Planning Thanksgiving dinner and preparing it can be very stressful. This is true, especially if you have a large family or are expecting a number of guests. You can make Thanksgiving more enjoyable for yourself as well as your guests. Just try some advance planning and preparation. It will work wonders. Use these tips to make your holiday a stress-free, memorable occasion for everyone.
Thanksgiving Dinner Tips To Make Your Holiday Easy
10 Days before Thanksgiving:
A week to 10 days before Thanksgiving, make and finalize your guest list. If there are any friends or family members you have not yet contacted, do so now to give them and yourself plenty of time to prepare. If any of your guests offer to bring a special dish make sure to add it to your menu.
Assuming you will be cooking a turkey, decide upon whether to purchase fresh, frozen, or smoked. Make sure you have room in your refrigerator and oven. Buying your turkey early is recommended because stores tend to run out the closer to the holiday it gets.
If you are trying to decide what size turkey to buy, consider the following information. You should plan on 1 to 1 1/2 pounds per person. You may want to go a bit larger if you want plenty of leftovers for later. There are many recipes for using up leftovers after Thanksgiving.
Deciding upon your final menu should be completed at least a week before you serve Thanksgiving dinner. Consider the number of people you will be entertaining. Also, if you have children on your guest list, try to plan a couple of special dishes or treats especially for them.
The Week of Thanksgiving:
The week of Thanksgiving is the time to stock up on the perishable items from the grocery store. You can make some foods in advance, such as bread or rolls and freeze them until Thanksgiving day. You can make and freeze cookies and pies as well. Some people make and freeze mashed potatoes and even gravy ahead of time. Doing so can save a ton of time on the day of Thanksgiving dinner.
Also make sure you have supplies such as napkins, cups, etc. You want to make sure you have items on hand like plenty of garbage bags for the cleanup and maybe plastic forks or spoons so you don’t have to wash utensils just so everyone can enjoy dessert afterward.
A Day or 2 before Thanksgiving:
A day or 2 prior to Thanksgiving you can prepare a few items in advance to save time on the big day.
Things like cranberry sauce or relish can be stored in your refrigerator for a few days. You may want to cut up onions, celery, and any like items. Store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator to save time when cooking Thanksgiving dinner.
Make sure you have everything on your shopping list in your kitchen at least 2-3 days before Thanksgiving morning. You don’t want to be searching the day before for items you really need.
If you have children, involve them in the planning. They can decide games for the younger guests, help with decorating, and can even help out in the kitchen.
If you have purchased a frozen turkey, take it out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator 3 days prior to cooking to give it plenty of time to thaw. If you will need to iron linens, etc., do so a couple of days before Thanksgiving to cut down on the amount of work you will have to do the night before the big day.
On Thanksgiving morning, make sure you have your thawed turkey stuffed (if necessary), dressed, and ready to put in the oven. Side dishes should be ready to be cooked in the appropriate pot. It would also be a good idea to have desserts prepared the night before to save time and frustration on Thanksgiving Day. Also, make sure any items you have frozen previously have been taken out of the freezer the night before so they can be heated easily or thawed in time.
Following these simple ideas can help make your plans for the Thanksgiving holiday run smooth.
With some advance planning and preparation, Thanksgiving dinner can be a stress-free (almost) occasion and you will have plenty of time to enjoy the company of friends and family. For more ways to simplify your Thanksgiving planning check out Decorate and Plan With Love For A Better Thanksgiving by The Farm Wife!