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How's T-day coming? What have you prepped?

Thanksgiving is always half celebration and half strategy. I'm having company just before T-day, on T-day and on Friday after T-day just to add to the fun. Planning and advance prep will be important as never before.

So what have you already done? What will you be doing in the next week? How do you do it? What do you plan for meals in the couple days leading up to T-day?

I want to be sure I'm not missing a single trick so I can enjoy my company and not be frantic and scary.

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  1. Pie crusts are made and in the freezer. Ditto for the cake. Cornbread is made, and it and the French bread for the dressing are torn up and in the freezer. Cranberry salad will be made on Wednesday. Dressing will be mixed and baked T day. Also pies Turkey goes in the convection oven T day. While it's resting, the roasted asparagus goes in convection oven. Rolls get heated last minute in whatever oven is available. Hope to get the celery and onion chopped and sweated in bacon grease on Wednesday. Thankfully, we have two ovens, and they're both self cleaning.

    1. Two things I've already done are experiments:

      • The dinner rolls are in the freezer in their pan. They're nearly completely proofed but not baked. My hope is they'll finish proofing as they thaw and come up to room temp. …and not collapse as they bake from being over proofed.

      • The ice cream base is also in the freezer. It's not churned. I plan to thaw it and churn it before refreezing a couple days before T-day.

      I've also got a soup base frozen in a big plastic bag. On T-day I'll add chicken stock and cream.

      The thing is, frozen flat in bags these things don't take up much space but I'm afraid I'm going to run out of freezer space well before I'm done getting ready.

      1. I'm not responsible for much this year, however, I have sent my shopping list to my DNiece where I will be traveling and cooking "a little" so she can get what I need when she shops.

        1. Shopping list is ready, now I just have to decide when to shop. I got hit by a serious virus this week so taking it easy on myself. I was debating making or ordering rolls and decided to call Great Harvest for rolls so that's done. I made some turkey stock a few weeks ago with turkey parts.

          2 Replies
          1. re: fldhkybnva

            I think I've done what I can. Shopped for what will hold -- canned goods, root veggies.

            I'm in a holding pattern until Mon when I pick up my bird and start dry brining her. Deep cleansing breath.

            1. re: rainey

              Yea I don't want to shop too early but I also hate crowded stores. I'll probably go early Monday morning.

            1. What are those meals you have in your fridge ready to go so you can concentrate on T-day prep in the last couple days.

              We always have lasagna the night before. That's even better made a couple days in advance and then just baked off for dinner.

              I need something else too. My first thought is chicken pot pie now that Costco is selling their breast meat from rotisserie chickens but chicken is so much like turkey that I'd really prefer something else.

              What's company ready for the day after?

              1 Reply
              1. re: rainey

                I have lasagna ready in the freezer for Tuesday and Wednesday night of next week.

              2. We will be eating takeout for much of next week. Teriyaki, burritos, pizza, burgers.

                And this year I'm just making desserts! With family in town and putting helping put together 2 meals, it's just too much drama to cook.

                1. Cranberry sauce! I had no idea it was this easy or I'd have been making it from scratch all these years.

                  I made a hundred-year-old recipe collected in Marion Brown's Pickles and Preserves, to wit:

                  "2 cup sugar, 4 cup cramberry, 1 cup water. Cook until all has bust open."

                  No straining, it's fantastic and exactly that easy - I think the nonstandard grammar makes the recipe easier to remember!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Sarah Perry

                    Absolutely! And there's so much you can add to sex it up. I put in chopped apple, pecan pieces some orange zest and a healthy splash of Grand Marnier. I love it with some texture.

                    Remember 217˚ is the magic temperature if you want it to be molded and that can take a lot longer than when they've started popping. But that's still completely do-able.

                    I love mine. But I *still* have to have a can of Ocean Spray for my husband. I've loved him for 45 years so he can have what he wants. ;>

                    1. re: rainey

                      I've never liked cranberry sauce but think I might with some "sexing up." I'm planning to try bacon jam this year but would love to find a cranberry sauce concoction I love since I love cranberries.

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        This is my very favorite cranberry sauce, recipe from Food & Wine .. so easy, uses Bourbon. Can be made ahead. Really delicious on a toasted bagel with cream cheese.


