Thanksgiving is like the Superbowl of cooking for home chefs. This year with the Pandemic we may be cooking this iconic meal for the first time. Even seasoned cooks have a hard time with the delicate balancing act that is the Turkey day meal.
I have learned over the years a few tips and tricks that have helped me stay organized in my Thanksgiving prep. Below is the basic timeline I follow when preparing for the holiday. Follow it and you will be well on your way to holiday success.
3 weeks before.. Decide on your recipes and if you are going to have guests bring anything. It helps to be specific with your guests on what you need them to bring. No one wants 3 green bean casseroles!. Read through your recipes and make sure you don't need to order any specialty ingredients or need any advanced kitchen equipment.
Make your master list for grocery shopping and prepping timeline. (i.e. dishes that can be prepared ahead of time and what day your going to cook what dish.)
2 weeks before.. Figure out what size turkey you need. I recommend buying a fresh turkey. They can be purchased and picked up close to the holiday. This also frees up space in the fridge and you don't have to worry about the bird taking up space while it defrosts. Call your Supermarket or local farm to reserve your turkey.
You can make your pie crust up to two weeks in advance and freeze them until a few days before Thanksgiving.
The weekend before.. This is the time to make a detailed shopping list and check it twice. I recommend doing your shopping in two parts. Items you will need in advance of the day to prep and cook side dishes. Then items for the final few days before the meal. Don't forget the wine or cocktails.
Decide on your serving pieces, check to make sure you enough glassware and wash/iron linens.
Tuesday.. Make everything that will be served cold such as the cranberry sauce or any dips you may be serving before the meal. Cover the dishes and leave to the big day.
Defrost Pie dough.
Wednesday.. Take inventory of the fridge and pantry and pick up any last minute ingredients along with your Turkey. Set the table.
Chop, wash, trim and dry all vegetables and herbs. Dry and store in the fridge.
Make all the desserts for the next day along with ant side dishes that can be made ahead or bake.
Thanksgiving.. Prep and roast the turkey. Finish all sides. While the turkey rests, make the gravy and assemble any last minute sides. Rewarm the other ones you made the day before. Finally carve the bird and serve your meal.
Any leftover herbs are great in cocktails.
Follow the timeline and you will be well on your way to Turkey Day success!!