Thanksgiving 101: Prepare menu ahead

By Sherrel Jones Modified: November 11, 2009 at 10:54 am •  Published: November 11, 2009
Having a couple of weeks to plan, purchase and prepare lends an advantage to creating a hassle-free Thanksgiving dinner. Plan the menu first, then make a list of what you need and start shopping. Decide what dishes can be made ahead, and do those you can easily store.

Choose menu items according to what your oven, refrigerator and freezer can accommodate. Perhaps ice chests or roaster ovens will need to be secured. Assign serving dishes and utensils for each menu item, to be sure you have what will be needed.

Rolls, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy can be made ahead and reheated. Piecrusts can be ready in the freezer weeks in advance and fillings added a day ahead. The table or buffet can be set and readied with any flower or holiday arrangements in place. The good china, glassware or silver may need a quick wash or polishing; do it ahead.

With menu in hand, make two shopping lists and two to-do lists. The first is for ingredients that can be bought or ordered right away, and the second is for items that must be obtained closer to turkey day. Check the candle and warmer fuel supplies. Plan for extra ice, if needed, and store beverages in ice chests to save room in the fridge. To-do lists for Thanksgiving and the days before will keep you on track as you check off the tasks.

Consider the space in your kitchen, adjacent rooms, oven, refrigerator and freezer before making advance holiday food purchases. Check out last week's story about buying a turkey



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