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Nov 24, 2013 05:53 AM

Thanksgiving in advance?

Hi Hounds,
I was looking forward to Thanksgiving for months, but as the date drew closer, I became more and more nervous. I was planning on making a lot of vegetable side dishes, etc., etc. in advance, like a day or two before. The only issue is that I have one small-ish oven that will be taken up by the turkey and another convection (toaster) oven that will probably have something roasting in it. I wanted to make stuffing the day of, so it will probably have to cook before the turkey. My question is how on earth do I reheat all of these dishes without access to an oven and still retain the original textures of the foods?

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  1. how many people are coming and what dishes were you thinking to make?

    the turkey needs a good 20-30 minute rest outside the oven before you carve it, so you have at least that much time to reheat or finish sides.

    you can roast vegetables the day before and just reheat day of.

    all sorts of potatoes and sweet potato dishes can be made ahead and just warmed before dinner. plan at least one or two items that only take a stove-top burner and one or two raw/crunchy salady-dishes. (i often make a shaved brussel sprout salad that even sprout haters hoover up.)

    whatever vegetables and aromatics are going in your stuffing can be sauteed the day before, stored in a ziploc then mixed with the bread and such right before cooking.

    4 Replies
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      I'm having about 10-12 people over. My family is eastern European, so we have the tradition of having a first course of a ton of salads, appetizers, etc.

      For the actual meal, I am going to make the turkey, a stuffing (cooked by itself), cranberry sauce, sauteed green beans, and roasted carrots, parsnips, brusell sprouts, potatoes, and sweet potatoes (all roasted in one dish as per Giada's recipe). I was thinking that I want to prepare the stuffing earlier on Thanksgiving day, would it be okay to re-heat in the oven later, or will it be too dry/soggy? Same goes for the roasted vegetables. Mainly I'm just concerned with re-heating everything so that they retain their original colors, textures, and flavors.

      1. re: shark235235

        you can make the cranberry sauce today. :)

        the beans only take a few minutes in a hot pan.

        am not familiar with "giada's recipe", but par-cook your roasted veggies and then blast with very high heat to finish on t-day.

        as for the stuffing, it totally depends on the recipe. i'd make it a bit moister than "normal", reheat covered with foil and then take off the foil to crisp the top for a few minutes.

        this is very do-able. :)

        1. re: shark235235

          Do you have a slow cooker? If so, you can make the stuffing and then keep warm in the slow cooker. You can partially cook/boil the beans, cool and keep in a ziplock bag w/ paper towel, the day before. Then sauteeing would take no time.

          If you have a pizza stone/bread stone, put that on your bottom rack of the oven (if not, you can get unglazed quarry tile from Home Depot, very cheap). Put the roasted vegetables on a tray directly on the quarry tiles, oven on high heat. It heats them/caramelizes them quickly while the turkey is resting.

      2. If I were cooking the whole meal, would probably be prepping as much as possible... tomorrow or Tuesday at latest. Potatoes (for mashed) & sweet potatoes (for candied) would be peeled and stashed in large containers with water to cover (maybe even weighted down to keep submerged) so no browning. Any other veggies would be washed/cut and stashed in large zip bags. If cold outside, would use cooler on deck or even in garage.

        Plan for turkey too be done a GOOD half hour or so before you're thinking of eating. Resting under foil will still be HOT when carved. Prep veggie/sides to where they're ready to go into oven to finish when bird is done. Make gravy whhile bird is resting.

        Personally, wouldn't cook anything that would have to be eaten IMMEDIATELY out of oven... no stress.

        1. Is your oven at least big enough to hold one of those wire-rack things? I can have my turkey on one side of the oven and three other things on the other. That was the best $20 I've ever spent.

          4 Replies
          1. re: BubblyOne

            Just in case they don't know what "wire-rack things" means:

            1. re: smtucker

              This is going on my christmas list! I've never heard of one before.

              1. re: thymetobake

                Can't live without it. That and the warming drawer under the oven- it was impossible to fit 2 ovens in my small beach house. Thanks sm, couldn't remember the official name.

              2. re: smtucker

                I want one; I must request this on my Christmas list.