Thanksgiving is a time to bring family and friends together and give thanks around a table of great food. There is nothing better than the aroma of the roasting turkey and dressing filling the house on that holiday.
Many Thanksgiving menus don't change from year to year. There will likely be roasted turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberries, some sort of vegetable or two, rolls, and the traditional pumpkin or pecan pie.
The part of Thanksgiving that can be difficult is making lots of recipes all in one day and trying to get the timing down so everything is ready to be served at the same time. Here's a great tip that will surely become part of your holiday routine and save you time on Thanksgiving day: Make mashed potatoes ahead of time. Then heat the potatoes in the slow cooker on the big day. Here is how to do this.
1. Two days before Thanksgiving, cook the potatoes in salted water.
2. On that same day, mash the potatoes, adding milk, butter, sour cream and some garlic powder.
3. Then, put them in a food-safe, covered container before storing them in the refrigerator.
When Thanksgiving Day arrives, put the mashed potatoes in the slow cooker and heated them on low for several hours. That eliminates not only the cooking of potatoes on a very busy day in the kitchen, but also the last-minute mashing that needs to be done at the same time as carving the turkey and making the gravy.
For a variation on this idea, check out this recipe for French Herbed Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes.
You can do a lot more of the holiday meal preparation ahead of time. Make cranberry relish several days ahead and store it in the refrigerator. The pork sausage, onions and celery for the dressing can be cooked the day before and refrigerated in a food storage bag, ready for final assembly the next day. Bake pies the night before Thanksgiving and set the dining room table. With all that done ahead, you just have to get the turkey in the oven and then enjoy the rest of the day, stress-free, with family and friends.