Thanksgiving is coming.
Where's your stress level? We have a tendency to work ourselves up about Thanksgiving. I get that we all want everything to go smoothly for all the friends and family that are coming (and ourselves), but sometimes we just get inside our own heads. Thanksgiving doesn't have to be dreadful. I've found some really helpful tips and a schedule for ya'll to try that I originally found on thekitchn.com. Some of these will sound like a no-brainer, some will surprise you. The goal is to have nothing big to stress about on the big day. So in an effort to make things as easy as possible for all of us, first things first:
- WRITE A LIST. Why have I never done this?? A list is going to be your greatest ally when prepping for a big Thanksgiving meal. Try to think of every possible thing you need to get done. Write it all down. Categorize it. Check it, re-write it, whatever. This is seriously worth doing to help you stay organized and to prep well. 1) "What can be frozen?" Make those ahead. Think rolls, turkey stock, gravy. 2) "What can be refrigerated?" Cook those things the night before, like desserts and appetizers. 3) If it's helpful, start backwards from the time you want to eat dinner to schedule when things will cook. 4) Look at the temperature everything needs to bake. Will it all fit in your oven? Etc...
- STOCK UP EARLY. Do not look for the staples that EVERYONE ELSE is looking for the week of Thanksgiving. This is just setting yourself up for stress and failure. And anger. And possibly curse words.
- KITCHEN PREP. 1) Do you have all your cooking and serving gear? 2) Do you have enough dishes, serve-ware, and flat-ware for everyone? 3) How do you want to decorate the table? Get what's needed and make sure it's clean and ready. 4) Clean out the fridge one week before Thanksgiving. 5) Rearrange your oven racks strategically to fit the most at one time that you can. 6) Set the table the night before. That's one more item you can check off your list.
- GIVE THE TURKEY AN EXTRA DAY TO THAW. It'll be fine if it's thawed completely 1-2 days before you cook it. It'll be better than having to stress about cooking a turkey that's still semi-frozen!
[2 weeks ahead]
Buy the wine.
Make sure you have all the equipment, tableware, and linens.
Make and freeze the rolls.
Make and freeze the turkey stock and gravy.
Think of what appetizers can be made ahead and frozen.
[1 week ahead]
Make the shopping list and go shopping.
Clean out the fridge.
Make the cooking plan.
Make the cranberry sauce and refrigerate.
[6 days ahead]
Thaw the turkey in fridge.
[3 days ahead]
Gather the decorations for the table and make/arrange what you need.
Clean the linens and get them table-ready.
[2 days ahead]
Make the desserts and refrigerate.
Make the appetizers and refrigerate.
Make sure the serving dishes are clean and ready.
[1 day ahead]
Set the table.
Chill the wine.
Thaw out the turkey stock and gravy in the refrigerator.
Prep the turkey for the oven.
Put the turkey in the oven.
Make the mashed potatoes and keep them in the slow cooker.
Thaw out the rolls at room temperature.
[1 hour ahead]
Take the turkey out of the oven.
Bake any appetizers and set them out for guests.
Bake the dressing.
Warm the rolls and gravy.
Carve the turkey.
Transfer the food to serving dishes.
*This beautiful title photo is by the talented Annie Spratt.