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Tuesday, November 20

Thanksgiving Prep: Timing

Timing is everything, right? That couldn’t be truer than when you are cooking Thanksgiving dinner. ESPECIALLY if you only have 1 oven. It is tricky. I thought I’d share my schedule – hopefully it’s helpful to some of you out there.

Quick Jane tip – once the turkey goes in the oven and I know approximate times for everything (based on schedule below), I write the schedule with specific times on post-it notes and stick that to the wall above the oven, That way I don’t forget when to do things. It helps so much!

A few days prior:
– Get that frozen turkey in the fridge! You need 1 day for every 4 pounds to defrost in the fridge, and trust me, it’s much better to defrost this way rather than in water in your sink (that’s the fast way, but truly not as effective…think, partially frozen turkey Thanksgiving morning).

– Cut up bread for stuffing – leave out on cookie sheet until stale. I’m doing this Tuesday so I’m sure it will be ready for Thursday.

– Make the desserts (I’ve decided to go with Pumpkin Cheesecake).
– Make any casseroles that can sit in the fridge overnight (in my case the Broccoli Casserole, minus the Ritz cracker topping. Will put the topping on on Thursday).
– Cranberry Slush – the first half of the recipe. It needs to be frozen overnight.
– Cook squash. I’m making squash rolls (on Thursday) and we’re eating squash as a side dish. Since I can cook the squash ahead of time, I’m going to.

Thanksgiving Day:
– Make the stuffing. (Whatever stuffing doesn’t fit in the turkey, refrigerate until later.)
– Prep & stuff turkey in the morning and get in the oven. Butterball has an awesome online guide, which includes a calculator to determine how long you need to cook your turkey. My 13 pound stuffed turkey will take 3 3/4 – 4 1/2 hours at 325 degrees.
– Prepare corn souffle & top broccoli casserole – keep in fridge until later.
– ~2 hours before turkey is done, start making the squash rolls.
– ~1 hour before turkey is done – prepare & cook mashed potatoes. Keep in pan with lid on until dinner.
– When turkey is done, take out and cover with foil until later. Casseroles & Stuffing into the oven (make sure stuffing doesn’t burn – probably won’t cook as long). When casseroles are done, put rolls in the oven.
– Mix and heat up butternut squash that’s already been cooked (will just heat in the microwave)
– Make gravy while casseroles are cooking.
– Make husband carve the turkey. 🙂
– Mix cranberry slush at the VERY END as your about to eat.

Just writing this up is making me tired. Glad I have my sister here as sous-chef. 🙂 Even though it’s a lot of work, it is totally worth it – I can’t wait to eat it all!

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