One of the biggest dinners of the year is Thanksgiving dinner! It might be difficult to get the timing just perfect with all the sides and desserts, not to mention the unpredictable turkey clocks! When should each step be started in order for the entire meal to be hot and ready at once?
Making a plan ahead of time can help reduce the stress on Thanksgiving day.
Use one of my Thanksgiving planning guides to assist you in getting your meal on the table if you are one of the fortunate people in charge of hosting dinner this year. It will specify the best times to prepare and cook each dish for your Thanksgiving meal.
Before a big party, there’s no better time to tidy your home. Purchase a beautiful turkey tablecloth, fresh window curtains, and nice dishware. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but you should be creative to make your visitors feel welcome.
Don’t be concerned if it sneaked up on you. I’ve put up a basic hosting guide to help you get ready for Thanksgiving (and avoid running about like a turkey with its head cut off!).
1. Make a Meal Plan
Now it’s time for the fun part! Start planning what you’ll make, whether your family has Christmas favorites they eat every year or you want to try new foods. For most events, I’d offer 2-3 appetizers, 3-4 sides, 1-2 main dishes (including the turkey), and 2-3 desserts so that everyone has something to eat. You may also create a Thanksgiving menu design and place it on your table so that your visitors know what they will be eating. If you don’t know how to make a menu, you may use the thanksgiving menu templates.
As you plan, keep your kitchen in mind. If your oven is small, for example, the turkey will take up the majority of the space, so think about sides that can be prepared on the stove, in the microwave, or ahead of time and served at room temperature.
2. Start Preparing
I know I preach about completing as much prep work ahead of time as possible all of the time, but it’s true. If all you have to worry about on Thanksgiving is your turkey and maybe a side dish or two, you’ll be much calmer.
Here’s my to-do list for the days leading up to T-Day:
- Plan two separate grocery trips: one about a week before Thanksgiving to stock up on non-perishables and items with longer expiration dates, and a second 2-3 days before Thanksgiving to acquire all of your fresh goods and any last-minute additions.
- From cutting knives to a meat thermometer, make sure you have everything you’ll need for Thanksgiving dinner.
- Check your plate and flatware situation—and, if necessary, enlist the help of a friend.
3. Enjoy The Food
First and foremost, get the turkey ready. After all, it is the main attraction! Preheat the oven, assemble your ingredients, double-check the cooking time, and remove the turkey from the refrigerator at least an hour before roasting to enable it to come to room temperature.
Allow the turkey to rest when it has done cooking while you finish the rest of the sides. One thing I don’t mind is that the turkey isn’t boiling hot—I love having hot side dishes and gravy. Your turkey will be wonderful served at room temperature, I assure it.