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Thanksgiving Menu and Prep-Ahead Tips!

Nothing gets me more excited than my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving! Admittedly I can get pretty darned enthusiastic about a lot of things. When it comes to the stuff I like, I compare myself to a Labrador puppy — a lot of jumping around, tail wagging, and yapping — but when it comes to preparing a great big Thanksgiving menu, my usual joy transcends to a monumental level of culinary singing and dancing. It’s as if my inner, turbocharged Martha Stewart emerges and takes over for a week.

I try to do the bulk of my cooking on Wednesday, so I can take my time and be able to relax a bit on Thursday. Thanksgiving Day is normally quiet with so few distractions (besides the anticipation of the big meal ahead of us) and I hate having to spend all of it in the kitchen. I also find that once the major work is out of the way, it’s a great time to get the kids involved in the final tasks and really let them feel like they’re a part of the meal.

Here’s a peek into my Thanksgiving menu and prep-ahead tips for the week! Enjoy your family, the feast and the holiday! Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Maple Brined Turkey 1 of 7
    Maple-Brined-Turkey1

    Tuesday: Start the brining process using my Maple Brined Turkey recipe to make "the most moist and juicy turkey you've ever tasted," according to my turkey-obsessed father-in-law.

  • Cranberry Apple Chutney 2 of 7
    Cranberry-Apple-Chutney

    Tuesday: Prepare the Sweet Potatoes (through Step Four), and the Cranberry Sauce.

  • Maple Roast Vegetables 3 of 7
    Maple-Roast-Veggies

    Wednesday: Chop squash, bell peppers, onions, carrots and parsnips for the Maple Roast Veggies. Prepare through Step Two.

  • Apple Sausage Stuffing Bites 4 of 7
    Apple-Sausage-Stuffing-Bites

    Wednesday: Assemble and bake the Apple Sausage Stuffing Bites. Cool completely, store in the fridge overnight, and reheat in the oven right after the turkey comes out.

  • Pumpkin Pie Parfaits 5 of 7
    Pumpkin-Pie-Parfaits-2

    Wednesday: Let the kids get in the kitchen and have fun assembling Pumpkin Pie Parfaits for tomorrow's dessert. Store covered in the fridge overnight. While the kids are getting messy, take this time to set the table with flowers, candles, festive napkins and napkin rings. You can even set out your serving dishes now so that everything is ready to go when you're ready to fill it! 

  • Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon 6 of 7
    Sauteed-Brussels-Sprouts-with-Bacon

    Thursday: First thing, put the Maple Roast Veggies in the oven, bake, let cool and keep covered until later today.

    -Remove the turkey from the brine and begin to roast, starting at Step Five.

    -Prepare the Sauteed Brussels Sprouts.

    -As soon as the turkey comes out of the oven, pop the veggies and stuffing in to reheat.

  • Turkey Gravy 7 of 7
    Turkey-Gravy

    Thursday: It's almost dinner time. So grab a few helpers to finish the last minute details.

    -Give someone a whisk and get them whipping up the gravy.

    -Arrange all foods on your serving platters.

    -Assign the turkey carving to the guest of honor and have him/her begin the feast!

Find more of Catherine’s recipes at weelicious. Check out her cookbooks, too! And don’t miss a post! Follow Catherine on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest!

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