How To Create a Thanksgiving Feast and have FUN!
Thanksgiving is all about time together, remembering all that we have to be thankful for...and of course the food. Lots and lots of food. So, how do you make all of the food and still enjoy the day? Here is a complete Thanksgiving Menu PLUS the timeline on what to do when. If you spend a little time the day before prepping, Thanksgiving day will be smooth and you'll actually have time to have FUN with your friends and family.
On top of prepping the day before, I encourage you to ask some of your guests to bring a few side dishes and desserts. We did an early Thanksgiving this year with my side of the family, here's a glimpse at our time together and the full timeline on how to get all of your yummy food on the table at the same time!
- Cheese, meat & olive platter (this is a GREAT item to ask a guest to bring!)
- Balsamic Roasted Grape Crostini
- Yam Rounds with Goat Cheese
- Maple Glazed Turkey
- Mashed Potatoes
- Yams with Maple Glaze
- Cranberry, Apple & Pecan Stuffing
- Maple Pancetta & Brussel Sprouts
- Rolls (ask a guest to bring these!)
- Pumpkin Pie (guests can easily bring pies!)
- Pecan Pie
- Apple Bread Pudding with Toffee Rum Sauce
Now comes time to shop. Go through each recipe and write down what you need and the amounts. Double check your cupboards and get ready for a big shopping run. If you need inspiration for how to decorate your table check out the Edible Thanksgiving Centerpiece we created. Best part about it is that you can find everything you need to create the look at your grocery store!
Set aside the day or two before Thanksgiving to prep each recipe. Here's my system:
- Read through the recipe
- Chop, dice and cut up everything needed
- Place all of the prepped ingredients in storage containers or bags and label them
- Your day of will be SO much easier since you'll have all of the prep out of the way, which also means you'll have a huge amount of clean up done too.
- Set your table with all of the decor, dishes, candles and so on.
- If you're using a side table for food and appetizers, get this set up as well
DAY OF TIMELINE
This is where it can get crazy, right?! Because Thanksgiving should be relaxed and fun, tell your guests you'll be eating between 3-5 so you have a big window of time. Because you know what, sometimes the turkey takes longer to cook or you were enjoying appetizers and wine and didn't start the stuffing on time. It's okay! This isn't about a perfect table or food, it's about enjoying time together. But to make your day easier, here is a complete timeline to follow as you prepare all of the yumminess! This timeline will get all of the food out onto the table by 4ish.
- 9 am - Prep the Turkey (side note...be sure to thaw you turkey out starting 2 days before!) Allow 15 minutes of cooking time per pound. Our 18 pound turkey took 4.5 hours to cook
- 10 am - Preheat the oven for the appetizers. Get all of the appetizer ingredients out, prep the crostini so they're ready for the oven, roast the grapes and yam rounds.
- 11 am - Plate the appetizers and set them out with the beverages
- 11:30 - Put the Turkey in the Oven (if you are using a turkey bigger than 18 pounds give yourself more cooking time!)
- SET YOUR TIMER : I like to set the timer to remind me to check the turkey every hour, I baste it from the pan drippings, cover it back up and set the timer again.
- 11:45 - Put the Mashed Potato ingredients into the Crock Pot and start cooking
- 12:00 - Put the Stuffing ingredients into a Crock Pot and start cooking
- Go enjoy appetizers with your guests!
- Check the potatoes, stuffing and turkey periodically to stir or baste
- 2:00 - Get the Brussel Sprouts ready to cook, as well as the Yams & Maple Glaze.
- 3:00 - Check the turkey temperature, the meat thermometer should read 165°, if it's at the right temperature take it out of the oven, leave it covered, and set it to the side to rest.
- Check the potatoes, if they're soft finish mashing them, taste and adjust the flavors. Turn to low, cover and set aside.
- Check the stuffing, adjust flavors as needed. If the mixture is too moist, transfer to a baking dish and put into the oven.
- Delegate the Turkey Slicing, rolls, butter and cranberry sauce to a family member to have them get them ready and place them on the table
- Put the Brussel Sprouts & Yams into the oven. Finish off the maple pancetta mixture for the Brussel Sprouts as well as the Maple Glaze for the Yams
- Put the Turkey Platter, Brussel Sprouts and Yams onto the table.
- Refill drinks, say your blessings and thanks, SIT and enjoy together.
And honestly, if you read through this and think...how the heck am I supposed to do this?? Message me, I'm here to help. I want you to have fun hosting, it's a lot of work yes, but so worth it to be able to sit around a table full of delicious food and the people you love!
Cheers to creating community around your table!