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How to Plan for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

Monday - November 7th, 2016
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Hosting Thanksgiving at your house can be rewarding and fun, but can also be exhausting! This year, do what you can to prepare ahead of time, so that you can spend more of the day enjoying your company, and less time worrying about the main event – DINNER!

Here are some helpful tips to help the host get the most out of the day.

Three weeks ahead:

– Finalize your guest list and confirm how many people will be attending.

– Find out if any guests have any dietary needs.

– Make sure you have enough tables, chairs, glasses, silverware, etc.

Two weeks ahead:

– Finalize your menu and double check that you have all the recipes for each dish. Make sure to mix in some dishes that can be served at room temperature so you don’t have to worry about an entree getting cold or a dessert getting warm.

– Work with friends/family on who can help with certain dishes.

– Order your turkey and have it in freezer. The best way to make sure you have a big enough turkey is by planning on 1 pound per person.

– Pick up all beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, so you don’t have to worry about it closer to the day.

– Purchase all your non-perishable goods: flour, sugar, corn syrup, bread mix, etc. You will miss the crowds by purchasing early.

One week ahead:

– Shop for all fresh vegetables needed in recipes.

– Buy heavy cream – this is an item that is hard to find the closer to Thanksgiving you get.

– Locate all cooking materials and make sure they are washed and ready to go.

Three days ahead:

– If your turkey is frozen, clear space in your fridge and begin the defrosting process.

– Clean house in preparation.

– If you have a large number of guests, set up tables and chairs to make sure you have enough space.

Two days ahead:

– Make all pies/desserts you plan on serving as well as rolls, breads, and cornbread for stuffing. Refrigerate pies: you can always warm them up before serving.

– Make dishes that can sit in the fridge for two days, like soup and cranberry sauce.

– Assemble casseroles: they can be stored in your fridge uncooked and then are easy to bake the day of.

One day ahead:

– Assemble tables and chairs where they will go.

– Set up a coat rack with hangers for guests.

– Do any remaining baking needed.

– Buy salad greens and any other perishable vegetables you need.

– Calculate cooking time for remaining dishes you will cook on Thanksgiving Day and give yourself a 20-minute buffer.

On the day of, make sure you wake up bright and early to ensure everything is cooked in time. Don’t forget to give yourself a few minutes to sit back, relax, and enjoy the day. No matter what you cook or how you cook it, remember, the day is about spending time with family and friends.