A Day-by-day Guide to Tackling Thanksgiving

The countdown to Thanksgiving has begun. And for those of us who already feel short on time during a regular week, the pressure is on to figure out just how to squeeze in all that extra shopping, prep work and cooking ahead of the holiday. Let our friends at The Salt be your guide. (http://n.pr/1T4htBw)
  1. WEEKEND
  2. Defrost the 🦃
    A 20-pounder can take as long as five days to thaw out in the fridge (and you want to defrost it in the fridge, not at room temperature). The turkey should be fully defrosted the day before you roast it.
  3. Go grocery shopping
    Buy the hardier vegetables like squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, kale and garlic at the grocery store. These will keep well in the refrigerator until you cut them up on Wednesday. Also buy nonperishable ingredients like crackers, jelly and any canned vegetables you plan to use.
  4. Make and freeze your soups and/or gravy
    If you want your gravy to have some of the flavors of your roasted turkey, "you can refortify it with some of the flavors" later on Thursday, say Argondizza.
  5. Make pie crusts
    Wrap them tightly in plastic and put them in the freezer. (If you have the freezer space, you can go ahead and assemble your pies, then wrap them tightly in plastic and freeze them.)
  6. MONDAY
  7. Breathe easy 😎
    Feel good about your plan to have everything "mise en place" (a French phrase that means to gather and arrange the ingredients and tools needed for cooking). Prep your Thanksgiving playlist.
  8. TUESDAY
  9. Make the dips and cranberry sauce
    Refrigerate them until Thursday. Cranberry sauce, because of its high acidity, can stay fresh when refrigerated for up to two weeks.
  10. Prep the casseroles
    Assemble and bake any casseroles that use sweet potatoes or squash and refrigerate them until Thursday.
  11. Go back to the grocery store
    Buy the more delicate vegetables, like green Brussels sprouts, and refrigerate them. You can blanch and shock your vegetables by putting them in boiling water for a few minutes to cook, then plunging them into an ice bath. Once they're cool, you can keep them in the fridge until you need them. Try not to use salt — it'll break down the vegetables and make them mushy.
  12. Start stuffing (not your face)
    Assemble the stuffing and put it in the freezer until it's ready to be baked on Thursday. Freezing will actually strengthen the flavors of the celery, onion and herbs, Mary Kimbrough, a partner at Culinary Nutrition Associates, told The Dallas Morning News. You can thaw the stuffing in the refrigerator.
  13. WEDNESDAY
  14. Assemble and bake your pies
    Unless they're custard-based like pumpkin pie, you can keep them at room temperature until you serve them. If you froze your pies, let them thaw in the fridge overnight Wednesday. You'll bake them the next day.
  15. Get ready for salad
    Clean the salad greens and store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. You can toss and dress the salad just before serving the next day.
  16. Chop the vegetables
    Vegetables like onions, peppers, broccoli, zucchini and squash will still look fine on Thursday; just cover them with a damp paper towel before storing them in the refrigerator sealed in a plastic bag or container with lid. If you plan on roasting your veggies, toss them with oil and herbs (skip the salt) before refrigerating them — the oil will help keep them from oxidizing. More finicky vegetables like sweet potatoes, potatoes or fennel can be cut and stored in the fridge in a bowl of water.
  17. Brine the bird
    Do it in the afternoon and leave it soaking overnight in the fridge until you start roasting Thursday morning. Your brine should include a cup of salt per gallon of water. (Note: If you buy a kosher bird, it has essentially already been brined, so you can skip this step.)
  18. THANKSGIVING DAY!
  19. Chill the drinks
  20. Preheat the oven
    Make sure to leave 2 to 4 hours to roast the turkey. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
  21. While the bird is resting, move on to baking your stuffing and roasting your vegetables
    Note: You don't need to serve roasted vegetables fresh out of the oven; they taste just as good at room temperature. The same goes for potatoes gratin.
  22. Toss and dress the salad
  23. Warm up the casseroles, mashed potatoes, soup and gravy
  24. Eat all the things
    Your leftovers should last about 5 days in the fridge.