Thanksgiving Dinner Preparation

Thanksgiving – The wonderful day where we gather to enjoy family and friends and be thankful for all that we have.  It’s always so nice to see everyone and feast on the yummy food and kick back and watch some football (or get outside and play some).

Well, I don’t know about you but I start stressing about the day before the trick-or-treaters hit the streets on Halloween.  We’ve been hosting dinner for several years and the perfectionist in me wants the food to be perfect.  This year we will have about 20 people over.  We do split out the side dishes to help ease the burden of cooking everything (and my brother-in-law will cook the ham), but I will be doing the lions share.

Here’s how I manage it.

I am a list maker.  This helps me get organized and take away some of the stress.  I don’t know about you but I can get to feeling very overwhelmed when there is a lot to do, but as soon as I put it on paper I’m like, that’s not so bad.  I believe that by trying to remember everything, that mole hill starts feeling like a mountain.

Make a list of chores and when to do them.  It feels so good to check things off.  I’ve been using this same list for a few years now and just make tweaks as needed.  It’s works great and there’s no sense in reinventing the wheel each year!


Mila proof the house – Are you asking yourself what is that?  It’s who.  She’s two and cute as can be.  I just haven’t had little ones running around the house in quite some time.  Figured it’s just easier to put some things up.

Make a guest list and menu.


Grocery List & shopping.  You know when I said I start stressing about Thanksgiving before Halloween?  Well, that’s when I start watching the grocery ads.  I start picking up a few things here and there so I don’t spend hundreds of dollars the weekend before Thanksgiving.  If you do this, be sure to keep track of it so you don’t forget that you bought it already or if someone ate it.  LOL!

Education.  I’m addicted to all of the cooking shows that are on with helpful hints and do’s and don’ts.  I caught part of Sara Moulton’s show this weekend on PBS.  Here’s the link to it. I’m definitely using her recipe for mashed potatoes and gravy to make the day prior.  I love finding ways to make the actual day a little less stressful.  She has some really good tips.  Some of them I already do (i.e. setting out platters and utensils the day before and labeling them).

Thanksgiving Day – Oven Time Management  This remains an area where I continue to look for improvement.  I only have one oven and the turkey is the star.  This year will be better since my brother-in-law is making the ham.  Right now, I just have the turkey and rolls to bake on Thanksgiving day.  The pies will be done the day before and I don’t have any other sides to bake.  To free up stove top space, I’ll be using crock pots to keep the potatoes, noodles, corn and stewed tomatoes warm.

What do you do to help prep for Thanksgiving?  I’d love to hear any suggestions you may have to help make the day less stressful.


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