Such a great holiday celebrating family, friends and food. Lots of glorious food. Yet the anxiety and pressure to get that food on the table on time and beautifully presented often blurs the gratitude aspect of Thanksgiving. With a bit of planning, even the cook(s) will enjoy a relatively calm and relaxed Thanksgiving Day. Definitely doable. And so important that I’m sharing with you my Nine Thanksgiving Tips, my Thanksgiving Checklist and my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Whether you’re serving two, twenty or two thousand, all of which I’ve done, pre-planning and organization make all the difference.
Over the past two years I’ve compiled and refined an in-depth Thanksgiving Checklist. It’s a detailed action plan for organizing yourself from two weeks before Thanksgiving until dinner is served on Thanksgiving Day. Take a moment to print out the checklist. By following it you’ll be so organized. You’ll marvel at how much more energy you have to enjoy yourself, the company and the food.
This Thanksgiving Checklist serves as a universal action plan. I’ve included lots of options. Adjust the checklist for the meal you’re planning. Add in any additional items and cross out the items not a part of your meal.
Nine Thanksgiving Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday
These Nine Tips serve as a condensed version of the more detailed Thanksgiving Checklist.
- A week or two before Thanksgiving: Plan your menu balancing flavors, colors, fresh & cooked items and oven & stove top requirements.
- With all your recipes in hand, write out a shopping list. This way you can account for every ingredient and avoid last-minute trips to the store.
- Buy whatever you can in advance.
- The week before Thanksgiving: Do whatever you can in advance, including pie crusts, cranberry sauce and turkey stock or vegetable stock.
- If using special linens, china, glasses, silver and platters, wash and polish them now.
- Decide what you’ll wear. If needed, have it cleaned and pressed so your outfit’s ready when you are.
- Thanksgiving week: Complete your food shopping over the weekend or early morning on Monday or Tuesday.
- Create a very detailed timeline for each day of Thanksgiving week.
- Put this timeline in writing and paste it on your kitchen cabinets.
- Check things off as they are completed.
- Include and highlight the time when items go into the oven.
- Include and highlight the time when these same items should be coming out of the oven.
- Whatever can be done in advance of Thursday, do in advance—prepping vegetables, making stuffing and pie fillings, setting the table, laying out and labeling serving utensils and platters for the buffet, etc.
- Wash and clean the kitchen before you go to bed Wednesday night.
- Thanksgiving Day: Wake up early and thankful that your kitchen is clean and your mind relaxed. As you have a timeline in place to guide you through the day.
May you enjoy a stress free and most delicious Thanksgiving Day
My favorite Thanksgiving recipes
- Braised Turkey w/ Fresh Herbs, Wild Mushrooms & Vegetables
- Fresh Herb & Wild Mushroom Bread Stuffing
- Shiitake Gravy
- Veggie Patties w/ Quinoa & Lots of Veggies
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Fresh Orange or Lime Juice
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Yams
- Delicata Squash w/ Maple Balsamic Pomegranate Glaze
- Roasted Glazed Carrots
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Triple-Delish Cranberry Sauce
- Maple Pumpkin Pie
- Cranberry Apple Crostata
- Apples Baked in Apple Juice
- Buttery, Whole-Wheat Pie Crust
- Fig, Black Olive & Walnut Tapenade
- Yoghurt Cheese—Labneh
- Watercress, Belgian Endive & Pear Salad with Goat Cheese, Shallot-Mustard Vinaigrette & Maple-Glazed Walnuts
Maple Pumpkin Flan
Now most everyone can enjoy something pumpkin for dessert. A gluten-free Maple Pumpkin Flan. For a bit of satisfying crispness, pass around a few gluten-free Maple Pecan Shortbread cookies. Quite delish. I’m sharing the Maple Pumpkin Flan recipe in my next post, so you’ll be able to serve and enjoy it this Thanksgiving.