I know what you are thinking, “Isn’t it too early to talk about Thanksgiving?” The answer is “NO!” HAHA! It’s my favorite time of year and I am even more excited for this year because Thursday is Thanksgiving, Friday is Black Friday AND my mother’s birthday, and then Saturday is MY BIRTHDAY!! This is going to be the 4th time I host Thanksgiving and it’s going to be amazing! With a blend of my mom’s recipes and my own, my family has amazing time and get to enjoy an amazing meal.
4 weeks before Thanksgiving
- Make a damn plan. This is soo important for hosting a fabulous dinner and being able to entertain your guests. I am a planner and I can’t imagine hosting another Thanksgiving without being organized. It makes Thanksgiving day SO much easier to deal with! The first Thanksgiving I hosted, I winged it and I was in the kitchen ALL day! Not ideal…
- Finalize your guest list. Get the headcount of the guests your planning to attend. That way, you can make the best decision when you…
- Order your turkey. You can order turkeys that are fully roasted or raw, if you prefer to brine and cook your own.
- Clean out your freezer and take inventory of your pantry. Get rid of that freezer burned ice cream and cook up those steaks you forgot about. Then, get an idea of what you have in your pantry so that when you plan out your shopping lists, you don’t end up purchasing items that you already have on hand.
- Plan your menu. Gather your recipes from your favorite cookbooks, magazines, or your own archive. If you are looking for new recipes, look for the key words “make ahead”. I promise, this will make Thanksgiving day a breeze!
3 weeks before Thanksgiving
- Test out your recipes. If there are recipes from magazines or cookbooks that you want to serve on the day, make a small batch and test them out first. The last thing you would want, is to make the recipe for the first time and it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted! Trust me, I’ve been there, I’ve done that.
- Make your grocery list. Do your first round of shopping. Trust me, this will make the next couple of weeks less stressful. Buy your non perishables (your pumpkin puree, sugar, flour, spices, etc.)
- Make and freeze your pie dough. Properly stored pie dough can last in the freezer for 3 months. When you’re ready to make your pies, pull them out the night before to defrost.
- Check your equipment. Make sure you have the right cookware, serveware, glassware, etc. I use post it notes and label which pots/pans I am going to use for each dish. If there are pans that you need, this gives you time to go out and buy some.
2 weeks before Thanksgiving
- Make copies of your recipes. Even if you know your recipes by heart, make a copy of it! I keep my recipes on index cards. I’ve made my mac and cheese recipe a thousand times, but I wouldn’t want to forget an ingredient while keeping track of all of the other dishes. I keep my index cards on a magnetic clip on my fridge.
- Clean out your fridge. Eat those leftovers and make space for your upcoming shopping trips.
- Buy the liquor. Get a variety for your guests- white and red wine, beer, and spirits. If your guests asks what they can bring and you have your whole menu put together, ask them to bring a bottle.
- Clean your home. Focus on your living room, dining room, and guest room. Clean the curtains, dust your fans, stock the guest restroom with toilet paper and hand towels, and de-clutter any space you plan to have your guests.
- Plan your table decor. Gather your chargers, plates, napkins, runners/tablecloths, and centerpiece… If you don’t have items to set your table, head out to a Homegoods or Williams-Sonoma for inspiration.
1 week before Thanksgiving
- Set you table. Now that you have your decor, clean and set your dining table. If you are assigning seats, go ahead and place those name cards out as well. (If some of your guests don’t know each other well, mix up your seating arrangement so those who are more social, would comfortably strike up a conversation with others.) Also, set your buffet or sideboard. I set out a tablecloth, platters, and serveware on my buffet table at this time.
- Also, get your playlist together. For more formal dinners, you may want a couple different playlists– maybe one for cooking, one for drinks and appetizers, and another for the actual dinner. Though, we watch football throughout the day, a little music in the background is great and keeps others at ease.
- Pick up your turkey. Beat the rush and get your turkey. It will take a few days to defrost completely- just in time to brine.
- Make and freeze your dinner rolls or biscuits. They can last in the freezer, fully cooked, for up to a month. Take your time making the rolls. Everyone loves to enjoy bread with dinner!
3 days before Thanksgiving
- Finish your last round of shopping. Get all of your perishables and anything else that crossed your mind as you were preparing along the way. And don’t forget about getting all the things you will need for your Friday Thanksgiving leftover sandwich. The day after, you should be able to just kick up your feet and have the most epic sandwich without having to leave the house!
- Start your prep. Cut your vegetables, for all of the dishes. Label them in plastic Ziploc bags.
- Completely thaw your turkey. Because in two days, you will brine the bird.
2 days before Thanksgiving
- Chill your beer and wine. Done and done.
- Brine your turkey. I use a wet brine for my birds. Brining is fabulous way to keep the bird juicy while roasting, but also gives it SO much flavor! There are so many different brines out there. I like to go with an apple cider brine.
- Make those “make ahead” recipes. The stuffing, the desserts, the cranberry sauce…. See why it was a good idea to get those recipes together a few weeks ago?
1 day before Thanksgiving
- Have a glass of wine. You have little do before the “big deal”. Finish tidying up and refresh anything that needs to be cleaned. Today might be a good day to clean the kitchen.
- Remove the turkey from the wet brine. Allow the turkey to sit in the fridge overnight, uncovered. This allows the skin to dry, which creates a nice crispy skin while roasting.
- Bring the turkey to room temperature. Bringing the bird to room temperature allows for even cooking. (You’ll be happy you did this!) Then pop that baby in the oven!
- Start that playlist and enjoy the day. You worked very hard and you deserve to have a good time with your guests! Pour yourself a glass of wine, enjoy the company, and savor every bite! I know my family comes over early, so I try to be ready by noon. I set out appetizers and kick back. Don’t forget to get a picture of all the food!
- Send leftovers. This was something that I completely forgot last year, but we know your dinner was delicious and there is nothing like having Thanksgiving leftovers to make an EPIC leftover sandwich while online shopping for Black Friday!
Make sure you’re following me on IG! You know I’ll be posting all sorts of food pictures all month! And of course, my annual Thanksgiving Day plate. It’s going to be fabulous!
2 thoughts on “My Thanksgiving Guide”
Having a list like this is really important if you are hosting a crowd. It definitely eases the stress.
Absolutely! It’s made my hosting so much easier and I can literally enjoy Thursday with my family 😊 xo
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