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Thanksgiving Made Easy with Tips from

Thanksgiving is less than a month away! It’s time to start planning your Thanksgiving dinner, but before you get overwhelmed, we have a checklist of the items you can prepare a week ahead of time so that you’re not in a mad rush once the big day comes.

Must Do’s A Week or Two Before the Big Day

  • -Write out the menu and a shopping list, so you don’t miss an ingredient.
  • -Also, while you’re at it, write out a cooking schedule and time table so you know what you can make ahead, what can be frozen, and what can be made at the last minute.
  • -Set the table! Use the time you have to get those dishes ready before you have to worry about making your dining room table look its best. Just add a centerpiece on the day of.
  • -Get all of the right serving dishes. Don’t get caught without enough serving ware!
  • -Decide how you’ll cook the turkey and make a timetable for defrosting and cooking so that your guests aren’t kept waiting for the delicious feast on Thanksgiving Day!

Once you’re feeling more prepared, you can start tackling the must’s on a Thanksgiving grocery store shopping list. At, we make sure that the following are always on our list:

  • 12 to 14 pound turkey
  • garlic
  • yellow onions
  • carrots
  • Yukon gold potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • celery
  • green beans
  • chicken broth
  • fresh cranberries
  • Cortland apples
  • Granny Smith apples
  • lemons
  • butter
  • heavy cream
  • Fresh bread (for stuffing)
  • Plenty of spices, including parsley, thyme, rosemary, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

With these ingredients on hand (and the rest of your pantry), you should be able to tackle just about any Thanksgiving recipe, including a few of these make ahead dishes that are sure to save you time. But don’t worry – they don’t sacrifice on taste!

Cranberry Relish
1 pound of fresh cranberries, sorted, rinsed, and drained
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 oranges, peeled and sliced

In a food processor, combine cranberries and sugar. Process for a few seconds. Then add lemon juice and process for 5 seconds. Add oranges and process until well mixed, about 5 seconds. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.

Honey Glazed Carrots
2 pounds of baby carrots
1 1/2 cups of water
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
In a crockpot, combine together carrots and water. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until the carrots are tender. Drain carrots and return to crockpot. Stir in butter, honey, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes until glazed.
Creamy Smashed Potatoes
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup milk, hot but not boiling
salt and pepper
Put the potatoes and garlic in a pot and cover with cold water. Add salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Drain the potatoes and garlic and save a bit of the cooking water. Then in a bowl, mash the potatoes and garlic with a hand masher till smooth. Add the hot milk and butter and beat. If the potatoes need to be thinned, add a bit of cooking water. Season with salt and pepper and serve or store.
What other make ahead recipes or Thanksgiving tips do you have to share?

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