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Hassle Free Thanksgiving Planning
11/2/2017 12:53:09 PM

Thanksgiving can be a stressful time of year. The pressure to please everyone or plan the perfect meal can be an overwhelming task. Thankfully, a little pre-planning can pave the way to a smooth and hassle free holiday celebration.

Early November

Plan your feast. Traditional Thanksgiving meals come in a variety of dishes and serving sizes. Decide now how many people and which dishes to include for your special day. Purchase your non-perishable ingredients now. Don’t wait to do all of your shopping mere days before. If you want professional fresh floral arrangements, place orders now. Any other decorations or paper goods can be bought now as well. The timing of your event should also be decided now. Some families plan a brunch, some a late lunch, and some an evening meal. Decide which one you’ll want and plan accordingly. Snacks are often appropriate. If you’re planning an early brunch, guests won’t have long to wait to eat and will often spend the rest of the day picking at leftovers. However, if you’re serving a later lunch or dinner, those wonderful smells can be torturous for family members eager to dine. Consider setting out some snack trays with fresh fruits, vegetables, sweets, nuts, chips, and dips.

Weekend before Thanksgiving

If you bought a frozen turkey, start defrosting the bird three to five days out. Purchase any fresh fruits, vegetables, breads, or other ingredients still needed for your dishes. If you’re baking pies, consider purchasing ready-made crusts, or make dough ahead and freeze until ready to use. If you’re using fine china, cloth napkins, or a tablecloth for a more formal meal, now would be a good time to make sure those are all clean, ironed, folded, or otherwise ready.

The Day Before

Review your final checklist to be sure you have all the ingredients and supplies you need for the holiday. Pick up any special orders of food and flower arrangements. Cranberry sauce and gravies can be made today and stored in the refrigerator overnight. Potatoes can be peeled, covered with water, and left in the refrigerator overnight, as well. Defrost other frozen items such as pre-made dessert dough. Prepare vegetables and any other side dishes that require baking such as casseroles and reheat the following day, or assemble this day, and cook just before the meal the following day. Consider setting the table.

Thanksgiving Day 

Chill wine, sodas, water and other beverages in preparation for your thirsty guests. Preheat the oven. If your meal is later in the day, set out snacks for your guests to munch on. Cook the turkey, stuffing, and/or dressing, as they usually take the longest. Prepare your mashed potatoes and other side dishes an hour before you plan to serve the meal. Coffee should only be brewed about 20 minutes before you plan to serve it. Check the temperature of the turkey at the thigh. Remove the bird from the oven once it reaches 175 degrees (165 degrees in the breast). Be sure the gravy and other side items are heated and in place. Any desserts that need to cook can be placed in the oven just as you call everyone to the table for the main courses. Enjoy!
Posted by: Sylvia Ney | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Entertaining

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