead of time and put it in the freezer, because the price of turkey skyrocks in the two weeks before Thanksgiving. Plan ahead; it's cheaper. Finally, I stop using meat and fowl except on Sabbath, so that it will be all the more eagerly anticipated when Thanksgiving arrives. I focus on fish and legumes.
Two days ahead:
Brine the turkey, keeping it in the refrigerator. Alton Brown has a good recipe/method for this, but the short version is that you need an acid, a sugar, salt, and a spice blend. I use a half-cup of lemon juice, a full cup of orange or apple juice, salt, and a blend of either savoury (za'atar, oregano, thyme, rosemary) or sweet (such as Pumpkin Pie spice, or cinnamon, allspice, fresh or crystallized ginger) spices. That goes in a covered plastic container, along with water or sometimes light beer to cover (depending on the spice blend) for two days.
I also take two days before Thanksgiving to make all my pie fillings, as well as any casserole, potato dish, or anything else that won't suffer by being made ahead.
One day ahead:
Last-minute shopping. This is when I pick out the freshest possible vegetables for the vegetable dishes, especially the salads. I also make sure all fruits and vegetables that I'll use for Thanksgiving are washed, so that I don't have to slow down for washing while I'm prepping. I make sure I've got all the utensils and vessels I'll need, clear off all possible counter space, and dig out all the canned goods I've bought over the last month or two. I make sure everything I'll need is in the most accessible places, so that when I reach for something, it's right there -- no need to hunt.
First things first: Brush teeth, wash face, dress, and pray. If it's not done now, it surely won't be done later. Then, before anything else, I put the brined turkey in the oven, covered and breast-down, so that the juices will drain into the breast meat and make it juicy (it'll go right-side-up for the final 1/3 of the cooking time). It's messy, so I take a moment now to clean anything I've touched or which has touched the raw turkey.
Then I make breakfast for the family/visitors, and rope somebody else into cleaning up from it, since I'm doing the rest of the work and I've totally earned the opportunity to avoid doing this batch of dishes. ;)
Once the breakfast is done, I put together everything I've already done -- microwave things that need reheating, make gravy from canned chicken broth, whip those baked potatoes into something mashed and yummy, and make the salads. I spend the next hour cleaning up from all this industry. Then there's still time to sit down for half an hour or so, before I need to set the table and start putting out the food. Voila, Thanksgiving!
Every Thanksgiving weekend, my family hosts it's yearly Christmas party. Since Christmas is always so hectic, and many friends travel home for Thanksgiving, it is the perfect time to get everyone together. We all decorate the tree and house, eat Thanksgiving leftovers (everyone brings leftovers deserts and snacks) and enjoy catching up with each other, before the hectic
weeks of Christmas shopping and other Holiday obligations fill up our already too busy schedules. Everyone looks forward to the party - including myself. I don't have to do much cooking and thanks to friends and family - the house is decorated in no time!
When carving pumpkins for pie, don't throw out the seeds! Wash off the gooey stuff, spread on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with Lawry's (seasoning) salt and bake at 375 for about 10 minutes. Makes a great snack.
I think making mashed potatoes at the last minute in order to keep them hot is very tricky while your juggling everything else for Thanksgiving. I make them a day or two before. I just make them as usual, sometimes adding sour cream and garlic salt. Put them in a casserole dish and refrigerate.
Then on Thanksgiving, I pull them out and let set to room temperature and microwave to warm them up at the last minute. No one knows they were done early.
- Candace - Annapolis, MD
Here's a recipe for Rolls:
Thanksgiving Yeast Rolls
1 stick margarine
1 c. Seven Up (I use diet)
2 c. bread flour
2 pkg. fast rising yeast
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
2 beaten eggs
In pan with thermometer, heat margarine and Seven Up to 120 to 130 degrees
Add to flour, yeast, salt and sugar (already mixed in large bowl) Beat for a couple of minutes with electric mixer
Add eggs and beat again, add enough additional flour to make a soft dough
Knead on floured surface till elastic
Put in large container sprayed with butter spray then spray top. Put in warm place till doubled, knead again and roll out and cut into rolls or make loaves of bread (you can do anything with this)
Bake at 400 for rolls (bake for 20-25 min till golden brown), 350 for bread (bake 40-50 minutes till golden brown) You might want
to brush the tops with beaten egg or melted margarine before you bake them. (You can also use milk or buttermilk instead of the Seven Up.
