If you haven’t started planning for Thanksgiving dinner, it’s time to get going! We’ve majored in the very best traditional Thanksgiving dishes we can find and this is one holiday when we stick with the classics. For a couple of reasons it really helps to start planning early. First, planning well saves my sanity. Second, planning well saves my relationships with all the people that I love and count on to help out with this big food event. Third, planning well allows me to start shopping a couple of weeks in advance. When I do that, I don’t feel quite as shocked by a lot of extra cost all on one day of shopping. Fourth, planning ahead means that when someone asks me that question, “What can I bring?” I actually have an answer for them!
So this weekend, I’m planning and I’ll be shopping throughout the week ahead for most of the food I’ll need for Thanksgiving Dinner.
Next week is when the plan rolls into action around here. Here’s what I’m tentatively thinking.
2013 Thanksgiving Dinner Menu
- Turkey (of course!)
- Cheesy Potato Casserole
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Green Bean Casserole
- Cranberry relish
- Pear Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
- Apple Pie
- Pumpkin Pie
- Whipping Cream
Note that I haven’t listed any appetizers on this menu plan. That’s because I always answer that question, “What can I bring?” with one word: APPETIZERS!
- Take the turkey out of the freezer and put it into the fridge to defrost slowly
- Bake the sweet potatoes in the oven until they’re fork tender. Refrigerate them until next week.
- Go shopping
- Make sure the tablecloth is clean and ironed
- More planning and/or shopping
- Make cranberry relish
- Cook white potatoes. Refrigerate in tightly covered container.
- Bake fresh pumpkin until fork tender. Clean and process and refrigerate
- Bake dinner rolls and freeze, tightly wrapped
- Grate white potatoes and make Cheesy Potato Casserole (or possibly garlic mashed potatoes)
- Mash up and make sweet potato casserole
- Cover both dishes and refrigerate until Thursday
Wednesday, 11/27 :
- Make green bean casserole. Bake. Refrigerate and reheat Thursday.
- Make apple pie using apple pie kit
- Make pumpkin pie
- Prep turkey for slow roasting and put in oven
Thursday, 11/28 AM:
- Remove dinner rolls from freezer
- Set table (Just for kicks and giggles, this post on Simple Thanksgiving Decorations is from before the days of Pinterest. In spite of Pinterest, this is STILL how I decorate!)
- Make dressing/stuffing
- Plate salads
Thursday, 11/28 PM:
- Heat two potato casseroles in oven
- Take turkey out of oven
- Heat two potato casseroles in oven
- Heat green bean casserole in oven
- Put cranberry relish into serving bowl
- Carve turkey (Here’s our new how-to)
- Make gravy
- Heat dinner rolls
- Put everything on the table with serving utensils
- Clean up leftovers
- Clean up kitchen
- Start turkey stock
- Go for a long walk or take a long nap
- Heat pies
- Make whipped cream
- Make coffee
- Serve dessert
It’s entirely possible that I’ve forgotten steps, so if I think of anything else, I’ll come back and edit this post. For me, one of the most important steps of planning is shopping. Almost every year, I come up with something critical that I’ve forgotten to buy. Finding stores open on Thanksgiving Day isn’t easy. Writing everything out ahead of time really helps me avoid that last minute panic and dash to the store for whipping cream, candles, and cornstarch.
For a slightly different style of planning, another foodie, my friend Lori Hubert, shared HER plan for Thanksgiving prep with me. Here’s a photo of her 1-page plan. Note that Lori has only one oven so it’s important for her to plan the sequences of her dinner prep with that in mind.
Perhaps the biggest benefit for me of taking some time NOW to plan for Thanksgiving Dinner is that I really will be free to spend some time reflecting on all the many reasons I have to be VERY thankful!
– don’t forget that we’re on Facebook AND Twitter! “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the very latest in the Kitchen. You can also sign up to get emails every time we post something new here in the Kitchen. Look on the sidebar the link to subscribe.