Thanksgiving Run-Up


Just in time for the holidays, our outside freezer has busted. And, for complicated tax reasons, there will be no replacement until January. Truly a first-world problem, but, as I look at the crowding in my remaining side-by-side freezer, I can't help but pity myself. On the very first day of the Great Transfer I was digging something out of the bottom bin, and a loaf of bread that my daughter hadn't stuffed hard enough into the heap on the top shelf plummeted and knocked me silly. I guess I should be thankful it wasn't a frozen roast. All of which is to say, this Thanksgiving run-up I can't do my usual favorite thing of making lots ahead and freezing it. I did already bake the rolls (part of the overcrowding problem in the side-by-side), and the cranberry sauce is in the fridge because all the sugar would preserve it until 2018, but that's it.

Even the bundt cakes I had to bake for my oldest's swim team banquet had to be delivered to a friend's house for freezing:


But let's assume you have a working freezer. That puppy can hold your rolls, your green-bean casserole, your baked or unbaked apple pie. You fridge, meanwhile, can stash the cranberry sauce, homemade salad dressing, and the best-ever "bean salsa" I found for you.

Freeze-Ahead Bread Machine Rolls

2-1/2 cups bread flour

3/4 cup whole-wheat flour

2 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp softened butter

1 tsp salt

3 tsp bread machine yeast

1 cup warm water (nuke for one minute)

1 egg

Place all the ingredients in your bread machine and set on the dough cycle. When the cycle completes, remove the dough to a floured surface. Divide into 16 balls and set in a buttered 13x9 or 9x9 pan. Cover with a dish towel and let rise 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F. Bake rolls 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and cool thoroughly on rack.

Then load them in freezer bags and freeze until Thanksgiving. On that day, throw them on the counter to thaw. You can warm them up again in the oven, if there's any room in the oven. Otherwise, they're good to go! (I adapted this recipe from Betty Crocker's Best Christmas Cookbook, cutting the sugar and adding the whole wheat.)

Now, if you're anything like our family, Thanksgiving dinner isn't served until 2-3 in the afternoon, and you spend the day torn between wanting to eat a little (to take the edge off), but not enough to spoil the foodfest that awaits.

I have a solution. Around about 11, pull out this "bean salsa" that I recently got the recipe for.

Bean Salsa

1 can black beans, drained

1 can black-eyed peas, drained

1 can corn, drained

1 can white beans, drained

1/2 red onion, chopped fine

4-5 red or green jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced

1 bunch cilantro


1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup sugar (I would reduce this to 1/2 cup and see what happens)

1 Tbsp hot sauce

salt and pepper, to taste

Mix the salsa ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the dressing ingredients and pour over. Toss and serve with tortilla chips.

Happy prepping.