Posts Tagged ‘Turkey Day’

fruit-basketIf you are the lucky one who is hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, you’ll find things run much more smoothly with a little pre-planning.

Here is a two-week countdown list of things to do to be prepared for Turkey-Day. By following these steps, hosting Thanksgiving will be easier and hopefully a lot more enjoyable for you. Start your planning 11 days out and by the time Nov. 26 rolls around, things will be a breeze!

Day 1: Make your guest list. Who exactly will be attending? Get confirmations from each guest as soon as possible and find out if any of them are bringing extras. If people can’t commit right away, give them a deadline of one week out. You need an accurate head-count.

Day 2: Determine what is going to be on your menu this year. As you think about recipes, keep in mind how much stove top, oven and microwave space you have available, what can be made ahead, what will be made that day, what will be cooked where. Do not try a recipe for the first time on Thanksgiving Day. If you want to try something new, give it a test run before the big day.  Agree on dishes your guests can bring. Make sure you know if someone has food allergies or dietary restrictions. Plan at least one special dish for them. Gather all your recipes that you’ll be using into one handy place.

Day 3: Talking Turkey! Today decide what type of turkey you will be serving (fresh, frozen, etc.) and how big of a bird you need to purchase. If you are ordering the bird from the butcher, do that today. Also place orders for any pies or deli trays today.

Day 4: Make a checklist. Go through your cupboards and pantry and see what is missing, outdated or in need of replacement. Make a list of things you need from your menu. Also, if you will be hosting overnight guests, check out the guest room and guest bathroom. Do you need extra towels? Are you well stocked on toilet paper, paper towels and soap? Is the guest room clean and comfortable? Take stock of your table linens. Spread out the linens you are planning to use. If they are stained beyond hope, think about purchasing a stain-resistant tablecloth  or turn to my favorite – sheets! Inexpensive and easy care, sheets come in a variety of colors or sizes and are worry-free coverings for your table. Grab a few in fall colors! Make sure you are also well stocked in trash bags, foil, plastic wrap, and zip-top storage bags or plastic containers. What will you use for a centerpiece? Are you making one or ordering one? If you need to order it, do that today.

Day 5: Complete your non-perishable shopping list. Do you need batteries for the camera? Cleaning products? Paper goods? Candies? Take inventory of your cutlery, cookware, and serving pieces. Do the knives need sharpened? Is your turkey platter chipped? Do you need to get a new vegetable peeler? Replace those stained and frayed potholders and dish towels. If you don’t have one, get an apron to wear on Turkey Day. Decide what you and the family  will be wearing. Do clothes need to go to the cleaners? Repaired? Pressed? Take care of that today. If you don’t have a thing to wear, do your shopping today.

Day 6: Something to sip… Today, decide what beverages you will be serving and in what you’ll be serving the beverages. Have a few selections and plan to have a pitcher of ice-water available. Today is the one-week deadline for those who wouldn’t commit to coming earlier. Follow up with them and get a definite head count.

Day 7: Make the do-ahead dishes. Any dishes that you can freeze, go ahead and make them today. Some things that freeze well are cranberry sauce, casseroles, cheese sauces, and piecrusts.  If there is ironing that needs done, take care of it today.

Day 8: Setting the scene. Decide today how to set your table? What will the place settings look like? Figure out what item will go in what dish and mark with a sticky note. Wash all platters and polish the silver. Store silver wrapped in tissue paper in an air-tight bag to keep from tarnishing. Enlist your spouse and kids to make placecards and fold napkins.  Decide what background music to play. Get your emergency clean-up tools ready and in a handy location (stain remover, whisk and dust pan, hand-vac).

Day 9: Move your frozen turkey from the freezer to the fridge as well as the make-ahead dishes. Shop for all perishables and make sure you have extra ice on hand. If beverages need chilled, stick them in the fridge now.

Day 10: Set the table. You already know what goes where, so go ahead and set the table. Label trivets with sticky notes so you know what hot dish will set where.  Roast or steam vegetables and make pies. Make sure your outfit is set out and ready to go. Have a list of the help-lines by the phone, in case of cooking emergencies! Make sure the person in charge of carving the turkey is up to the challenge.

Day 11: Happy Thanksgiving! Today you will make the stuffing, cook the potatoes and any other side dishes that need made.  Whip the whipping cream for dessert and chill. Cook the turkey, bring the cranberry sauce to room temperature before serving, warm the pies before eating and make hot beverages. Enjoy the warmth of the day, a delicious meal and be thankful!

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