Make it ahead thanksgiving menu

Easy, not-too-complex, delicious

Looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with our wonderful family and friends. Grateful for all of the make-ahead options that lighten the load. Thank you to the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garden, for giving me the idea for a make-it-ahead Thanksgiving! I hope you enjoy this menu as much as we do!


Chex Mix with Brazil Nuts

So decadent and autumnal. You can make it ahead – maybe on Tuesday or even Monday.

Spicy Roasted Cashews

I’m including these roasted nuts, low on the glycemic index, for folks who are watching their gluten and sugars intake (me!) Make on Monday or Tuesday.

Wine, Beer, Cocktails of your choosing. Schedule a pickup of any special drinks you want to serve for Monday, when you could also grab any groceries you still need.


Pomegranate and Pear Green Salad

Best assembled Thanksgiving Day, but make the dressing Monday or Tuesday. Allow about 30 minutes to take the pomegranate apart.

Turkey & Side Dishes

Make-Ahead Roast Turkey and Make-Ahead Roast Turkey Gravy with Onions and Sage

Start prepping your raw turkey per Ina’s instructions on Monday or Tuesday, and then roast it and make the gravy on Thursday. You can do this as early or late as you like on Thursday. For example, you could roast it in the morning, carve it, have it ready to go and heat up in the oven right before serving, or you could time it to roast it and make the gravy so that’s the last thing you’re doing before sitting down to dinner.

Nonni’s Sausage Stuffing

Ok, this is the only one I don’t have a link to, and the only one I would make completely the day of. I love my great-grandmother Nanni’s stuffing recipe so much and I’ve never found one I like better. And stuffing is my favorite part of Thanksgiving. I hope you try it and love it too!

1 pound pork sausage meat

4 ribs celery

2 onions

1 1/2 pounds bread

2 eggs

1/2 – 1 tsp poultry seasoning

1 tsp salt

Toast bread slices. Cut into small cubes after toasting. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup water. Add eggs. Fry pork sausage until crumbly. And finely chopped celery and onion and sauce until limp. Mix with bread by hand until well blended. Bake 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven until surface is crisp and lightly browned. The stuffing is properly cooked when it reaches 165 degrees.

Caramelized Butternut Squash

You can peel and cube up the squash and stash it in the fridge on Tuesday or Wednesday, and then toss it with the other ingredients and roast on Thursday.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Cut off the ends, pull away yellow leaves, cut in half, and stash in the fridge on Tuesday or Wednesday, then pull out on Thursday to roast.

Make Ahead Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

You can assemble these Tuesday or Wednesday and then pop in the oven to bake on Thursday.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Make this on Monday – or up to 5 days before Thanksgiving.


Pumpkin Pie

All-Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough

Makes enough dough for two pumpkin pies. I’ll be making my dough on Monday and stashing in the fridge til Wednesday afternoon when I’ll make my pies.

Pumpkin Pie Recipe

If you’re using fresh pumpkin puree, you can chop up, cook, and puree your pumpkin on Monday or Tuesday and stash in the fridge til Wednesday. I find that making my pies the day before Thanksgiving massively reduces my stress level.

For dessert, I’ll also be serving decaf espresso from my mocha pot, along with cream and sugar. I’ll whip up some heavy whipping cream to serve with the pumpkin pie, too, and maybe bring out some port wine and bourbon, too.

I am so hungry!

I hope you enjoy this menu as much as I do!

Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

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