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5 preparation tips for a stress-free Thanksgiving

When hosting Thanksgiving, last-minute tasks have a way of sneaking up on you, which is why it's important to get as much as you can done in advance. Follow these tips so that you can enjoy your guests and have a memorable turkey day.

1. Don't leave grocery shopping until the last minute. The day before Thanksgiving is usually chaos at supermarkets. Do your shopping as early as you can in order to save time. Many grocery stores are open on Thanksgiving day, but with proper planning, you should be able to avoid the market entirely.

2. Do an inventory of your cookware and kitchen tools. Having all the necessary cookware and tools is just as important as having the ingredients for a recipe. Make sure you have a roasting pan, pie dishes, meat thermometer, turkey baster and whatever else you might need to prepare your Thanksgiving feast well before you begin cooking.

3. Know when to start thawing your bird. If your turkey is still frozen, start thawing it now. A completely frozen turkey needs a day to thaw for every four pounds in weight. If you have a frozen bird on Thanksgiving morning, there's no way it will be ready to cook by dinner time.

3. Prep dishes ahead of time and freeze. Make your cranberry sauce ahead of time and freeze. You can also assemble dishes like green bean casserole the day before and put in the fridge to bake the following day. Dinner rolls can be made fully ahead. Gravy can also be made ahead of time and placed in the freezer until Thanksgiving morning. You can make your pie dough a day ahead and set in the fridge to chill until you roll it out to assemble your pie.

4. Make a schedule for Thanksgiving day. Even if you've done a lot of food prep in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, it's helpful to have a schedule of what needs to happen when, especially considering you will have a tight timeline for using the oven.


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