My birthday, November 25th, falls on Thanksgiving every seven years. Growing up, we would sometimes go to my Grandmother’s home for Thanksgiving and I remember loving the fact that, not only did I get to eat turkey, my grandmother’s Sausage stuffing and pie, but I also got birthday presents and a cake. The best of both worlds!
As an adult, I don’t always love when Thanksgiving falls on my birthday, as it does this year. While I do love to cook, Thanksgiving is a marathon for home cooks, with a lot of moving parts involved. Then there’s the setting of the table and the cleaning up part of it, which goes on forever. So, this year, I am trying to make as many dishes ahead of time as possible, so I’m not overwhelmed with chores on my birthday.
Obviously the turkey has to be roasted the day of Thanksgiving (and I love the smell of it!), but my Grandmother’s Sausage Stuffing, pies and even mashed potatoes can all be made ahead. A.J. is bringing the famous Grandview Sweet Potatoes (more a dessert than side dish!) and a Pecan Pie, so I will round off the meal with Green Bean Casserole, rolls, cranberry sauce and Julia Child’s Fluffy Pumpkin Pie.
Everyone has their favorite “must-have dishes” at Thanksgiving. Mine is the turkey, (dark meat), sausage stuffing and pumpkin pie. My Dad insisted on the Cranberry Sauce in the can- Ocean Spray- that comes out with a thunk and has little ridges on its jiggly, ruby cylinder, making it easy to slice into rounds. I prefer homemade Cranberry Sauce and this is a dish that can be made at least a week in advance of Thanksgiving and will last, like jellies and jams, for months. Of course, you have to put it out with the Turkey Dinner, but it is most essential on Turkey Sandwiches the next day. It also can be mixed into oatmeal, yogurt or heated up and served over vanilla (or pumpkin!) ice cream.
Make Ahead Cranberry SauceCourse: SidesCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
1 pound fresh cranberries
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup cranberry juice
Finely grated orange zest of 1 orange
1 cup dried cherries (or Craisins)
- Pick through cranberries, rinse, then drain well.
- Combine the cranberries, sugar, orange juice and orange zest in a pan. Place over medium heat; boil slowly until the berries pop, about 10 minutes.
- Skim the foam off the surface with a metal spoon, stir in the dried cherries and let cool to room temperature.
- Cover and refrigerate.
- I substituted pomegranate juice for cranberry juice.
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