How to Prepare for Thanksgiving Dinner Ahead of Time
In 2016, the U.S. consumption of turkey averaged 16.6 pounds consumed per person, a testament to America’s relationship with such a tasty bird. But before the hecticness of Thanksgiving Day rolls around, here are ten tips on how to prepare for Thanksgiving Day to reduce some of the stress. Use these tips to spend less time worrying about last-minute tasks, and more time catching up with loved ones on the big day.
Invite family and friends ahead of time
Having a clear idea of what guests will be coming over to your home will be an immense help in all your efforts to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner. Invite them over as early as possible, four to six weeks at least, to give them enough time to give you a response, as well as to arrange their travel plans.
Keep it simple
How much fun your family has on Thanksgiving doesn’t depend on how many side dishes you prepare for dinner. It might be tempting to go over the top to try out an extensive variety of dishes and sides, and while more food is always welcome, make sure you’re not sacrificing your sanity just to throw a few more side dishes on the dinner table.
Be open to accepting help from family
Even though it’s obvious that the Thanksgiving host has to prepare the turkey, that doesn’t mean you can’t accept a helping hand from guests. You can prepare for Thanksgiving dinner and truly make it a dinner for all, by all, if some people pitch in by bringing a dessert, a side dish, or a nice wine.
Prepare the pie dough ahead
If you’re preparing pie, you could curb preparation time on the week of Thanksgiving by simply making the dough ahead. Then, you roll out and cut the dough and place each pie disk in individual plastic bags and keep them in the freezer. This way, your pie dough is out of sight and out of mind, until the night before you make the pies. The night before baking day, move the frozen dough into the refrigerator to thaw.
Buy your turkey up to three weeks in advance
Turkey is in high demand a couple of weeks leading up to Thanksgiving Day, especially if you’re going to buy a fresh one. Here’s HuffPost's guide on buying a turkey for Thanksgiving. According to most farmers and butchers, placing an order for a fresh turkey is better for the taste, the community, for agriculture, and for the environment. Of course, there’s nothing wrong if you like the convenience of buying a frozen turkey from the grocery store instead of ordering one week in advance from a farmer or butcher.
Do these things the week of Thanksgiving Day
Make a grocery list after getting a guest count and seeing what other foods or beverages guests will bring. Do a deep clean of the house (and have the kids help, too!). Lastly, get your recipes and schedule in order, to have an easier time coordinating cooking times, preparation steps, and to make sure you don’t forget anything important.
Prepare the cranberry sauce and stuffing
Cranberry sauce and the turkey stuffing are Thanksgiving classics. According to Diner’s Journal by the New York Times, you can start making both as early as six days before Thanksgiving. As for the cranberry sauce, if it tends to have lots of sugar, then preparing it six days before is fine, but if it doesn’t have sugar, then you’re better off making it three days ahead of Thanksgiving.
Don’t forget to thaw the turkey
Don’t forget to thaw your turkey properly, and use this FoodSafety.gov chart to figure out how long your turkey should sit in the fridge. Every turkey is different, so a turkey that weighs 4 to 12 pounds needs to sit in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 days to fully thaw, while a 12 to 16-pound turkey needs to sit for 3 to 4 days.
Make sure you have the right equipment
From having enough dishes and glasses to having the right cooking equipment, not having all of this equipment sorted out can send you on an unwanted trip to the busy store for something that could’ve even been bought months in advance.
Budgeting tip: Buying disposable kitchenware is not only more affordable but more convenient when you prepare for Thanksgiving dinner.
Feel free to give dinner a touch of you
Cooking something that isn’t ‘traditional’ isn’t the end of the world. Adding your personal twist on a family recipe or tradition can make this year’s Thanksgiving that much more memorable. Maybe this year dessert is pumpkin cheesecake rather than a pumpkin pie. Add a bit of your culture's cuisine to make Thanksgiving dinner more your own. For instance, here are a few recipe ideas to add some Latino flavor to your dishes.
For those looking for how to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time, the secret is in making lists, pre-preparing, and freezing ingredients, and on having smart expectations on what you can and cannot handle as a host.
For some Thanksgiving kitchen safety tips, click here.
Thanksgiving is time to catch up with loved ones. Infinity Insurance understands that, which is why it’s very important to have a reliable team at your service, to help protect your home. Call an Infinity agent at 1-800-INFINITY or get an online quote today.
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The materials available in the Knowledge Center are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact legal counsel to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of this website or any of the links contained within the website do not create representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.