Sweet Tea and Tacos

Whipping up a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Celebration

March 25, 2024 Sweet Tea and Tacos
Whipping up a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Celebration
Sweet Tea and Tacos
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Sweet Tea and Tacos
Whipping up a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Celebration
Mar 25, 2024
Sweet Tea and Tacos

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Ever dreamed of hosting a Thanksgiving dinner that unfolds with the grace of a ballet rather than the chaos of a food fight? We've got you covered. Join us as we whisk you through the essential steps of holiday meal prepping, ensuring you're armed with strategies to outsmart any turkey shortages and kitchen mishaps. Imagine your freezer, once a cluttered abyss, now neatly packed with pre-made pies and space to spare. This episode is no ordinary recipe swap—it's a masterclass in transforming Thanksgiving prep from a frantic day of chaos into a leisurely dance of culinary delight.

Gather 'round the podcast table for a feast of tips and tales guaranteed to infuse humor and ease into your holiday cooking escapades. We dish out the secrets to crafting that perfect from-scratch green bean casserole and share the rib-tickling alternatives for when the elusive turkey gives you the slip. No guest this time, just your dedicated hosts, seasoned with sage advice and a pinch of wit, ready to guide you through a Thanksgiving that's more about giving thanks and less about last-minute supermarket dashes. Button up your apron and tune in for a helping of holiday wisdom that'll leave you hungry for more than just seconds on stuffing.


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Send us a Text Message.

Ever dreamed of hosting a Thanksgiving dinner that unfolds with the grace of a ballet rather than the chaos of a food fight? We've got you covered. Join us as we whisk you through the essential steps of holiday meal prepping, ensuring you're armed with strategies to outsmart any turkey shortages and kitchen mishaps. Imagine your freezer, once a cluttered abyss, now neatly packed with pre-made pies and space to spare. This episode is no ordinary recipe swap—it's a masterclass in transforming Thanksgiving prep from a frantic day of chaos into a leisurely dance of culinary delight.

Gather 'round the podcast table for a feast of tips and tales guaranteed to infuse humor and ease into your holiday cooking escapades. We dish out the secrets to crafting that perfect from-scratch green bean casserole and share the rib-tickling alternatives for when the elusive turkey gives you the slip. No guest this time, just your dedicated hosts, seasoned with sage advice and a pinch of wit, ready to guide you through a Thanksgiving that's more about giving thanks and less about last-minute supermarket dashes. Button up your apron and tune in for a helping of holiday wisdom that'll leave you hungry for more than just seconds on stuffing.


Support the Show.

Dave:

Welcome to Sweet Tea and Tacos. I'm Dave.

Jen:

And I'm Jen.

Dave:

And it's the Super Bowl of Food. It's Thanksgiving.

Jen:

That's right.

Dave:

Right, and you can never really start too early. You think you can't, you think you do, but you really don't, because you run out of you know you got life and there's actually a lot of steps it is, it pays to be prepared and then you want to have, you want to be able to enjoy the meal. If you're a cook, you know and enjoy the day absolutely.

Jen:

I remember my mom and I've mentioned that she had some health issues, but she always talked about how she was so tired by the time she sat down after preparing a big meal like that that she almost couldn't even enjoy it. So you don't.

Jen:

You don't want to have that, yeah and then if you've got, you know you've got two sides of the family, we've got my family and your family and, and this year you're doing a group something with some friends that's right, coming on this thursday and this is a couple weeks before thanksgiving, so this kind of brought to light an issue with us doing this, this specific episode about thanksgiving preparedness, because I have run into already some issues in trying to secure ingredients like a turkey, and this year I guess there's a lot of supply chain issues and so just be forewarned, don't wait until the last minute.

Jen:

Because I walked into one grocery yesterday and there were about five or six in the whole store and they weren't even whole turkeys, they were just like a turkey breast. And I went to another store and there was very little, maybe just a few, I don't even know just some breasts in a bag in the frozen section. And then I called a third grocery store and they said all of our turkeys that were supposed to be delivered this week have already been spoken for, and I was just kind of shocked that. You know, it's just not like when we were growing up where you could just go the week of and get a turkey and be ready to roll.

Dave:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So you know, especially since so many of them turkeys come frozen. You know, you got to make room in your freezer, but you do but you could go ahead and buy it two, three weeks absolutely.

Jen:

You see one. I would say if you find what you want, go ahead and buy it.

Dave:

Yeah, don't wait, and then I mean you're gonna have to defrost it anyway, unless you, you know, and then even now I don't know if really fresh turkeys are going to be a whole lot of an option. This year they may not be that's always nice not having a defrost. Yes, you know, you go the week of a couple days before thanksgiving and they've got fresh turkeys, but that's been harder and harder to find absolutely the past several years it's it's been harder to find so what else can you do?

Dave:

or what else are you doing to try to make prepare? You know, what can we do to make that day of thanksgiving more enjoyable without having to cook in the spend all day cooking right.

