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4 Ways to Prepare Now for Your Thanksgiving Dinner

The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving may seem long, but the days can be incredibly short -- particularly when you're the one cooking the annual feast. Rather than waiting until the last minute and subjecting yourself to the panicked...

The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving may seem long, but the days can be incredibly short -- particularly when you're the one cooking the annual feast. Rather than waiting until the last minute and subjecting yourself to the panicked rush that inevitably goes along with the meal, why not get a jump start on the process? Consider these four planning and prep tips designed to help you maximize time and minimize stress this holiday season.

Thanksgiving
Prepping in advance can minimize the holiday hustle.

1. Make a List, Check It Twice

Santa's not the only one who's busy making a list in the days between Halloween and Christmas. So are the savviest chefs.

While most people manage to plan a menu, many fail to inventory the supplies they'll need to execute. After all, your plans to make that turkey for 40 may fall flat is you don't have a sizable enough roasting pan.

From casserole dishes for sides to storage containers for leftovers, knowing exactly what you'll need -- on both the cooking and serving side -- long before you start cooking and baking offers invaluable peace of mind.

2. (Mentally) Set Your Table

While setting your table a day or so before your Thanksgiving celebration is a great way to save time on the big day itself, it's possible to get even further out in front of this task by spending a few minutes considering your plan for setting and decorating the table.

Will you use a floral arrangement? Candles? Place settings? A tablecloth? Count, clean and launder these essentials now for easy, stress-free access when it comes time to actually set the table.

3. Clean House

Sure, you'll be dusting and vacuuming and tidying up before your guests arrive, but there's one task which often goes undone, but can make a huge difference when it comes to preparing for your holiday meal-making: cleaning out your fridge and freezer.

While this is useful if you're planning to make side dishes and desserts in advance, but it's also extremely helpful when dinner is done. After all, there's nothing worse than getting everything cleaned up and packed up only to discover that you have no place to store it all.

A clean fridge and freezer can also help you locate ingredients you didn't know you had, keeping your grocery list -- and your grocery store tab -- within reason.

Thanksgiving
Nearly all of these can be made in advance with planning...and fridge and freezer space.

4. Get Cooking

While the turkey will have to wait for that early-morning visit to the oven, plenty of your other meal components can be made a few days in advance, including everything from your sauces to your stuffing.

Rolls and appetizers, meanwhile, can be made weeks ahead of time and frozen. When your turkey is resting, they can be popped in the oven just prior to eating.

And did you know that it's possible to freeze an unbaked pie right in the pie dish? Not only that, but your results may actually be better because freezing can actually prevent the bane of all bakers: a soggy crust.

While cooking the Thanksgiving meal is a large undertaking no matter how you slice it, attending to these tasks in advance can help you get gracefully -- and gratefully! -- ahead of the game. Visit Cilantro The Cooks Shop today to browse our extensive collection of cookware, kitchenware, and bakeware.