                  2. Already done:

                    Flourless chocolate torte
                    Apple crostada
                    Cauliflower-leek mash
                    Sauteed leeks for stuffing
                    Chicken stock for both stuffing and risotto
                    Roasted butternut squash for risotto
                    Coarse grain mustard dressing for shaved brussels sprouts

                    To make this weekend:

                    Butternut squash risotto for risotto cakes (to be frozen)
                    Fig-sausage-leek stuffing (to be frozen)
                    Compound butter for turkey

                    To make the night before
                    Cardamom roasted pears
                    Pumpkin mousse
                    Persillade for green beans
                    Blanching green beans

                    To make the day of:
                    Roasting the turkey
                    Sauteeing the shaved brussels sprouts
                    Sauteeing green beans and persillade
                    Tayberry sauce for the flourless chocolate torte
                    Pan frying the risotto cakes
                    Reheating the cauliflower mash and stuffing

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: Dcfoodblog

                      Your roasted pears sound amazing. Do you serve those as a side dish or a dessert? Is there a recipe?

                      1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                        I'm serving them as an accompaniment to pumpkin mousse. Cut bosc pears into 8 wedges, brush with olive oil that has been mixed with ground cardamom. Roast at 375 for 15 minutes. Toss with silvered almonds.

                        1. re: Dcfoodblog

                          Wow, that sounds delicious. I'm sure I can find room on our dessert table for that. I'm making cinnamon ice cream, so they'd probably go well with that!

                      2. re: Dcfoodblog

                        What kind of compound butter are you making?

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          Citrus - lemon zest, orange zest and a bit of lemon juice with plenty of salt and pepper.

                        2. re: Dcfoodblog

                          Sounds like heaven!

                          You've already started cooking veggies?! I wait until the last couple days for that but if you have success with it I'd give it a try.

                          I'm mostly planning roasted veggies: Brussels sprouts, carrots, and slices of squash. Think they could be reheated without suffering?

                          1. re: rainey

                            The cooked veggies I made ahead and froze were as ingredients for other dishes. You aren't going to really taste the defrosted texture of the leeks or butternut squash in a risotto or the stuffing. For veggies I wanted as their own dish (i.e. green beans) I would wait until closer to T-day.

                          2. re: Dcfoodblog

                            Do all those things already done defrost well? I assume that's what you've done with them since we're a week out.

                            1. re: escondido123

                              They actually do defrost well. I do heat the crostadas in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes to crisp up the crust.

                            2. re: Dcfoodblog

                              i think i'm inviting myself for dinner at your house… sounds like a FABULOUS menu!

                              and i'm impressed with the prep.. you are one organized host!

                            3. For me, it's about 80% strategy, so I can enjoy the celebration!

                              In the freezer already:
                              - Turkey stock
                              - Buckets o'gravy
                              - 6 loaves of bread, cubed and dried

                              All the wine and non-alcoholic beverages have been purchased.

                              The plan is done, including the categorized grocery lists, the advanced prep plan for the days leading up the Thanksgiving dinner, the day of prep plan with 15 minute increments and columns for all the cooking appliances, what everything will be cooked and served in and where each dish will be placed.

                              I can't wait for my favourite meal of the year! :o)

                              Edited to add: also have my vegetarian gravy done and frozen, too.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: TorontoJo

                                I was wondering if I could use frozen bread for the stuffing. I have half a loaf of really good quality bread in the freezer and I was thinking it would be a good addition to the stuffing.

                                1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                  Absolutely use your frozen bread! Bread freezes really well, plus you want to dry it anyway for your stuffing.

                                2. re: TorontoJo

                                  I am in this camp a well. I keep thinking that I'm not prepared but I think it's because I've already thought about it. However I'm till torn on a key side dish - mac and cheese - so need to make up my mind. SO and I love the Whole Foods hot bar version, it's just the 2 of us so I thought perhaps I'd order from them or otherwise tackle martha's macaroni and cheese for the first time.

