Thanksgiving has always been a big gathering at my house with family. This year it will be smaller because so many of my children live out of state. But no matter how many people you plan to be gathering with this holiday it helps to have a plan.
I wrote out this plan many years ago and it has served me well. If you need a little planning assistance perhaps my Thanksgiving Planner will help you out!
I'll be sharing some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes with you over the next couple weeks.
3 weeks ahead of time
Figure out how many people will you be serving and how big of a turkey you will need. To calculate this, you need to figure about 1 ½ lbs of turkey per person. So if you are feeding 8 people you would need a turkey that was about 12 pounds. I usually buy them bigger so I will have leftovers.
Write out guest list
Plan out menu
Write out grocery list
2 weeks ahead
Buy turkey (if buying frozen ones)
Make dinner rolls and freeze. I like to freeze them before baking. I shape them into rolls; lay them out on a tray and flash freeze them. On Thanksgiving Day I bring them out in the morning to defrost and rise.
If your guests are contributing to the meal let them know what you would like them to bring.
1 Week Ahead
Clean out your fridge to make room for the added food items
IF you have not bought your turkey yet, they should be on sale this week.
Do your grocery shopping of staple items you will need for the meal
4 to 5 Days Ahead
If your turkey is frozen you need to put it into the fridge to defrost now. A turkey will take anywhere from 2 to 6 days to defrost depending on its size (figure one day for every 5 pounds of weight).
Buy any fresh and perishable items you will need
Make cranberry sauce and refrigerate
Make salad dressings and refrigerate
3 Days Ahead
Clean your house
Get out and ‘good’ dishes or bigger serving dishes and get them washed
2 Days Ahead
Wash table linens
Get out your roasting pans, thermometer, turkey baster and make sure they are clean and ready to go
Wash and chop up veggies for stuffing and side dishes and put in refrigerator
Make pie crusts, roll them out, and put in pie plates. Cover each one with plastic wrap and put in fridge
1 Day Ahead
If you are making mashed potatoes for the crockpot you can make those up now and store in fridge. Tomorrow you take them out and put in the crockpot on low in the morning.
Make stuffing and refrigerate. If you are stuffing your turkey do not do that now, wait until right before you put the turkey in the oven
Assemble side dishes
Assemble any jello type salads
In the evening pull out your turkey, clean it and make sure it has defrosted and put back in fridge. Remove giblets and refrigerate
Set the table in the evening if desired
Assemble and bake pies
Put some Christmas music on (this is our little tradition ~smile~)
Stuff turkey and put in oven at appropriate time (or if you have a roaster oven you can bake the turkey in there leaving your oven for heating up side dishes and baking dinner rolls)
Put the giblets in water with a little salt and let those simmer. You can use the broth for gravy and the cooked and chopped giblets can also be added to the gravy
Pull out dinner rolls and let them defrost and rise
Set the table if you did not do this yesterday
Put the mashed potatoes in the crockpot
If you have a second crockpot you can put the stuffing in there to warm (if you are not stuffing your turkey. I always stuff the turkey and have leftover stuffing in a second crockpot)
When the turkey has finished cooking, pull it out
Put the side dishes in the oven to bake (if you did not bake the turkey in a roaster oven)
Bake dinner rolls
While the side dishes are heating up and rolls are baking, make gravy
Take a deep breath
Light some candles
Greet your guests
Enjoy your meal and give lots of thanks the Lord for his blessings and bounty in your life