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Amelia Islander

Make Ahead Thanksgiving Food

Thanksgiving is a few days away – are you ready for your guests? Many of us do most of our cooking and preparation on Thanksgiving Day – I can remember my mother getting up at 5 a.m. to start her pies. But there are so many dishes that can be prepared ahead of time, even several days ahead, making your life a lot easier.

The first is cranberry sauce. No matter what recipe you use, whether it’s cooked or uncooked, you can make cranberry sauce a week before Thanksgiving. You might not want to make your pies too far in advance, but you can make your crust in advance, roll it out between pieces of plastic wrap and keep them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to fill and bake them. Pumpkin and pecan pies can be made a day in advance, but fruit pies are better made the day they are served.

Casseroles can be made a day or two in advance. Instead of struggling to mash those potatoes last minute, boil them the day before, mash with butter and cream, and put them in a casserole dish to heat up right before serving. You can do this with green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, and even stuffing, as long as you don’t place your stuffing in the turkey until right before cooking.

Three or four days before Thanksgiving, wash and iron your tablecloths and napkins. Get out your china, wine glasses, and serving dishes. Be sure that they are clean, and that you have the proper serving utensils for all your dishes. Purchase your centerpieces in advance, along with candles, and other decorations. Go ahead and set your table the day before Thanksgiving – it will get you into the holiday spirit!