Thanksgiving is just one week away -- so if you still have some planning to do, grab a pen and paper and make some lists. Then get to the grocery store and avoid the rush!
I posted the following in 2012, and it includes a lot of the same links I'm sharing today, but it might be helpful to someone: A Gathering of Thanksgiving Tips and Recipes.
I'll start with some ideas for pies, which one might be baking a day or two ahead of time. Pies are the most intimidating part of the meal for many people, so I offer you these Helpful Tips for Thanksgiving Pies. If pie crust intimidates you (as it does many others), then don't stress about it. I give you a recipe for an easy oil pastry, but if you don't want to go that route, then the sheets of refrigerated pie crust one can buy (I've even seen them in store brands!) work very well. You can even buy frozen pie shells that aren't half bad. Or if you just don't want to make pies, you can buy some very nice pies from bakeries that specialize in them.
Some of our Favorite Thanksgiving Pie Recipes are included in this post. Maybe you will find a new family favorite!
But what if you are avoiding wheat, or a family member who'll be at your table is eating gluten free? No worries. This Gluten Free Pie Crust is easy to make and very good. It's a simple press-in-pan crust and so it really won't work for a double crust pie. But anyone who has lived without wheat for any length of time will be so happy to have a pie they can eat that they won't care if it's just a single crust pie. It works perfectly for pumpkin pie, for example.
Probably the next most intimidating part of the meal is the turkey itself.
|Photo from Pixabay|
Cooking it in an oven bag is my best advice on roasting a turkey. It shortens the time considerably and produces tender, juicy meat.
|From my Autumn in the Air booklet (Cracker Barrel, 2001)|
And then finally, I found this recipe: Easy Turkey Gravy. It truly is easy and it makes lots and lots of gravy. If you are feeding people who think there is never enough gravy, try this. For once they will be satisfied and there may even be some gravy left to serve with the leftovers or to make hot turkey sandwiches.
So there are a number of good options for gravy: jars, packets, or the above great recipe.
Stuffing (or dressing) can also be a source of discouragement. I usually use a bag of Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix, prepare it with celery and onion as the package instructions suggest, and also add dried cranberries. In my tips and recipes post ( the first link at top) I detail how I cook it in a slow cooker. Just don't leave it in there for too long, as it will burn and dry out.
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes is my go-to recipe for making mashed potatoes for a lot of people. One year I was seriously thinking of using the Idahoan instant mashed potatoes, which are actually very good and are only $1 per packet, but my hubby urged me not to because he loves the make-ahead mashed potatoes so much!
Sweet Potato Casserole is our family's festive sweet potato recipe. I've made it with canned sweet potatoes and it comes out just fine. I don't make it every year because personally, my husband and I prefer buttercup squash. But if we are having a lot of people, I'll usually do the sweet potatoes as well. (For sweet potatoes as a general rule, we prefer them roasted.)
Broccoli Casserole is another great side dish that always goes over well. This is a recipe from my sister-in-law Dawn.
If your family insists on creamed onions (as mine does), here's the recipe I use: Scalloped Onions. It uses the frozen small onions. Life is far too short to peel those little pearl onions. I always buy the frozen (unsauced) ones and make my own sauce.
Cranberry sauce or relish can be purchased and is just fine. If you want to make your own, try the Taste of Home site for some good recipes, or you may be able to find one here. Cran-Apple Sauce is one delicious option. Some of the bags of fresh cranberries also feature a cranberry sauce recipe, and I have made those, often substituting brown sugar for white, which gives a nicer flavor in my opinion.
For a memory of my childhood Thanksgivings at my grandmother's farmhouse, you might like to read A Thanksgiving Memory for a little nostalgia.
Children's Book of Thanksgiving Prayers. This was actually sold as a greeting card, I believe.
Setting the Thanksgiving table is always an enjoyable task, and I like to get it taken care of well ahead of time. I've made a few Thanksgiving table toppers, hot mats, and so on over the years. These Thanksgiving Candle Mats always make an appearance on our Thanksgiving table!
|Some years I bring out the cornucopia!|
I hope this oft-repeated advice is helpful to someone this holiday. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!