Happy Thanksgiving week to all my American readers! It is one of my favorite holidays, being food-centric and all. Thanksgiving is such a special time to plan for a lovely meal and sit and relax with family. We are hosting for the second time and it’s so fun to map out all the pieces of the puzzle for the week ahead. Today I’ll share my menu for Thanksgiving Day, a couple recipe favorites, plus some tips to make it all come together.
Get Yourself a Turkey
Either a full size bird, or a smaller turkey breast, now is the time to pick it up. We get ours from Owen’s Poultry Farm in Needham. It’s fresh and just delicious! Last year I read a tip to cook a turkey breast in the slow cooker overnight so you have extra white breast meat for dinner and leftovers. It also give you some broth to work with to make gravy ahead of time. Win win.
Plan Your Menu
Trust me when I say write it all down. Then write down what others are bringing. If you have guests, it’s always appropriate to ask them to contribute in some way. It’s a huge undertaking to make a Thanksgiving feast so get some extra hands. Or at least they can bring the wine. The second step is to gather all the recipes and make the master shopping list. I’m having the big grocery load delivered today and then I just have a couple of specific things to grab on Tuesday.
Pull Out the Platters
If you have space, gather your serving pieces on Monday. This includes the platters, casserole dishes, serving utensils and make even the fine china you got at your wedding can make an appearance. If there are any holes, get the needed items on Tuesday. My turkey baster broke this past year so I’m grabbing one of those this week.
Plan The Table
Some people go all out for the Thanksgiving tablescape. In our house, space is at a premium so we need to have breakfast and serve the kids a light lunch at the same table before guests arrive. This year I’m going to layer the table with butcherblock paper and decorate it with some printable menus and name cards from TomKat studio. The kids table will also get a paper cover and they will get some fun activity placemats to keep them occupied too. You can find tons of other ideas on Pinterest–> I’ve been collected recipes and ideas in this Ultimate Thanksgiving Day Board to get you started.
If You Can Do it in Advance, Do It
It might make Tuesday and Wednesday a bit of a crazy time, but in the end you will be happy to have a bunch of items already crossed off the list. I’ll be making pie dough on Tuesday, Cranberry Sauce on Wednesday, Stuffing Wednesday night, set up bread maker Wed night, and get out all the turkey pans and ingredients needed for Thursday morning. Also, since our kitchen is a little tight, I bring in an extra banquet table to give me a little more working room. It gets repurposed as an appetizer table with fresh linens once guests arrive.
Enjoy the Day
Sometimes this can be a hard one when you are in the thick of cooking and organizing. Remember it’s okay if dinner is a little delayed and there are hiccups along the road. Hospitality is not about making it all perfect, but to bring everyone together in a welcoming space. Listen, love and laugh throughout the day and everything will get done. If not, make sure your desserts are awesome and there is plenty of wine to go around.
You can see a snapshot of this menu over on Instagram too. Here is a link to the Corn Pudding recipe, a Roach family tradition. The cranberry sauce is via Martha Stewart’s classic cookbook. The turkey will be cooked via this super simple method from Simple Bites.
What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner? Have a wonderful holiday!
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About Emily Roach
Emily Roach is a culinary nutrition expert and works with clients to create a healthy lifestyle design. She loves teaching her kids how to cook, playing tennis and inspiring women to take control of their health. Emily does one-on-one consulting, cooking workshops and speaking engagements.