Canadian Thanksgiving falls on Monday, October 9, this year. That’s still a week away, but we can all make provisioning the big day easier and less stressful by doing some of the cooking chores in advance. And that should start this weekend, when we’ve got time to do things like make casseroles ahead…
My No-Fail Pumpkin Pie. Make it part of your Holiday Feast!
I’ve only just started to handle my big holiday feasts this way since I hit the age of 50. That’s when I started to slow down. That doesn’t mean I’m not able to keep up with my family’s and friends’ expectations at the dinner table. I just don’t want to be tuckered right out when it’s time to ring the dinner bell. I want to enjoy the fruits of my labours too. I also want someone else to volunteer to clear the table, put the leftovers away and wash the dishes. That’s a vain hope, I know. But I still have hope.
The first thing I do, about a week away from the big day, is finalize my menu. This year, it’s a small crowd and I’m cutting back on the number and variety of casseroles I’ll prepare. I’ll put the following on the table on Thanksgiving night…
- Roast Turkey
- Scalloped Potatoes
- Butternut or Acorn Squash Casserole
- Cranberry Relish and Cranberry Sauce
- Baked Brussels Sprouts
…And for dessert…
- Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream
How I plan to make it happen…
First, I’ll go out today and get the Turkey. As usual, in our part of the world, Turkeys are on sale for $1.99 per pound in advance of a big Turkey-eating holiday. I’ll also get what I need for the casseroles, and buy my fresh Cranberries so I don’t get skunked for them closer to the big day. And I’ll get the sprouts, because they’re harder to find in he first place and I don’t want to risk going without them. The Sprouts and cranberries will keep just fine in the fridge.
The Turkey cannot be Roasted ahead, nor can the Cranberry condiments be prepared too far in advance of serving. The Sprouts must be finished off just before serving.
However… The casseroles can be made in advance, though, and frozen. Just take them out the night before the meal and give them extra time in the oven before serving.
Recipes and Tips…
Do consult my post on Holiday Turkey Tips to ensure you get the best result possible – moist, tender Meat and crispy, brown skin.
Stuffing has as many variants as those who make it. But I humbly offer my recipe for your consideration. It’s herby, earthy and crispy on top. You can even put it in the bird, if you still do that…
I have my own fail-proof recipes for the casseroles mentioned above. You can view Scalloped Potatoes here and Squash Casserole here. I particularly like the Squash made with Maple Syrup rather than plain old Brown Sugar, as described in that post…
About the Brussels Sprouts…
I’ve found that the best way to make them is to bake then. Toss to coat in 2 to 3 tbsp. / 30 to 45 ml of Olive Oil. Sprinkle generously with Salt, Pepper and fresh ground Nutmeg. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 375 F until brown on top and fork tender.
And the odds and ends?
The Cranberry condiment recipes are in separate posts: the Sauce is here and the Relish is here.
I’ll leave the Gravy to you. But if you want my take, it’s here.
And I cannot help but recommend my Perfect Pumpkin Pie. It’s a dinner topper-offer that even I look forward to with relish every Holiday Feast.
Start early and take some of the pressure off yourself this coming Holiday Weekend!
~ Maggie J.