                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                    Have you played with sodium citrate at all? It makes a perfect mac and cheese with zero fuss. I add a couple of teaspoons to 1.5 cups of milk (low fat or full fat, it doesn't matter -- you could even use water or beer) and heat to a simmer. Then add shredded cheese until I get the consistency I want. I add some dry mustard, maybe some cayenne pepper, then toss with cavatappi or elbow macaroni. If I want to bake, I'll leave the sauce a bit more liquid, if I don't, I'll add enough cheese to make it super rich and creamy. It's so incredibly easy, and the sodium citrate allows you to use aged, hard cheeses with no fear of separating.

                                    1. re: TorontoJo

                                      I was planning to but just learned about it last week. I thought I'd experiment but after being laid up on the couch I haven't had much time so perhaps that's a sign that I should go the whole foods route and save the citrate Mac and cheese for Christmas. Sounds super easy, thanks for the recipe. It's definite must try hopefully before the years end. I guess I'll have to give in to that lb of sodium citrate on amazon :)

                                    2. re: fldhkybnva

                                      If it's just the 2 of you and you love the Whole Foods version, just buy what you need from there and make your life easier; you have enough to do with the turkey, etc.

                                      1. re: walker

                                        I think that's the plan although I'd love to indulge my cheese obsession and make a killer Mac and cheese, I can always sprinkle on theirs or just indulge in a cheese platter.

                                  2. Only have to bring a side (maybe 2) to brother's for T-Day. Have a standing order for my candied sweet potatoes... yams... whatever you wanna call them... & bought them over past weekend. Had choice at Produce Junction (a no-frills chain in my area)... 5 lbs/$2.00... either a LOT of small SPs or a bag of 4-5 BIG ones. I opted for BIG... easier to peel imo. Will probably peel them Tuesday after school and just stash in a big container of water till I get home on Wednesday to cook. NOTE to anyone who might be venturing into fresh SPs for first time... DO NOT even think about putting peels down disposal!! TWO years in a row ended up with a clogged drain! First year, THOUGHT I was feeding the peels down in small enough batches and running enough water, but apparently not?? My Scarlett O'Hara gene kicked in... I'll think about that tomorrow... and luckily problem kinda resolved itself. Second time, Scarlett vibes didn't help and had to resort to a drain clearing product.

                                    WIll probably do creamed onions, too. Bag-o-fresh is probably half the price of frozen (lb for lb). WHich I use will depend on how inspired I am this time next week.

                                    IF I was preparing for an entire dinner, would have a LOT of the prep work done ahead of time. Would probably prep veggies by Tuesday or Wednesday, wash, and stash in plastic bags. Potatoes (for mashed or sweet) would be peeled and in big containers of water to keep from browning. Would buy bread for stuffing... probably some NICE crusty loaves from discount shelf at supermarket... just being real. Would cube it up maybe Monday... doesn't matter if it gets hard. WOuld have all the onions and celery diced up to do stuffing first thing T-Day... I prefer it IN the bird.

                                    Fridge space is always at a premium. As long as it was gonna be COLD outside, would park ALL the veggies either out on deck or in garage in coolers.

                                    If cranberries from fresh... probably Monday or Tuesday... seems to get better after a day or 2... another thing for cooler.

                                    At the very least, would make sure all plates, glasses, and flatware was sitting on diningroom table... napkins, S&P, too. Would have all cooking vessels out of cabinets and ready to go... I'd pick stove/oven to table pieces. Would have serving utensils gathered. Would put butter out first thing T-Day so it wouldn't be solid as a rock when people wanted to butter rolls.

                                    If expecting to send people home with left-overs, would have supply of zip bags and plastic containers... most likely from dollar store.

                                    Would make sure turkey was purchased in enough time to be thoroughly thawed by Wednesday. Would put all the "presents" from inside bird into pot on stove to simmer... extra liquid to moisten stuffing or add to gravy. Would make stuffing, stuff bird (anything that doesn't fit IN, into a casserole) and into oven. WOuld plan for bird to be done at LEAST an hour before I planned to eat it. A turkey, right out of oven, is still HOT a good half hour or more after sitting out, covered with foil. As soon as turkey was done, would make gravy & put in pan so it could be easily heated up and left on LOW during meal for any needed refills.

                                    I'd use grill on deck to hold stuff. One side on LOW and other side off works fine... stuff that wouldn't be hurt by a little more cooking over ON side.

