One of the biggest challenges to hosting Thanksgiving dinner is getting all of the side dishes to the table piping hot (or at least not cold).
So what’s the secret? PREPARATION!!
And how do you that? By making lists. I’m a big believer in writing a list of things to do. I do this every day for daily tasks and also have a “bigger picture” list for projects I’m working on, which may take several months to accomplish.
Now Is The Time To Start Planning
With Thanksgiving only a week away, now is the time to start planning. The first thing you need to do is decide on a menu. Here are some recipes you may want to consider making, along with an overall Thanksgiving prep schedule.
MENU AND THANKSGIVING PREP SCHEDULE
Here’s the Rootsliving Thanksgiving Day menu:
- Antipasti Platter (You don’t have to make all four. Pick, choose and then assemble.)
- Root Soup (our signature dish)
- Classic, No-Fail, American Roasted Turkey
- Triple Cornbread Stuffing
- Nan’s Mashed Potatoes
- Green Bean Casserole (the healthier version)
- Cranberry Sauce (homestyle or chunky, from a can. Hey, you can’t do everything.)
- Quick, Easy, Nutella Cookies (If guests ask what they can bring, tell them pies.)
To make your own cooking schedule, I suggest working backwards. Start at Thanksgiving Day and figure out what food has to be made on that day. In other words, what food can’t you make ahead of time?
Obviously, you wouldn’t want to make the turkey the night before because you wouldn’t be able to serve it moist and hot. Reheated turkey isn’t as good as freshly cooked.
If you plan to make the Rootsliving Thanksgiving Day menu (or a pretty good facsimile), you can follow this schedule.
You’ll notice that I start with cooking a chicken on Sunday. That’s only if you intend to make your own chicken stock for the Root Soup. Store bought is fine and if you decide to use that, then skip that part of the plan.
TODAY-SUNDAY: Decide on your menu. Make a list of ingredients. Order your fresh turkey and make time to food shop.
- Roast a chicken (optional, only if you intend to make your own stock) and eat it for Sunday dinner.
- Make chicken stock with the leftover chicken carcass and put it in the refrigerator overnight. (optional)
- Spoon fat off chicken stock and make Root Soup.
- Make Nan’s Mashed Potatoes (but don’t sprinkle with paprika or dot the top with butter just yet. Instead put it in a baking dish and refrigerate overnight. Wait to bake it on Thursday.)
- Make Green Bean Casserole (but don’t sprinkle the final layer of French’s crispy fried onions on top. Instead put it in a baking dish and refrigerate overnight. Wait to bake it on Thursday.)
- Make Quick, Easy, Nutella cookies
THURSDAY, THANKSGIVING DAY:
- Prepare the appetizers
- Cook the turkey
- While turkey is cooking, make the stuffing.
- Finally heat up the Root Soup, green bean casserole (sprinkling a layer of French’s crispy fried onions on top), and Nan’s Mashed Potatoes (sprinkle with paprika and dot top with butter) so that they’re hot (or at least warm) when you bring them to the table.
Finally, don’t forget to relax. The holidays are for remembering and celebrating what’s important in life — family and good friends. The food, spirits, and material gifts are secondary.
And if cranky aunt gladys complains that the green bean casserole isn’t warm enough, smile and pour her another glass of wine (it’s counterintuitive, but she’ll be less whiny).