Fall is here, which means it's time to start planning for Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It's purely focused around sharing food which is my favorite things to do. Also, it seems like the weather is always pleasing, no matter where I am. For a successful and EASY thanksgiving day, I (along with all other food websites) recommend planning early. I'm starting a super Thanksgiving post series, since after years of working through many Thanksgivings with Whole Foods and upscale restaurants, I know all the tricks, and can even help you pull off a last minute feast...if that's what you need.
Today, let's start simple, and think about your meal in general. If you're going traditional, do you want to serve dressing/stuffing, cranberry sauce, make your own gravy, serve turkey or something else entirely?
If you're planning on serving a bread-based dressing, then start freezing those leftover stale ends of bread, a box of croutons or bruschetta you don't really love, or that cornbread that dried out before you finished it. You WANT stale, dried out bread for your dressing, so start saving, or buy a loaf on sale, cube it, and freeze it for later.
If you want to serve homemade gravy, then start saving every bone, onion end, soft celery, and carrots that you can. Collect these in the freezer, and they'll ad tons of flavor when you go to make your stock...which you can start doing now. Many stores will sell frozen chicken neck or feet, and they make the best base for broths since they thicken up so nicely. That's why restaurant sauces are so shiny and rich.
If you're serving pie for Thanksgiving, now is the time to make homemade pie crust. I have a video that shows you exactly how to make THE BEST flaky and light pie crust. Also, and feel free to use all-purpose or whole wheat flour. Do this early and freeze it in the plate, so you can pop it out the day before Thanksgiving, and it's ready to be filled and baked. Making the pie crusts in advance also gives you the options of experimenting in making beautiful crusts. You can also make a nut crust in advance for those who need to eat gluten free. Pecans and hazelnuts are super yummy.
Depending on your lifestyle, this may be an excellent time to invest in an extra freezer. A few years ago, my husband and I decided to get one, and found a one on craigslist for $70, and have never looked back. It was ugly, but worked perfectly fine, and now we have the option of buying sale items in bulk, making more meals in advance, receiving gift from friends hunting trips, and PREPARING FOR THANKSGIVING! I mean, really, where are you going to store all of those pre-made pie shells, cranberry sauce, and bread scraps? Where are you gonna put the whiskey that you will invariably need for the relatives, or all of the turkey leftovers because half the clan wanted a bird without any seasonings? Make up a budget, and take a look around, you may find a steal, and if you reach a point when you don't need it, you can always unplug it and resell it.