Are you cooking for a large group this Thanksgiving? Tradition has made my home the gathering spot each year and I love it. I typically cook for about 20-35 people each Thanksgiving and everyone says, “that must be a lot of work”. And you know what, they’re right. Over the years I’ve created a system of planning, shopping and preparation to help ease the workload for the big day. Not only that, it also frees me up to spend more time with the people I care about.
Here’s my planning guide to help free up more of my time on Thanksgiving Day. By doing just one or two things each day for a week leading up to the big day, Thanksgiving dinner is a piece of (pumpkin) pie.
Thanksgiving Planning Menu and Shopping List
I love cooking with herbs and this menu is packed full of them. This year’s theme is also cranberry…and lot’s of them! Spilsbury Thanksgiving Menu and Grocery Shopping List; save time by eliminating those last-minute trips to the grocery store for forgotten items! You may notice that dessert is missing from my list. I didn’t forget it; rather, whenever a guest asks me, “what can I bring?”, I always answer, “pie”. Now, it’s gotten to where it’s a contest to see who will bring the most unusual pie.
Here are just a few things you can do ahead of time to prepare for Thanksgiving Dinner:
- Freeze cranberry ice ring for Sparkling Cranberry Punch
- Cook Perfect Cranberry Sauce (this can made a few days and stored for Thanksgiving)
- Prepare Mushroom White Wine Sauce and store to pour over steamed fresh green beans
- Prepare Herbed Sweet Potato Casserole; this too can be made ahead of time so you will only need to bake it on the big day
- Arrange tables and chairs; if your house allows, you will save so much time by planning your seating a day or two in advance
- Chop onions, celery and cranberries for stuffing a day or two in advance; store in air-tight container
- Decorating your table just a day in advance it will free up a big chunk of time on Thanksgiving
- Set out and arrange each serving dish the way you want it to be on Thanksgiving Day; use sticky notes or place cards to label what goes in each dish
Let’s Talk Turkey
Here is a link to a great one-page article that will tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about selecting, thawing and preparing your Thanksgiving Turkey: Sara Moulton’s Turkey Tips
The Organized Cook
Boost your confidence, ease dinner preparation stress and have more time to enjoy your family on Thanksgiving Day through organization and preparation.