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Your 'Turkey Day' timeline

by jmaloni
Sat, Nov 17th 2012 07:05 am
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by Rachel Jolbert

Thanksgiving Day should be full of family, friends and delicious food. There is no room for stress or anxiety. Use this timeline the week of Thanksgiving to organize your holiday dinner preparation and make sure the day runs as smoothly as possible.

Weekend Before

•Confirm your number of guests.

•Purchase appropriate-size bird (remember to make sure you have enough for leftovers!).

•Plan out what serve ware and dishes you will use, take them out and wash them so they are ready to go on the big day.

•Plan your tablescape, centerpiece and home decorations. Need some inspiration? Check out Pinterest for unique and easy, do-it-yourself holiday decorations.

•Make a detailed grocery list - don't just write "herbs." Be specific: thyme, rosemary, sage, etc. You never know what you might forget while fending off other eager shoppers.

•Cut out additional coupons or discount offers that may be in the paper or online.


•Bite the bullet and go shopping. Don't forget your list, and be prepared. Most grocers group "like items" together, so most likely the items on your list will be in one or two areas.

•Dust and clean the areas of your home that your guests can view; clean the living space, kitchen, bathroom and the dining room areas first.

•If a particular family member or friend is known for her "special something," whether it is Aunt Lucy's famous apple pie, or Linda's green bean casserole, call her up and ask her to make it and bring it over. Most guests are thrilled to bring their signature dish. If someone isn't a great cook, but still offers to bring something, have him participate by bringing a bottle of wine.


•Prepare anything that will be served chilled, such as applesauce and cranberry sauce.

•Make any desserts or pastries that will be offered after dinner. Not only are pies, cakes and cookies able to be made a day in advance, most are even more delicious when given a day to rest.

•Like desserts, bread dough can be made ahead and stored in a refrigerator over night. This will not only develop a better flavor, but will give your dough a slow, even rise.

•Prepare any snacks for before-the-meal-munching, cut cheeses and vegetables, and make dips.

•Slice, cube and toast bread for your stuffing in the oven.

•Vegetables for the stuffing can be washed, chopped and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

•Chill any wines or beverages that should be served cold.


•Eat breakfast. Many people get so caught up in the making of the big meal that they forget to feed themselves in the morning.

•Prepare any side dishes.

•Bake bread or rolls in the morning. If you would like them served warm, you can always gently reheat them once the oven is turned off and you are preparing your gravy as the turkey rests before carving.

•Clean, peel and cut potatoes, and set in pot of water on the stove ready to go.

•Prepare stuffing just before you are ready to dress and prepare your bird for the oven.

•Stuff turkey and prepare for roasting, make foil tent and roast according to instructions from your butcher or from the packaging.

•Prepare mashed potatoes and/or yams.

•Make gravy with turkey juices while the turkey is resting.

•Remove stuffing from the bird and place in serving bowl.

•Carve the turkey and separate white meat from dark meat so everyone can have whichever they prefer without digging through the platter of poultry.

•Enjoy your meal. You worked hard for this!

Items Commonly Forgotten

•Aluminum foil.

•Whipped cream (whether you whip your own or buy it from a tub or can, you will be sorry when it comes time for pie and there isn't any).

•Camera (catching happy memories on film is never a mistake).

•Be thankful. Remember this day is about celebration, family and being thankful for the bounty we have on this day. Don't let the stress and hype of the day cause you to forget its true purpose.

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