                                    Have a relative who LIKES picking every last bit of meat off the carcass. That carcass would probably go into big stock pot as soon as picked to simmer away for stock... soup maybe or just stock for something.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: kseiverd

                                      The grill to keep things warm! What a great idea!!!!

                                      1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                        Ooh, indeed! The hardest part of any meal for me is timing it so everything is warm. I'll definitely be doing this!

                                      2. re: kseiverd

                                        We always stash stuff outside as it's usually pretty frigid. Great tip on setting the table. I get all the utensils, dishes, etc out the night before and on the table. I never would have thought of the butter idea, thanks.

                                        So you just to the giblets in the pot with water an simmer, then strain? Do you add anything else?

                                        1. re: kseiverd

                                          cornbread dressing is done and in the freezer,no one mentioned that so thought I should,I've learned to do this from my friends comes out perfect everytime,

                                          1. re: mutti

                                            Do you defrost then bake or bake and reheat?

                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                              my friends always partially defrost then bake or reheat both ,in my case This time I'm going to totally defrost as I've decided I want to add oysters,just remember everything in your dressing is already cooked.

                                        2. Our T-day is small and we don't over-do the side dishes. But I've got rolls, turkey stock, roasted pie pumpkin and appetizers in the freezer.
                                          I've made the grocery list and created the time list for when things get done (including cleaning) and what time and temperature dishes go in the oven so all is ready on time. To me that's a big stress-saver. I know to turn on the oven to X degree at Y time, put the dressing in at ..., etc.
                                          Will shop for non-perishables this weekend and pick up the turkey breast on Tuesday.
                                          Will dry the bread for dressing this weekend as well.

                                          1. I will pick up a leg of lamb (or two, or three.. the price is really good this week!) on Sunday or Monday since I don't want to have to freeze it and then thaw. I'll marinate it on Tuesday. I'll grab a bag of charcoal this weekend and probably hit the Middle Eastern market for halloumi. I'll get the most of the veggies on Wednesday so they're nice and fresh, the rest will be picked Thursday.

                                            Oh, I will get wine this weekend!

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: weezieduzzit

                                              I enjoy turkey but I'm jealous of your lamb. We usually have lamb at my family's house for Thanksgiving in addition to turkey but it's just two of us so I went with turkey alone. Perhaps lamb for Christmas. How are you planning to season and cook?

                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                I will butterfly the lamb and rub it with a paste of za 'atar, minced garlic, s&p, lots of lemon zest and a little olive oil, wrap it back up and put it in a great big ziplock until about an hour or so before cooking it on the barbeque. We loved it last year, it's our new, private (just he and I,) Thanksgiving tradition.

                                                1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                  Sounds delicious!!! I might swipe it for Christmas, nice variation on my usual rosemary and lemon rub and I have a jar of za'atar which I rarely use

                                            2. I've made the stock and it's in the freezer. I've also made my grandmother's spaghetti sauce. Also in the freezer. Nothing really for the day itself.

                                              The whole extended family takes over a house on the Outer Banks for the week. The sauce (which already has chicken, sausage and beef shanks and marrow bones in it) is for Sunday night and will be augmented by meatballs made there. The nights in between will catered by other members of the family.

                                              I'll pick up the turkey there (already reserved) and will dry brine.

                                              Pretty much my other prep so far has been making lists like:
                                              Take roasting pan (rental house -- don't know if they'll have a good one)
                                              Knives in knife roll (see don't know if they'll have good ones)
                                              Two thermometers -- instant read and one that goes in the bird.
                                              Herbs and spices
                                              Can of cranberry sauce (sometimes can't be found there if there's a run -- and there are people who INSIST on it.

                                              Just have to remember to pack everything!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: lsmutko

                                                In my area! Have fun and yes, packing everything to cook great meals is important!

