Thanksgiving Prep Ahead Tips

Could you use some Thanksgiving Prep Ahead Tips?
If you are anything like me, come Thanksgiving Day, it is a mad scramble in the kitchen to get everything cooked and baked at one time! Especially if you only have one oven! 

There is nothing like having a good plan and these Thanksgiving Prep Ahead Tips will save you lots of time in the kitchen!

The kids are out of school on break so of course they are incredibly excited to stay home and try all the goodies I like to make! If I am lucky they are out in the back yard running around like crazy, but a lot of the time they end up running around in the house…right when I need to be getting all of this crucial Thanksgiving cooking done!

Over the years, I’ve hosted Thanksgiving dinner at my house and eaten at my in-laws. I somehow seem to not get-it-together as good as my mother in-law. Of course, she’s been doing this a lot longer… but still! I envy her double ovens and the ease of which the whole dinner seems to come together.

If you think pulling off a dinner for 16 people is easy peasy… think again. I know she prepares way ahead of time. Over the years, I’ve taken note, asked some questions, and researched how to make it look easy. 

So how about you and I eliminate all the stress of cooking on Thanksgiving Day and plan out a week in advance (ok, 4-5 days) everything we need to do? We will make our lives so much easier!

Seven Days Before: You better buy a turkey if you haven’t already! Call your local stores and reserve one for yourself or make a run to claim yours! Last minute turkey buying will get you the wimpy ones that are left over. Don’t have a wimpy turkey!

This Frozen Pumpkin Pie dessert can be made up to a week ahead of time! All you have to do is store it in the freezer and take out prior to serving.

Honest to goodness, you might want to make two! Lining the pan with clear wrap is crucial for easy release, so please, don't forget to do that very crucial step. I also prefer to make my own whipping cream instead of buying whipped topping. Yes, it's one more step but very worth it.

Five Days Before: It is that time to start grocery shopping. You can’t beat preparation! If you wait until the day before to go grocery shopping you will be that much more stressed out come actual Turkey Day.

Make the cranberry sauce

This Cranberry Strawberry Sauce Recipe via tastes like jelly then a tang of the cranberries... no sugar added

Last minute trips to the grocery store will only make you more frazzled while prepping your amazing thanksgiving lunch or dinner, and the kitchen is a happy place!

Make your grocery shopping somewhat of an event. Take your kids with you and let them pick out some side dishes that they wouldn’t mind having on Turkey Day. Getting the family involved is one of the most important parts of the holidays. I like to stick baby G in the grocery cart seat and my other two older ones try an convince me to buy their favorite items (or just brightly colored boxes). If you make your kids a part of the process, they will appreciate it that much more! And also have a blast!

This is also a good time to start prepping any stuffings you might be contemplating. Lay out any bread you have and let it dry out. Dried bread crumbs and pieces absorb the yummy juices way better than “fresh” bread does. Check out my Cranberry, Sausage, and Apple Stuffing…you won’t be disappointed!

Original Apple Cranberry and Sausage Stuffing Recipe with Grain Free Option via

Two Days Before: This is the perfect time to prepare casseroles! You don’t want to wake up early the morning of Thanksgiving only to realize you have to do all the work necessary to get your casseroles together and then into the oven. If you are hosting people then it makes it that much more difficult and pressure filled to do your cooking and then get the kitchen and house clean and spotless for your guests! Do all the preparation for you casseroles, short of cooking. Leave them in the casserole dish in your fridge to chill, and take it out morning of Turkey day to cook!

Check out this pecan and sweet potato casserole. You can prep the whole thing and leave the final baking for the end.

Paleo Sweet Potato and Pecan Casserole via

You could also prep the vegetables for this fresh veggie side and toss it together on Thanksgiving day. Prepping is most of the work!

Carrot, fingerling potato, and pea ragout recipe is perfect for the holidays or any meal gathering via

One Day Before: This is when you should be doing all of your baking and desserts, although you should wait until late in the afternoon to do so if you can, just so everything is at its freshest for the next day! Making homemade biscuits or scones? Make the dough the day before Turkey Day and put it in the fridge. You can even go ahead and cut out your biscuits form the dough and have them waiting on a sheet in your fridge (if you have any room left in there!) and just pop them in the oven the morning of. This is also another great time to get your kids involved.  Cutting out biscuits and scones or even making brownies and cookies are easy and kid friendly things to do. Get everyone doing something, and the hassle of food prep turns into something everyone loves!

Try these pumpkin brownies

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies Recipe

Bake these frosted pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting

frosted pumpkin cookies via

How about some Mini Apple Pies?

mini apple pies that are super easy to make via

Imagine waking up on the day of and all you have to do is preheat the oven!? That would be incredible!

Wishing you a great Thanksgiving with your loved ones.



November 21, 2013

One thought on “Thanksgiving Prep Ahead Tips”

  1. Candice says:

    Love these pies! Using them for an appetizer competition at work. Sure fire winner!!!

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