As a company based around creating functional, beautiful kitchen design, Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays of the year. It’s the kind of day our kitchens are designed to withstand–one that truly puts the space (and every single appliance in it) to the test. But, regardless of how well your kitchen is designed, how big your island is, or how many burners are on top of your range, preparing a smooth Thanksgiving dinner requires some advanced planning and preparation.
Image via The Kitchn
Here, we’ve put together some expert tips for preparing Thanksgiving dinner that will help you make the most of your kitchen (and your time) on Turkey Day.
Make a list (and check it twice). There’s nothing worse than being five minutes away from getting dinner on the table and realizing you’re out of butter. The Food Network’s Thanksgiving Countdown Planner suggests creating a master grocery list of everything you need, and divide shopping trips by how long items will keep. Shop for non-perishables, wine and liquor up to two weeks out, items you’ll need for any recipes you’ll be making ahead of time one week out, and perishable items, produce, and any last-minute extras a day or two before.
Know what you can make ahead. Once you plan your menu, identify any dishes that can be prepared in advance and frozen, and get cooking up to two weeks out. Good contenders include pies, cranberry sauce, and soups. According to Food.com, reheatable side dishes like casseroles and crescent rolls can also be made up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated. (They also offer a handy list of make-ahead side dishes, here).
Get prepped. Prep work can also be done the day before Thanksgiving. Things like chopping vegetables, making bread dough, and even peeling potatoes (just keep in water until it’s time to use them, says Martha Stewart) can be completed ahead of time.
Don’t forget to defrost the turkey. This one is pretty self explanatory, but failing to give your turkey enough time to defrost is a surefire way to cause havoc on Thanksgiving Day.
Create a food prep outline. Another tip from The Food Network: make a day of cooking plan that includes the recipes you’ll need on Thanksgiving Day, and a schedule of what will be made, and ready, when.