It is the Monday before Thanksgiving and I’m in planning and prepping mode. Which for me involves making lots of lists, checking my easy Thanksgiving Menu and googling things like “is 5lbs of mashed potatoes enough for 10 people” if you’re curious it is.
If you are going to be hosting Thanksgiving here are some last minute tips and thoughts to help make the next few days easier and make Thanksgiving Day go smoothly.
Last Minute Thanksgiving Day Tips
Give everyone a job, that includes the kids. Little ones can set the table, help clean up and make place settings. Guests who don’t cook can bring things like beer and wine. Make sure everyone has a job and if need be is contributing something. Everyone knows Thanksgiving is a lot of work and they usually don’t mind helping out in whatever way they can.
When trying to decide how much beer or wine to have, come up with a number and then double it. It’s the holidays people might have an extra drink and any unopened bottles can be used as gifts or for other events.
Make sure you have enough seating. If you have a dining table that expands, make sure to put the leaf in the table or better yet assign that job to your husband.
This year I’ve decided to use plastic plates and silverware because I don’t have enough plates for our whole crowd and it’s a huge time saver on dishes. If you use plastic plates try to buy the nicer ones, not only do they look better they also hold up better.
I regularly forget to have all of the tools for carving the turkey. This is always fun when the turkey is out of the oven and I’m scrambling around for a knife. Make sure you have a knife, cutting board and large tongs to remove the turkey from the roasting pan.
Make sure you have a roasting pan. I brought a cheap pan a few years ago and it has not held up well at all. Either spend the money on a good roasting pan, or buy a disposable one. Also make sure you have a rack for the roasting pan so that the turkey isn’t sitting in the bottom of the pan, the turkey won’t get crispy that way.
I regularly forget to get the cooking twine to truss the turkey. You can pick that up at a supermarket, also make sure you have a meat thermometer.
Speaking of the grocery store, most stores let you order your groceries online. This saves you from forgetting your list at home, waiting in long lines, searching for hard to find items and inevitably having to go back to the store. One of the reasons I love ordering online is that I can write out my entire menu and have my list in front of me while I shop. And if I forget something I can always add it to the order.
Make a list of what you can do in advance and then write out a timeline for the meal. Write down each dish, what temperature it cooks at and how long it takes to cook.
Speaking of timing, look at how much your turkey weighs and then google how long it will take to cook.
Here are some easy food preps that you can do in advance. A few days before you can cut up the bread for stuffing because fresh bread makes terrible stuffing, you want it to be dry. You can also make cranberry sauce ahead of time. Many vegetables can be chopped the night before. I make a roasted vegetable salad and I always roast the vegetables the day before.
I always think Thanksgiving dinner is more work than it is. But a little advanced preparation goes a long way. One of my favorite tips is one I heard today while watching Rachael Ray, “open a bottle of wine at 10 am”, a good glass of wine can go a long way in making the day less stressful. Whatever you do have a Happy Thanksgiving and if all goes wrong you can always order out.