make ahead thanksgiving

It’s time to get organized for Thanksgiving — it will be here before we know it! This is to a day or meal to stress out. I want to make it easy for you to execute, whether you are preparing the entire meal or sharing the joy of cooking with friends and family. My motto is:

If you can make it now, or even a day or two before the big day, then DO IT!

Here’s how I make it happen, even with this being my busiest time of year at Sizzleworks:

Start with the lists:

  • menu items to prepare this week
  • shopping list for staples and food for prep

this week I will prepare:

triple ginger pumpkin tartlets, bake off and freeze them in an airtight container.

I plan to shop for staples this week: flour, sugars, canned pumpkin, butter; and refresh my spice cabinet. This is a great time of year to do that, as they tend to be on sale. I’ll order my turkey — I like a fresh one. I’m planning on one pound per person for a whole turkey (you’ll need 3/4 pound per person if you buy breast only).

I’m adding beverages to my  list — wines, sparkly stuff, cider. And some candles for the table … and cocktail napkins. And I’ll purchase a huge bag of cranberries, as they are plentiful this week. They freeze beautifully, but will also keep well in the fridge for a week or so, thus I don’t have to worry about not finding them next week.

And I will make a pound of brandied cranberries, so that I may have them to top a baked brie, or to swirl into a glass of bubbly as a beautiful holiday cocktail. And I will have plenty for next week, to make cranberry jalapeño relish!

I’ll get miso, for my green beans, and make miso butter! OH, and a bottle of sake.

and next week:

It’s time to shop for hardy vegetables like squash, carrots, potatoes. Get cream this week, as stores tend to run out just before Thanksgiving. I’ll make sure my linens are pressed and in order, silver is polished. Now where did I put the turkey roasting pan, the baster, and the platter that rarely gets used? Ready to cook ahead?

miso butter

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons miso
  • salt & pepper to taste

 In bowl of food processor with metal blade, finely mince the garlic and shallot. Add butter, miso, about 1/4 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper; process until combined. Store in airtight container in refrigerator or freezer.

Makes enough butter for one pound of green beans, or about 4-6 servings.

green beans with miso butter

These beans may be cooked off 3-4 days before dinner — how cool is that??!! Then just assemble them about half an hour before dinner, keep warm, serve and ENJOY. They really are yummy!

  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil (I like or peanut oil here)
  • 1 recipe miso butter (above)
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • sesame seeds, to garnish (I like to use both white & black seeds)

Cook beans in large pot of water with the salt, until beans are bright green and barely tender. Drain and refresh in ice water. Drain well and place on paper towel to dry. Roll in towels, and put into  a plastic bag. Seal and store in fridge for 3-4 days.

When you are almost ready to serve, heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add beans; toss to coat. Add sake, cook until almost all evaporates. Stir in miso butter until a creamy sauce forms. Correct the seasonings. Garnish with sesame seeds. Serves 4-6.



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