Hosting Thanksgiving can be quite stressful if you don’t organize yourself on time. It is a big undertaking project, but don’t worry.
We will give you some some good direction to what to pay attention to, and have a fabulous Thanksgiving this year.
Creation Of Hosting Thanksgiving Checklist
First of all – don’t panic.
Two to three weeks prior the holiday you should make a checklist and follow it’s guidelines if you don’t want to lose yourself in the process.
Make a plan
Start planning out simple things, like the flow of the whole event.
For example, think about sitting positions of your guests, and where you want to place the food (in case you’re doing a buffet style).
You can also consider doing a beautiful party in a small space by utilizing all of your sitting areas.
This means you may want to purchase cheap lap trays for older guests or young children who might have trouble to balance dinner on their lap.
Create a menu
When creating a menu, go for recipes that are simple and well trusted.
Don’t try to experiment this year.
Yes, it can be fun to have a couple of unique meals, but always strive for a signature cocktail and not a new stuffing recipe that requires too many ingredients and one week of preparation.
Once your menu is all set, write out grocery lists.
Divide the list into perishables and non-perishables to make shopping and storing easier.
The easiest way to organize is to print out a blank November calendar, and write down the days of shopping, making of certain dishes ahead, and any pick-ups you may need to make.
What about the turkey
For the turkey, you will need 3/4 to a pound of turkey per person(average). Buy the turkey as early as possible and freeze it.
Just remember that you need one day of thawing for every 4 pounds of turkey.
Also, consider ordering desserts from your favorite or nearest bakery that you’ll also want to serve.
One more thing is checked off your list!
Confirm your guest list
Prior hosting Thanksgiving dinner, you should definitely take note of how many people are coming to your house, and how many of them are children.
If you want to host a big dinner for more than few people, it’s not unreasonable to ask guests to bring a dish of their choice and yes, most often they will offer one!
If you ask your guests to bring a dish, be very specific, so you know exactly what you will have on your table.
Also, you can give them the recipe to make the dish, and for sure they will appreciate having something they can easily put together in a less time.
When it’s just one week before the holiday you should do the following to ease up the process.
Set the table
Taking care of this task in advance will save you a little bit from stress on the day of Thanksgiving.
In case you can’t set it an entire week in advance, at least try for a few days ahead.
At least place the guest cards ready to avoid any confusion later.
Always place yourself closest to the kitchen, and not necessarily at the head.
If you want to have a livelier dinner dynamic, split up the couples for but always keep small children between their parents.
Bonus tip: If you have guests who are left-handed, place them at corners, where they’ll have plenty of room to eat without banging elbows.
Consult once again your grocery lists and do the shopping.
If you shop about 5-6 days in advance, you should have little or no issue with your perishable items.
And to ease your burden even more, pass off dessert to a guest or order it in a local bakery.
If you have overnight guests…
If you are planning to have overnight guests, make sure you have enough fresh towels and linens on hand and of course a guest room ready to go.
In case you have a small home and no guest room, there are plenty of ways to make guests feel comfortable without their own space.
Your couch will be enough
Start cooking on Sunday
It’s better to cook some dishes prior the Day. Gravy bases can be frozen, and casseroles and vegetables can often be cooked ahead and refrigerated for up to 2-3 days.
If you can’t cook them in advance, maybe you can at least prepare them for baking.
And when THE DAY of the celebration will come it is advisable to:
Wake up early
On this holiday, there is no room for sleeping in.
Make a strict schedule and stick to it 100%, and most importantly – be ready up to an hour before guests will arrive.
Make sure the buffet is all set, and more importantly, the drinks are chilled.
Keep the food warm
Use the microwave to keep dishes warm for up to 30 min-just don’t turn it on.
You can pour gravy into a thermos to keep it steaming, and spoon mashed potatoes(or rice) into an insulated ice bucket or Crock-Pot.
Clean every room in the house
Start hosting Thanksgiving with a clean kitchen. Empty dishwashers and trashcans.
Remove precious objects from the living room to save them from running kids.
Cover your bed and pillows with a sheet to protect them if coats and bags are going to be placed on your bed.
And finally, light candles in the bathroom and in the living room for just a nice touch and add on to the holiday.
Try to roast the perfect turkey
Use a meat thermometer in three spots: breast, thigh, and stuffing, so you’ll know when the bird is done.
Place the thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, without touching the bone, and in the center of both the breast and the stuffing.
If your turkey is un-stuffed, cooking times are different.
And of course, you want your hosting Thanksgiving dinner to have the most perfect baked turkey everybody will talk about.
How to cook an un-stuffed turkey?
- Preheat oven to 325°F
- Check the wrapper to see how much the turkey weighs and determine approximate cooking time
- Remove the giblet bag and the neck from the turkey cavity. No need to wash the turkey pat skin dry with paper towels
- Place turkey breast side up on a rack in a shallow (about 2 inches deep) roasting pan
- Insert meat thermometer in thigh
- Add 1/2 cup water to the bottom of pan, if desired
- Cover turkey loosely with a tent of heavy-duty aluminum foil
- Roast the turkey until temperature in the innermost part of the thigh reaches 165°F as measured with a food thermometer
- Check the wing and the thickest part of the breast
- You may choose to cook the turkey to higher temperatures
- Cooking time will vary. For example, a 20 pound turkey will take 4 1/4 to 5 hours to cook, check the temperature on the thermometer after 4 1/4 hours.
- Meanwhile, mix the stuffing or dressing
- Place in a casserole and pop it into the oven during the last hour or so of roasting time
- Remove the foil tent after 1 to 1 1/2 hours of cooking time to brown the skin
- Brush with vegetable oil to enhance browning, if desired
- A whole turkey (and turkey parts) is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer
- Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast
- For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook turkey to higher temperatures
- Allow the turkey to set 20 – 30 minutes before carving to allow juices to saturate the meat evenly
As you know cooking times do vary.
There are many reasons :
- oven temperature may not be completely accurate
- the turkey may be very cold or partially frozen
- and/or the roasting pan may be too small which inhibits the flow of heat
Use of a meat thermometer to determine if the turkey is baked.
USDA Roasting Timetable for Fresh or Thawed Turkey at 325°F.
These times are approximate and should always be used in conjunction with a properly placed thermometer.
|8 to 12 pounds||2 3/4 to 3 hours|
|12 to 14 pounds||3 to 3 3/4 hours|
|14 to 18 pounds||3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours|
|18 to 20 pounds||4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours|
|20 to 24 pounds||4 1/2 to 5 hours|
|8 to 12 pounds||3 to 3 1/2 hours|
|12 to 14 pounds||3 1/2 to 4 hours|
|14 to 18 pounds||4 to 4 1/4 hours|
|18 to 20 pounds||4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours|
|20 to 24 pounds||4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours|
Supply stain-removing arsenal
Almost always the delicious hosting Thanksgiving dinner(or every other) can be quite a nightmare for your beautiful table cloths.
If you can find multi-stain removal – you’ll be happy not to overspend money on this.
And finally – Have fun!
Hosting Thanksgiving can be very stressful, but at the end, it is all about being grateful for what you have.
Gathering family and friend is priceless, so a little effort of doing it won’t kill you – just tire you up.
Nevertheless, it’s a great holiday everybody’s looking forward to!
And and the end all we can say is Happy Thanksgiving!
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