                                              2. I am usually a prep freak, and this year more than ever I ought to be, but my spousal unit has a fractured ulna. So I am handing out assignments. Daughter is in charge of pecan pies. Her boyfriend will fry a turkey. Son is in charge of rolls. Nephew's SO is doing dressing. I can make pumpkin pie the night before...no messing with sugar pumpkins...only fresh components are grated ginger and nutmeg and a great crust. I shall nuke a couple of bags of green beans until semi cooked, toss in a torn up bunch of baguette, toss it all in garlic infused EVOO and Pec Rom, heat; quarter sweet potatoes, toss them with sliced leeks and a few quartered fennel bulbs, toss it all in EVOO, salt, pepper, and herbs d'Provence and roast; make a quick gravy of dried mushrooms reconstituted in Sherry and defrosted tub of vegetable broth; and mask any cooking inadequacies with Archery Summit and Ken Wright PN. Then I will kick everyone out and make chipotle mayonnaise for turkey sandwiches on rolls while I watch football. I probably forgot something. That is why I have Cognac and cigars.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: tim irvine

                                                  Wow sounds like a great meal! Hope your spouse feels better, sounds quite unpleasant.

                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                    Thanks. I am taking her in on Friday to get a plate put in her arm. As for the meal, I have tried a lot of approaches to Thanksgiving and found that simpler is usually better. However, there are a few things people have come to expect. In our house they are pumpkin and pecan pie and chipotle mayonnaise for turkey and rolls. As long as they are there it is pretty much ok. The green bean thing is one I learned years ago at an office party of all places. It us usually the first thing gone. beans a la Jerry Jensen.

                                                    1. re: tim irvine

                                                      The green beans sound particularly interesting. Any more tips on a recipe? I might try it just for a regular night dinner. I agree simple is usually best. I crave the usual favorites I've been eating for decades at thanksgiving. Innovation is fun but for me the tried and true family favorites are what it's all about. Now if only I could recreate them without the watchful helping hand of grandma :)

                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                        I did them this morning for our office party. I got two bags on a BOGO deal. I microwaved each about 4 minutes. I heat some olive oil with two smashed cloves of garlic. I tossed it all in a bowl, added salt and pepper, tore up a half a baguette, and ran a 1x1x2 chunk of Romano through a mouli, mixed it all, and right before serving put it in a hot oven to crisp the bread pieces on top. Pretty easy and a nice foil to all of the tan foods of the season.

                                                2. 4 gallons of turkey stock is in the freezer and on stand by. Menu is finalized and shopping list is ready. I'll do most of the shopping on Friday, picking up only a couple items next Tuesday (oysters, turkeys, etc.). We'll spend most of the weekend working on the non-food list. We'll move furniture, iron linens, wash stemware, clean chandeliers, etc.

                                                  Monday through Wednesday will be spent prepping every last dish possible.

                                                  Dinner on Wednesday will be pizza and a bottle of red wine. It's now tradition.

                                                  I keep repeating to myself that "Expectations - Reality = Happiness". I've let my expectations get way out whack in the past and have been disappointed. Last year, I whiffed on both the turkeys and stuffing (let's not talk about it). At this rate, I'm just hoping not to kill anybody either with the food or the together-time. Past that, anything is a bonus! ;)

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Christina D

                                                    I LOVE your equation. I'll bet you are the kind of person who can throw a great impromptu party, maybe squirty cheese on Wheat Thins and really good martinis.

                                                    1. re: tim irvine

                                                      When you have really good martinis, what else do you need?

                                                      (other than maybe a ride home)

                                                  2. I did my first round of shopping last night, picking up the non-perishables. I've got two turkeys now, one from the store and a pasture-raised one from work, so I need to figure out which one I'm going to serve for Thanksgiving and which one is for Christmas!

                                                    I'm going to make some freeze-and-bake rolls this weekend, hopefully, but other than that I'm not sure what I can really do until Tuesday. I'll be scouring this thread for ideas, though.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: Kontxesi

                                                      Okay, I've actually got a question. I don't do a lot of pies, and I'm not usually in a "make ahead and freeze" situation....

                                                      I'm making this pie:


                                                      It says you can make it a day ahead and refrigerate, which was my original plan. But I've seen some of you mention you've already made your pies and they're in the freezer. Would that work with this pie, or would the texture suffer?

                                                      1. re: Kontxesi

                                                        That looks like it's a pudding type pie. I would not freeze it.

                                                        I make fruit pies ahead of time, and freeze them, unbaked, then pop them in the oven when needed.

                                                        1. re: LaureltQ

                                                          I figured, but I thought I would ask. Thanks! :)

                                                      2. re: Kontxesi

                                                        Rolls are par-baked and in the freezer, turkey is brining, breadcrumbs are in the oven drying, collard greens are cut....

