make ahead food http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7151/all en-US Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes http://www.wisebread.com/make-ahead-thanksgiving-dishes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-ahead-thanksgiving-dishes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/thanksgiving_cooking.jpg" alt="Three girls cooking with cranberries" title="Three girls cooking with cranberries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="137" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Thanksgiving can be stressful enough &mdash; lots of relatives in town, too much food to cook (in one tiny oven), and of course, timing it all to be ready at just the right moment. Thankfully, one of the best ways to decrease stress on Thanksgiving day is to make dishes ahead of time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-last-minute-thanksgiving-fixes" title="Five Last-Minute Thanksgiving Fixes">Five Last-Minute Thanksgiving Fixes</a>)</p> <p>Rather than rely on my relatively few years of experience preparing Thanksgiving, I called the ultimate expert in make-ahead Thanksgiving dish advice &mdash; my mom. My mom has always managed to pull together an amazing Thanksgiving feast where the only thing not homemade is the cranberries (my brother prefers the jelly cranberries in a can) despite working full-time and juggling two hectic kids' schedules.</p> <p>So, what are Mom's tips for dishes to make ahead? She offered her top three dishes in terms of time savings and what was least likely to affect the taste of the dish, along with several other make-ahead dishes and information that is just as important &mdash; what <em>not</em> to make ahead.</p> <h2>Top Three Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes</h2> <p>These three dishes require a fair amount of work, and the taste isn't overly affected if you make them ahead of time.</p> <p><strong>Apple Pie</strong></p> <p>Apple pie can be made a week or two ahead of time and frozen. When you bake it the first time, don't bake the pie all the way through. When you reheat it in the oven, the pie will finish cooking. Also, put some bread crumbs in the bottom of the pan under the crust &mdash; this way, when you cook the pie again after it has thawed, the breadcrumbs will absorb the extra liquid.</p> <p><strong>Stuffing</strong></p> <p>Stuffing requires a lot of peeling and chopping. But dressing (as in a dressing casserole, not a kind you make in the turkey) can be made the day before and reheated on Thanksgiving day.</p> <p><strong>Mashed Potatoes</strong></p> <p>Mashed potatoes can be made the day before and microwaved on Thanksgiving day. They are <em>almost</em> as good. (Mom's words, not mine. In fact, she always makes hers the day of, but if you need extra time due to the amount of work required to peel potatoes, they can be made ahead of time.)</p> <h2>Other Make-Ahead Dishes</h2> <p>While the following dishes might not be quite as good made ahead as the above three, they're still great. Do these next if you need to save more time.</p> <p><strong>Cranberries</strong></p> <p>Homemade cranberries should be made one to two days before and refrigerated, so that they are cold in time for the Thanksgiving feast.</p> <p><strong>Turkey Breast</strong></p> <p>If your family eats a lot of turkey breast, bake a breast separately (in addition to the full turkey). You can bake it the day before and store in the fridge in some turkey juice. It will absorb the juice and not dry out when you reheat it.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Rolls</strong></p> <p>Dinner rolls can be made one to two weeks ahead and wrapped tightly in tin foil and frozen. When you reheat them in the oven, be sure to keep them in the tin foil, as this will trap the steam and prevent the rolls from drying out.</p> <p><strong>Sweet Potatoes</strong></p> <p>Sweet potatoes can be made one day ahead of time and reheated in the microwave. Just wait to add any marshmallow topping until the dish is almost hot. Otherwise you will end up with exploded and sticky marshmallows coating the inside of your microwave.</p> <h2>Don't Try These Ahead of Time</h2> <p>There are a few dishes to always make on Thanksgiving day.</p> <p><strong>Turkey</strong></p> <p>There's just no way around it &mdash; you need to get up early and put your turkey in the oven on Thanksgiving morning. Besides the wonderful smell and better tasting meat, a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tasty-ideas-for-leftover-turkey">turkey made on the day of Thanksgiving</a> reduces the risk of food poisoning.</p> <p><strong>Pumpkin Pie</strong></p> <p>Pumpkin pie doesn't freeze well because it's a custard. The only exception would be if you own a commercial freezer that will flash-freeze the pie. But like with the turkey, the smell of freshly baking pumpkin pie is a staple of Thanksgiving.