A Message From CDC: As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with. Learn more.
If you haven’t taken care of a Thanksgiving dinner ever in your whole life, don’t fret. You can certainly make the preparations and the dinner go as smoothly as possible. The key here is to keep it simple. This way, you can easily track all the little details.
Check out these tips for a stress-free Thanksgiving dinner preparation for beginners:
Make A Sound Thanksgiving Plan
The first thing you need to do is to identify the dishes you want to make. List it down and make a detailed list of the things you need to buy. Be accurate about the ingredients and the amount you need, so you can prevent running to the grocery stores in the middle of preparing the meals.
Plan all your meals thoroughly—from appetizers, snacks, main meals to the desserts. An easy option would be to curate a mix of high-quality store-bought items.
When you have these lists figured out, make another one of what you need to actually do, such as the recipes. Break your to-do list down by week and day so you have a clear view of the things you can do ahead of time and when. Doing this will also give you what you can squeeze in last-minute (because we know that this can be inevitable).
Pick Your Battles
You can’t always serve 100% home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner, especially if it’s your first time. So don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do so. Don’t be afraid to buy some dishes from the grocery store or other restaurants that will make your life easier. Your guests will understand, and they will definitely appreciate everything.
Do Your Shopping
As much as you want to use only the freshest ingredients, there are things that you need to stock up on in advance. With that, you need to plan a shopping trip a few weeks ahead to get the turkey and other non-perishables or ingredients. Planning another shopping trip a few days ahead of time, or best yet, a week ahead of the dinner.
Have A Simple Thanksgiving
As mentioned, it’s crucial you keep things simple. Don’t take on more than you can handle, especially that this is your first time planning. You may feel inspired to take on challenges by trying out new recipes, but again, this is your first time so, take it easy. Stick to tried-and-true recipes or family favorites to help things run smoothly.
When it comes to beverages, keep them simple as well. Consider a slow cooker filled with spiced cider that is both child-friendly and can be made into an alcoholic drink for adults.
Most first-time Thanksgiving dinner party throwers are eager to do things on their own. However, the holiday is overwhelming, and it’s likely that this isn’t the only thing you need to take care of. You might find yourself running errands and rushing to meet deadlines at work before the holidays, which will take a lot of your time.
That way, accept your friends’ and family members’ offers of help, such as bringing dishes or helping set up. Remember, guests love helping out because it helps them feel more comfortable. You can also be specific when guests ask you what they should bring to your house. By doing so, you can fill in any gaps in the menu and prevent having the same dish on the table.
Buy The Turkey
If you have time to properly thaw a turkey, buy a frozen one. Otherwise, you can get a fresh turkey two days before the dinner. You will need a pound on bone-in turkey for everyone, or 1 1/2 pounds if you want leftovers. Make sure not to buy the cheapest turkey because the bird is going to be the centerpiece on the table.
Enjoy Your Thanksgiving Turkey
The turkey will take time to thaw, and depending on the size of the bird, it can take up to six days. If you never handled a whole turkey yet, make sure you remove the neck and giblets from the cavity once it’s defrosted. You can do this before you brine or roast in. Another thing is to make sure you have a meat thermometer to ensure that turkey is cooked. It has to be rested and you can use that time to make gravy and put finishing touches on the sides. You can watch tutorials online on how to carve a turkey.
Prepare Make-Ahead Dishes
Prepping the make-ahead dishes is wise—these are the side dishes, bread, and desserts. Make them ahead of time to alleviate stress and ensure you have enough space on your oven for the big day.
There are several make-ahead dishes you can prepare before the big day. This is also why it’s important you plan everything thoroughly.
Enjoy A Thanksgiving Bath Time
Preparing a Thanksgiving dinner may be daunting if it’s your first time. However, with proper planning, you can cruise smoothly. Don’t be afraid to accept help and most importantly, plan your Thanksgiving dinner party weeks before the day. There are a lot of things that go with it, especially the turkey, which is the star on the table. After all of the preparations and festivities, don’t forget to give yourself a well-deserved relaxation. Hop in the tub and soak in Mediterranean Sea Soak.