Thanksgiving Pantry Staples: Must-Have Ingredients
Every year I get grumpy about Thanksgiving. So much brown, soft food. Such huge piles of food. And so much of the menu is last-minute! You can’t exactly bring out a turkey you made ahead and froze . . .
. . . But you can, at least, stash away some pantry items that will make the month easier. My worst last-minute Thanksgiving food is gravy. Everyone insists on gravy, but sometimes it goes kerfluey on me. And I can’t let my husband help, because I once caught him adding baby formula to a gravy recipe. So I always keep a jar or two of premade gravy base on hand (I’ve had great luck with the Williams-Sonoma brand). Even if I don’t need it on the day itself, it comes in handy for day-after turkey sandwiches and casseroles.
What you do for cranberry sauce is up to you, but dried cranberries are a great boon for the Thanksgiving cook. Add a cup to your favorite stuffing or wild-rice mix; use them in scones or muffins for the bread basket; or toss a bag into your apple pie filling for a tart, autumnal note and a bright surprise of color. Sliced almonds are just as versatile as dried cranberries. Toasted lightly, they can also be added to stuffing, baked goods, and vegetables for a tasty crunch
And cream cheese! You should always keep a pound in the fridge in November. With cream cheese, onions, and a little stock, you can turn a plain green vegetable into a turkey-worthy side dish. Plus, cream cheese is the secret to mashed potatoes you can make a day in advance and reheat. Because anything you don’t have to make on The Day Itself is gold, baby.
Put your Thanksgiving pantry staples to work:
• Balsamic-Glazed Green Beans (with slivered almonds)