Here is your detailed checklist for preparing for Thanksgiving. We will go through week by week to help you get ready. Thanksgiving can be a stressful time of year for the people who will be cooking the meal. While everyone is out having a good time, we’re stuck in the kitchen slaving away. Make it easier by preparing as much as you can in advanced. Follow our steps for a relaxed holiday season.
One Month Until Thanksgiving
- Make your guest list. Are the in-laws coming? What about that cousin twice removed who’ll be in town? You need to know numbers so you can make enough food.
- Order your turkey. We like to use fresh, free range turkeys. This means you need to get on a list to reserve your bird. Pick 1-1.5 pounds of turkey per person with plenty of left overs.
- Make a menu. Figure out what you want to serve at the meal. Think about appetizers and what guests might like to bring.
- Invite your guests. Give your friends and family a call to invite them over for Thanksgiving. If you’re going a potluck meal, your list of needed items will come in handy. You don’t want 5 sweet potato casseroles.
Two Weeks Until Thanksgiving
- Start shopping. Beat the holiday rush by purchasing as much as you can well before the day. Pickles, onions, squash, and canned goods will keep perfectly well.
- Buy your alcohol. Your alcohol and wines might be picked over by the time Thanksgiving comes around. Head to the shops early to get your favorites. Fizzy apple soda is a great treat for children while the adults have their wine.
- Take stock of your supplies. If you’re using dishes, make sure there are enough to go around. A great choice to make your life easier is to have people eat off disposable plates. You can buy quite nice ones and then throw them out for easy clean up.
One Week Until Thanksgiving
- Clean! Clean the things that take the longest time now. A deep oven cleaning is a great thing and can stop a smoky house. A thorough cleaning now will same time later.
- Make your casseroles. Many casserole dishes freeze great, so this is a good way to get some of the cooking out of the way. Many kitchens only have one oven, so saving any space is a good thing.
- Make your final shopping list. Don’t be caught off guard without appetizers or necessities. Make a full shopping list, detailing everything you’ll need.
- Take your turkey out of the freezer if you bought one already frozen. It can take days to properly thaw and you don’t want to be stuck with a rock hard bird. Some companies offer “cook from frozen” varieties, so skip this step if you’re using one. Keep the turkey in the refrigerator as it thaws.
- Confirm your guest list. Plans change and people can forget to update their friends. Call and confirm the guests and what they’re bringing.
- Shop for all remaining ingredients. You may have some food yet to buy, such as milk or produce.
- Make a cooking schedule. Write out the times and temperatures you need for all your recipes. Plan what time the dishes go to cook so that they’re ready around the same time.
- Brine your turkey. If you’re using a brine with your turkey, plan on it soaking for 24-48 hours.
- Clean the house. Vacuum and wash the floors so you don’t have to get dirty tomorrow.
- Set the table. Setting the table the day before can give you precious minutes the next day.
- Make your pies. Pumpkin pies taste better when they’ve had time to rest. Cooking your desserts a day early will free up your oven tomorrow.
- Take your casseroles out of the freezer in the morning. They should be thawed and ready to cook by the afternoon.
- Follow your cooking list! Make sure everything gets in the oven on time. Keep little hands out of the kitchen if you’ll be rushing. You don’t want any burns or cuts.
- Relax and enjoy yourself!