</p> <p><strong>Veggies</strong></p> <p>Every family has their own unique Thanksgiving vegetable. Whether it's salad or green bean casserole, it is best made on Thanksgiving day.</p> <p><strong>Whipped Cream</strong></p> <p>You can whip your cream most of the way on Thanksgiving morning and then finish whipping it right before serving. But you don't want to make whipped cream too far in advance, or it will turn&nbsp;back to liquid.</p> <h2>If You Do Nothing Else, Do This</h2> <p>Even if you can't or won't make dishes ahead of time, do these three things to save money and stress on the big day itself.</p> <p><strong>Take Stock</strong></p> <p>Two weeks before Thanksgiving, take stock of your cupboards and dishware. Determine exactly what dishes you'll need, so that if you need to borrow from a friend or family member, you can give them advance notice. Also determine which recipes you are going to use, and make lists of the ingredients you'll need. Chances are as the time gets closer to actually go shopping, you'll remember items you might have otherwise forgotten.</p> <p><strong>Set the Table</strong></p> <p>You can set your Thanksgiving table up to a week in advance. To easily get the wrinkles out of your tablecloth, spray a very fine mist of water on the table cloth. By Thanksgiving morning the wrinkles will fall out. (Don't spray too heavily, or you will mold the table or turn it white.) You can also put out all the silverware and dishes you'll need a week ahead of time.</p> <p><strong>Make Your Centerpiece</strong></p> <p>Either order your centerpiece in advance, or make a cheap centerpiece a few days to a week before Thanksgiving. A clear glass bowl of different colored apples is a favorite cheap, easy, and festive centerpiece.</p> <p>With these tips, you'll be on your way to a stress free Thanksgiving. For great make-ahead recipes for anytime of year, also check out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-awesome-easy-to-freeze-meals" title="5 Awesome, Easy to Freeze Meals">5 Awesome, Easy to Freeze Meals</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-make-ahead-freezable-hot-breakfast-recipes" title="9 Make-Ahead, Freezable Breakfasts">9 Make-Ahead, Freezable Breakfasts</a>.</p> <p><em>Is there anything I've forgotten? What tips do you have to save stress on Thanksgiving day?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-ahead-thanksgiving-dishes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kick-ass-alternatives-to-canned-cranberry-sauce">Kick-Ass Alternatives to Canned Cranberry Sauce</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-surprisingly-delicious-squash-recipes">20 Surprisingly Delicious Squash Recipes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-meals-you-can-make-with-thanksgiving-leftovers">4 Meals You Can Make With Thanksgiving Leftovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-and-delicious-punch-recipes-for-holiday-parties">15 Cheap and Delicious Punch Recipes for Holiday Parties</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink holiday dinners make ahead food meal planning Thanksgiving Tue, 13 Nov 2012 10:36:51 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 955474 at http://www.wisebread.com Make-Ahead Food: 10 Things to Cook on a Sunday http://www.wisebread.com/make-ahead-food-10-things-to-cook-on-a-sunday <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-ahead-food-10-things-to-cook-on-a-sunday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000004500140Small.jpg" alt="Woman tasting batter in her kitchen" title="Woman tasting batter in her kitchen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="200" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Making food ahead of time so you can eat well and save money during busy workweeks is a great idea. But often when I read articles about make-ahead food, the focus is on ways to stock your freezer with heat-and-eat casseroles, soups, and other meals. This is wonderful, but sometimes, the most useful, frugal, and healthy make-ahead foods aren't frozen dinners, but ready-to-go meal components sitting in your fridge or pantry. The following 10 items are all easy to make on a Sunday (or whenever you have a day off during the week), and last for about five days (or more) in the pantry or fridge. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-five-day-freeze-batch-cooking-for-the-rest-of-us">The Five-Day Freeze: Batch Cooking for the Rest of Us</a>)</p> <h2>1. Beans</h2> <p>While the merits of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/canned-vs-dried-beans-which-are-cheaper">canned versus dried beans</a> are hotly debated, there's no doubt that pound-for-pound, dried beans are both cheaper and lower in sodium. The problem with dried beans, though, is that they can take an hour on the stovetop to soften up. Cook a pot of beans on Sunday, and use them throughout the week in salads, Mexican dishes like tacos or burritos, soups, and so on.