How to Make Your Entire Thanksgiving Dinner Ahead
Is it ever too early to start thinking about Thanksgiving? We say no. No matter how far in advance you start planning, the last few days leading up to the feast are always chaotic. There’s family in town, holiday traffic and plenty of last-minute tasks to complete the menu. This year, with the goal of a stress-free Thanksgiving, Food Network Kitchen took on a major challenge, attempting to answer this question: Is it possible to make the entire feast ahead? They tested, tweaked and retested to come up with a full Thanksgiving menu that freezes perfectly, down to the whipped cream topping for apple pie. With these recipes in your arsenal, the whole meal will be sitting pretty in the freezer, ready for the big day.
Timing your turkey can be the most nerve-racking part of your holiday dinner, so stress less and make it 100 percent ahead. Brining the breast makes it extra moist and flavorful. Roast and freeze it, then simply thaw, slice and reheat with an herbed butter. Keep the wishbone and use it to hope for something really fun (you've got the relaxed-dinner thing covered). You can even check gravy off your to-do list — we’ve got a make-ahead recipe for that, too.
Dedicate just a little bit of your freezer space to this crowd-pleasing casserole. Make the green bean-and-mushroom favorite (no canned soup required), then freeze it. To serve, just reheat (from frozen) and top with crunchy fried onions.
Stress less by getting your stuffing halfway done before T-Day. Simply prepare the bread cubes, sausage and vegetables, then stop and freeze. Finish and bake it on the big day. Once you have the prep in the bag, the rest is easy.
Bake your holiday pie in advance (up to two weeks) this year, then freeze and forget it. Simply thaw it in the fridge overnight, then pop it in the oven right before serving to take the chill off. We use vodka in the pie dough, which doesn't make the crust taste boozy, but does make it extra flaky and tender. We’ve even got a freezable recipe for whipped cream to dollop on top.
Check out the rest of our ultimate make-ahead Thanksgiving feast in the full gallery.