Thanksgiving is only a week away. Are you ready? Some of my readers (okay, it was only two people) have emailed and asked me to help them organize their timeline for the Super Bowl of dinners. (This is where the OCD people take out their lists and the unorganized people start to roll their eyes!)
So given my dinner is only with my imaginary friends and husband, this is how I would plan my next week. (And yes, seeing a therapist for my issues is on the list.)
One week away: Start organizing your recipes and your cooking times. I always copy my recipes so I don’t have to have stacks of books and magazines cluttering my countertop. (Anyone who has been in my house knows I clutter my table with books and recipes, not my counter.)
Make sure when looking at your recipe that you don’t need to have everything in your oven at the same time. It is also nice to find a couple things you can make ahead of time. (Turkey is not one of those things you can make early; I don’t care what the experts say.)
If you order your turkey, you should have done it last week! (Sorry, I don’t know many people who order a turkey or would have given you heads up.)
You should also have all of your guests invited by now. (Seriously, don’t wait until the last minute. People like to know where they are going.) Delegate some of the side dishes, appetizers and desserts to your guests when they ask if they can bring anything. (Don’t ask them to chip in on the turkey….that is rude.)
Four days away: Start Cleaning and pulling out your special serving pieces. Get the house picked up so you don’t freak out at the last minute when your Aunt Thelma (yep, still talking about my mother in law) starts running her finger over the mantle for dust.
As for the serving pieces, get them washed and organized. I write recipe names on a sticky note and put it on the intended plate.. (More smiles from the OCD people.)
Three days away: Check on your turkey. If it is frozen, you should have it in the refrigerator thawing. A 16-20 pound turkey can take up to 3-4 days to thaw out! Please don’t EVER thaw the turkey at room temperature! You will risk giving your guests food poisoning! (Even my imaginary friends don’t like an upset tummy.)
Two days away: Get your linens ironed and start some of your food prep work. These are little things that will make Thursday go a lot smoother. This is also a good time to know how you want to set your table. Are you a formal person? Or maybe just go simple with some leaves in a bowl? Just do what comes naturally.
I would go shopping now too. The store will be crazy the day before the holiday. In addition, it gives you a chance to go over your food inventory before the big day. (There is always something you forget. Right?)
One day away: Finish up any early prep work (pie dough’s, veggies, brine your turkey) and get your table set. This is also a good time to yell at your husband. You don’t have a reason to yell at him; you just do it because you are stressed out! (Mine is a good sport and takes it like a man.)
This is the also the day to review your timeline. Make sure you know what time everything needs to go in the oven. It will be nice to have things spelled out when your company starts arriving and you get distracted. (If you have multiple timers, make sure all the batteries are fresh so you don’t accidently burn anything.)
Turkey Day: Wake up and take a deep breath! It is just a dinner, no need to freak out. Pull out your timeline and get to work! After you pull your turkey from the fridge, put your drinks in its place. Prepare your stuffing and do not put it into the bird until right before you roast it! While your turkey is roasting, you should be working on your sides. Don’t forget to put your guests to work! (Unless they are a bunch of lazy freeloaders.) And remember when your turkey is resting (it MUST rest) make your pan gravy!
Finally, enjoy your meal!! Take a moment to think about all the people who are around you that make you thankful. (And then look around and be thankful you only have to do this once a year!! Just kidding, you’ll do it again at Christmas!) Ha ha! : )
How about a video of you making pan gravy? That’s something I’ve never mastered. I make the bird, and my MIL makes the gravy when she gets here. LOL
I’ll try to get Earl to take a video this weekend when I make our bird. I love to make gravy. It is really easy to master! : )
Thanks for the Thanksgiving posts, Barb! I, for one, am grateful for your timeline tips, as we are hosting the Big Day this year for the 1st time. This checklist is very helpful!!
BTW, I’ve seen Barb make gravy in person. It’s like watching an artist at work. 🙂
Tara, you’ll do great!!! Thanks for the gravy compliment….you know I love making it!
Though the video turned out grainy, I did post a YouTube video of Barb making the pan gravy. Here’s the link:
Maybe Santa will get me a camera like her friend Jodi’s that has better resolution. : )