                                                        Still to go tonight (hopefully):
                                                        -making the pie
                                                        -cutting all of the onions, celery, etc.

                                                        1. re: Kontxesi

                                                          What are you doing with the bread after drying it?-- where are you storing it? I want to do the same but not sure what to do after drying it.

                                                          1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                                            I completely assemble my stuffing,


                                                            ?..but you can just leave it on whatever you dry it on. It''s not going to overdry. (Seinfeld reference


                                                            I have almost finished the stuffing, the turkey stock, the sweet potato purée, and chiffoneed (sp) the collards. I will soon take the three day dry brined turkey from it's bag to dry.

                                                      3. I hit the restaurant supply store on my lunch break today. I'm just making desserts, so my load is fairly light, but I have at least 3 pies and 2 tiramisus on the list.

                                                        I got a 5lb tub of mascarpone, 5 dozen eggs, half a gallon of cream, a bag of lemons, and 25lbs of granulated sugar. Should get me started.

                                                        I only need lady fingers, good butter, a couple granny smiths ( I have a horde of jonagolds) and cranberries.

                                                        1. I've finally got my "Thanksgiving for One" perfected, but last night I found out my boyfriend can spend Thanksgiving with me. Now that changes everything since I'm sure he will be expecting all the traditional menu items. I'm thinking of deboning & stuffing a turkey breast to go with the turkey thigh I already bought.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Barbara76137

                                                            Woohoo! So is venturing back from a long work trip to spend it at home. Otherwise I would have felt quite gluttonous with my full spread dinner for one. Hmm, who does that? Apparently I do. I'm sure you'll have a wonderful holiday no matter what ends up on the table. One year in college a boyfriend and I enjoyed hot dogs from wawa and a glass of wine and it was great fun.

                                                          2. Youse guys make me feel like such a slacker! I've done virtually nothing beyond planning and a few lists, unless you count several phone calls and email exchanges with in-laws to discuss menu/food prep/assign their tasks.

                                                            In my defense, dessert and stuffing has been outsourced to aforementioned in-laws. This weekend, I'll shop and make cranberry chutney. Wednesday night I'll make Caesar salad dressing, croutons, and curried onions. We eat later in the day so I'll have ample time for the remaining dishes. Turkey stock is in the freezer and I have a dry rub ready.

                                                            1. Well, I cleaned my fridge and pantry two days ago. Two very essential tasks that I regretted not doing in the past before shopping and cooking sides.

                                                              And yes, finished most of the shopping this afternoon. It took me way too long to decide on the weight of the turkey, but finally settled on a 23 lb fresh turkey with "50%" more breast meat (Jaindl farms). Much to my horror, I ended up spending $100 more than I thought I would (the things you discover you need to have, such as a turkey shaped butter. sigh..) What can I say, I'm a sucker for this holiday!

                                                              On Sunday, the dry brining begins...

                                                              1. just wanted you all to know - i just put the salted caramel apple pie in the oven. it has taken me FOREVER to get that sucker done today! so many interruptions! i had planned to have 3 pies done by now…sigh

                                                                it's a recipe from saveur. i am really disappointed in the way it was written - i really had to go over it many times before it was making some sense. the pie itself shouldn't be THAT complicated. 3 parts: crust, caramel, apples. however, it is written in a manner that i found somewhat confusing, jumping between parts (it seemed). i think, if it's good, i'm going to rewrite it for myself. the really confusing part was putting "the rest" of the floor and sugar into the pie - they should have just noted it differently, rather than have me go back and try to add and subtract in the middle of assembly! (it was something like 1 TBLS each..) seems the author of the recipe expected me to have the room for a mise en place. (some of us work in small spaces)

                                                                so much for prepping for tomorrow! i'm pretty far behind, but not to worry: that pie had better be worth it though!!!

                                                                1. I had to make more stock for tomorrow and now I have 6 quarts of stock with no room in the fridge, to the back porch it goes :)

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                    Six quarts! Care to share any?

                                                                    I had mine simmering for 2 days and today I finally strained it into… well, mostly my sink. But some did make it into the Cambro tub. =o

                                                                    I'm sure I'll have enough to get my gravy and stuffing made at least. And in a couple days I'll have another vat from the turkey carcass.

