Don’t put things off till the last minute, several things can be done far in advance.
SEVERAL WEEKS BEFORE THANKSGIVING:
• Make your guest list/Make your menu.
Make sure you have your menu ready so you can coordinate both guest and food at the same time. When you are inviting your guests, have a list of guests and a list of dishes. Then, if someone offers to bring a dish, accept the offer. And if they don’t offer, ask them.
• Order your turkey especially.
If you want a fresh one. Plan on 1 1/4 pounds per person. Making sure your eyes aren’t bigger than you oven…measure your oven to make sure your turkey will fit.
• Don’t wait till the last minute to realize you don’t have what you need
Take inventory of your dinnerware and everything else you will need to serve an amazing meal.
• Work on your shopping lists.
Include ingredients for all of your dishes, plus candles, napkins, flowers, etc. Don’t forget tonic, seltzer and apple cider or juice for the kids.
• Begin cooking. Relish will keep in the fridge for a week; gravy freezes, along with any casseroles (like my super easy Potato Casserole).
• Select a wine. Caterers recommend providing a half bottle for each guest – not counting children, of course.
• Organize your serving platters and more
ONE WEEK BEFORE:
Tidy up the house.
Decorate your home for the holiday.
Make a final shopping list. (Remember ice, cream for the coffee and nuts and other snacks for nibbling in the living room).
Confirm the number of guests who will be attending the holiday dinner.
3 or 4 DAYS TILL:
Defrost your turkey (if it’s frozen). Remember that you have to allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds if you’re going to defrost a turkey in the refrigerator. That means a 15-pound turkey will take three full days.
If you choose to prepare a fresh turkey, purchase it 2 to 3 days before Thanksgiving and store it in the fridge until time to cook ( just to be safe).
If you miss that deadline, you can defrost the bird faster in a sinkful of cold water, allowing about half an hour for each pound of turkey and changing the water occasionally. (It will still take 7 1/2 hours for that 15-pounder, then refrigerate it.)
3 DAYS TILL:
Do your final food shopping.
Make a cooking schedule for Thanksgiving Day.Writing down the time everything goes into the oven. Don’t forget the dishes that will have to be reheated. And to make time for you to shower and clean up before guest arrive.
Thaw any frozen side dishes and desserts.
2 DAYS TILL:
Chop any vegetables that will be used and store in air tight containers.
Make any side dishes (or salad dressings) that can be refrigerated.
1 DAY TILL:
Set the table.
Clean the guest bathroom.
Decide on a table centerpiece. (Flowers or collections of candles work well. Line votive candles down the center so the entire table is aglow. Since it’s fall, you could also try an arrangement of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Place pumpkins, gourds and wheat around the house for decorative touches).
Prepare you refrigerator for guests. (Clear out any unneeded food or move to another refrigerator to make space for anything you friends kindly bring to help you for Thanksgiving).
Make the stuffing in the morning and stuff the turkey right before it’s ready to go in the oven.
Roast the turkey.
Warm prepared side dishes.
Have a great Thanksgiving!