I am doing Christmas Eve dinner and making turkey with all of the trimmings. I am pregnant and very tired. What can I make ahead of time and freeze or ma
We had 32 people for Thanksgiving and we cooked 1 turkey on Wednesday with stuffing, made the sweet potatoes, pies, the only thing we did on Turkey day was the mashed potatoes, corn and gravy. We brined our turkeys which keeps the breast meat moister and it holds up better to a quick warm up when needed. The mashed potatoes need to be done right before dinner in my opinion. We make home made buns, 2 turkeys, dressing. If you stuff the turkey, the stuffing is moister so you can warm that up. If you cooks the dressing outside of the turkey, I think its best to do it same day so it doesn't dry out.
I'd go ahead and make everything except the desserts and freeze it: I don't know that I'd want to eat a holiday dinner that's been kept in the refrigerator for four days. I have a leftover rule--if I don't use it by the third day of refrigeration, it's out of the icebox and into the trash. Don't tell the professional home economists, but even past the recommended expiration date, I've successfully cooked things that have been in my freezer for a year.
Any time you feel up to it during weekend before Christmas, roast the turkey, carve it and place all the meat neatly in a shallow disposable roasting pan. Cover it with foil and freeze it. Make the dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, rolls or bread, and the gravy . Put those in separate disposable pans and freeze them. On Christmas, two hours before serving, taken them oput of the freezer and reheat in a 350 degree oven, putting the rolls in the last 10 minutes before dinner. Depending on the size of your freezer, you might have to borrow some freezer space from a friend, relative or neighbor.
I'd wait until Christmas Eve to make dessert, or I'd ask someone to bring something sweet.
I was two months along with my first son and Christmas was at our house. I insisted I could do everything myself, and everything went smoothly until we went to the living room to unwind before opening gifts and I promptly fell asleep. I missed everything, and woke up the next morning in the same spot. Apparently, nothing would've woken me up, including the dog barking. That was nearly 40 years ago, and even though my parents and the in-laws are no longer here, I cannot sit on the sofa after Christmas dinner without someone remarking that it must be my bedtime.
I've been through the same thing and I think a little bit each day is best. Here is what I did that year for a dinner for 8-10. Menu: roasted brined turkey, dressing baked outside of bird, mashed butternut squash, salad of bitter greens, sherry gravy, two cranberry relishes, one cooked and one raw, and one apple crisp and one pumpkin pie.
Weekend before, take your terrifyingly detailed list to grocery store and buy it all, except the fresh turkey you've ordered. Wait. On. The Turkey. Fridge needs room. Beg another person to chose and buy wine since you are currently uncaring about alcohol.
Three days before: make your cranberry relishes, the raw ones will be even better for mellowing time. Also make pie crust if that's your thing - buying is better for the pregnant. Chop bread for stuffing and bag. Chop butternut squash if you can't find it pre-peeled and chopped. Two days ahead: chop all veg for stuffing and put in containers. If you are feeling your oats, make a turkey stock with roasted wings and vegetables. Ignore that if you feel mortal. Day before: pick up turkey and get last minute things you forgot at store. Roast butternut squash with butter and brown sugar and make mashed squash that will keep in fridge. Make simple apple crisp and pie. Drown turkey in brine. Bed.
Morning of: After painstaking calculations, roast turkey. Remember - you're not serving it piping hot so having it out of the oven at least an hour for before dinner is great. Assemble dressing whilst bird is in oven and start base for gravy. Perhaps you are a goddess and have frozen turkey stock or made it on Tuesday. More likely you will be cooking giblets. When turkey comes out of oven, bake dressing. While dressing is in oven, assemble salad. Reheat squash. Make gravy at the last minute to serve hot. Scheduling the meal no earlier than 2 pm will make your day far more spacious!
Forgive me the length of this post but I had flashbacks to that big time and my heart went out to you! And don't worry about step-dad's Manhattan thing - ask your mom if he could have mercy on you and bring his own bitters, because you just are fresh out. Running wildly around for bitters the night before is loving but crazed. Best not to be crazed.
I would do everything but the mashed potatoes ahead of time. The turkey could be done the day before and gently reheated (I'd pour a little warn stock over it before reheating). RE: the stuffing-the current Cook's Illustrated has an excellent stuffing method that comes out really moist w/out having to stuff it in the bird: saute some chicken wings or (cut up) turkey wings, then place over your stuffing in a baking dish, wrap in foil and bake until the wings are cooked through. I used my own stuffing recipe but used their method.
You can make applesauce and freeze it. It's a great side dish for turkey. You can make most cranberry sauces a week in advance. (For a great cranberry relish, go to NPR and check out Susan Stamborg's relish - you can freeze that a week ahead and de-mold it the day of.) Popovers can be made the day of in a half hour, and Ina has a great recipe that uses a blender. For desert, buy some meringues and crumble them up, and make a parfait of raspberry coulis that you make ahead, vanilla ice cream, and broken up meringues to make something called an "Eton Mess" - very festive and easy.
Oh, sweetie, if ever there was a time for catering or potluck or letting someone else do it, surely this is it. I once insisted on cooking Christmas dinner in a kitchen that was in the middle of remodeling. The refrigerator was in the foyer. We were washing dishes in a bath tub. I did have a stove, but no cabinets or counters to speak of. After the fact, I wondered what was wrong with me? How did I get that crazed? And you have the best reason ever to take the easy way out. Truly.
Nora is right.
Cranberry sauce will keep well for a week.
I agree with Nora and Bevi, which is not the advice you're looking for, I know, but if you're so ill and tired with your pregnancy that you're wondering how you're gonna get it all done, it would be so much better for you to have the meal catered instead of running yourself down further. Even if you just split duties with a caterer - have them handle the things you really don't want to bother with, and you just fill in the blanks.
A pound cake is a simple dessert that keeps well for days and can be changed up in any number of ways - chocolate, lemon, berry, spice, etc. You could serve it with something like eggnog or pumpkin ice cream/gelato, or cranberry sorbet or compote.
Broccoli salad is one of my favorites - fairly low-fuss and keeps well for a few days in the fridge. Here's an example recipe: http://southernfood.about... (I blanch the broccoli, use dried cranberries instead of raisins and add 1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans)
I've had excellent luck with all of the recipes I've tried at the Everyday Food site, and they're all very simple: http://www.pbs.org/everydayfood...
I really hope everything comes together for you as simply and non-weary-ing as possible.
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Well played. You deserve a cookie.
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