Bon Appetit's Thanksgiving Checklist

Our two-week countdown to Thanksgiving helps you get organized so that the day of the feast is easy and relaxed.

Use our Google Calendar to export this list to Outlook or your iPhone.

TWO WEEKS AHEAD
Thursday, November 11, 2010

  • First, if you haven't already--and plan on serving a fresh, not frozen, turkey--order it now from the supermarket, a specialty foods store, or by mail order. Schedule pickup or delivery for sometime after November 22. See our Turkey Buying Guide for tips.
  • Second, confirm your Thanksgiving guest list by checking in with the regulars and inviting anyone new. By the way, this isn't a written invitation kind of holiday; phone calls and e-mail are fine.

TWO WEEKS AHEAD

Friday, November 12, 2010

  • Browse our Thanksgiving Guide and your own recipe collection to work out a menu. What are the family favorites? Where is there room for a little experimentation? Be sure to visit our recipe collections for the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, vegetables, desserts, and more.
  • Pick up some turkey wings on the way home from work, in preparation for making and freezing a big batch of turkey stock. Use our recipe for Golden Turkey Stock.
  • Start planning your table decorations.
  • Create one big master shopping list, dividing it into three sections: buy-now nonperishables (wine, canned pumpkin, and even a frozen turkey, if you opt for one); items for the one-week-ahead grocery run; and perishables to buy on November 23 or 24.

TWO WEEKENDS AHEAD

Saturday, November 13, 2010

  • Check that you have all the kitchen equipment necessary to make the turkey and other dishes on the menu. See our five essential kitchen tools for Turkey Day.
  • Get a head start on biscuits or muffins for the feast by making your own baking mix. Measure the dry ingredients and butter from whatever recipe you've chosen and blend until the mixture resembles coarse meal; refrigerate in a sealed plastic bag. When it's time to bake, there's no need to bring the mixture to room temperature before adding the eggs and other ingredients.

Related: 6 Steps to a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

ONE WEEK AHEAD
Thursday, November 18, 2010

  • Check your shopping list and buy nonperishable items.
  • If you're serving pie for dessert, make the crusts now. Prepare the dough, roll it out, and place it in the pie dish (don't forget to crimp the edges). Put the dish in the freezer. When the dough is completely frozen, wrap the dish tightly with plastic. For a double-crust pie, roll out the top crust, slide it onto a baking sheet, freeze until firm, then slide the crust off the sheet and wrap it tightly in plastic. See our collection of Pie Recipes.

ONE WEEKEND AHEAD

Saturday, November 20, 2010

  • Go through your assorted flatware, glassware, serving pieces, and table linens to see what you need to dry-clean, press, or shine, and what you will need to buy.
  • Bake any breads or rolls now-they will keep for a week in the freezer. See our collection of Thanksgiving Breads Recipes. After baking, allow them to cool completely, wrap in foil, place in resealable plastic bags and freeze.

ONE WEEKEND AHEAD
Sunday, November 21, 2010

  • It's time to clean out the fridge. You'll need storage space in the freezer and fridge for the turkey and the do-ahead dishes.

THREE DAYS AHEAD
Monday, November 22, 2010

  • Make cranberry sauce or relishes and store in the refrigerator.
  • If you've gone the frozen turkey route, calculate the defrosting time-you might have to start today. See our Turkey Guide for thawing instructions.
  • If you didn't already make and freeze turkey stock, do so today. See our Ultimate Turkey Stock recipe.
  • Prepare flavored butters (if desired) to serve on rolls (or to dab on mashed potatoes). Store covered in the refrigerator.
  • If you'll be serving ice cream with dessert, scoop it now, arrange on a baking sheet and place in freezer until frozen hard. Transfer ice cream balls to a resealable plastic bag and freeze until needed.

See Also:
Complete Thanksgiving Menu Generator

TWO DAYS AHEAD

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

  • Thaw frozen pie crusts in the fridge.
  • Make soups and store in a covered container in the refrigerator.
  • Prepare salad dressings and store in the refrigerator.
  • Polish your silver and set and decorate your dinner table, if possible. Set out all serving pieces and place a Post-It® note in each that indicates which dish it will hold.

ONE DAY AHEAD
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

  • Hit the supermarket early in the day to shop for perishables.
  • Parboil vegetables such as celery root, rutabagas, carrots and onions in generously salted water. When cool, drain and pat with paper towels. Wrap in dry paper towels and store in a covered container in the fridge.
  • Wash and spin-dry salad greens, wrap in paper towels and store in resealable plastic bags in the refrigerator.
  • Make pies or other desserts and store according to recipe directions.
  • Most important of all: don't cook dinner tonight. Order in.

THANKSGIVING DAY
Thursday, November 25, 2010

  • If you've followed our advice, today should be a breeze. For the typical menu, here's what's left to do.
  • Make mashed potatoes. Refrigerate the mixture; reheat using a double boiler to prevent scorching, adding pats of unsalted butter to correct the consistency as needed.
  • Finish preparing any vegetables, making note of how they should be reheated.
  • Complete stuffing.
  • Put the turkey in to roast.
  • Thaw and rewarm (or finish preparing and bake) breads according to recipe directions.
  • Rewarm soup.
  • Finish salads.
  • Whip cream for dessert.

THE DAY AFTER
Friday, November 26, 2010


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