Now that we've made a menu and gone to the grocery store let's talk about our plan of attack. How are we going to get all this done? With little kids and no one to help it can be difficult to cook such a large meal. To keep frustration and rushing to a minimum I start prepping days in advance. Doing a little bit each day helps me stay organized and in the holiday spirit.
To start off the week of Thanksgiving I normally check (and double check) my grocery list and recipes to make sure that I have everything. I do any last minute store runs and get all of my fresh produce. If I plan to buy flowers or anything like that I go ahead and make those arrangements too. Or I take note of what my grocery store is offering for decorations. Normally when it's the week of Thanksgiving you can get a pretty good deal on anything Fall/Thanksgiving related.
On Tuesday, I do my mise en place. (Can you tell I'm a Top Chef fan?) I chop up all my celery and onions. I clean and shuck my corn and cut it off the cobb. I cut and clean all my veggies. Once everything is clean and chopped up I place everything in a zip-loc bag or a tupperware container. Everything goes back in to the fridge.
Wednesday afternoon, maybe around lunch I'll start cooking. I make the cornbread for my cornbread stuffing. While that's in the oven I start on my pie fillings and appetizers. When my pies are ready for the oven I get all my veggies going. After my collards, corn and green beans are on the stove I make my potato salad. So by the time Wednesday is over I've cooked all my desserts, the potato salad and all the veggies. If you're like me and you only have one oven then you know it only makes since to make some this stuff a day ahead.
I normally wake up at about five on Thursday morning because I like to have my dinner ready around one or two. I make my rice and dinner rolls the day of too. Thursday morning is all about the Turkey and casseroles. I make the Turkey last. While the stove is working hard I mix up the lemonade and make sweet tea. I begin heating all the veggies about half way through the Turkey's cook time. Once the Turkey is done I let it rest for a while and then it's time to eat!
This is how I tackle getting all that cooking done. I plan to have Savannah help me as much as she wants. I know it may seem like a lot but splitting it up really helps. I have been asked about sharing the recipes for the Thanksgiving menu I created. I am working on that and hope to share it early next week. How do you prep and plan for big dinners?