Thanksgiving Countdown Planner
1 Month Before: Finalize Guest List
If you’ve decided to host Thanksgiving this year, now is the time to finalize your guest list. Think about how many people you can accommodate at your table for a sit down dinner or keep things more casual and invite more guests if you’re serving buffet style. There’s no need for formal invitations; a phone call or email to friends and family is sufficient. This is the time to ask about dietary preferences and if your great aunt makes an awesome stuffing that she’d like prada handbags to bring. This will help you figure out your menu later on.
Pick your favorite turkey recipe today and then plan additional dishes around the bird. If you’re more a fan of side dishes, start with your favorite recipes and build from there. Think about family favorites and Thanksgiving classics to start, then add in a few new dishes. Be sure to also think about drink options and simple bites to serve as guests arrive.
With plenty of time to hit the stores, now is the time to shop for tools you’ll need for the big day. Think about what you needed last year that you didn’t have or upgrade some of your current tools to help ease the cooking process.
Essential Thanksgiving Cooking Tools
3 Weeks Befor prada handbags e: Create a Shopping List
With a little over 3 weeks to go, you can start to organize your shopping list. You should have a good idea by now of who will be coming, so take a look at each recipe and decide how much of each dish you’ll need. If guests are bringing dishes, make sure they’re in the loop about how many people are attending. If you’re cooking solo, pick easier, big batch recipes to make the day less stressful. Once you go through each recipe, create a shopping list of all the ingredients you’ll need and compare it against the pantry items you already have on hand. Finalize the list so you can order hard to find ingredients online.
3 Weeks Before: Shop for Drinks
Wine and liquor keep well, so buy the items you need early. You probably won’t want to serve as bartender on the big day, so pick a signature drink that you can make a big batch of before guests arrive or set a bar with all of the basics and let guests help themselves. Plan on each guest drinking two drinks in the first hour, and one drink for every hour thereafter. You know your guests better than we do, so treat that as an estimate. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a nonalcoholic option on hand, like apple cider or sparkling water.
2 Weeks Before: Clean Out Your Freezer
Cooking and freezing as much as possible now will save you time on turkey day. Clean out your freezer to make room for everything you’ll be putting in.2 Weeks Before: Make and Freeze Pie Dough, or an Entire Apple Pie
Make a few batches of pie dough now and freeze them; wrap the disks tightly in plastic wrap and thaw in the refrigerator overnight before you’re ready to use them most pies can be made the day before Thanksgiving. Ina’s showstopping apple pie can be fully prepared and frozen up to a month in advance. After assembling, put the entire pie greased tin and all into a loose fitting plastic bag and seal tightly. Transfer it to the refrigerator the night before baking to thaw, and the next day you’ll have a fresh, juicy apple pie on your table in about an hour.
1 Week Before: Shop for Non Perishables
Divide up your shopping list into perishables and nonperishables and get the latter out of the way now. Nonperishables include equipment, decor, paper goods and cleaning supplies but could also include baking ingredients like flour, sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, canned pumpkin prada handbags and cranberries. Wait until the day before Thanksgiving to buy fresh vegetables, seafood and bread. Take inventory of tableware, tablecloths and napkins in case you need to pick up anything extra, and make sure each recipe has a serving bowl or platter to be paired with.
Vegetable soups can be easily frozen if they don’t have cream or eggs, making them an excellent do ahead appetizer. The warm curry flavor in Ina Garten’s butternut squash soup will still be nicely preserved when you reheat just before serving.
Ina’s Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1 Week Before: Plan Ahead for Leftovers
Make it easy on yourself (and guests) by having containers and bags at the ready. Leftovers will need to be wrapped up within a few hours of finishing your meal, so better to be prepared.
Food Safety: Storing Leftovers
1 Week Before: Pick Up Your Turkey
If you’ve ordered a turkey, now is the time to pick it up so you can be prepped to defrost it. If you haven’t planned for your turkey yet, purchase a frozen bird today so it will be able to defrost properly in the fridge.
3 Days Before: D prada handbags efrost Your Turkey and Buy Perishable Ingredients
Thawing a frozen turkey takes time and patience. The best way is to thaw the bird in the coldest area of the fridge with a pan underneath to catch any drips (not on the counter). If you plan on brining (a simple, hands off way to infuse your turkey with flavor), Anne Burrell’s recipe maximizes taste but minimizes prep with a no cook apple cider brine. Now is also the time to brave the crowds and pick up any perishable items from the store.