Make-ahead turkey dinner takes some stress out of holidays

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by naturebaby, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. naturebaby

    naturebaby New Member

    Hi everyone,
    Robin asked me to post the "make-ahead" turkey dinner. Our family has done this a few times now, including for a family wedding, and it works beautifully. The turkey stays nice and moist, and you can do the meal in managable "batches" and freeze up to 3 months ahead of time. Best part is you can cook on the days you feel up to it, have manageable cleanups, and best of all, NO CLEANUP on the holiday itself.


    The Turkey, Stuffing and Gravy (one day)
    Roast your turkey as usual, including stuffing. Let rest as usual, remove stuffing and carve.

    Crumple up some tin foil loosely and place into tinfoil lasagna pans with 3 to 4-inch sides. (we keep the white and dark meat on separate sides of the pans). Let cool to room temperature, put leftover skin on slices to cover. Then moisten by pouring in about 1/2 a cup of APPLE JUICE (more or less, depends on the size of your bird.) Cover with three layers of tin foil, seal tightly, label and freeze.

    The turkey will not taste of apple juice at all when it's reheated! It will just be nice and moist. Reheat in the oven from frozen at 325 degrees for about 3 1/2 hours.


    Gravy and Stuffing
    Make your gravy as usual, let cool overnight, package in ziplock bags and freeze. Place stuffing in ziplock bags, moisten with a little apple juice and cool overnight. Freeze the cooled bags.

    To serve, let the bags defrost and simply reheat in the microwave.


    Do-Ahead Mashed Potatoes (another day)
    5 lbs. red potatoes
    1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese
    1 cup sour cream
    1 tsp. salt
    pinch of pepper
    2 tbsp. butter (or more, as you like)

    Get someone to peel the potatoes for you. Cook and mash well (we use an electric beater so they're more like "whipped".) Add all remaining ingredients and blend well. Place in foil pans and wrap well with tinfoil. Label and freeze. I can't recall how long these take to reheat in the oven, but you're probably fine to put them in after the turkey's been in for an hour or so.

    Or, you can freeze in ziplocks, thaw before dinner, place in a casserole dish and bake covered at 350 degrees for 1/2 hour.


    Make-Ahead Turnips (Rutabaga) (another day)

    Peel and chunk rutabagas, boil for at least 30 minutes until very tender. Mash and add:
    1/4 cup butter
    1 to 3 tbsp. brown sugar
    1/2 tsp. nutmeg

    Freeze and reheat as for potatoes.


    I hope this helps some of you to manage the holiday pressure a little more easily. Wishing you well, nature

  2. robin1667

    robin1667 New Member

    This is going to help alot!!

    For the potatoes, I peel them amd cut them up in bite size pieces and boil till their about 1/2 way done, drain and freeze in ziploc bags.

    Then I can use them for potato salad,hash brns, and mashed potatoes.
  3. spacee

    spacee Member

    I have been cooking the bird the day before for years and carving it and that saved loads of time but this is even better!

    Will love you forever for this...

    I have about 8 people for a lot of holidays and I cook each of the other nights and freeze them. Luckily I have a freezer and each shelf has a full meal on it from bread, casserole to dessert.

    I have a daughter in law who doesn't eat beef so one night is always Chicken Divan and another Chicken Mozzarella, the turkey night and one night bring in something.

    and white chinet oval plates look nice on a red table cloth!


  4. Greenbean7

    Greenbean7 New Member

    I throw all the ingredients for stew in the crockpot in the morning. Set the frozen bread dough out to thaw and rise. And forget about the whole thing until dinner time. Now that's a time and stress saver!

    I do lasagna for Christmas Eve and I do make it a week or so ahead and freeze it. Bake it and make garlic bread from store bought sour dough loaves and serve with salad. Takes about an hour to bake. Birthday cake for Jesus for dessert.

    Not traditional for most, but it has become a tradition for us!