In order to survive the last minute dash to the grocery store and the frantic meal planning, table setting, wine choosing moments that sometimes define our Thanksgiving holidays, why not sit down now and plan your meal. Then perhaps you can actually enjoy the cooking and still have time to talk to your friends and family.
Start with how many people you will have over for dinner. Are you going to have everyone bring a dish or are you going to cook everything yourself?
What time are you going to serve your meal? This will determine how early you have to get up, what time you need to start your turkey and how much you can possibly get done the night before.
Are you going to have turkey, ham or something untraditional? Order your ham and turkey now from your butcher. Possibly you have an old family recipe that you always use, but if not scour food magazines and online sites for different preparations. One note of caution, please don’t try anything too complicated. You don’t want to try out a new recipe only to have it flop.
Determine the number of sides you want to have. Do you want mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, stuffing, Brussels sprouts, green beans and rolls? Make your list and then plan your oven time. Your turkey or ham will take up the oven so be sure your sides can be done on the stovetop or made the night before and warmed in the microwave.
Make dessert the night before. If you are planning on making homemade pies, make your piecrust the day before you finish the pies. By splitting up the work you will avoid getting overwhelmed.
Set the table the night before as well. Clean your main floor paying particular attention to the guest bathroom. Set out extra tables for guests to rest their drinks on. Make sure your front porch looks inviting.
Now pour yourself a glass of wine and count your blessings.