Thanksgiving Planner: The One-Week Plan Article -
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Thanksgiving Planner: The One-Week Plan

This checklist helps you pull together an amazing feast--even if you're hosting for the very first time.

One Week Ahead

  • Nail down the guest list.
  • Plan the menu and make a shopping list. Divide it into what to purchase now (packaged goods) and what to pick up closer to the day (produce). Make your first shopping run.
  • If you find a fresh turkey in your size, snap it up! But if you go with a frozen bird, remember that thawing in the fridge will take 1 day for every 5 pounds of meat. A 15-pound turkey will require at least 3 days to thaw thoroughly. (See How to Thaw Turkey.)
  • Clean out your refrigerator and freezer.
  • Start make-and-freeze dishes such as casseroles, pie crusts (optional).
  • Not making your own rolls and desserts? Pick them up now and freeze them, or book your bakery order.

Two Days To Go

  • Purchase fresh produce and your last-minute items. 
  • Make pie crusts and refrigerate (if you haven't gone the frozen route).
  • Set the table or decorate the buffet
  • Set up the bar.

One Day Before

  • Wash and prep produce. 
  • Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavity and make turkey stock for gravy
  • If you're brining your turkey, give it no more than a 24-hour soak. 
  • Assemble stuffing but do not put it in the turkey until just before roasting. Better yet, put it in a separate pan, moisten with your homemade turkey stock, refrigerate, and bake it on Thanksgiving Day. 
  • Bake pies (optional) and make cranberry sauce.
  • Arrange frozen dinner rolls on a sheet pan and thaw overnight in the fridge. (Otherwise, thaw at room temperature on Thanksgiving morning.) 
  • Make sure your camera is charged and ready.

Thanksgiving Day

Remember to map out oven and stove time for items brought by guests. Here's what you might have to plan for:

Congratulations! Now give yourself a moment to relax before it's time to greet your guests. And just in case things go sideways:

Get set for your best Thanksgiving!

    Nov. 15, 2009 12:13 pm
    Is an easy way to have everything ok on time!!
    Nov. 17, 2011 11:50 pm
    Thank you for this!!!! It's the perfect way to avoid the rush at the supermarkets.
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