Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year. It’s Opening Day for the holiday season, the most wonderful time of the year. Not to mention it is a day full of cooking and eating, two of my favorite activities. With all of the food and festivities comes a lot of prep work. Being that we are only a week and a half away I’ve decided to provide you with my favorite tips and tricks to help prepare for your big event.
Plan Your Menu
It is very important to plan your full menu ahead of time. Be sure to cater to your guest list. Is there anyone with specific food allergies, are there any vegetarian or vegans in the group, or are there some people who just have a plain aversion for a specific food item? There are plenty of options out there that will allow you to cater to everyone.
Another tip, do not go overboard. You do not need ten different side dishes on top of the the six different hors’ deouvres you just served. There will be overstuffed bellies and a ton of leftovers. Not to mention the amount of time it will take you to prepare all of these items. For a group of ten people I would do as follows:
Stick with two appetizers. Remember you do not want everyone full before the main event. Turkey of course is a necessity; a 12-14lb bird should be sufficient. Prepare two starch dishes, such as your favorite rendition of potatoes and stuffing. Don’t forget the veggies either, two different types are plenty. To round out the meal have two options for dessert. Again, you do not want a buffet of desserts after everyone just stuffed themselves to the brim.Week of Prep
You can get a lot done the week leading up to Thanksgiving Day. After you’ve done your grocery shopping you can start prepping your food. Clean and cut up any vegetables and herbs. Seal them in individual ziplock bags according to serving size and place in the fridge. Cranberry sauce and desserts can be made a few days ahead of time, also placed in the fridge until needed. If you are making your own dinner rolls, do those a week or two in advance and freeze them. Pull the rolls out the night before to allow them to thaw. Just before dinner is to be serve throw them in the oven for a few minutes to get nice and warm.Night Before Prep
The night before is a good time to get your bearings and create a game plan. Set the table with your dishes, flatware, and glasses. Put out your serving dishes and utensils, labeling each so you know exactly what goes where. It is also a good idea to have a bar set up. This will allow your guests to serve themselves and takes some of the stress off of you as the host.
No matter what, just be sure to enjoy your day. It is one to spend time with family and friends. Don’t lock yourself in the kitchen the entire time while everyone else is watching the Big Game. Anything you can do to make your day a little bit easier will do wonders.