Bread · Grains

Thanksgiving Prep and Dressing

Thanksgiving!  Family, fall weather, delicious food and gratitude.  That’s what Thanksgiving means to me.  Enjoying all of that with gratitude helps if you aren’t a stressed out mess when the guests arrive.  A couple of years ago we hosted most of my husband’s family in our home.  Many stayed overnight with us and everyone had their meals here.  I cooked almost the entire dinner myself for around 15 people!  Don’t think I’m Wonder Woman, however, because I started cooking at least two weeks before the holiday so that when the actual day came I had most of it done.  Did you realize that almost the entire Thanksgiving dinner can be cooked and frozen ahead of time?  I didn’t either until I tried it.  Here is our typical Thanksgiving menu:  turkey, dressing, sweet potato casserole, gravy, homemade rolls, holiday salad with dressing, and fruit pies, or crisps.  And all of that can be done ahead with the exception of salad.

A friend shared with me that slicing the turkey and then freezing it in the turkey juice keeps the meat moist.  In a perfect world I would rather cook and serve the turkey on the same day, but that year I couldn’t.  Several years ago I made two apple pies and had an entire one leftover.  Someone suggested freezing it so I wrapped it well in layers of plastic wrap and then overwrapped with foil.  Thawed and heated no one would have known if I hadn’t told them.  So I did that as well.  Sweet potato casserole, dressing and gravy certainly work, as well as the rolls.  So if you are having a crew or even if you just want to spread the work out, consider cooking just one thing a week for the big day and then freeze it!

My favorite food at Thanksgiving is dressing.  I can eat tons of it.  For many years I used a recipe that my grandmother used.  It involved many cans of cream of chicken soup as well as canned broth.   I found an old newspaper clipping of a recipe for dressing long ago that didn’t use the canned soup.  Otherwise it seemed that it would be about the same as far as flavor and texture.  I tried it and the recipe was an instant winner!  Yay, no more dressing with questionable ingredients from the soup!

I hope you’ll spend some time in advance planning and preparation to make your holiday with family more enjoyable!

Cornbread Dressing
Author: Let’s Eat
Prep time: 45 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • 12 cups coarse cornbread crumbs – I use a 9 x 13 amount and make it work
  • 2 c day old bread crumbs – I reserve 2 or 3 homemade buns in the freezer and tear them up when needed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 t pepper
  • 3 t poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 2 c celery, chopped
  • 1 c onion, chopped
  • 2 t Redmond Real salt or Celtic sea salt – probably more if using homemade chicken stock
  • 2 t sage – I use way more, around 6 – 9 t
  • 6 c chicken stock or broth from cooked turkey
  1. Melt butter and sauté onion and celery
  2. Add remaining ingredients, except broth, and then mix well
  3. Start adding broth to make a soft dressing. Will probably take most of the broth.
  4. Should be cake batter consistency.
  5. Grease 9 x 13, add dressing, and bake at 400 for 30 – 40 minutes. Could take closer to an hour depending on the oven. It should be a nice, golden brown.


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