A Simple Celebration: Thanksgiving Make-Ahead Planner

By EatingWell Editors

Our classic Thanksgiving feast made easy.

To keep Thanksgiving Day as relaxing as possible, we like to make as much of the meal ahead as time and refrigerator space allow. Use this planner to help you stay organized.

Up to 2 weeks ahead:
Prepare cranberry sauce. Cover and refrigerate or freeze.

Up to 3 days ahead:
Cook rice (Step 2) for the stuffing. Cover and refrigerate.

Up to 2 days ahead:
Toast bread (Step 3) for the stuffing. Store airtight at room temperature.

Up to 1 day ahead:
Rub the turkey with seasonings (Step 1). Loosely cover and refrigerate.
Prepare the giblet stock (Step 2) for the gravy. Cover and refrigerate.
Prepare sauce (Step 2) and potatoes (Steps 1 & 3) for the mashed potatoes, cover and refrigerate separately.
Cook green beans (Step 1). Cover and refrigerate.
Prepare torte through Step 6. Cover and refrigerate in the pan.

About 6 hours before serving:
Prepare corn pudding through Step 4. Cover and refrigerate.
Prepare stuffing through Step 6. Cover and refrigerate.
Finish the mashed potatoes. Cover and refrigerate until 30 minute before servings.

About 3 hours before serving:
Preheat oven for the turkey, prepare the turkey (Step 4), then put in the oven to roast.

About 21/2 hours before serving:
Remove the stuffing from the refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature.

About 2 hours before serving:
Bake the stuffing on the upper rack in the oven while the turkey is roasting below; when the stuffing is done, let stand at room temperature (covered with foil) for about 30 minutes.
Remove the corn pudding from the refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature until ready to bake.

About 1 Hour Before Serving:
Make dressing for the green beans and toss with beans. Let stand at room temperature.
Remove cranberry sauce from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature.
After removing the turkey from the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350° and put the corn pudding in to bake.
Remove the torte from the refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature.

About 30 Minutes Before Serving:
Reheat the mashed potatoes in the microwave or in a double boiler. Make the creamy sauce  for the potatoes (Step 4).
Return the stuffing to the oven with the corn pudding to reheat.
While the turkey rests, prepare the gravy.
Carve the turkey; tent with foil to keep warm.

Just before dessert:
Make pumpkin whipped cream (Step 7) for the torte.

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