Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Planning for a Stress-free Thanksgiving Dinner

OK everyone! We promised a Thanksgiving post and we've heard from many of you that you're anxiously awaiting it! Let the preparing begin!

Stress free grocery shopping and preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner

I over cook and over shop since my daughter Jen’s friends have made it a tradition to come over late at night on Thanksgiving or on Friday and eat the leftovers. So if I want some left overs for us I need to make a lot extra. We normally have 6-8 people over for Thanksgiving Dinner (depending on which displaced friends get brought to the house by my kids).
I start food shopping weeks in advance so by the time the week of Thanksgiving comes I only need to get my fresh ingredients.
First you need to come up with a menu of what you’re planning on cooking. Here is a list of what I plan on making for my family.

Onion dip and chips, cheese and crackers, chopped chicken livers (an Aunt Sue Favorite)

Butterball Turkey, extra turkey breast, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, peas, corn gravy, biscuits.
Butterball breast (for the extra left overs)
Here is a copy of the actual list that I keep in my excel program on my computer.

Turkey 22-24lb
Butterball breast
pan with handles (throw-away kind)
4 margarine
1 celery
poultry seasoning
2 bags bread stuffing
2 large chicken broth cans
3 cans sweet potatoes
1 marsh mellows
2 cranberry sauce
brown sugar
chicken bullion
Gravy master
2 cream cheese
1qt half and half large
Lg coolwhip
2 graham cracker pie shell
2 pkgs vanilla instant pudding
1 16oz can pumpkin
2 apple cider
Mozzarella for potatoes
rye bread and whole wheat
parm cheese
2 packages butter crackers
dip and chips
artichoke dip
chopped chicken livers
apple pie
pumpkin cream pie
blueberry cream pie
limes (for drinks)

Each week I buy a few more things off of my list to keep in my cabinets so I am ready to go when I need to.
When the super markets start showing turkey and turkey breasts I shop for the best price per pound and put it in my own freezer. I have an extra refrigerator so on the Friday before Thanksgiving I take my turkey out of the freezer and put it in the pan I plan on using, this way I know it fits when I want to cook it. I usually don’t open that refrigerator again until the morning of Thanksgiving. If your turkey is as big as mine, your turkey will be thawed perfectly.
By the Sunday before Thanksgiving I have everything in my home except for my fresh produce and that I will pick up on either the Monday or Tuesday before. I also take the extra turkey breast out of the freezer on Tuesday and let it thaw in the refrigerator in a bowl.
On the Sunday before I start my dinner table by choosing which tablecloth I am going to put on the table and then I take out all of my dishes, utensils, serving dishes etc., and place them on the dining room table. Then I label all of my serving dishes with what I am planning on serving in that dish and then place the serving spoon I am planning on using in that dish. Then there will be no confusion on Thursday and I know I'm not a few serving spoons short!

Stay tuned for the next steps!


  1. here's a way to create a stress free thanksgiving -- INVITE CLAIRE! hahahah i wish i could come... but for once I'm going home to my family!

  2. We will miss you Claire but it's great that you willbe with your family...

  3. I thought you said stress-free? Look at that shopping list! That would last us a year :-D Looks wonderful, Rose. It means lots of people consider your family theirs and love to spend time with you and yours. <3

  4. Thanks Maria...the list looks worse than it really is. Most items are staples people should have but just in case they don't it's supplies they will need.
    I love when extra people come and see that they enjoy our holiday. I can't wait for all of my girls including Auntie Sue to come home for Thanksgiving. I hope you enjoy yours.