Thanksgiving Countdown: What to Do Two Weeks AheadCyd Converse
If you're hosting Thanksgiving this year, follow along with our Thanksgiving countdown so your holiday feast goes off without a hitch.
Ready or not, Thanksgiving is almost here! But don't panic. You still have a full two weeks to pull together this most epic of holiday feasts.
That said, I am a firm believer that a little prep in advance goes a long way toward enjoying a relaxing and stress free Thanksgiving.
This is not the kind of meal you want to pull off last minute, trust me, because who needs that kind of extra stress in their lives? Not me!
Preparing Thanksgiving dinner gets a bit of a bad rap for being overly complicated and stressful, but does not need to be the case.
It all comes down to timing! Now having hosted several Thanksgiving dinners, my husband and I have a solid process for making it all happen.
Today, the countdown begins where I'll be sharing all of my best Thanksgiving dinner tips and tricks with you. So let's get into it!
Plan for Cooking a Turkey
If you haven't cookined one before, now is perfect timing to read up on cooking a turkey. Having an idea of what to expect will prove very helpful.
Now is also a good time to either buy a turkey or turkey breast or make plans to do so in the next few days so you can check that box.
If you're buying a frozen turkey, you'll want to make sure you know how to thaw a turkey so you don't find yourself in a bind at the last minute.
Take a few minutes to look up how long it takes to roast a turkey, so you can decide how you'd like to prepare your bird on Thanksgiving.
To keep things simpler, you could try our Instant Pot turkey breast recipe or our one pan honey roasted turkey breast recipe with Brussels sprouts.
Finalize Your Guest List
At this stage in the game it's important to finalize your guest list as best you can so you have adqueate time to make preparations.
- Confirm with guests that they will be attending and consider asking them to bring along a side dish or dessert if you'd like.
- Check to be sure there are no dietary restrictions or food allergies of which you might not already be aware. When hosting I like to accomoodate our family and friends' preferences and needs as best I can to make the holiday as enjoyable as possible for everyone.
- Make sure you have enough seating and place settings for everyone on your guest list or make arrangements to borrow or rent what you need for the day if you do not.
Plan Your Thanksgiving Menu
If you're anything like my husband and I, you probably start talking about your Thanksgiving menu months in advance. Yes, I said months.
The planning and prepping and plotting things out is so much of the fun for us when it comes to hosting big holiday dinners.
No worries! If you're not the same kind of extra that we are, two weeks out from Thanksgiving is the perfect time to plan your menu.
You'll want to plan for the following when it comes setting a Thanksgiving menu:
- Main dish - Obviously on Thanksgiving many people choose to serve turkey, but other options could include prime rib, ham, turkey tenderloin or even pork tenderloin.
- Side dishes - Consider the size of your guest list, but you'll likely want to serve 3 to 5 sides ranging from everything from cornbread stuffing and mashed potatoes to green bean casserole and Brussels sprouts roasted cranberries and pecans.
- Salad - I'm not necessarily big on serving salad on Thanksgiving, but a simple green salad can make a great addition to a heavier meal. Our fall panzanella salad or a simple clementine arugula salad would both be great options.
- Bread - There's no lack of great bread options for Thanksgiving - everything from rolls to sourdough bread to a lemon cranberry bread or pumpkin bread are perfect.
- Desserts - Of course, pumpkin dessert recipes reign supreme on Thanksgiving, but apple cobbler or even apple pie taquitos would be delicoius after your feast.
- Cocktails - In addition to wine, I often make a specialty signature cocktail to serve on holidays. For Thanksgiving I am particularly fond of something like an apple cider mojito or our wildly popular cinnamon toast crunch cocktail.
- Appetizers - I mention appetizers last because I don't think they're strictly necessary when you're already serving such a large meal. Depending on your hosting style though, you might want to serve up a couple of appetizer options like our pear thyme feta tarts or these garlic herb goat cheese stuffed mushrooms.
Once you have plans for cooking a turkey, have your guest list finalized and your menu set, you're in good shape. Check back in next week when we'll cover what you should tackle next in the countdown to Thanksgiving!
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Cyd is a native of Upstate New York, born to a family of women who love to cook and host parties. She shares her love of all things food, home and entertaining on her blog, The Sweetest Occasion and on Instagram.Tags: Thanksgiving, Entertaining, Party Food, Holidays, Menus