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

With Thanksgiving two weeks away, you have plenty of time to put together a fantastic turkey feast!

Two Weeks Ahead

  • Plan the menu and finalize your shopping list. Divide it into what to buy no (canned goods) and what to pick up closer to the day (produce). Make your first shopping run.
  • Order your turkey, roast, or ham if there's still time.
  • Clean out the freezer.
  • Start your make-and-freeze foods: rolls, pies or crusts, casseroles, and even appetizers.

One Week To Go

  • Clean out the fridge.
  • Start thawing your frozen turkey. Note that thawing in the fridge will take one day for every 5 pounds of meat. A 15-pound turkey will require three days to thaw thoroughly. (See How to Thaw a Turkey.)
  • Are you on target with make-ahead dishes?
  • You're so together, you might have time to whip up easy appetizers and pop them in the freezer.

Two Days Before

  • Pick up that fresh turkey you ordered (optional)
  • Purchase fresh produce.
  • 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 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

This is when all your advance work pays off and you look like a genius. Yes, there might be dishes to be prepared on the day, but you won't be in a panic. Do 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 solid hour or more to relax and get yourself ready to greet your guests. And just in case things go sideways:

Get set for your best Thanksgiving!

    Sep. 21, 2010 4:14 am
    I do not see any place that indicates , "Save to my recipes"for this Thankgiving planner. Now i see a long explanation and am assuming this method has changed?
    Oct. 5, 2010 8:43 pm
    it says to bake pies the day baking 3 pumpkin and 2 apple...where do these have to be stored? (fridge or covered on counter)
    Nov. 16, 2010 8:23 am
    @ Anya Especially with a party that sounds as large as yours, there should be no harm in leaving them on the counter. Refridgerating them would likely dry them out. I would just try to do them as late as possible.
    Oct. 3, 2012 6:39 am
    I have enjoyed Allrecipes' website for the past 10 months. My family has enjoyed a different recipe each night, and this planner is a great tool as well. It will definitely be helpful to me. Thank you.
    Nov. 25, 2013 2:44 pm
    Thank you! This will be my second year making Thanksgiving dinner and this will be a big help!
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