Saturday, November 21, 2015

Make and Freeze Thanksgiving

Pin It Thanksgiving is a great holiday.  I have great memories of helping prepare food with my mom and my grandmother.  In the last couple years, my mom and I have noticed that even doing dishes as you go all day long, there is still a mountain of dishes at the end of the meal.  I love to cook--but I hate dishes.  Even though I'm not hosting Turkey Day at my house, I love the once-a-year foods for this meal, so I'm cooking my favorites and I'm doing some tricks to make things easier.

Make and Freeze Dressing
Serves 4-5
1 pkg  herbed bread cubes
1/2 c. butter
1 c. onion, chopped (1 medium)
1 c. celery, chopped (2-3 stalks)
1 can low sodium chicken broth (14 oz)
1 tsp. sage (or poultry seasoning)

Chop up the onion and celery finely and saute in the butter in a skillet over medium heat for about 10-12 minutes, until translucent and soft.  In a large mixing bowl, pour the cooked onion mixture over the breadcrumbs and stir.  Slowly pour about half of the chicken broth over bread and mix.  Add more broth until the cubes have absorbed and they are soft but not soggy.  Add the sage and stir.

Here's the time saver--at this point, you have two choices.  1.  Let the mixture come to room temperature, put it in a zipper bag and freeze it.  On Thanksgiving, you can put the mix in the nice baking dish and cover with foil and bake at 350 for about an hour or in a crock pot on low for 2-3 hours (you may need to add a bit more chicken stock as you bake).  2.  You  bake the dressing immediately then freeze and just use the microwave to reheat on meal day.

P.S.  I was watching America's Test Kitchen this morning, and they put their dressing in the bottom of the roasting pan and placed a "deconstructed" turkey (the breast and the thigh/legs) on top and baked it that way for extra turkey flavor.  Looked good to me, I might have to try that. 

Make ahead fruit pie
I'm afraid that pumpkin pie is not my thing--although I can make one (and you can do it the day before).  If you want to do pie the easy way, like me.  Make the fruit pie filling in advance and freeze it in a zipper bag.  When you are ready to make the pie, just put it in the crust and bake.  No, I don't make my own crust--Pillsbury works for me.  You CAN make and freeze an entire pie, before you bake--it just takes about 2 hours to bake from frozen (and you have to shield the edges of the crust so they don't burn).  Here's how I do pie filling for the whole year all at once.

Cranberry Sauce

If you haven't ever made your own cranberry sauce, try it this year.  It takes about 15 minutes and its so delicious.  I did some instructions a few years ago, so give it a go and throw it in the fridge or freezer until Thursday.