Last Updated: Tuesday, November 24th @ 1:44am
Thanksgiving is a week away. Don’t panic. If you are hosting this year there is still plenty of time to get it all done. A few general tips start things off. Then, our time line, below, is a general guide. We suggest things to remember, day by day, before Thursday and on the day of Thanksgiving.
- Do as much as you can ahead of time.
- Enlist help from your family and any guests who are coming. If they don’t cook, they could pick up a bag of ice, bring an ice chest or bring a bottle of sparkling wine for a toast.
- Remember that anything and everything, including the entire meal, can be purchased ready made. If, the day before Thanksgiving you just can’t make the rolls and the pies, purchase them store bought. We rely on Sister Schubert dinner rolls. And, if I didn’t have friends who could be counted on to make pie, I’d probably pick one up at Costco.
- SavorSA is just an e-mail away. We’ll be working on our Thanksgiving meals on Wednesday, but don’t hesitate to shoot us a question. Also, check SavorSA early next week for a list of helpful telephone “turkey hotlines.”
- Finally, here’s some advice from chef Jason Dady: Thanksgiving is his favorite meal, but his advice to beginners is to “keep it simple.” Your grandmother did not start out making Thanksgiving dinners as elaborate as they were by the time you showed up, he said.
Friday: If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to organize. Write things down, make lists — these help. Devise the menu. Figure out what dishes you can ask others to bring and let them know now — or ask them to make suggestions. Decide what you can make and what you don’t have time for.
Make a shopping list and plan a couple of trips, if possible. Pick up bulky items (paper towels, napkins, candles, disposable baking sheets, aluminum foil and plastic wrap), canned goods and other non-perishables on the first trip; leaving perishables closer to the day before Thanksgiving.
Pull out the items you are going to use that you’ve stored for a year. Does the silver, or even the good stainless, need polishing; do the tablecloths and napkins need stain removal, washing or ironing? Do you have all the dishes you need for complete place settings? Get help doing these — or decide that a pretty table runner and large, soft paper napkins will do this year. Get them ready, then set them aside and check them off your list.
SavorSA can help: If you need ideas for dressing up your Thanksgiving table, visit SavorSA on Sunday for some beautiful examples from around San Antonio.
Saturday: If you want to shop today, go early or late. The stores will be crowded. Clean the refrigerator out to make room for the large bird and extra food. If you’re buying a frozen turkey, you might want to purchase it today and put it in the refrigerator to thaw out slowly. If you are making any foods that can be prepared ahead and frozen, that might also be on the agenda today. Also, gather together essential pots, pans and utensils to be sure you have what you need. If not, add to the shopping list.
SavorSA can help: Are there people in your family who are diabetic? Look for John Griffin’s article on Monday about the complete Thanksgiving dinner he made recently that was diabetic friendly.
Sunday: Take it easy. Talk to your family about what they need to do to help you as the week progresses. Give them specific tasks: emptying garbage, removing tableware from the table, loading the dishwasher or entertaining the smaller children.
Monday: If you have some heavy housecleaning to do, why not get those big chores done today? We don’t suggest you go whole hog and clean all the windows and re-varnish the wood floors. In fact, we’d suggest that someone hosting a large Thanksgiving could use some hired help. But you will still need to do the supervision. Also, if you’re purchasing a frozen turkey, you might get it into the fridge to start thawing today.
Tuesday: Check your list and think about shopping for the perishables today – early or late. Again, it will be busy. Consider getting store-made foods, from frozen pizzas to ready-to-heat beef fajitas or stews. Take it easy on the everyday cooking. However, if there is time today, you could make the cranberry sauce (so much better made fresh), start preparing a few things for relishes, such as trimming radishes, green onions, carrots or celery, the latter of which should be stored in water to stay fresh. Make salad dressings or dips.
SavorSA can help: Today might also be the day you want to pick up some wines. Check out the wine tips and touts we’re offering on SavorSA on Tuesday. Also, check out where to get your knives sharpened and how to carve that turkey, if you’ve never done it before.
Also, if you’re going to take the plunge and deep-fry a turkey this year, check out our articles from Saturday about the Barrios-Treviño Family Thanksgiving. Roland Treviño shows his tried and true method of frying a turkey.
Wednesday: Look at your list: This is the day to pick up flowers, ice, and any other last-minute items. We like to get the table set the afternoon before Thanksgiving. Set up any sideboards with water pitchers, ice buckets, serving utensils, iced tea or wine glasses, extra napkins. The more you do today, the more time you have to work on dinner tomorrow.
Make some of your dishes ahead: Do anything from oven-ready dressing to sweet potato casseroles, getting potatoes peeled for mashed potatoes. Pies and other desserts can keep well overnight, too.
SavorSA can help: Check out our webcasts on Saturday and Sunday featuring the Barrios-Treviño family Thanksgiving. Diana Barrios- Treviño shares her favorite Sweet Potato Soufflé and Cheesecake, both of which are must-haves at the family dinner. Also, think about breakfast tomorrow, or the day after Thanksgiving — and make ahead these really good Rasberry-Lemon-Pecan Muffins for breakfast and coffee. For other desserts, check out the SavorSA article on desserts for Thanksgiving.
Thursday: This is the day. What time is dinner? Check the poundage of your turkey; the package will tell you how long to cook the bird. Then, figure on letting it stand at least 10-15 minutes after you take it out of the oven or at least 20 minutes after the fryer. Then figure some time for carving. When the bird has gone in the oven, it’s time to do last-minute preparations. Get the appetizers together, put in wine to chill. Your table is set, the turkey’s in the oven, the dressing is ready to go in and the potatoes are peeled and on the stove, ready to be turned on. Have the rolls ready to shoot into the oven to warm once the turkey’s out. And, have your gravy broth warm and the thickener mixed and ready.
SavorSA can help: Check out these helpful links for making gravy and how to carve a turkey. Also, check out our list of Thanksgiving hotlines, if you’re unsure about cooking the bird, or look at our article Monday on cooking for diabetics, which tells you how to roast the turkey.