Q: What can be made ahead? And what should be cooked Thanksgiving day?

A: The smartest approach to preparing for the big day is to think through your menu in terms of tasks: Some dishes can be entirely prepared ahead and simply reheated on Turkey Day; others can be broken into components and finished just before serving.

For instance, sweet potato and most casseroles, stuffing, and mac and cheese can all be fully cooked ahead, chilled, and reheated before serving. With sides like salads, you can prepare many components (wash and chop lettuce and veggies, toast nuts, make vinaigrette), but store them separately and toss together just before serving. There are others still, like mashed potatoes and the bird, that need to be done from start to finish just before you plan to serve them.

More Holiday Help: