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A Make-Ahead Feast: Ina Garten's Thanksgiving Menu

The Barefoot Contessa shows us how to prepare the whole meal ahead of time — even the turkey!

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Photo: Jake Chessum
A funny thing happened the first time Ina made a big meal in advance: She actually had time to talk to guests when they arrived. "People started coming in, and I had nothing to do. It was so strange!" she says. Ina admits that she hasn't always been smart about early prep for Thanksgiving, but in her just-released book, Make It Ahead, she mastered the art.

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Photo: Johnny Miller
"For years I believed that food was better if you made it right before you ate it," she says. "I had to force myself to start doing things differently." This ingeniously planned meal tastes amazing, and better yet, it will free you from the kitchen at just the right time: cocktail hour.

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Photo: Johnny Miller

Make-Ahead Roast Turkey and Gravy

You make the gravy base and refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months. "No one wants to stand around hoping their gravy won't be lumpy at the moment the turkey comes out of the oven. With this recipe, that will never happen!" says Ina. Roast and slice the turkey and assemble it on the gravy. Cover and leave at room temperature for up to 1 hour before reheating in the oven.

 

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Baked Farro and Butternut Squash

"This is a recipe from California chef Maria Sinskey," shares Ina. "The flavors and textures are amazing." Assemble the dish, including the bacon and parmesan, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bake before serving.

 

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