Here is a general guideline to get you started in planning your festive get together!
One week ahead -
Decide on your menu, making sure that you coordinate your recipes.
Recipe selection is the key to your success!
These are the first questions you need to ask yourself!
- How many people are you feeding?
- Of those, how many are kids/adults?
- Can you accommodate them all at one table, if not who gets "the kids table"?
- Is the meal buffet style, plated or passed dishes?
- What recipes do I have to make that are my family's tradition?
- Do I want to try anything new?
- How many casseroles/dishes need to be heated at once and what can be done on the stovetop? - What can be made ahead and stored?
Then set your menu!
Five days in advance -
- Print out all the recipes.
- Make a list of all that you need - checking your cupboard before shopping
so that you are not buying food you already have!
- Purchase the turkey and start defrosting it in the refrigerator.
- Purchase all the non-perishable food items.
- Purchase the drinks and ice if you need it. (I start bagging my own ice in Ziploc bags.)
Three days in advance -
Purchase the perishable food items.
Prepare linens and centerpiece.
Decorate your table.
Collect all the platters and serving pieces.
Two days in advance -
- Start preparing the ingredients for your dishes - like you are a food network star!
This is usually the most time involved portion. That's why when you come to my class, most everything has been chopped, measured and stored so that the cooking process is quicker!
****This will also help you make sure you have purchased everything you need so you are NOT going to the store the day of Thanksgiving for that one thing you forgot!
Example: Chop all veggies you need - the onions, carrots, celery.
Having fresh green beans? Prepare them by cutting off the ends and blanching them.
Making mashed potatoes? Peel and cube them, placing them in a water bath and storing in the frig.
- I usually start with a soup, and I make it today!
One day in advance -
- Make the desserts.
- Put together any of your recipes that can just be reheated! Label each one with what it is and what temperature it needs to be re-heated at.
- Make a list of everything that still needs to be done including the timing of dishes needing to be baked/cooked on the BIG DAY! Tape it up on the cabinet.
- Of course you will be cooking the Turkey first and you will have the Thermapen I recommend so that it will be baked to the correct temperature.
- You are next prepping all the side dishes.
- Are you serving small bites before the big dinner? Prepare them next - I suggest selecting an
"assembly only" appetizer! Keep this one simple and something room temperature that can sit out for a little while. Salami, cheese, crackers and some grapes from Trader Joe's is a good idea.
- Reheat the soup - if you need the room on the stove - put it in a crock pot to keep warm.
- Last thing is salad assembly - leaving off the dressing until you plate/serve it.
I wish you great success!
All that work and it is over so quickly!
Enjoy it... I encourage you to linger at the table. You spent a lot of time, energy, and money for this moment!
Don't rush it - the conversations and time together will be remembered, not how fast you cleaned up all the dishes!
“The more you practice the art of thankfulness, the more you have to be thankful for.”Norman Vincent Peale