Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon and Hazelnuts – This might just be the only sweet potato recipe you’ll ever need!
Thanksgiving can be a little overwhelming for first time hosts.
Heck, Thanksgiving can cause anxiety in award-winning chefs… Don’t feel bad if the thought of it gives you hives!
Today I’m sharing some helpful Thanksgiving planning tips to get you off on the right track.
1. Pour yourself a glass of wine before you start planning. This is key.
2. Plan a traditional Thanksgiving feast with all the nostalgic foods you love, but let your creative juices flow on the side dishes.
3. Organize the meal with your cookware, oven, and range in mind. How many sauce pots, pie pans, and baking dishes do you have available? Assign them to your dishes. Take the number of ovens and burners you have into consideration. That might help you decide between mashed sweet potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, or sweet potato pie.
4. Write down your menu, gather your recipes, then make a thorough grocery list. You don’t want to be running back to the store at the last minute!
5. Make a checklist of dishes to cook, and other preparations to be made. Try to plan what you are going to do on the days before, so your checklist isn’t daunting Wednesday night.
6. Whenever anyone offers to bring an item, be ready to hand something off with a big “THANK YOU!” Some good items to delegate (or buy pre-made) are…
7. Completely clear the table of all dishes from previous courses before serving dessert. That way, after dessert you can relax.
Here is the order in which I usually undertake Thanksgiving dinner.
4-6 Days Before
- Shop and put the turkey in the fridge to thaw. DO NOT WAIT TO THAW YOUR TURKEY!
2 Days Before
- Brine the Turkey. That’s right, BRINE IT! People, even so called experts, may try to tell you this is unnecessary, but from my experience (which in fairly substantial in the turkey department) you can’t get a bird as juicy and flavorful, with a GREAT crispy skin, without brining it. Don’t argue, just trust. *wink* I usually buy a brining bag, then put the whole bagged turkey in a bucket, a precaution against looming holiday disaster.
- Prepare Sweet Potatoes, Make Cranberry Relish, Make Pumpkin Pies, Cut bread cubes for homemade stuffing and let them sit out uncovered to dry.
1 Day Before
- Remove the turkey from the brine a full 24 hours before roasting, so the skin can dry out. Place it in a roasting pan in the fridge, uncovered, to speed up the drying process. Dry skin = crisp golden skin.
- Clean the house.
- Set the table.
- Prepare the stuffing.
- Make some iced tea, or other beverages.
- Again, pour yourself a glass of wine. Yes, at 7 am, or whatever time you decide to start. It’s one day a year guys, and it will help keep your stress level down.
- Prep the turkey EARLY and get in the oven (Don’t forget to turn and baste!)
- While the turkey is roasting, prepare any side dishes that need to be made fresh.
- Pull out any items that may need to be reheated, and let them come to room temperature.
- Remove turkey from oven, and cover to rest.
- Bake the side dishes.
While side dishes are baking
- Prepare Gravy, Green Veggies, and warm pre-made items.
- Sit down and enjoy yourself. Secretly revel in the fact that you pulled off an amazing Thanksgiving dinner. Everything looks lovely, and is hot at the same time!
Last, I want to share an old favorite sweet potato recipe that is quick to put together (other than the roasting time.) These Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes are a great make-ahead, to pop in the oven on Thanksgiving day.
It’s also nice to have some side dishes that are prepared for individual servings.
Although I love sweet potatoes in all preparations, these Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon and Hazelnuts are ultra creamy with a hint of bourbon and a crunchy nut top.
We’ve been making this recipe for years and keep coming right on back to it.
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