For a stress free Thanksgiving follow this Holiday Entertaining Checklist!
Beginning of November create your menu:
If you are having fresh turkey, you should order it now. If you will be going the frozen route, you still have time. But don't put it off too long as you will need approximately four to five days to allow your turkey to thaw out properly.
Florists are swamped during the holiday season, so if you will be decorating your table with a floral centerpiece, order it now.
About four days before Thanksgiving:
Put together your grocery list and buy your non perishables. Do not buy fresh bread, salad greens or seafood until the day before Thanksgiving.
You can make the pie dough now, placing it into the pie tins and freezing it.
Begin defrosting the turkey. Remember you will need to allow the turkey to thaw a full day for every four pounds. So plan accordingly.
Two days before Thanksgiving:
If you are making homemade stuffing, cube the bread and set them out on a baking sheet so they can dry out.
Press cloth tablecloths and napkins.
Make your cranberry sauce so that the flavors have a couple of days to fully develop.
Wash and polish the serving pieces such as plates, glasses and flatware.
The day before Thanksgiving:
Defrost frozen pie dough. Assemble and bake the pies.
Cook the giblet stock you will use for your gravy.
Side dishes or casseroles that require baking can be made a day ahead and then reheated. Or, assemble them the day before and cook them just before dinner.
Peel and refrigerate potatoes in cold water.
If you ordered a fresh turkey, pick it up.
Prepare your stuffing leaving out the raw eggs until stuffing the turkey.
Set your table the night before.
At 9:30 a.m.
Take the turkey out of the refrigerator and let it sit for about an hour.
At 11:15 a.m.
Preheat your oven and stuff the bird.
At 11:30 a.m.
Place the turkey in the oven and then baste it about every 30 minutes.
Begin chilling the white wines.
At 1 p.m.
Make mashed potatoes. Closer to the time you are going to eat, put the potatoes in a heat-proof bowl and then set them over simmering water at the back of your stove.
At 3 p.m.
Get the coffee ready to go but hold off actually brewing it until about 20 minutes before you want to serve it. Whip up the cream for your pies.
At 4 p.m.
Check on the turkey. It is best to check the temperature at the thickest part of the bird, which is the thigh. The thermometer should read 165 deg if the turkey is done. If it is not ready, recheck every 15 minutes until you get a reading of 165.
At 4:15 p.m.
Allow the turkey to sit for about 30 minutes before you carve it. This will give you time to make the gravy and last minute side dishes. Take the stuffing out of the turkey and put it in a baking pan. Bake the stuffing until it reaches 165 deg.
4:30 to 5 p.m.
Have your guests assemble around the table and brew your coffee just before sitting down.
We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving this year!