Thanksgiving will be here in a few short weeks. For those of us who are hosting the family day feast in our homes this year, now is the time to start planning. Working a good plan will allow us to actually sit down and enjoy ourselves the day of, rather than fall asleep on the couch after dinner and miss out on all the fun (and exciting family drama).
Plan your thanksgiving menus weeks in advance. Write down everything you want to serve and dole out some responsibilities to family members who are planning to visit. Baked macaroni and cheese is my sister’s specialty, so I’ve asked her to bring a large pan. She feels helpful but not overwhelmed, I have one less thing to cook, it’s a win-win.
While listing your menu items, create a shopping list of all the ingredients you will need to prepare each dish. Click here for a great meal planning website that does all of this for you AND stores all your recipes.
Next, separate your shopping list into 3-4 sublists. The first will be staples that you need to stock up on to ensure everything goes smoothly like flour, sugar, eggs and butter. Check your pantry to make sure you have plenty on hand. If not, you want to stock up on your nonperishable staples 4-5 weeks before the feast. This shopping list may include all the nonfood items your going to need like aluminum foil and pans, dishes for serving and storage, and that turkey baster you’ve been meaning to pick up from Bed, Bath & Beyond.
You’re next list will be a list of the nonperishable groceries you will need just for the dinner. Stuffing, cranberry sauce, nilla wafers, and anything else you will be pulling out of a box to make it easier on yourself that week. Yes, I know this is a blog that promotes making everything from scratch, but I will be buying pie crusts, pudding mix, dinner rolls and canned cranberry sauce this year. I am no super woman. I cannot do it all (surrender, its ok). Anyway, plan to purchase your non-staple, nonperishables 2-3 weeks before the big day. Finish buying any nonfood items at this time as well.
Your next sublist will have all of your perishable foods on it like produce, meats, and perishable staples. You want to buy these items no more than a week before Thanksgiving. Pick up your turkey, hit the farmers market for all of your fruits and vegetables and buy your dairy staples at this time. This way, even if you start prepping and cooking days before the feast you will have everything you need on hand. The only exception is the foods you need to be really fresh, like salad greens or bananas. You might want to buy these a day or two before your dinner.
Menu planning and shopping far ahead of the deadline will be the answer to all my Harvest Day feast woes this year. I’m calling it harvest day because I have scheduled the feast for the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Yet another way I am making it easier for myself. No last minute shopping, no running out of the things I need, no last minute surprises of finding out that I actually don’t have what I need and thought I had on hand. Best of all, I will be using my Thanksgiving day off to prep and cook all of the dishes that can afford to sit in the fridge for a couple of days. My affirmation:
I WILL relax and enjoy my family for Thanksgiving this year.
So, you stuffing your turkey this year or serving it in a side dish?