In most families, there’s no diverging from the classic Thanksgiving menu of turkey and all the trimmings. And we say cheers to that! With many of the beloved foods gracing the table just once a year with this sort of fanfare, replacing them with untried and newfangled creations could be a disaster. In our family, it’s the recipes that have been passed down for ages that tend to be the biggest crowd-pleasers. And with just over a week to go until the much anticipated turkey day, we’re hoping to help you out with some of our best tips and tricks for a delicious and enjoyable day of giving thanks!
It’s not to early to start on the preparations for the big day. Now’s the time to get your timeline in place and plan the menu. Here’s our rough overview for planning out the days until Thanksgiving.
T-Minus 7-10 Days
- Plan the menu – Put together your list of what you’ll be serving along with any dishes that other guests have offered to bring. And hopefully, you’ve already ordered the turkey, but if you haven’t yet, hurry!!!
- Purchase the non-perishables – if you buy them now, they’ll be in your pantry and if you forget something, you can still pick it up when getting the last minute items.
- Make pie dough – If you’re making pies, it’s a great time to make the dough. Roll it out, put it in the pie dish, wrap well and freeze. For slabs of dough to top a pie, perhaps apple, press into a 1″ thick round disk and wrap well in plastic wrap then freeze.
T-Minus 4-6 Days
- Purchase any alcohol – Might as well stock the wine shelves and liquor cabinet now. It’s one less stress for later.
- Polish silver – If it doesn’t get much use, chances are your silverware is in need a little buffering. Don’t leave it until the last minute or it won’t happen.
- Begin defrosting the turkey – Depending on the weight of your bird, if it is frozen, it’s best to allow 4-5 days to let it defrost in the fridge. You’ll need to allot 5 hours for every pound of turkey.
T-Minus 3 Days
- Cranberry sauce – Go ahead and make this. It keeps well in the fridge and if you’re including other flavors, such as orange zest, the flavors will meld better after sitting a couple of days.
T-Minus 2 Days
- Iron the linens – Wash and press your linens.
- Set the table – It’s a good idea to begin to set the table a couple of days before. Whether it’s locating your missing crystal vase or purchasing an extra set of China, don’t leave it to the last minute.
T-Minus 1 Day
- Flowers – Pick up or put together your table arrangements. One day of sitting out will allow the flowers to open to be a little fuller. Be sure to water them well as flowers are always thirsty after changes in temperature.
- Give the turkey some attention – Prep the turkey (but do not stuff), and store in the refrigerator. If brining, begin the process this morning.
- Shopping – Pick up all perishables and any other products from the grocery store… Chances are the later you go the more madness you’ll encounter!
- Desserts – Defrost pie dough; assemble and bake pies along with preparing any other desserts.
- Potatoes – If mashing, peel and store in a large pot of cold water in the fridge.
- Salad – Clean and dry salad greens, and store in a resealable plastic bag.
- Wine – Put in the fridge or wine cellar to chill.
- Side dishes – Prepare anything that can be put together and chilled in the fridge until baking tomorrow.
- Breads – Start the day by whipping up your bread dough. Bake by lunchtime and then just warm while making the gravy.
- Turkey – Remove turkey from fridge 2 hours before putting in the oven to bring to room temperature. Bake until the temperature of the turkey at the thigh, which is the thickest part. If the thermometer reads 180 degree. After removing from oven the turkey will need to sit for 30 minutes (just enough time to make gravy) to let the juices settle into the meat.
- Stuffing – Prepare and put in turkey immediately before putting turkey in the oven.
- Side dishes – Prepare anything that couldn’t be prepared the day before. Bake and keep warm until the turkey is ready. This includes cooking and mashing the potatoes.
- Gravy – Prepare while turkey is resting.
- Enjoy! Grab a glass of wine and enjoy dinner with your family and friends!