Thanksgiving is an amazing time for friends and family to come together, enjoy a meal, and watch football―- if you ARE NOT HOSTING.
If you are hosting, you are probably brimming with anticipation wondering if you have everything you need to feed all those people you invited. You are probably wondering if you have enough wine, if the food will be satisfactory, (Heaven forbid a dry turkey), and how in the world are you going to get it all done.
The only answer to this is planning and preparation. If you are serving only 4-6 people, you can probably get away with a little disorganization. Now, if you anticipate a large, rowdy crowd, you better be prepared. Below is a little rundown of how I will be getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner at my house; My Thanksgiving timeline.
The weekend prior:
1.I like to make a trip to Costco or Sam’s the weekend prior.
2.Purchase non-food essentials:
foil, parchment paper, plastic wrap, disposable pans, trash bags, etc.
napkins, plates, silverware, cups, candles
toilet paper, tissue paper, paper towels, dish soap, hand soap
wine, bottled water, sodas, juice, coffee, coffee creamer
serving trays, platters, and utensils
3.Determine Final Menu and print recipes, if necessary
4.Clean out the fridge to make room for: the turkey, ham, and all your prepped items
Make my BIG grocery run (or order your groceries). Bring all the recipes necessary + your list. Commit to wandering each aisle so you don’t forget any thing. Make sure you get your protein TODAY. Depending on the size of your turkey, you will need to let it thaw.
If you are making your own pie crust, today is a great day to do it!
Today is the day to bake the desserts. You don’t want to worry about juggling oven space with the desserts.
Make the cornbread for the cornbread dressing. Crumble it and store in fridge.
Pull out your serving dishes, roasting pans, platters and table setting (if applicable)
This is the day I do majority of my prep work.
Brine the turkey (or in our case, turkey breast)
Chop up all the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic I might need to complete my menu.
Shred cheese for the macaroni and cheese. Store in a plastic bag.
Wash and prepare the green beans. You could even blanch them right now.
Make the vinaigrette for the green beans.
Boil the Potatoes for the mashed potatoes/ sweet potato casserole.
If making potatoes au gratin, slice the potatoes with a mandolin and cover with water so they don’t brown. Store in the fridge overnight.
Make the cornbread dressing; cover tightly with foil and refrigerate. Bake it tomorrow.
Day of: Thanksgiving Dinner @ 5pm
Bake the rolls.
Boil the pasta for the macaroni and cheese.
Get ham in the oven.
Make the topping for the sweet potato casserole.
Prepare the potatoes au gratin.
Finish the greens.
Bake the cornbread dressing.
Saute the green beans. Toss with warm bacon vinaigrette at the table or right before serving.
Reheat the rolls with butter.
Remove the ham from the oven.
Slice the turkey breast.
Sit down and enjoy!
Now y’all know I am a huge fan of ordering my groceries but for something like Thanksgiving, I prefer to brave the crowds and wander the store.
I conducted a poll on Instagram last week, and it seemed like majority of y’all were OK with using your slow cooker on Thanksgiving. I would strongly suggest using them to keep food warm if oven space is going to be an issue. Some things that keep well in a LOW slow cooker include mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, greens, and even the green beans.
The tricky part of being a good host is gracefully exciting the menu, having a clean kitchen when everyone shows up, and not looking tired! I wish you all the luck in the world. Just know, your guest are grateful they DIDN’T have to cook this year and if you keep serving them alcohol, any mishaps will be forgotten.
If you want more tips on hosting, check out this guest post I wrote for Milk & Honey Nutrition.
For more tips on feeding large crowds, check out this post I did on feeding the offensive line.
Finally, if you are running short on time, check out this post on the 10 Items You Might Forget on Thanksgiving.