Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thanksgiving Time-Line

No…I’m not giving a history lesson today. I’m going to give you my very loose schedule for getting prepared for Thanksgiving.

Saturday before: If your turkey is frozen, put it in the refrigerator to thaw. Make sure he is on a tray…don’t want any messes in the fridge.

Sunday or Monday:

  • Make a final shopping list and buy needed items. Make sure that you really have all those pantry staples that you THINK you have!
  • Bake cookies and decorate (or bake on Sunday and decorate on Monday)….although, I don’t think I will be baking cookies this year. I have some other projects that are taking my time…Plus with only 3 of us here, I don’t really NEED to bake cookies. 
  • Make cranberry sauce; refrigerate.


  • Bake sweet potatoes for sweet potato soufflé and refrigerate.
  • Bake cornbread for dressing.
  • Make rolls and partially bake. (your own brown-and-serve rolls)
  • Check on the turkey and make sure that he is thawing properly.


  • Prepare sweet potato soufflé and cornbread dressing, but DO NOT bake yet. Just put them in their casserole dishes, cover and refrigerate.
  • Make and bake pumpkin pie; refrigerate.
  • We serve our meal buffet-style. So I don’t set the table. But if you serve at the table, go ahead and set your table.
  • Boil eggs for deviled eggs; refrigerate.
  • Make congealed cranberry salad (if serving)
  • Plan something for breakfast that doesn’t involve major preparation. I have cinnamon rolls in the freezer! I also have plenty of yogurt, fresh fruit, and even instant oatmeal (something I keep around for “emergency” breakfasts)
  • If you are serving your Thanksgiving meal later in the day on Thursday, have some nibbles ready for snacking. I always make sure I have baby carrots, celery sticks, cheese, and crackers available. We usually have some sliced salami and olives in the fridge also. Even if you are serving earlier, you may want to have some quick snacks available…just in case dinner is delayed. Hey…we’ve all had Thanksgiving day glitches!!!
  • Once again, check on the thawing progress of the bird….you may have to prepare a cold bath for him if he isn’t cooperating…

Thanksgiving Day:

  • Morning:
    • Turn on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for proper atmosphere. Winking smile
    • Make frosting for cinnamon rolls.
    • Serve breakfast.
    • Make deviled eggs; refrigerate.
    • Chop shallots for green beans; refrigerate.

On to the SERIOUS stuff!…..

***Now I usually get a break. Man smokes our turkey so I just need to wait for him to tell me when he needs it. So….you will need to determine when you need to start cooking your turkey and….

  • 30 minutes before turkey cooking time
    • Make sure your dishwasher is empty or run a sink of soapy water to clean as you much as possible.
    • Preheat oven.
    • Prep turkey.
    • Make the giblet gravy; refrigerate.
    • Cook turkey using your preferred method.
  • 1 hr. before serving time:
    • Preheat oven to 325 degrees(if it isn’t already ready already…)
    • Bake cornbread dressing and sweet potato soufflé (I adjust cooking time for soufflé to allow for lower oven temp.)
    • Peel and cube potatoes for mashed potatoes; place in pot and cover with salted water…
    • Unmold cranberry salad.
  • 30 minutes before serving time:
    • Start cooking potatoes.
    • Prepare green beans. (I steam the green beans in the microwave while I start cooking the bacon on the stovetop)
    • Check on cornbread dressing and S.P. soufflé…adjust cooking time, if needed.
    • Make whipped cream; refrigerate.
  • While turkey “rests”:
    • Reheat gravy over low heat.
    • Finish baking rolls.
    • Mash potatoes.

Hopefully I haven’t forgotten anything and it is now time to serve your Thanksgiving meal. Don’t forget the deviled eggs and cranberry sauce in the fridge! Yep…I’ve done that.

Afterwards, we usually sit around miserably stuffed for a while before I serve the pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

Have a great Thanksgiving!!!


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