Happy November, friends!
November is my favorite month and Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love sharing time with family and friends and remembering the many blessings for which we are thankful.
We host Thanksgiving at our house every year and I love it. I love the whole process – planning the menu, preparing the food, setting the table, and spending time with family and friends.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner – three weeks to be exact – it’s time to start planning. Hosting Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t need to be stressful. With some planning and organization, you can enjoy Thanksgiving as much as your guests.
My key to preparation is making lists and organizing my to-dos. Below is an outline of the game plan that keeps me organized and well-prepared.
Three Weeks in advance
- invite guests
- start planning menu
- start making the grocery shopping list
Two Weeks in advance
- finalize menu
- finalize the grocery shopping list
- set aside recipes
- make a timeline for food preparation – things to do 3 days ahead, 2 days, etc.
- plan the table setting – iron tablecloths or napkins and clean crystal, if necessary, and purchase accessories if needed
One Week in advance
- do the grocery shopping for pantry items and any non-perishables
- if roasting a frozen turkey, buy now to allow for adequate defrost time in the refrigerator
- decide which serving dishes will be used for each item on your menu; set these pieces out along with serving utensils. This prevents last-minute scrambling and chaos.
3 Days in advance
- go grocery shopping for perishables – fresh turkey, produce, etc.
- set the table
2 Days in advance
- prep produce – dice onions and celery; peel and cut carrots; prep veggies for vegetable platters
- bake pies
- make homemade ice cream – Cinnamon Ice Cream is delicious with apple, pumpkin, or pecan pies.
1 Day in advance
- prepare side dishes – sides similar to these work well being prepped in advance
- prepare appetizers – dips and cheese balls, like those listed below, and deviled eggs are just some things that can be done ahead of time
- prep turkey: remove neck and giblets and rinse out turkey. For those who brine, brine the turkey. For non-briners, pat the turkey dry and let it sit, uncovered, in the refrigerator overnight. This helps dry the skin which will make for a crispier skin.
- simmer the giblets with aromatics to make giblet broth. Use the giblet broth to make gravy. When the gravy is reheated the next day, add the turkey drippings for additional flavor. No one will know the gravy was made a day early.
- roast the turkey
- make side dishes, such as Corn with Pancetta and Glazed Carrots (recipe coming soon).
- make green salad
- reheat side dishes, such as dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy
- set out appetizers and prep beverages
- WATCH Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!
Making lists is my key to staying organized. With some planning, you too will have time to watch the parade and not be trapped in your kitchen all Thanksgiving morning!