The big “turkey” day is almost here. Now is the time to start making preparations for a smooth cooking day. As a part of the Walmart Moms, I was asked to share my best Thanksgiving Meal Prep tips with you all. If you are like me, you love Thanksgiving but hate being tied down to the kitchen all day. There are other fun activities to do on Thanksgiving like hanging out with family instead. So with the giftcard provided I went to my local Walmart to pick up a few products that help me simplify cooking a Thanksgiving dinner.
- Make a menu, then your shopping list. It’s easy to get caught up in adding lots of dishes to Thanksgjving dinner. Pick your families favorites or requests and create a menu. Take inventory of ingredients that you may already have on hand before heading to the store.
- Buy premade desserts. Walmart has a wide variety of desserts in their bakery section As well as dessert mixes in a box and frozen dessert options. My family enjoys both a pumpkin pie and pecan bars on Thanksgiving. I found this pre-made pumpkin pie from Walmart’s bakery for just $2.98 which is a great price, in my opinion. My favorite part about pre-made pies is that there is no effort on my part and they taste delicious! Speaking of delicious, I also picked up a baking kit to quickly make my husband’s favorite pecan bars. I love the use of baking mixes, like these pecan bars, around the holidays because there are not very many ingredients to buy, most of everything that I need comes in the box.
- Make or assemble side dishes for baking the day before. My poor oven sure does get a workout on Thanksgiving day. There are lots of things to bake. The night before I will assemble all of my side dishes that need to be baked in the oven and store them in the fridge. On the day of Thanksgiving, all I have to do is pull them from the fridge and pop them in the oven to bake after the turkey is done cooking. To save time on Thanksgiving day, I will also prepare the pecan bars and any other desserts the night before.
- I don’t just assemble my side dishes in regular baking dishes though. Clean-up after Thanksgiving Dinner is not very much fun so to cut down on the after dinner clean up time I rely on disposable cooking pans, plates, cups, and silverware. I found these EZ Foil Roasting Pans by Hefty at Walmart for $3.98. In a pack of three, I’ll be able to make ahead several different side dishes. This makes clean up time after a delicious Thanksgiving meal a breeze.
- Buy the right sized turkey. Turkey’s come in a variety of different sizes the trick is to find the right sized turkey to feed everyone at your get-together. My ideal turkey is one that feeds everyone at our family Thanksgiving with just a little bit leftover for sandwiches the next couple of days. So for a small family buying just a turkey breast rather than a whole turkey may be a better option. Also keep in mind that larger turkeys will need longer time to cook.
- Cut out the prep and thawing time of cooking a turkey with an oven ready variety. I know I can’t be the only one that hasn’t yet mastered the fine art of cooking a turkey from “scratch”. A few years ago I discovered the secret to a mouthwatering turkey. My secret to the perfect turkey comes from Jennie O’s Oven Ready Whole Turkeys & Turkey Breasts which can be found in Walmart stores. There is no prep before cooking this turkey which I’m so thankful for. I can simply remove from the freezer on Thanksgiving Morning and pop it directly into the oven. Although I’m pretty good at making gravy from scratch these oven ready turkeys also saves me a step as they come with gravy that simply needs to be heated on the stove.
By doing some advanced prep work the night before, eliminating clean up with disposable, loving the bakery section for after dinner indulgences, and picking the right sized, oven-ready turkey Thanksgiving meal prep becomes a lot more manageable with products that can be found at Walmart.