Make Thanksgiving Easy as Pie
11/1/2018 10:50:09 AM

When you think of Thanksgiving, you may have memories of family gathered around a well-appointed table, smiling, laughing, and enjoying all varieties of holiday fare come to mind. If you’re the host of the day, however, you may have memories of frantic preparation like dusting the baseboards in every room of the house, making sure clean sheets are on all the guest beds, preparing a show-stopping breakfast, along with every aspect of the main event — the Thanksgiving Day feast, including Uncle Jim’s favorite mile-high banana-meringue pie and all the other Pinterest-inspired delicacies you can’t resist . . . mixed in with a panic attack or two. 

Take some deep breaths and remember that early preparation can make the day go smoothly while still ensuring that everyone is pleased and impressed when dinner is served. 

Deep Clean in Advance.
A few weeks before the big day, do a deep clean of your communal areas like the kitchen, living areas, and bathrooms. If you’re hosting out of town visitors, this is also a great time to clean the guest rooms. If not, keep those rooms behind closed doors. Doing a deep clean in advance will ensure that several days before Thanksgiving day, all you will need to do is change bed sheets and tend to some minor tidying and cleaning. 

Freeze a Turkey. 
Get a turkey three to four weeks in advance of the big day and throw it in the freezer. This allows you to beat the crunch-time crowds vying for the best bird. Just remember that a completely frozen turkey needs a day to thaw for every four pounds it weighs. If you plan on ordering meat for Thanksgiving, place your order weeks in advance and set a reminder to pick it up. 

Make Side Dishes and Desserts Ahead of Time. 
The fat in the delicious cream and butter in mashed potatoes protects the potatoes in the freezer, so this, along with other dishes like cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, and pumpkin pie can all be made ahead and frozen. Even the turkey gravy can be made in advance, and turkey drippings can be added to it after the turkey is cooked and the gravy begins heating. If you make two items a week for a month in advance, Thanksgiving Day will be as easy as that second serving of sweet potatoes! 

Think About Breakfast. 
If you’re entertaining out of town guests or a large family, the last thing you want to do is make a huge mess in the kitchen before you start preparing the big meal. A week or two before the feast, prepare some make-ahead breakfast enchiladas or a cheesy sausage and croissant casserole. Thaw it out the night before and pop it into the oven in the morning. Your guests will be impressed. 
Clean Out the Refrigerator.  
Two to three days prior to Turkey Day, clean out your refrigerator to make room for all the mouth-watering leftovers. This is also a good time to stock up on food-storage containers. 

Set the Table. 
The night before Thanksgiving, set the table with centerpieces, cutlery, and the dishware you plan on using. This will be one less thing on your Thanksgiving Day to-do list so you can spend more time enjoying family and friends.