How to Plan a Successful Thanksgiving Dinner

I love the holiday season and things kick into high gear on Thanksgiving. Even though it is a fun time, it can be a stressful one when it comes to getting the dinner together.

Here are a few tips that can help to make this a time you can enjoy your company instead of stress in the kitchen.

Planning is key. Don't try to make everything on Thanksgiving day. If you layer your tasks, you can spread most of the work over the course of the week.

Shop early. Make a list from your recipes and stick to it. Don't get side tracked. I like to shop the weekend before Thanksgiving. This gives me time to get all the ingredients before people start going crazy in the store. If you are starting with a frozen turkey, it also gives you time to start defrosting it in the refrigerator.

On Monday or Tuesday, I actually start prepping all the ingredients for my turkey dressing and get the potatoes peeled for the mashed potatoes and the baked sweet potatoes. I keep the peeled potatoes in water do they don't turn brown. If I'm doing brussel sprouts or green beans, I prep those by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Cranberry sauce can be made during the weekend. In fact, making it earlier can help with the flavor development.

On Wednesday, I go ahead and usually bake the pies. I do a pumpkin and a pecan pie. This gets the dessert out of the way, and lets the pies set over night.

On Thursday, all that is left is actually doing the turkey and gravy, putting the stuffing together, and the potatoes.

I will make the potatoes earlier in the day. You can keep them warm and they will stay fine.

I do not stuff the turkey so it roasts faster. That way, I can actually do the turkey 2 hours before I want to serve it.

If you take the time to stage out all your tasks, your Thanksgiving will be a breeze and you'll spend more time in the dining room and less time in the kitchen!

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