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The planning and shopping are important, but it’s the prep that will really reduce the stress of preparing a large dinner like Thanksgiving. As you do your prep, try to think of every litle thing you can do ahead of time. Even if it doesn’t seem like much, unwrapping your butter to put on a dish or opening the cans of cranberry sauce, will shave minutes off your Thanksgiving Day work. Trust me! It all adds up and you’ll cherish those free moments on the day of thee holiday!

Let’s Get Prepping!!!

My key to a relaxing Thanksgiving day is to hit the prep activities hard. I usually take the day before Thanksgiving off from work and work my rear off that day  Go dish by dish and think about what you can do in advance

  • Brine your turkey?
  • I usually stuff my turkey with fruit, so I have that all chopped and in a zip lock ready to go the next                     morning.
  • Mashed potatoes? When you peel potatoes they will turn brown, BUT if you submerge them in water they won’t turn, so I peel mine the day before the holiday, put them in the pot I’ll cook them in, cover with water and stash in the fridge.
  • Stuffing and Sweet Potatoes? I do all the dish preparation and cooking, except the last baking step. I cover them, put them in the fridge and then they are just ready to slide into the oven the next day. Just keep in mind the baking time will need to be extended due to the refrigeration and if you’ve increased the recipe.
  • Anything you can put in a bowl, cover and refrigerate? Cranberry sauce? Olives? Appetizers? Do it!!! Any little bit of work you can do, will decrease your stress on the day of the holiday!
  • Have your recipes pulled out and ready to go.
  • Line up your spices and any cooking tools you’ll need the next day.
  • Beverages? Be sure to chill those that need to be and set out what you plan to serve that doesn’t need to be chilled. You can find an excellent recipe for non-alcoholic sangria in one of my previous blog posts. This is great for company and you can make it ahead of time!
  • Set your table! I’m good in the kitchen, but I’m not the most visually creative person. My husband and daughters do have that gift! I usually recruit them to set the table and get creative with decorating that! My 16 year old has discovered a passion for napkin folding!
  • Try to think of any little thing you can do the day before! You will be so well prepared that your guests will ask how they can help, but you’ll have nothing for them to do and you’ll have plenty of time to visit with them as you leisurely take care of your last few tasks!