Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Survival Guide (Part II): Dinner, Prep, and Recipes

If you're anything like me, cooking Thanksgiving dinner stresses you out.  Deadlines, not enough oven space, and hungry people who missed lunch makes life in the kitchen feel more like a torcher chamber than something you should be giving thanks for.  So, to help you (and your family) make it through the day in one piece, grab yourself a glass of champagne with orange juice and follow my easy "How Make Thanksgiving Look Easy" guide.

Thanksgiving Table Decor

Instyle Magazine, Nov. 2011
EASY:  I found this article in Instyle Magazine and it makes setting the Thanksgiving table decor easy.  White plates, a festive table runner, and a simple vase with matching flowers is chic, time saving, and leaves room for the piles of food you're about to bring out.  Set it up the day before this way you won't have to worry about it while you're cooking on Thanksgiving day.
Pottery Barn, Fall 2011 Tablescape
HARDER:  If you're looking for something a little more intricate, try something like the picture above from Pottery Barn.  Add some candles and gourds on top of a festive table runner but make sure to leave space for the beautiful turkey that's coming in the center on the table.  If you decide to go with a theme, pick one for the whole house and stick with it.  Pottery Barn always has the best Holiday-ware with great pictures.  Here you can see they went with a rustic theme, equipped with antlers, an rustic looking wood table, and french-country looking china.  Go to their website for more information or for fun video's and  entertaining advice from the experts.  Click Here

TIP: Set the table the night before Thanksgiving day.  It really makes everything much easier.


Cooking Light Picture
Getting as much stuff made before the big day is the trick behind having a truly great Thanksgiving.  Appetizers, potatoes, stuffing, biscuits, cranberry sauce, and desserts can all be made the day before and then warmed in the oven right before Thanksgiving dinner.  You can even divide the work and make the potatoes, cranberry sauce and desserts two days before (on Tuesday) and store them in the refrigerator until it's time to eat.    Here is how I like to break it down:

Tuesday (or night), make:
  • Mashed potatoes (unless it's instant, then make Thursday)
  • Sweet potato casserole
  • Cranberries
  • Pies/Desserts
  • De-Thaw Turkey (about 1hr for every pound) (and FYI- you should estimate1lbs/person)
Wednesday, make:
  • Appetizers, 
  • Some of the Stuffing,
  • Biscuits, 
  • Rub turkey with spices
  • Set table
Thursday, make:
  • Turkey
  • Stuffing
  • Steamed veggies
  • Mashed instant potatoes
  • Warm biscuits, potatoes before dinner; and pies/desserts during dinner (just before you sit down, pop them in the oven on a low temperature, 150-200F).

Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving Plate with all the right stuff.  From Vagas Buzz.

Not only do I like to keep Thanksgiving dinner fuss free, I also like traditional Thanksgiving food.  So, my Thanksgiving meal is not complete with out Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, biscuits, and gravy.  Here's the menu I like to follow:

Appetizers (click the link for the recipe):
Appetizer, Veggie/Relish Tray: Pickles, carrots, black olives, salami, cheese and dip. Picture from Here.

Main Dish/Entree (click on each item for a link to my favorite recipe):
Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner by the Fire.  Picture from Agwired
  • Store-bought Pumpkin Pie
  • Pecan Pie (most similar to my pecan pie recipe)
  • Store-bought Vanilla Ice Cream

Salted caramel and vanilla baked cheesecake, by Donna Hay.  Click Here for the recipe.

More Help

For more non-traditional recipes and menus, go to the Food Network.  Click Here.

For more Preparation or Turkey help, Click Here.

For Thanksgiving Table & Home Decor go to Pottery Barn (they also have recipes, videos, invitations, and playlists--Amazing site!).  Click Here.

Leftover Turkey Super Sandwich Recipe, Click Here.

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Much Love,   

1 comment:

annarborbabe said...

As usual, Wowza!!!
Everything looks fantastic!

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