Every year we rotate who will have Thanksgiving and Christmas. One person will have Thanksgiving and another Christmas. We also rotate who will bring the turkey and ham. One person donates the ham and turkey for Thanksgiving and another for Christmas. The person that brings the ham and turkey can fix it at their house or drop it off at the house where we are gathering and it will fixed there. Every one gets a turn and the cost is divided.
My class & I make the Mayflower out of a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with dip. The sails are pretzel rods, and sliced American cheese. Really cute, & the kids love it.
Every year when we sit down at the Thanksgiving table, after we have said the prayer I have each member of the family share what they are thankful for. It has become a family tradition. Also at our Christmas dinner table we all take a time sharing a favorite Christmas memory from years past. This proves to be a lot of fun especially to hear what the grandparents have to share.
Pumpkin Pie Cake Recipe
1 large can pumpkin pie mix (has the sugar and spices in it)
1 large can evaporated milk
1 yellow cake mix
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup chopped pecans
Mix the pumpkin pie mix, milk, and eggs together.
Pour into 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
Sprinkle dry cake mix over the pumpkin mixture.
Drizzle melted butter over cake mix.
Sprinkle with pecans.
Bake at 350F for 1 hour. Cool.
Serve with whipped cream or frozen whipped topping, thawed.
Serves 12 to 15.
Place a whole onion (skin and all) along with few large pieces of celery inside the cavity of your turkey before baking for a very moist and flavorful bird. I also baste the turkey with apple juice instead of butter or fat which results in a beautifully golden crisp skin and moist meat without any added fat. As a bonus your house will smell fabulous. The turkey will not have the taste of apples.
- Callie - Tampa, FL
Many of you will be traveling for Thanksgiving. Please be safe and try not to be in too much of a hurry. Being stressed takes away from the fun. Everything always works out somehow. Whether the food is burnt, someone forgot their dish or the tablecloth has a hole in it, your attitude about it can make it a miserable situation or something for all of you to laugh about. Make sure to laugh a lot. Togetherness with the family and friends, having fun and giving thanks for what you have is the most important thing, not the food or decorations. Enjoy the holiday! If you don't have any family to spend the time with, invite over some friends that are in the same situation and put together a small feast, rent some movies and have a good time. If you have friends with no where to go, invite them to come with you. Thanksgiving, especially this year, is a time when no one should have to be alone.
I take one day, Set down write out entire menu for Holiday. I then clip all my coupons, Go shopping and purchass the ingredients. The Day before the Holiday, I prepare all deserts and Home made Bread. The day of I prepare and cook the Turkey. While Turkey is cooking, I prepare the side dishes with pre measured ingredients that have been put in baggies the day before and set all aside to be put in oven as Turkey comes out. This is good because it alows the Turkey to set and rest while side dishes are baking .
I found this great page on the Good Housekeeping site that has a countdown to Thanksgiving! http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food/holidays/thanksgiving/
I'm 69 years old, have health problems along with a lot of pain. Over the years I have started using more convenience foods for all of our holiday meals. There are only two other families that partake of these meals. I do the cooked things. One family brings the relish tray, sweet potatoes, and a jello salad. The single man that comes brings Stove Top stuffing, canned cranberry sauce and dinner rolls. He brings this stuff to me ahead of time so it is here early enough to prepare. Then the day of the meal he brings 3-4 different flavors of bakery pies. My share is I cook a turkey breast in the crock pot, have a ham, use instant potatoes, and purchased gravy. Some times I throw in an unexpected dish of some kind. Sometimes(usually on Easter when we do it), for something different we either do sloppy joes or hot dogs in the crockpot, along with macaroni salad, potato salad, relish tray, and cake. I like to keep my grandkids guessing, as to what I'm going to do. I also have a friend who thinks it is awful that we don't really have anything on these meals that is completely prepared from scratch. I always tell her that the Lord created the people that invented convenience foods to make life easier for people.lol
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