Thanksgiving is just a couple days away! So I thought I would share some of my favorite recipes, tips and tricks for preparing for the big day!
If you are hosting Thanksgiving, the best advice I can give is to do as much as possible in advance. We host our Friendsgiving every year and I start prepping well before the party. Depending on how many people you will be having, you might want to ask some guests to bring either a side dish or dessert. For Friendsgiving, we usually have close to 20 people. I make the turkey and a few sides and then our friends all bring food as well, which is so helpful and very much appreciated!
This is how I prepare when hosting:
Step 1: Plan the table
After I get a head count, I then rent tables, chairs and linens. Next, I decide how I want the table to look. I like to do a different tablescape every year. We’ve been hosting since 2017, and every year the table looks a little different than the year before. This year I wanted lots of warm fall tones and colors and tons of candles. Once I come up with my vision for the table, I look through what I have to see what will work (majority of the candles for this year’s table I already had) and then I start ordering things I need like plates, runners, chargers, candles, etc that go with the theme.
Since there are so many people and there is already enough cleanup and dishes to wash from cooking, I like to use disposable plates and flatware. This is just a HUGE time saver for me. Plus, you can find beautiful plastic plates that look just like fine China. However, I don’t like to drink my wine out of plastic cups so we always use our real wine glasses. Here are some pictures of the last few years along with some links to everything on the tables.
Chargers, Plates and Flatware, Runners, Glass Candle holders, Taper Candles, Tall Ribbed Candles, Short Ribbed Candles, Crystal Candle Holders, Gold Candlestick Holders, Wine Glasses, Wood Candleholder, Whitewash Candleholder
Step 2: Finalize the menu
Once I know what I’m making and if and what any guests are bringing, then I can make my market list. I do my grocery shopping well in advance. If you’re buying a frozen turkey, you need to let it defrost in your fridge for at least 4 or 5 days before you cook it. I plan ahead and make sure to have everything I need before I start cooking. Then I like to print out all my recipes and then decide what I can make ahead of time. I like to make majority of the food the day before, so that I am not stressed and in the kitchen the entire day and night of the party.
Here are my favorite Thanksgiving recipes:
- Sweet Potato Souffle
- Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Creamed Spinach
- Pancetta Green Beans
- Fall Harvest Salad
- Grandpa’s Sweet Potatoes
- Bacon Cornbread Stuffing
- Sausage and Apple Stuffing
- Cranberry Sauce
Step 3: Set the table
If hosting inside, I like to do this days in advance. If hosting outside, I really can’t set the table until a few hours before guests arrive. However, I put all my table decor together ahead of time so that setting the table is a breeze. Put candlesticks in the candle holders, fold your napkins, make your floral arrangements etc.
Step 4: Cook the food
I like to create a schedule, down to the exact time I need to put a dish into the oven. This takes a while to do but ultimately keeps me organized and on time. This is especially important when you have one oven and multiple dishes that need to go in it.
Like I said before, majority of the cooking I do a day in advance. The day of, I cook the turkey and stuffing. With the exception of Grandpa’s Sweet Potatoes which have to be made the day of, all the side dishes can be made/prepped ahead of time and just have to be popped in the oven or reheated on the stovetop. The desserts can all be made in advance as well!
This is how I prep the side dishes ahead of time:
- Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Make the mashed potatoes the day before, then cover and refrigerate them overnight. On Thanksgiving, dot with butter and bake in the oven.
- Sweet Potato Souffle: Make the sweet potato filling the day before, then cover and refrigerate overnight. On Thanksgiving, make the topping and then bake in the oven.
- Creamed Spinach: Make the creamed spinach the day before, then cover and refrigerate overnight. On Thanksgiving, reheat on the stovetop in a pan over medium heat.
- Pancetta Green Beans: Make the green beans ahead of time, minus the almonds. Then cover and refrigerate overnight. You can toast the almonds ahead of time and then set aside. On Thanksgiving, reheat the green beans and then top with the almonds before serving.
- Fall Harvest Salad: Make the dressing ahead. On Thanksgiving, slice the fruits and then toss all ingredients together.
- Cranberry Sauce: Make the cranberry sauce ahead of time and store in the fridge until ready to use.
I hope this is helpful and I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
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