It seems like school just started and already it is time to start thinking about Thanksgiving! In order to put together the perfect Thanksgiving dinner, you need to have a plan and you need to start early. Whether you are hosting the holiday dinner for the twentieth time or setting out to make your very first turkey, planning a meal this big and this important can be daunting. In addition, we tend to do things that just make this massive meal much harder than it needs to be.
Some of us jump right in and start searching for new and interesting recipes without thinking through the logistics. Others put everything off until the last minute and then miss out on the family fun because they are stressed out and exhausted. Whatever it is that you do to complicate this day, resolve now not to do it. Things can be perfectly wonderful and stress-free if you plan ahead, think everything through, simplify, and then don’t sweat the small stuff.
Here is our plan for making the perfect Thanksgiving Day dinner with some delicious recipes you can use to fill your plate and bring local food into your feast.
Before you start leafing through cookbooks or designing place settings, you need to get some basic details sorted out. The most important question is how many people you are going to have at dinner. This is critical to sort out because it impacts everything from seating to selection. You also need to know the breakdown between children and adults and if any guests have special dietary needs.
While you might be envisioning a cooking and dining experience that would make Martha Stewart proud, if you normal contribution to dinner is making the phone call to the take out place down the street, you may be biting off more than you can chew. Figure out what you can do and what you want to do and then plan to outsource the rest.
Traditional or Nouveau?
Next, you need to decide what kind of dinner you want to serve. While most people stick to the tried and true traditional Thanksgiving dinner dishes, you may decide that you want to do something different. Deciding your approach early on helps ensure that you still have a cohesive menu that was built with intent.
Now that you have all the information you need, you can create your menu. Start by picking your protein if you are not planning to make a traditional turkey. If you have a large guest list, you may want to consider providing more than one option. Make sure your menu includes lots of side dishes like Special Holiday Stuffing, Cosmo Cranberry Sauce, and Creamy Potatoes. Don’t forget to include a couple of delicious desserts like Harvest Pumpkin Bars which are great for kids and traditional Pumpkin Pie.
With a little thought and a little more planning, the perfect Thanksgiving Day dinner you are dreaming of can be a reality. Take the stress out of the day by enlisting help and simplifying.