Hosting · Uncategorized

Thanksgiving Timeline

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and if you are hosting, it’s a very good idea to create a schedule so you don’t become overwhelmed. It’s not too early to start prepping for food, decorations, and entertainment. I’ve been hosting Thanksgiving for my family for a few years now and this timeline is tried and true for a stress-free turkey day celebration. I have compiled a schedule and recipes to share with all of you below. In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting my Thanksgiving menu with recipes included.

Four Weeks Before Turkey Day:

Make entire menu – decide what turkey recipe you want to use, and what size turkey to buy, pick out desserts and recipes, side dishes and recipes, and don’t forget the turkey gravy and cranberry sauce recipes as well as drinks you’ll be serving.

Make & Freeze a pie – IF you have chosen a pecan pie, you can assemble the pie and freeze it UNBAKED in the freezer for up to a month. This does not apply to anything like pumpkin or custard filled pies. Apple pies are freezable too.

Check your seating – Double check that you will have enough seats and table space for everyone coming. If not, purchase folding tables and extra chairs. Also buy tablecloths if you need them.

 

Three Weeks Before Turkey Day:

Check your serving pieces – once you have your menu picked out, make sure you have a serving dish or bowl, drink dispenser, and serving utensils for everything you plan on making. If not, make a run to Target, Pier One, Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel to purchase what you’re missing.

Check your dining pieces – take inventory of the china or dinner, salad, bread, and dessert plates, and soup bowls if you are serving soup. Also make sure you have enough silverware, chargers, linen napkins, napkin rings, water and wine glasses.

Decide on the decorations – Pick out and collect any decorations for the table, mantle, kitchen or wherever you want to decorate for Thanksgiving. Also decide on the flower arrangements you want to have and make sure you have the appropriate vases.

Make & freeze the dressing – Dressing is very easy to make, but it’s time consuming. It’s a good idea to make it ahead and freeze it until you need it. You’ll free up a lot of time for yourself the week of Thanksgiving for other last minute dishes you need to make. I’ll be sharing my great-grandmother’s dressing recipe in the next week or two.

 

Two Weeks Before Turkey Day:

Purchase that turkey – It’s definitely best to buy the turkey a couple of weeks in advanced and keep it in the freezer. You’ll avoid the stress of driving around town to find the right size for your crowd (1.5 lbs) per person, and you won’t have to settle for a turkey that’s not right for you. I prefer the pre-brined turkey because who has time and space to brine one themselves?

Make & freeze mushroom soup – Green bean casserole is a staple at most Thanksgiving dinners, and I prefer to make mine from scratch (recipe will be posted in the coming weeks). I use Alton Brown’s recipe and it’s very easy, so don’t be intimidated. You can make the mushroom soup ahead of time and freeze it, which actually helps to thicken it up a bit before using it for the casserole. Just store in an airtight container and label.

Make the grocery list – Write out every ingredient you need from your menu, going through each recipe to ensure you have all the spices and splashes of this and that you will need. Don’t forget extras like garnishes for drinks or supplies you might need while cooking like paper towels, foil tins for baking, or cooking spray.

 

One Week Before Turkey Day:

Purchase alcohol – If you will be serving alcohol at your Thanksgiving celebration, now is a good time to buy it. Pre-purchase beer, wine, champagne, liquor, and any mixers you need.

Confirm your guests – Double-check the number of people that are coming to ensure

Make sure salt & pepper shakers are full – this seems like a silly step, but the last think you want to be doing while everyone is at your house and you are busy cooking and hosting.

 

Week of Turkey Day:

The big week! This is a busy week for hosting so there are a lot of steps, just try to pace yourself. I try to do as much as I can the Sunday before, and work through my list as it allows. This is generally the order in which I work through the last steps.

Buy the rest of the groceries, pre-chop any veggies that can be done ahead and store them in a ziploc bag

If you have the space, set up the extra tables, chairs and add the leaf to your table. Add the tablecloths as well

Decorate your house or table

Clean your house!

Get out all serving pieces and china – I sometimes label each dish with a sticky note with the menu item going in them so I know I got everything out I need

Arrange the flowers and add to the tables

Set up the dessert table with small plates, silverware and napkins

Chill the wine, beer and champagne, and any sodas or drinks you’ll be serving.

Start cooking! My menu will be posted in the coming weeks with a timeline of when to make each item.

 

The big Turkey Day:

Set your table with china, silverware, napkins, chargers, and glasses

Set out the wine on pretty coasters, champagne in an iced bucket

Pour water into a pitcher or carafes for easy access and set out

Light a Fall candle and adjust the lighting and heat or air conditioning to accommodate all the extra people

Warm food as needed

Enjoy your hard work!Thanksgiving Table 2

Hosting · Uncategorized

Football Watching Party

Football is in full swing and if your husband is anything like mine, he’s asking for a football party. He loves to host a party, or rather be a guest at one we throw. (just kidding!) You don’t have to go overboard or stress yourself out putting one together. It’s typically mostly boys and they just want food and beer, right? We sometimes throw a party together the day before or even the same day, if we get a wild hair to have people over. But you have to entice them with yummy food and I know my husband’s friends’ favorite foods, so I beg, borrow and steal recipes to make it happen. I have compiled a list of food with recipes linked and drinks we usually serve at our football watching parties. None of these are fancy, regular season games don’t require such, and these can be put together with little time or effort. This menus serves about 15-20 people.

buffalo chicken dip    flaky deli slices

Our Food Menu

Everyone’s favorite – Buffalo Chicken Dip – serve with Ruffles chips and celery sticks

Mini Taco Cups

Pizza Puffs – Double the recipe

Tricia Yearwood’s Hot Corn Dip – serve with tortilla chips

Flaky Deli Rolls – boys go nuts for this one – Double the recipe

Veggie Tray – baby carrot sticks, cucumber slices, sliced red & green bell pepper, Hidden Valley Ranch packet

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

pumpkin cookies

Our Drink Menu

Beer – of course – we buy mini kegs or 3-4 cases of a variety for people to choose from

Whiskey & Coke – for night games or games that get a little intense

Red Wine – for the ladies, or sometimes the boys too – 4 bottles

White Wine – 3 bottles

Sangria or Margaritas – depending on the time of year (see below for Margarita recipe)

Sodas for the non-drinkers & plenty of bottled water (easily accessible) to rehydrate between quarters.

My sister’s Margarita Recipe:

2 cans frozen Minute Maid Limeade

2 cans cold light beer

1 limeade can 3/4 full of white tequila

fresh limes for garnish

Mix together all ingredients in a pitcher or beverage server and stir well. Add in sliced, fresh limes for garnish. Easy peasy!

Note: The buffalo chicken dip & hot corn dip can be made the night before, just store in an airtight container and reheat in the oven before kickoff. The veggies for the veggie tray can be washed and cut the night before and stored in the fridge in baggies. And the Hidden Valley Ranch can be mixed the night before and stored in an airtight container as well.