</p> <h2>2. Bread</h2> <p>With mixing, kneading, rising, and finally baking, most yeast breads require at least three hours to make (although most of that time is hands-off). What better day than Sunday to bake a loaf of bread while you attend to other projects around the house?</p> <h2>3. Granola</h2> <p>Store-bought granola is often expensive and can be surprisingly calorie-packed. Instead, I make a batch of granola every weekend by mixing old-fashioned oats, cinnamon, chopped nuts, and maple syrup, and toasting it at 400&deg;F in the oven until it just starts to brown. Then I eat it with fruit and yogurt for breakfast throughout the week. This stuff will keep for even longer than a week in a sealed container, and granola also makes a great gift.</p> <h2>4. Pancake Batter</h2> <p>Pancakes don't just have to be a weekend breakfast. A batch of pancake batter keeps well in the fridge, and all you have to do in the morning is drop it on the griddle. When I was still working in an office, I took this one step further and brought my just-cooked <a href="http://www.dana-farber.org/Health-Library/Pumpkin-Buckwheat-Pancakes.aspx">pumpkin-buckwheat pancakes</a> into work. Enjoying pancakes at my desk while reading my morning emails definitely made the start of the work day much more awesome.</p> <h2>5. Chopped Vegetables</h2> <p>Whether you're using them for snacks or salads, pre-chopping your vegetables is a great way to make sure you have healthy things to eat when you want them. You can even separate them into serving-size-portioned Tupperware so you can just throw them into your lunch bag.</p> <h2>6. Hummus and Dips</h2> <p>Great with pita and vegetables or as a sandwich spread, hummus is super easy to make (this <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/israeli-hummus-with-paprika-and-whole-chickpeas-cocktails-2009">hummus recipe</a> from Zahav in Philadelphia is one of my favorites). Have it on hand &mdash; or other dips and spreads such as fresh salsa, olive tapenade, pesto, or balsamic bean dip &mdash; to liven up otherwise mediocre snacks and meals.</p> <h2>7. Muffins</h2> <p>A great grab-and-go food, muffins are awesome for a quick breakfast or as afternoon snacks. You can bake a batch on Sunday for the week, or make <a href="http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2010/09/healthy-and-delicious-refrigerator-bran-muffins.html">fridge muffin batter</a>. This stuff keeps in the fridge for around a month, and when you want a muffin, all you need to do spoon a little bit of the batter into a muffin cup and toss it in the oven.</p> <h2>8. Cookies</h2> <p>If you're packing lunches for young ones (or, really, for yourself), it's always nice to include a sweet treat. One of the reasons I love making my own sweets is that I can use ingredients like whole-wheat white flour, lower the sugar content (I find that using 3/4 of the sugar a recipe calls for is rarely noticeable), and make other alterations to provide myself with healthier, but still satisfying desserts.</p> <h2>9. Multi-Purpose Protein</h2> <p>Everybody who's lived in a house where the Sunday <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-pot-roast-a-week-of-cheap-and-delicious-lunches">pot roast</a> becomes Monday's beef stew, Tuesday's chop suey, and so on knows that having ready-to-go protein makes for quick-and-easy meals. You can marinate and cook some chicken or tofu on Sunday that can be easily tossed in a salad or paired with sides, or follow the classic model and cook a roast, turkey, ham, or seitan dish that will leave you lots of leftovers.</p> <h2>10. Side Salads</h2> <p>Having already prepared side salads can make lunch and dinner oh-so-easy. Whether it's bean salad, pasta salad, potato salad, cole slaw, or just a nice mix of vegetables, pairing a side salad with a bit of quick protein makes for a super-fast and satisfying meal.</p> <p><em>Do you prepare food on Sunday for the rest of the week? If so, what? Share your thoughts in the comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-ahead-food-10-things-to-cook-on-a-sunday">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-you-shouldnt-buy-at-the-grocery-store">25 Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy at the Grocery Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style">Buy Your Groceries European-Style</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-rules-you-must-follow-when-shopping-at-costco">5 Frugal Rules You Must Follow When Shopping at Costco</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend">Save Time and Money With a Monthly Assembly (or Bulk) Cooking Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-homemade-baking-mixes-that-save-money-and-time">10 Homemade Baking Mixes That Save Money and Time</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink bulk cooking cheap groceries make ahead food Wed, 15 Jun 2011 10:36:27 +0000 Meg Favreau 578133 at http://www.wisebread.com