Nothing makes me laugh more uproariously (or maniacally?) than when someone comes into my kitchen on Thanksgiving Day and says, “You must have been cooking all day!” All day? Hahaha! Try all week.
Below is my Thanksgiving schedule. The festivities commence this week. (I know, can you believe Thanksgiving is next week already?) For those of you who are endeavoring to host the feast for the first time this year, I thought you might want to take a peek at the system that works well (for me, at least) year after year.
And for those of you who are planning to be someone’s Thanksgiving guests this year, I have some tips coming your way soon as well. 😉
Pumpkin bread appetizer with cinnamon cream cheese
Turkey (Hubba Bubba handles this – hooray!)
Sweet potato casserole
Southern-style green beans
Cranberry Jell-O salad*
Chocolate chip pecan pie
*It sounds like a joke, but this is a favorite in my family because it is WAY better than cranberry sauce! I’ll show you how to do it next week.
FRIDAY (as in, this Friday)
- Make and freeze pumpkin bread.
- Press tablecloth and napkins.
- Make Thanksgiving playlists on the iPod. (I usually do one playlist for cooking and hanging out, and a second, instrumental playlist for during dinner.)
- List out menu and choreograph which items go on the stove, which go in the oven, and which go elsewhere. You may need to get strategic so that you have enough burners and enough room in the oven. It is better to think about this now than to run into problems on Thanksgiving Day.
- Take inventory of pots, pans, and serving dishes. Make list to buy disposable pans as needed to supplement.
- Make grocery list.
- Check stock of supplies such as foil, paper towels, and toilet paper… stuff you don’t want to run out of on Thanksgiving Day!
- Make rolls and freeze.
- Clean off kitchen counter to maximize space.
- Clean out fridge and freezer.
- Go grocery shopping.
- Make cornbread for stuffing.
- Make sweet potato casserole. (Store in fridge.)
- Make cranberry Jell-O salad. (Store in fridge.)
- Prep green beans. (Dice onion and ham, wash and prep green beans so that everything is ready to throw into the pot.)
- Set out pots, pans, casserole dishes, and serving dishes that will be needed for Thanksgiving Day. Put post-it notes on each to assign. (ex: a tray for pumpkin bread, a dish for broccoli casserole, etc.)
- Make creamed corn. (Store in fridge.)
- Make pecan chocolate chip pie.
- Prep broccoli casserole. (Slice cheese, crumble crackers.)
- Prep veggies & herbs for cornbread stuffing. (Dice veggies, chop herbs, store in Ziploc bag.)
- Make cinnamon cream cheese for pumpkin bread.
- Set the table.
- Thaw pumpkin bread. (Early in the day.)
- Remove rolls from freezer, allow to rise, and bake. (Again, early in the day.)
- Set green beans to simmer.
- Assemble and bake broccoli casserole.
- Make mashed potatoes. (This is the only dish, except gravy, for which I do everything the day of.)
- Assemble and bake cornbread stuffing.
- Reheat creamed corn. (I reheat mine in the crock pot to free up a burner on the stove.)
- Bake sweet potato casserole.
- Make gravy (This is the only thing that HAS to be last minute.)
- Enjoy the day and have fun!
By now you have probably diagnosed me as having OCD, and perhaps you would not be wrong. But by the time Thanksgiving Day arrives, I feel prepared and cool as a cucumber… and that makes it such a fun day. For me, every little bit that gets done in advance makes a big difference!