                                                                    1. re: rainey

                                                                      Sure, come on over. I went a little crazy buying wings. They were in the back and the butcher brought them out wrapped and then I realized "oh duh, turkey wings are ginormous, this is not a chicken." I went with it and added them to a few turkey necks, thighs and drumsticks so I was lucky to find a pot big enough. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has stock spills no matter what I do. I was just pouring and whispering to the little kitty on the floor "beep beep, hot hot hot" as the liquid went splattering. I also was planning another batch with the carcass but oh my where will that go? I guess the fridge will be more empty after the dinner and the rest will go in the freezer.

                                                                      ETA: do you always simmer your poultry stock for 2 days?

                                                                  2. I'm attending a gathering with friends this year and bringing a salad- i did a few dressing trials and thanks to some chow help have a great one ready to go. Roasted the fennel, made the croutons. Will mandoline the fresh fennel, celery, and wash greens in the morning.

                                                                    I made the hostess and her hubby (who have guests staying with them) a quart mason jar of my quinoa granola as a hostess gift yesterday.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                      Love the hostess gift, very thoughtful.

                                                                    2. I'm down to roasting the veggies and steaming the potatoes tonight. Then I'll set the tables and put out the serving dishes and utensils.

                                                                      Tomorrow it will be stuff the turkey and put it in to roast. I'll make gravy, warm roasted veggies and add finishes, warm and mash the potatoes, finish off the half-baked rolls and do garnishes. Finally, I'll do the serve-yourself-soup, crudité and appetizers.

                                                                      When I take the turkey out to rest before carving I turn off the oven and put the pies into the warm cavity. By the time we're ready for dessert they're nicely warmed and crisped and ready for us. All I have to do is whip the cream and take out the ice cream -- pumpkin with chocolate covered toffee bits and a vanilla made with cream steeped with a vanilla bean and a couple cardamom pods.

                                                                      Thanks for all your contributions and tips. I hope to hear all your war stories on Friday. HAPPY THANKSGIVING, all! And HAPPY HANUKKAH to everyone who's celebrating tonight!

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: rainey

                                                                        Serve yourself soup? I love this idea. How are you setting it up? Just one soup or a variety?

                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                          It's a curried pumpkin soup. I put it in an earthenware pitcher with a small pitcher of half & half. I put out a small bowl of chopped chives, a small vase of grissinni and a stack of cups.

                                                                          It's on an island on the other side of the cooktop so I can warm it or top it off as necessary.

                                                                          Everybody knows what to do. We always start T-day dinner with it.

                                                                          1. re: rainey

                                                                            This is a really cute idea, to do serve-yourself. It tides everyone over and you don't have to be bothered plating it. Maybe we'll go this route too with our butternut squash soup.

                                                                        2. re: rainey

                                                                          Wow, your pumpkin ice cream sounds amazing. Is that your own creation? I made David Lebovitz's cinnamon ice cream for the pies (apple, pumpkin, and bourbon chocolate pecan) and it is really delicious. He called for an hour long steep of the cream and milk and sugar with cinnamon sticks, but I steeped it for more like 3-4 hours and then grated a bit more cinnamon before churning.

                                                                          1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                                                            Here you go: http://www.foodiewithfamily.com/2013/...

                                                                            I skipped the Caramel Sauce since we have pies as well. The toffee bits is just a matter of smashing up Skor bars and sprinkling them in as I transfer the churned ice cream from the bucket to a storage container for the freezer.

                                                                        3. Turkey in the oven, feeling slightly better this morning, fingers crossed for a quiet stomach and a huge gobble gobble day. Have a wonderful holiday, all!

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                            Glad you're feeling better. I'm feeling better too. Have my pie in the oven, the hubby has the turkey out waiting to go on the smoker and I just have to shape my dinner rolls and let them do their second rise. No company this year.

                                                                            1. re: rasputina

                                                                              Good to hear! My stomach is still acting up but I've just lowered my expectations and will nibble on what I can knowing that I probably won't be able to eat very much and just have to enjoy leftovers over the net few days. No company here either, so great, turkey is in the oven and I'm back on the couch still in pajamas. Sounds like a good day to me. Enjoy the smoked turkey, sounds great!