All about prep. Now that I’ve decided what to make and I’ve bought my ingredients, the next step is to prep. What I do next is to print all of my recipes and look at the prep time. Again, Thanksgiving is not a day to “experiment” with the unknown. You should get your favorite recipes or recipes from people you trust. Personally, I’m an Alton Brown fan. His use of ingredients and techniques are great. They also leave a little room for alteration.
I take all the recipes and lay them out. You’ll notice that the time it takes to make each dish differs. You want to keep an eye on these times—prep time and cook time. What you’ll also see is that some of the ingredients overlap such as: onions, garlic, celery, and carrots.
Now that you’ve seen similarities across the board, you can chop the onions, celery, and carrots for all the dishes at once (you’ll cry less). Put these ingredients in separate bowls until your ready to cook.
Another technique that I like to do during this time of the year is to do all the preparation a day before and place the items in the refrigerator until I’m ready. You’ll find that some grocery stores have pre-chopped, pre-sliced, and minced everything. It’s the same concept except yours will be fresh.
In terms of timing, I’ll start a turkey on Wednesday morning before I head to work (brine is a good thing). Wednesday afternoon I’ll start the slicing and dicing. The pork will go into the oven around midnight. Thursday morning I’ll start the soup and the potatoes. Around noon or so, I’ll throw the turkey/roast in the oven and start the vegetables.