Hey loves! I am SO excited to share with you how I plan and prep for a thanksgiving dinner! A lot of you are hosting your first Thanksgiving this year so I am showing you my step by step thanksgiving planning guide on how I get everything ready. I also made a free printable planning guide that you can get here! And you can see how I set up my table here!
Don’t forget, you can get your copy of my cookbook with all of these recipes!
A TRADITIONAL TURKEY DINNER WITH ALL THE FIXINGS (my family always made this meal for Christmas dinner too when I was a child) BACKWARDS PLANNING IS KEY TO PULL OFF THIS DINNER!
Here’s what my calendar looks like when doing my thanksgiving planning guide:
If guests ask to bring something, I ask them to bring an appetizer (fruit tray, veggie tray, charcuterie board), a vegetable side dish, or a pie (pumpkin) or dessert
CLEAN OUT YOUR REFRIGERATOR- you’ll need space for the turkey and all the groceries, and then all the dishes you prep in advance
◦SHOP FOR or HAVE TURKEY DELIVERED
◦DEFROST YOUR TURKEY!
Thawing in the refrigerator is the ONLY recommended way to defrost a frozen turkey. For it to work, however, you’ll need plenty of time: 24 hours of defrosting time for every 4 to 5 pounds. A large turkey, say, 15 to 20 pounds, will need to spend 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator
◦SHOP OR HAVE THE REST OF YOUR GROCERIES DELIVERED
◦BRINE THE TURKEY – You want this to have 24 hours so that your turkey is extra flavorful and moist
◦TEAR STUFFING BREAD
◦PUMPKIN PIE CHEESECAKE
◦Make sure bathrooms are cleaned and stocked with soap, fresh towels, and toilet paper
◦make sure bedrooms are cleaned and you have fresh sheets on beds for guests
◦clean up hang out spaces- living room, family room, toy room, basement/man cave areas where guests are going to sit and talk or kids will play
◦make room on hooks or in coat closet for coats
◦have a designated place for shoes
◦this year you could have hand sanitizer and masks available by the entry way for guests to be safe
◦Whether you’re doing a decorative table scape or not, have seating and plates, napkins, and utensils all set up the day before, especially if you’re setting up a socially distanced eating arrangement
◦SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE(wait to add marshmallows until you bake the next day)
◦MASHED POTATOES (store in a casserole/baking dish)
◦SPINACH + BACON (store in a casserole/baking dish)
◦BAKE ROLLS (store in baking dish)
TIP if you don’ have a lot of baking or casserole dishes, get aluminum baking trays with lids, this way you can store the food overnight and pop it right back into the oven the next day*
TIP 2 Make sure you have serving spoons for all the dishes- if not, stock up on some plastic serving spoons/utensils too!
◦BAKE TURKEY (20 mins per pound at 350, 25 mins per pound if stuffed, then needs to rest for 15-30 minutes before cutting- I plan to have the turkey out of the oven 1 hour before dinner time, so it can rest, and then 30 minutes before serving, Adam will cut the turkey)
◦REMOVE TURKEY FROM OVEN
◦ADD MASHED POTATOES + CASSEROLE TO OVEN TO HEAT AT 350, top casserole with marshmallows last XXX minutes
◦MAKE GRAVY ON STOVE, keep on low heat and stir regularly until dinner time
◦OVEN ON LOW/HOLD WARM
◦KEEP MASHED POTATOES IN OVEN AND ADD
◦SPINACH + BACON
◦THEN KEEP UNDER TIN FOIL TO KEEP WARM UNTIL DINNER
◦SET OUT CRANBERRY SAUCE, BUTTER, SALT + PEPPER
◦REMOVE OTHER DISHES FROM OVEN, PUT INTO SERVING DISHES (cover with aluminum foil to keep warm)
See my full video on how I prep everything here with my thanksgiving planning guide here!