Jen:

So, like we kind of discussed before we, we hopped on here to record we talked about that the main thing that you want to be doing the day of is just cooking the turkey. Yeah, and everything else is kind of just, you've already got it, uh, prepped, and then you're just going to be assembling the day of. Yeah, um, so like, for instance, you know, we live in the South so we do cornbread dressing instead of stuffing. So several days before I would go ahead and chop all my vegetables for that, things like bell, pepper, onion, celery, parsley, whatever and get that sautéed.

Jen:

You can let that cool, put it in a zipper bag, put it in your fridge or your freezer Boom, you're done. Also, I would go ahead and make my cornbread. I can go ahead and crumb it up like in the food processor, put in a bag, put in the fridge, boom, I'm done. And then you know another day later if I wanted to take all that and assemble it, put in the pan and just let it sit in the fridge.

Jen:

Then I can just pull it out the day of right, pop it in the oven so like on a tuesday you do that, say on a tuesday probably thanksgiving is always thursday, so tuesday you're doing that.

Dave:

That takes hour and a half of your day yeah you know, and then wednesday you put it all together and put it in your fridge and honestly letting it sit that day together it lets the flavors meld even more yeah, and so then, thanksgiving day, you just pop it in the oven and there you go that's right um other other sides.

Dave:

Your green bean casserole you can do, you can assemble it the day of, I mean the day before you know and if you're doing the green bean casserole right and then, like you said, just save your little onion crunchy, onion things for right before it would go in the oven the day of right, um, I mean, and really, things like cranberry, you want to make that a day or two ahead of time anyway, because it's just that you want to cool it off, right, you know, um, we've done, you know, sweet potatoes, we've done mashed potatoes, you know those kind of things. Pies, you need to make the day ahead any time, anyway, you know, yeah, or to just spread that preparation out.

Jen:

Right. It's just important to not be in such a rush and such a panic the day of Right, because you just want to leave some margin. And that's a good sort of guide for life to leave margin in a lot of things but just to not have it all crammed into the last 24 hours, right?

Dave:

so yeah, so you start even over the week, the weekend before right clean out your fridge.

Jen:

Absolutely start there I always clean up my fridge and so I take everything out and I mix up a mixture of water and baking soda, get a sponge and just wipe off the shelves, wipe it down really good because if you're going to do all this prep, you got to have a place to put it you do. You want to make room. You want to throw out old junk that's in there, some like old ketchup or jams or jellies and things that are.

Dave:

You know they need to go and then you've got, you know, your, uh, your turkey defrosting, which you got to start know, depending on how big it is Right, you know Monday, right, and you could do that possibly, maybe in like a cooler. Yeah. You know outside on your back porch if you want it In some water, depending on how cold it is.

Jen:

Yeah, but yeah, a lot of people just do it in their fridge.

Dave:

Yeah, especially down here it can get hot. Sometimes You've got to be especially down here.

Jen:

it can get hot sometimes you know you gotta be careful with that, but yeah, yeah so make room, get your turkey in there.

Dave:

You know monday, tuesday prep dressings and you know things like that cranberries if you're making bread, you know make it on tuesday yeah, you know, bake it off, yeah, yeah and and the nice thing about, as opposed to when we were growing up.

Jen:

I mean, the kids typically get the whole week off of school now, yeah, so you're not going to have like all that school responsibilities, you know, in the mix, you'll just everybody will kind of be home and you can focus a little bit more on cooking. Yeah, because I think we used to go monday and tuesday of school for thanksgiving week when we were growing up.

Dave:

So what are some things you can do if you've got multiple meals? Yeah, because of my work schedule, we don't get to actually have the day together.

Jen:

That's right. We always have to have it the day, I mean like maybe even a week ahead.

Dave:

Yeah, so we spread things out, so that feels like you're doing more work. But what can you do to kind of maybe make that easier?

Jen:

well, I would say, divvy out responsibilities, you know, especially if you're having, say, grandparents and aunts and uncles, and you know several family groups coming together just, and then people do this kind of organically anyway. Just make sure that you're clear on who's bringing what, because you don't want people to have to, like, go to all this trouble to make, say, cornbread dressing and right, oh well, my brother-in-law brought it too, and uh-oh, we've got two and they're kind of competing and you know. So, um, just kind of laying that out and being organized right.

Dave:

But then, like, let's say, you are making cornbread dressing for, you know, a big meal on thursday and then you have maybe a second meal on saturday because you have more people coming in. It doesn't take much longer to make two when you're doing it all that's right, and you could always freeze it, you know, yeah, or whatever um, you know, freeze the parts and then assemble it.

Dave:

Um same thing with cranberries, um sweet potato, whatever casseroles, or you know whatever you're. We're going to talk about sides, yeah, but there's a lot of ways, when you go ahead and make it, just make a little bit bigger batch that's right and you know, as long as you're doing it, within two, three days you're in good shape. Yeah, yeah, um now, funny story, kind of funny we discovered something new. So one year, year we were really trying to prep.

