Thanksgiving Dinner Made Easy

Thanksgiving dinner is an important event for most of us. We have Thanksgiving recipes handed down through the generations, we have special Thanksgiving traditions, and of course, we have a delicious Thanksgiving turkey!

We also have to spend the day in the kitchen! That's the downside! But it doesn't have to work out that way if you plan it right!

I did something different last year and plan to repeat the process again because it was so amazing how great it turned out. I went from completely frazzled to actually enjoying the experience, and isn't that the point?

The Plan

First, I laid out a plan and stuck with last minute changes.

I also had to limit who helped. When there are too many people helping in the kitchen it just gets crazy. Now I have two people assist and everyone else stays out unless we ask. It has made a world of difference.

I also ask one person to be in charge of cleaning as we cook. That way, even after dinner it seems like a much easier cleanup!

Planning the menu

As early as two weeks before Thanksgiving, I sit down and plan the menu. I made a decision to simplify. We usually have so much food on the table it's sickening. Making a dish because one person out of fifteen wants it is insane, so I just don't do it anymore.

When I put on the event, I get to decide. If anyone isn't happy, they don't have to come. Everyone still shows up!

In order to plan for Thanksgiving dinner, you need to know who is coming, so the guest list is first. I confirm who will be here and then plan the menu, keeping in mind what I can ask others to bring.

When planning, I keep in mind that turkey is a must and go from there. My menu:

  • Turkey
  • Stuffing
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Gravy (lots)
  • Cooked carrots
  • Green bean casserole
  • Sweet Potato casserole (small)
  • Cranberry
  • Rolls

Of course we do start with appetizers and finish with pie and ice cream!

Once I know who is coming I ask a few people to bring appetizers and a few to bring the pies. Then all I need to focus on is the dinner and drinks.

I go shopping for anything that I can about a week to ten days early. I take my time, and since not too many people plan ahead, it's not usually crowded. I get any items that won't keep two days before and start prepping the day before. I make anything I can as well. Usually just the turkey, gravy, and stuffing are left for Thanksgiving day!

Some great tips for enjoying all this:

  • Music
  • Comfortable shoes and clothes
  • Set the table
  • Get trays and bowls if needed
  • Set up bar and beverages
  • Don't stress out or panic

Thanksgiving Day

Once the Turkey is in the oven, I see what is left to do and as they say, I just do it!

When everything is well planned out, the day will run smoothly and you may just enjoy yourself!

Don't forget that Thanksgiving is about being with family and friends. It's not about it being perfect.

Do you have any of your Thanksgiving traditions you'd like to share?

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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