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thanksgiving 2011 planning: 10 more days to go

Planning Thanksgiving Dinner 2011.

please pass the stretchy pants

Oh, yes. In 10 days, we will be begging for some of those stretchy pants! You’ve been warned so have a pair on deck wherever you’re celebrating Thanksgiving this year!

With 10 days until Thanksgiving, I’m starting to get more nervous about the timing of everything and how I’m going to pull this off without pulling out my hair (we wouldn’t want that, now would we?).

That said, last week when I was on a train to NYC, I had my Thanksgiving menu out in front of me and a notebook. I first started with a “to bring” column. Here, I wrote down all the spices, ingredients, equipment & dishes that I already have that I can bring to my parent’s house. In another column, I went through each recipe and wrote down what I had to buy and how much of it.

The important part of doing all this is the last part (which you can’t get to unless you have the ingredients & equipment so I guess all of it is important haha): writing down, next to each recipe, how long it takes to bake or cook it, at what temperature, and in what order.

If you don’t have double ovens, this last step is probably the most crucial because you want to make sure you have everything made by a certain time but you also don’t want things to get cold.

After I did that, I grouped items that could cook at the same temperature together but also made sure that those were in the same category. For example, I wouldn’t bake dessert with my appetizer — the dessert would be cold by the time we were ready to eat it! You have to do this logically. Also, make note of certain dishes that you can make ahead of time. For example, I’m making the dough for my cheddar-bacon biscuits on Tuesday evening and leaving it in the fridge until I need them on Thursday. Also, if you can prep the night before (like chopping veggies or shredding cheese), it’ll be great help the day-of!

Don’t forget about the showcase of your Thanksgiving meal: the turkey! I calculated that if I get a 12-14 pound turkey, I will need to give it roughly 3.5 days to thaw and it’ll take about 3.5 hours to cook. Don’t forget about the time it takes you brine your turkey too! You must account for all this otherwise you will be turkey-less! Or ordering takeout :)

Buy groceries needed for the big day a couple days before so things don’t rot and go bad on you. You want pretty green leaves not brown, wilted ones!

This probably all means nothing to you if you’re a pro at Thanksgiving dinner, but for those of us that are still fairly new at this, these are just some pointers in case you’re getting the jitters like I am :)

I’m sure once Thanksgiving is over, I will come back and write a “what I did wrong and what I have learned” entry. You always learn something new!

If you think of any other tips I may have missed that you think would benefit everyone, leave a comment and let us know! :)

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