Jen:

Uh-huh.

Dave:

And I made the mashed potatoes the day ahead.

Jen:

Yeah.

Dave:

So I got it out of the fridge and it was even after. You know, I was trying to warm it up. It's super stiff. I mean it really soaked up all the liquid. So, I put more liquid, more butter, more cream. I mean, come on, can't be bad. So then we heated it up in the oven and it just turned out really good because I think it was able to absorb and then take on even more right. And then it just was neat.

Jen:

Yeah, it had real depth of flavor.

Dave:

So you might even discover something new. Like you said, letting your dressing sit for a day and meld, and it might turn out better. And then your pies. We always struggle with pies, I think.

Jen:

Yeah, you know, because a lot of pies I actually like to eat cold. Yeah, you know, like a pumpkin pie, I really prefer it cold.

Dave:

Right. And then you seem to be oh, we fried the pie. We got to put the pie in the oven, yeah, and then it comes out warm and you know it's been cooled down enough.

Jen:

You're not ready to eat it.

Dave:

then you got to do that pie of the day you do, you know so making gravy and honestly that should be about it.

Jen:

Yeah, the gravy's kind of just the last thing, and you know you're pouring it into the gravy boat and putting everything on the table.

Dave:

Yeah, so that just takes a lot of pressure off. You're able to watch the parade or whatever football game's on that's right. And enjoy it. And not just feel like you're in the oven. You know, sometimes you feel like sometimes you do uh, the whole day.

Jen:

Yeah, you know, and, uh, and you can enjoy it a lot more, and that's really the point of everything, anyway it is just to be able to enjoy your family or enjoy friends that you're with and just to you know, take time to be thankful for all your blessings.

Dave:

But it also extends to not just your food but your table. You know you time to be thankful for all your blessings, but it also extends to not just your food but your table you know you usually do the table a day or two sometimes two days ahead of time.

Jen:

Yeah, and I love that, like it's as much as I love cooking that's as much fun for me to set the table. I just love to make a, a beautiful table and you know it doesn't have to be ultra fancy. But um, I don't know. To me it's just something nice about sitting down to a very well-prepared table, right and you know, to me it also extends the holiday.

Dave:

You know it's much more than just a day. It becomes a week, it's. You know it feels like a holiday. It feels like the holiday when we're setting the table or we're getting the plates out and washing them up and we're starting to right, or you've got these delicious smells.

Jen:

I mean right, not too long ago I was um cooking some mirepoix for something I think I was getting, uh, maybe some kind of bolognese sauce ready for lunch that day and you it was that morning and you came, came out to the um you know, from the bedroom and said, oh, it smells like thanksgiving here, and so, yeah, I mean there's all these smells that are kind of associated with her, yeah, childhood memories and whatnot, so that, that's just, you know, part of getting it ready, making it easier on yourself but still having a really good meal.

Dave:

And you know, if you like to cook like we do, which we hope, that's why most of y'all are listening.

Jen:

That's right.

Dave:

That just extends that and you get to cook all week, but you're not wearing yourself out, which we've done.

Jen:

We've done that, oh boy, plenty of of times, plenty of times, yeah, and also bring the kids in. You know, in all this preparing, let them help too, because if you're, you know, kind of not saving it until the last minute, then you've got a little bit more time to take, to show them. Bring them in and say, alright, all right, hey, come in here and let's go over how we fix, you know, my grandmother's dressing right, whatever you know, and then you're carrying it to the next generation so that one day she can show her daughter right

Dave:

hey, you know and I think sometimes even I think some of the things we've ended up doing for Thanksgiving foods have been tweaked over the years to make them so much easier to do.

Jen:

You know yeah.

Dave:

By spreading it out. You can do things a little more Green bean casserole, great example. You can throw it together in like 10 minutes. Or you can make it from scratch and saute your mushrooms and do a cream sauce and all this stuff yes, that takes more time.

Jen:

Yeah, but it makes a difference, it makes a big difference.

Dave:

It tastes completely different.

Jen:

It does.

Dave:

You know, and same thing with you know, if you're going to do whatever side you're going to do, it gives you more time to spend on making that one dish what you want it to be. Right, really finessing those little details yeah, so so there you go, thanksgiving preparedness yes, and I would just say be prepared this year.

Jen:

If there's a year to be prepared, oh yeah, get, get on it. Get that turkey ordered, get it claimed and staked because um we don't you don't want to end up with no turkey on thanksgiving and this may be the year that that happens.

Dave:

Uh, yeah, so well, you might be having chicken or just tell your kids. It's a really small turkey, you know. So sorry kids, but anyway. So all right, so that's it for today. Uh, go out and get that turkey for Sweet Teen Tacos. I'm Dave.

Jen:

And I'm Jen Talk to you later.

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