I'm wondering what people prepare a day or two in advance and what absolutely must be made on Thanksgiving. I bake all of the bread for stuffing several days early and make pie crust dough and ice cream a few days in advance. I do almost everything else the day of. I would love to get a few more items started the day before. What's your general timeline? Thanks!
I do the pie on Wednesday, whip the cream, make the cranberry sauce, and saute the onions & celery for the stuffing (I stuff the bird. If I did a side dish of dressing, I'd do it on Wed., too). Also get out all the serving dishes & have 'em lined up, ready to go.
We've scaled down T'giving menus over the years (just 2 of us now), so I'm not too harried on T'giving morning. After I get the bird in the oven, we traditionally go for a long neighborhood walk (I've gotten over the scare of leaving the oven on--the bird is in the earliest stages of cooking, so little hot oil yet).
On Weds, I usually do the following:
-make the pies (pumpkin and/or pecan)
-make the cranberry sauce
-make the sweet potato dish (I have been making a sweet potato-carrot tzimmes for the past few years that reheats beautifully in the microwave)
-prep the stuffing--sauté the onions/mushrooms, cube the bread
-make sure the turkey is defrosted
-make the giblet stock for the gravy
This leaves turkey prep and cooking, arranging crudités/salad/apps, and setting the table for Thursday.
I also do as much shopping as I can in the weeks leading up so that I don't have a last minute rush. Doing an herb/spice inventory before shopping is another life saver.
I am in awe that you bake the bread for stuffing...
I brine the birds on Tuesday. I make 10 pounds of marinated vegetables on Tuesday (asparagus, greenbeans, carrots, mushrooms, baby onions and pickled red peppers). I make the turkey stock gravy from scratch two weeks before and freeze it. It gets finished with the drippings. I make the pumpkin cheese cake on Tuesday and the cranberry sauce. On Wednesday I prep the ingredients for the stuffing and store. I make the pies (sour cherry streusel and pecan). We lay out all the table settings, etc. on Wednesday. We take the turkeys out of the brine, rinse, and air dry in our second fridge on Wednesday. On Thursday, the birds go on the grill, the stuffing, sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes get made, and the gravy gets finished. On Friday morning, we make latkes for breakfast. On Saturday, I'm planning on committing myself to an institution.
depends what you're making.
you can make the pie crust now and freeze it.
same with the stuffing bread. bake, cool, freeze.
cranberry sauce can be made the weekend before.
celery/onions whatever veggies go in your stuffing can be cut and sauteed 1-2 days ahead. bag separately so the onions don't overpower everything else.
any kind of stock for gravy or veggies can be made ahead and frozen.
what's on the menu?