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Thanksgiving Menu Planning Do’s and Don’ts

It will be here before you know it. And these Thanksgiving menu planning do’s and don’ts will help you ready for a lovely, stress-free meal.

Less than two weeks until Thanksgiving. Are you ready?

Listen, if you aren’t all planned, purchased and prepped yet, it’s okay. Many people aren’t. And you can totally do this. It will just take a little planning and preparation.

How to Get Started

  1. Start by making a list of the dishes you want to serve. You’ll want to include you main dish, side dishes and any condiments you plan to serve.
  2. Next, gather the Thanksgiving recipes you will need. Be sure to read them thoroughly if you haven’t used them before to make sure they are really what you want.
  3. Now, make a list of what you need (be sure to note quantities!). The more organized this list is, the better. It will ensure you don’t forget anything when you grocery shop.
  4. Plan when you will cook things (yes, it matters) based on how long each recipe will take. If dishes can be made ahead, do it. It will make cooking on Thanksgiving much easier.
  5. Finally, do your grocery shopping. Double-check that you have everything. Then get ready to cook.

Thanksgiving Menu Planning Do’s and Don’ts

Do … keep parts of the meal simple. For me, it’s the appetizers. Though I sometimes toy with the idea of going a little fancier, keeping it very simple with appetizers has worked better. Simple may look like a variety of cheeses and crackers along with veggies and dip. It might also look like an array of olives or fun make-ahead bite-size appetizers. Whatever it is, make it delicious and low-effort.

Don’t … feel obligated to make anything just because it’s tradition. Seriously, if the green bean casserole isn’t your thing, skip it! No one eats the sweet potatoes? Don’t make them! Thanksgiving is about celebration, not obligation!

Do … say yes to offers to bring something. Then tell them what course, category or even general dish to bring — how could you say no to an extra side dish? Or another decadent dessert? And then enjoy the help!

Don’t … leave everything to the last minute. Seriously, you want to eat right? And have a peaceful day? Well, then you need to work ahead, get things done and lighten your last-minute workload. Make-ahead foods like cranberry sauce can be prepped in advance. Some side dishes can even be cooked ahead and reheated before serving. This will make everything go smoother.

Wishing you the best of luck in planning and cooking.

What are you making this Thanksgiving?


Wednesday 21st of November 2012

I'm finishing up the last of my Thanksgiving prep now. Then I'm done till Thursday!

Sarah W. Caron

Wednesday 21st of November 2012

You're amazing! All my prep is today. Can't wait to have it all ready and waiting to go for Thursday.