Thanksgiving Menu & Planning


Tom and I finally decided what we're doing for Thanksgiving. We're not ready to leave the cats home alone together for extended periods of time, so we're just going to stay home for Thanksgiving.

Of course this means I instantly went into planning mode. The apartment needs to be cleaned, the menu prepared, a time chosen, family deciding what they're making, etc. If you're extremely detail oriented like me, this is where you start making lists.

In case you're interested, here is a master list of everything!

The To-Do List:

The most important part on that list (to me) is selecting the menu. Obviously there would be turkey, but what else? I really wish that we had a large dining room table so we could have appetizers, a soup course, a salad course and so on with everyone sitting in one spot. Unfortunately that's not the case so I end up getting a bit creative on how to serve different items.
The Menu
 Cheese and Veggie Tray
Pumpkin Bisque with Smoked Gouda Shooters
Oven Roasted Turkey
Side Dishes:
Crock Pot Cheesy Garlic and Chive Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Carrots, Broccoli, Butternut Squash, Cauliflower and Sweet Potatoes
Bread, Butter and Sauces:
Dinner Rolls - half plain, half everything
Pumpkin Pie
Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars

I don't have the right amount of shot glasses for the pumpkin bisque shooters so I need to go out and buy those. I also don't have enough small bowls to serve the gnocchi in since its an appetizer. I found the shot glasses and small bowls at Ikea. I just need to stop by there and pick them up.

Once I figured out the menu, I was easily able to determine what to pass off to family members. Last year my aunt offered to make the turkey because she gets a huge one free from work. I lent her my roasting pan and we were good to go. We're going to do the same thing this year. Which brings me to my third list. 

What Family Members are Making/Bringing 
Mom -  pumpkin pie and veggie tray
Aunt - turkey, stuffing, apple pie
Cousin - drinks

Since hosting a holiday meal for 10+ people can get a little expensive, it does help to pass off some recipes to family members. Another helpful tip is to write down every ingredient you need for each recipe. Go through and cross off what you currently have in your pantry/fridge/freezer. Then (if possible) separate out the ingredients you can purchase ahead of time so you don't end up with a really large grocery bill a few days before Thanksgiving (or more importantly, before you go Black Friday shopping).

Grocery Store List

Sticking with the menu, the next list I make specifies what to make ahead of time and when. The absolute last thing you want to do is spend the day before Thanksgiving cooking and cleaning for hours. Believe me, I did it the first year and I'm still kicking myself in the ass for it. Its just too exhausting. 

Preparing Ahead of Time 

And now for the really fun (/sarcasm) list - cleaning! Just because I'm usually slightly overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done, I write down all of my regular cleaning along with any extra things that I want to do to prepare for guests. This way I won't forget anything.

Cleaning List (click to enlarge)

Are you sick of reading different lists yet? There's only one more...

 The Day of Checklist / Timeline
All times are approximate and each time list is when the task should be completed by
8 am - wake up, feed cats, usual morning routine
9 am - boil potatoes for mashed potatoes, transfer herbed butter to butter dish to soften
10 am - any last minute cleaning, put out any serving plates, make sure enough beverages are in the fridge, transfer the potatoes to the crock pot 
11 am - shower and get dressed
1:20 pm - put out cheese and veggie appetizer
1:30 pm - family starts to arrive
1:45 pm - heat up soup and cook gnocchi
2 pm - serve soup and gnocchi, put vegetables into pan for roasting
2:30 pm - start gravy and cranberry sauce, get out dinner plates
2:45 pm - warm up rolls (and anything else), start carving turkey
3 pm - serve dinner
3:30 - 4 pm - serve dessert
5-6 pm - family goes home, clean up and take nap
9:30 pm - head to Walmart for Black Friday sales

Within a week or so after Thanksgiving I plan to have all of the recipes not previously blogged up for everyone. I hope this helps you plan out hosting your Thanksgiving Feast!

1 comment:

  1. Wow - that is detailed but great - i love lists! Makes you feel accomplished!


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