Is it just me or is half the population born in November? Seriously. Our family has FIVE birthdays between November 14th and December 4th! So not only do I have Thanksgiving to prepare for but I also have two children’s birthdays to celebrate. It can get stressful. I’m a planner by nature. I do not procrastinate and I do not do well under pressure. I was the gal who had her paper written a week before it was due. So planning ahead for Thanksgiving week is absolutely essential to my sanity!
A few weeks ago I sat down with my mom and sister to plan Thanksgiving. I’m VERY lucky to have them nearby to share cooking duties. We have a gigantic feast simply because it’s easy to do when you divide and conquer. But it gets even easier when you plan and prepare ahead.
1. Make A Menu: The first step is to make a menu NOW. If you are cooking it all yourself, keep it simple! Pick out a main dish and few favorite sides and save the rest for Christmas and New Years.
My menu this year includes: turkey (me),broccoli casserole (me), sweet potato pie (me), pumpkin cheesecake (me), green bean casserole (my sister), corn casserole (my sister), maple walnut cake (my sister), stuffing (my mom) and mashed potatoes (my mom).
2. Shop: Then, make a shopping list. Sit down with recipes and make a list of everything you need. Next, take inventory of what you have on hand and cross those off. What you have left is your shopping list. Take advantage of the great sales going on right now at the grocery stores. I shopped two weeks ago (remember I also have two birthday parties to plan and execute!) when I first saw turkeys on sale. The cashier thought I was nuts when he saw the turkeys (I got an extra!).
3. Cook Ahead: Cook and freeze and every single thing you possibly can in the next two weeks. Last week I baked and froze a pumpkin cheesecake. This week I’m planning to cook broccoli casserole just until the point of baking. I’ll put the casserole in a freezer bag and freeze. I’ll thaw it the day before Thanksgiving and add the topping and bake it on Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving the only things I’ll actually make that day are the turkey and the sweet potatoes.
What things do you do keep your Thanksgiving stress-free?