Let's face it: Thanksgiving is a lot of work. Between the stuffings and the sides, and the gravies, and the pies, the fourth Thursday in November is hardly a day off. The holiday is one of our favorites, but by the time the turkey is on the table, we're usually just thankful to be done.
This year we're doing it differently. Instead of knocking ourselves out on Thursday, we're going to prepare the meal in advance. We'll do the cranberry sauce on Monday and pop some cornbread in the freezer, Tuesday we'll make soup, and on Wednesday we'll prep the sides. Thursday all we'll have to do is put the turkey in the oven and throw together a simple salad -- and then we'll sit down, with family and friends, and give our thanks for that.
Make this brandy-spiked cranberry sauce and let it mellow until Thursday.
Bake a loaf of cornbread and pop it in the freezer.
Dry- (yes, dry-) brine the turkey.
Get the recipe: Russ Parsons' Dry-Brined Turkey.
Make this simple carrot soup and stick it in the fridge.
Poach some pears for a light dessert -- someone always brings a pie.
Prep a mash or two for the table and set aside some butter and cream.
Make this savory challah stuffing (you can warm it up tomorrow).
Braise some fennel and potatoes -- don't overcook them and they'll reheat well.
Prep some squash for a hearty side -- it can go in the oven tomorrow with the turkey.
Put the turkey in the oven.
Throw together a salad as your guests sit down to dinner -- and then join them at the table for a delicious Thanksgiving meal.
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