What do you make for breakfast on a day that revolves around preparing to eat an enormous meal in the early afternoon? 

If you're clever, you make something healthful yet filling, something that will see you through that early morning hike or game of football (our traditions), or just a long and exhausting day of basting and mashing and making smalltalk with extended family members. If you're really, really clever, you make something that can be thrown together the night before and sit in the refrigerator before being quickly baked and served in the morning. Whatever your Thanksgiving Day has in store for you, the best way to begin it is with an individually-portioned spiced baked oatmeal, lightly sweet and topped with a few generous spoonfuls of cranberry sauce (a preview of the meal to come).

Spiced Baked Oatmeal with Cranberry-Bourbon Compote*

Makes 4 servings

2 cups rolled oats
3 cups milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, stir until well combined. Portion evenly into four small baking dishes, cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let sit at least one hour or overnight (this is really the best, as it will give you the creamiest oats) in the fridge, then preheat oven to 350. Bake for 20 minutes, until oats have set but are still tender and creamy, remove and let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with cranberry sauce.

[ *Use a little of the cranberry sauce you're about to serve at the main meal to top off your baked breakfast treats! If for some reason you don't have any cranberry goodness planned (and man, what is wrong with you? RESPECT THE CRANBERRY), here's an excellent recipe that will give you plenty of leftovers.]

1 12 oz. bag of cranberries
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of brown sugar
3 tablespoons bourbon or brandy
2 tablespoons orange zest

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan, simmer on medium while stirring occasionally. Remove from heat after about 25-30 minutes, when cranberries have begun to burst and the mixture thickens into a sauce. Let cool slightly, but serve warm