Your Guide to a Stress Free Thanksgiving

Last Updated on November 11, 2018

Your Guide to Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

Your Guide to Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

Download the Thanksgiving Check List Here

I wrote this up a few years ago, but have since made some adjustments.  It’s all about prep.  If you are prepared, you will have a successful and worry-free feast.  You are more than welcome to download and print my thanksgiving-check-list.  Have fun and have a great Thanksgiving dinner!

The BIG DAY is coming soon. For me, this is the biggest day of the year. Why?
1. It’s right after my son’s birthday, some years only ONE day after
2. It’s right before or on Spane’s Dad’s birthday
3. It’s the first of the holidays where family and friends get together
4. It’s right before Advent
5. It’s the day that everyone expects to have really good food

7 days before the BIG DAY – Friday

1. Eat dinner, seriously, you want to eat dinner before you perform this task.
2. Make a menu of what you would like to have for your feast. If you need to find recipes, do so now. We have plenty of Thanksgiving recipes here to help you.
3. Make a shopping list of the things you need on your menu. Check your refrigerator, freezer, pantry and spice rack to see what you already have. Let’s not go broke trying to do this!  With that said, if you are going to be baking, put extra flour, yeast, and sugar on your list.  Even if you are not going to be baking, put extra butter on the list. If your guests are going to bring wine, put wine on the list anyway – sometimes well-intentioned guests forget.
4. Make sure you have all the serveware, cookware, and dinnerware you need to pull this off. Seriously, there is nothing worse than trying to figure out how to cook a turkey when you don’t have a big enough pan. Do you need a tablecloth, runner, napkins, placemats or decorations? Make sure you have what you need, otherwise, put it on the list.
5. Art projects – if you want to make special decorations, or want your children to help make them, this would be a good time to start. You and your kids can have all weekend to do this. If you need supplies, glue, etc., put it on the list.
6. Make a plan of which stores you need to visit to get things on your list.

6 days before the BIG DAY – Saturday

1. Eat breakfast or lunch. Seriously, you want to eat before you do this next task.
2. If you have to visit a home goods store and/or art supply store, do this first and get whatever supplies, tableware or decorations you need that are on your list.
3. Go to the supermarket and buy anything that is on your list that is not going to go bad in 6 days. Don’t buy things that are not on your list. Remember, this whole site is about “Gourmet Food on a Budget”!
4. If you got have a frozen turkey, put the turkey in the coldest part of the refrigerator so he or she can start to slowly defrost.

5 days before the BIG DAY – Sunday

1. Stuff that can be frozen: Prepare, put into containers, freeze it, then microwave it on the Big Day. This would also be the time to make unbaked fruit pies, and freeze them also.
2. If you want to use a liquid brine, then prepare the brine for the turkey.
3. Put the turkey in the brine.

3 Days before the BIG DAY – Monday night

1. Wash dishes, serve ware, flatware, etc. by hand then dry it and put it away. That way, you won’t go nuts when trying to set the table. Also make sure the tablecloth, napkins, runner, etc., are all clean and ready to go.
2. Turn the turkey over in the brine.
3. Make roll-out cookie dough. Cut cookies out, sprinkle with sugar if wanted, then layer on wax paper sheets and put in the refrigerator, making sure not to put them under the bird.
4. Last minute grocery list check. Double check that you really have all the ingredients you need that are NOT on your list. Add extras of things you might use a lot of, like butter.

2 Days before the BIG DAY – Tuesday Night

1. Go to the market and buy all the things on the list you made the night before.
2. If you are doing a dry brine, this would be the day to start.
3. Prepare anything that can be refrigerated that will stay for at least two days, salad dressing, anything you are planning on marinating, cheese balls or herb butter.

The day before the BIG DAY – Wednesday Night

1. Buy fresh flowers if you want them on your table.
2. Make cranberry sauce and chill it. Prepare refrigerated dinner rolls, and chill them. Make garlic almonds or candied nuts if you need them in any recipes. Cut up bread for croûtons if you are going to need those for salad. Cut up vegetables for a vegetable tray, and make any dip you plan to serve with it – you can put the vegetables on the tray, just cover and chill it.
3. Vacuum and dust. Clean the bathroom(s).
4. Set the table for tomorrow’s dinner. Tell your family not to sit at the table after you have set it.
5. Clean the kitchen thoroughly, including washing the floor. You won’t have time for it tomorrow, and if you are careful, you can keep it clean. After all, you have already done a lot of the cooking.
6. Put white wine in the refrigerator to chill.
7. Sit down with your favorite libation, put your feet up and rest for a while before going to bed. Try to go to bed early so you will be rested on THE BIG DAY.

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About arbpen

As an award-winning and serious home cook, I seriously believe there is no reason why you can't have a restaurant quality meal at home. One of the good things about eating at home is to save money, so armed with a good menu plan, a shopping list, and an appreciation of good food, we can all have gourmet food on a budget.

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