Making Thanksgiving dinner easy: How you can work ahead - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Making Thanksgiving dinner easy: How you can work ahead

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Many of us are planning our Thanksgiving dinners and looking for some shortcuts to make things easier.

Joel Olson with Hemmachef, who teaches cooking classes, has some great ideas when it comes to saving time on the food prep. He showed Wake Up Wisconsin viewers an easy way to make their own gravy. Most of it can be done up to a week ahead of time and froze. Then you would just add turkey drippings on Thanksgiving to finish the gravy. Olson says, "That way you don't have to stress out about the gravy."

As for mashed potatoes, Olson says you can get those done ahead of time too, instead of trying to time it out with the turkey. Make them about an hour or two ahead of time, put them in a bowl and put it over another bowl with some water in it. Put parchment paper over the mashed potatoes and they will be good to go when you're ready to eat.

Olson says even though this may be unpopular with your guests, you should let the turkey sit for awhile before you serve it; about 1/3 of the time you cooked it. For example, if you cooked the turkey for three hours, let it sit for 45 minutes before you carve it. This will allow it to get its full flavor. Olson says not to worry about it getting cold, although your guests may not allow it to sit for that long!

Click on the video link for a demonstration of his tips. For a more detailed version, head to Hemmachef's page on the subject.

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