Thanksgiving Prep List:
3 Weeks Before Thanksgiving –
Plan your menu. Pull out the recipes and make a list of the ingredients you need to purchase. Shop for the ingredients that can be stored in the pantry, refrigerator or freezer in advance: spices, nuts, butter, flour, eggs, fresh cranberries, oranges, apple cider, sausage, turkey, canned pumpkin, sweet potatoes, etc. Call other family members/guests and determine appetizers, side dishes, desserts or other foods they can bring. Prepare desserts that freeze well: raw pies and ball cookies, baked cookies and pies, cobblers and bread puddings.
2 Weeks Ahead –
Bake your favorite dinner rolls or sour dough bread and store in the freezer. Select tablecloth, napkins and decorations for your Thanksgiving table. Wash and press table linens and set aside.
1 Week Ahead –
Buy fresh ingredients needed. Call guests to remind them of dinnertime and foods to bring. Determine if extra seating or additional tables are needed for serving and placement. Vacuum and dust the house. Set candles and decorations in place. Make dressing/stuffing and freeze.
Thanksgiving Week –
Make a checklist of things to do each day prior to Thanksgiving. Set out platters, bowls, bread basket, etc. for each food item. Display the menu or checklist in the kitchen, so you won’t forget to remove the cider, bread or desserts from the freezer. Thaw turkey, in advance. If you’re having your Thanksgiving dinner early in the day, consider baking the bird a day ahead, carving the meat and storing it in the refrigerator in chicken broth to keep moist. Reheat in oven before serving on platter. Remove desserts, dressing and bread from freezer a day ahead. Fresh cranberry-orange relish can be made the day before. Assemble casseroles a day in advance, if possible and bake on Thanksgiving. Set the table, light the candles and savor the bountiful cuisine.
Planning ahead reduces the stress of holiday entertaining and gives the host and hostess the opportunity to count their blessings while enjoying a relaxing day with loved ones.
Deborah Tukua is the editor of Journey to Natural Living and author of the healthy fresh from the blender recipe book, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She is a freelance writer for the Farmers' Almanac and Chiropractic Economics magazine and author of the book, Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success.