You might believe that a stress-free holiday is nothing but a myth. Thanksgiving dinner often feels like a not-so-comedic sitcom scene starring a frazzled cook, hauling an overcooked turkey from the oven while being serenaded by a screeching smoke detector.
Let’s use a Thanksgiving countdown schedule to help your holiday stress on ice:
2 Weeks: Prepare your menu and fridge. Whether you choose Google or grandma’s recipe book, organize your master plan. Choose dishes to make or delegate. Communicating dinner plans in advance will help avoid confusion and chaos. This calm before the storm period is an ideal time to make fridge space for the abundance to come.
10 Days: Make a list. And, like the holiday song says, check it twice. Inspect your dishware. Is the gravy boat big enough? Will the roasting pan hold your turkey? For round one of shopping, buy non-perishable ingredients for food that can be prepared ahead to time. Choose a suitable turkey size—generally one serving per pound of turkey.
The Weekend Before: Embark on shopping round two. Pick up ingredients for perishables and the items inevitably forgotten. Baked goods tend to be time-consuming, so prepare whatever can be reheated now to take hours of prep off Thanksgiving day.
Two Days Before: Begin fresh food preparation. Dry stuffing loaves of bread, and, as Martha Stewart recommends, prepare dressings and dips that can be stored safely. If you chose a frozen turkey, let it defrost and begin brining if preferred.
The Day Before: Attend to details. Set the table, and arrange décor. Now is the time to trim vegetables and salad greens. Peel potatoes to soak in room-temperature water until they’re ready to cook. Make a detailed schedule for Thanksgiving Day that includes when to cook the turkey and potatoes, chill drinks, make gravy, etc.
Thanksgiving Day: Take a deep breath, knowing you’re prepared for success. Thaw pre-made dishes. Be sure to back up cooking/baking times to your present mealtime schedule. Finalize the table settings and prepare any last-minute items. And don’t forget THE most important item of the day—enjoy a stress-less holiday meal with family and friends.