Food on Fridays: Fend for Yourself


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Food on Fridays with Ann

Sometimes, after a long, full day, we realize we don’t have time or energy to make dinner from scratch. That’s when we send everyone to the fridge for “Fend for Yourself” night. They dig around for leftovers and heat up a plate of whatever looks interesting.Do you think that might work for Thanksgiving?I could make the turkey, mashed potatoes, corn and pumpkin pie in advance, stick everything in the fridge, and then invite our guests to forage.Well, I don’t think I can get by with that for Thanksgiving Day, but I did hear an interesting idea from a friend of mine. She is going to make her turkey a day in advance, carve it, store it in the fridge covered in foil and sitting in broth, and then simply heat it up on Thanksgiving Day.Unconventional? Perhaps.Convenient? Definitely.And it sounds like the closest thing to Fend for Yourself I could get by with.Would you do it, if you were hosting?


Credits: photo by Ann Kroeker.

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  • Comments

    1. Yes, I have precooked the turkey many times before and plan to do it again this year. We are having our meal at 1 o’clock since of my married daughters is doing an evening meal with her in-laws. My other married daughter has out if town company and won’t be joining us, but we’re going to her house for dessert at 5. I have told my kids that we are really chill about who comes when for holidays after they leave home. If they can make it to our house, fine. If not, we’ll miss them but not be offended. We can always get together another day. With 10 kids we have to be flexible.

      • annkroeker says:

        So…sounds like it could work? You have me thinking I might really do this, cooking it ahead of time and reheating the day of. It seems so crazy, but as my friend pointed out, it eliminates the worry about when it will be done, is it cooked through, etc.

        I like the “really chill” approach, by the way. Our guests are pretty chill, so that does take some pressure off. In fact, I could almost send them to the fridge to forage.

    2. We often make do with left overs, but probably will not do this on Thanksgiving. Now cooking the turkey ahead of time and carving it is a great idea. We have one of those big aluminum pans that would work. Son in Law is bringing a ham. Husband Robert wants a small dish of sweet potatoes, and of course mashed potatoes. He has a new recipe he wants to try with frozen long green beans. And for those who don’t like green, some corn. I plan to make pies Wednesday. Pumpkin and apple. We will give in and make a purchase of some ice cream for those who want it on top of the pie. After our company leaves – – guess what we will be having for the next few days!

      • annkroeker says:

        I like how simple and delicious this sounds. We do a pitch-in, so really all I have to make is the turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, drinks and…well, that may be it. I have to check my list before the weekend is over, to plan ahead and buy everything!

    3. Lynn Hopper says:

      My friend Martha always cooks her turkey the day before, carves it and reheats it! Considering how that would free up the oven on “THE” day,I think it is worth thinking about!

      • annkroeker says:

        Since we don’t do a big presentation of the entire bird nor carve it in front of the guests, I don’t know why we shouldn’t go ahead and try it. We’ll still smell it as it’s reheating…along with all the other yummy stuff burbling on the stove top.

    4. Oh, it sounds soooo convenient but I’ll cave and make it on Thanksgiving Day. The guys would be disappointed if they couldn’t smell it cooking in the oven, poke their noses in at it, and then return to football.
      Tempting, though, I must admit.

      Happy Thanksgiving,

    5. I wouldn’t. But then, Thanksgiving is the ONE holiday when my family comes to our home. And for many, many years, I wasn’t in a position to host a holiday meal.

      My sister’s gang is bringing the pies. My brother’s bunch is bringing the appetizers (can you guess which of my siblings is more punctual?:) My dad is bringing the soft drinks.

      I’ll make the cranberries on Wednesday. I’ll tear up the bread for stuffing and chop the onions and celery on Wednesday, too. (Note to self: put onions in fridge on Tuesday!)

      But for me half the fun is orchestrating the meal so everything is ready at about the same time. :)

    6. It sounds like a great idea – much less stress for the cook! I like the idea of keeping the turkey in the broth to keep it moist. You could also spend more time with your guests :) Thank you for sharing this excellent idea, and for hosting!

    7. We do the same — make the turkey a day ahead.

      Have a blessed Thanksgiving, Ann.


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