Thanksgiving Week Cooking Schedule
Now that you have your Thanksgiving Week Before Checklist completed, it's time for the short week leading up to the big day! In order to have everything prepared for Thursday, I have made a to-do list broken down by the day for the week leading up to Thursday and broken down by the minute on Thanksgiving Day to make sure that I get everything cooked properly.
I am going to try to beat the crowd and go grocery shopping on Sunday. That way, if I forget something or they don't have a specific item, I have a few extra days to get exactly what I need.
I have already pulled out my Thanksgiving notebook that contains all the recipes that I will be cooking and made a grocery list. Write down how much you need of each item so you make sure you get enough. If one recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups of flour - wite 2 1/2 cups of flour on your grocery list … not just flour. If another recipe calls for 3 cups of flour, just add it to the other amount. So then you know, I will need 5 1/2 cups of flour for Thanksgiving. I can't tell you how many times I have stood in a grocery isle with something in my hand, wondering if one will be enough for a recipe that I left at home. Don't leave it to chance!
I already know that I need 19 eggs, 7 sticks of butter, 6 yellow onions and a partridge in a pear tree! Plus, make sure to buy a little extra. If you burn the cranberry sauce, it's nice to know that you can make it again without a frantic run to the store.
Also, organize your grocery list by sections of the grocery store. Produce, bakery, meat, frozen, canned goods, diary, etc. That way you can check off quickly as you are in each section and not have to look through your entire list ten times. Bring a pen to mark things off, or have it on your phone and erase items as you put them in the cart. Buy what you can in bulk at Costco to save time and money.
Monday is my designated "run around day." I am going to pick up the sour dough bread I had a friend make, pick up a Honey Baked Ham, pick up my mother-in-law's favorite tea, pick up a bag of ice to store in our extra refrigerator and pick up my pre-ordered fresh turkey from Whole Foods.
I'm also going to move a few items from the freezer to the refrideragtor to start thawing, including: puff pastry, chicken stock and put pie dough.
Let the cooking (baking) begin! Tuesday is the day to make the pies (I'm making pumpkin pie with brûlée top - recipe here - and caramel pecan fudge pie). I'm also making a brie wheel for an appetizer. Cut up and lay out bread to harden for stuffing. I am going to finish setting the table on Tuesday and also set up my buffet table. This consists of getting out all my serving dishes and labeling them with post it's. That way I know exactly what container each dish needs to be baked in and where it will be placed on the buffet (will ensure that I have enough room for everything). Brine the turkey and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
Wednesday is the ALL DAY cooking day. Put on some good music and enjoy!
I am going to make the dressing, mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, deviled eggs and cranberry sauce. I'm also going to cut up all the ingredients for the dishes that I have to make on Thursday so everything can go smooth and easy the day of.
The day before is also the day to get your house perfectly clean. All you will want to do on Thursday is make your bed and light some candles. You should not be mopping the floor on Thursday—do that the day before Thanksgiving!
Thursday - Thanksgiving Day:
The items that I have left to make on Thursday are the turkey, carrot soufflé, gravy, green beans and collard greens.
The hardest part about Thursday though is having all your prepared items come together so everything is fresh and hot at the same time (luckily I have two ovens, which helps tremendously). In order to make that happen, it is important that you make a day of schedule and stick to it. You don't want your guests waiting around for 2 hours because you forgot to put something in the oven. Also, cook your turkey early in the day to give yourself a little wiggle room if it needs to cook longer than you expected.
Here's my day-of schedule:
7:30 Preheat ovens and prep turkey (gas to 450 degrees, electric to 350 degrees)
8:00 Place Turkey in oven at 450 degrees
8:15 Make Green Beans
8:45 Turn Turkey oven down to 325 degrees
9:00 Make Carrot Soufflé and put in oven at 350 degrees
9:45 Take Turkey out of oven, turn gas oven down to warm
10:00 Take Carrot Soufflé out of oven, Make Collard Greens
10:30 Turn down Green Beans to just warm
30 minute break to get dressed!
11:00 Make Giblet Gravy, bring the pies out of the refrigerator
11:15 Put Mac-and-chesse in oven at 350 degrees
11:30 Put sweet potatoes and stuffing (covered) in oven
11:45 Remove stuffing cover, put cranberry sauce on stove to warm, put brie in oven, put Honey Baked Ham out on buffet
11:45 Light candles, prep dinning room
12:00 stuffing, mac and cheese and sweet potatoes ready, move to warming oven, move carrot soufflé to warming oven, turn electric oven up to 375 degrees
12:15 take brie out of oven, put ice in glasses, put tea and water out
12:30 Guests arrive, put yeast rolls in oven
12:45 rolls ready, put deviled eggs and pies out
1:00 lunch served, put Apple Cider on simmer in prep for dessert
After Lunch: Brûlée the top of the pumpkin pie AND THAT'S IT! haha Next week is going to be a busy one! Check back on the blog as I document my progress. Hopefully there won't be any cooking disasters … I'll have a fire extinguisher on hand just in case. No, really. Maybe you should add that to your list.
- Thanksgiving Preparations: The Complete Week Before Checklist (stylingmyeveryday.com)
- The Food Lab's Complete Guide to a Stress-Free Thanksgiving, 2013 (seriouseats.com)
- How to Stay Calm and Create the Perfect Thanksgiving Menu, Trust Me! (blogher.com)