Only 10 days to go! Now’s the time to finalize the plan and prep your kitchen, do your initial shopping run, practice any tricky dishes and get to work on your decor.
What you can do now…
• Get your kitchen in order.
Some essentials for your to-do list:
1) Clean out the fridge and your freezer to make room.
2) Check that you have all the essential kitchen gadgets and supplies you’ll need: turkey baster, meat thermometer, large roasting pan, cheesecloth, kitchen twine, etc.
3) Make sure all your spices and herbs are stocked up and fresh! Purge anything older than six months for best flavor.
4) Dust off your wine and cocktail glasses.
5) Polish all your silverware and serving pieces. If you don’t want the stinky store-bought polish, NIteOwl has a good homespun solution: “Place a piece of aluminum foil, a few spoonfuls of baking soda and boiling water in a large glass pan. Place the silver in this solution and the tarnish should come off.”
• Finalize your shopping list and do your first shop.
You’ll want to wait on the fresh produce, but you can stock up on nonperishable items now. If you’re using a frozen turkey, buy it and store it in your (newly cleaned out!) freezer. Grab some disposable food storage containers, too — they’re perfect for sending fixings home with guests for day-after turkey sandwiches.
• Practice those tricky dishes.
TURKEY BRINING: Member staceylee says, “For a JUICIER and TASTIER turkey, brine before cooking!” If brining is new to you, try it out on a chicken this week. Just cut the turkey brine recipe in half for a whole chicken. Two good brines: Thanksgiving Turkey Brine or Best Brown Sugar Turkey Brine. Our members are sharing more brining tips in this Q&A Forum discussion.
GRAVY: If you fear the lumps, do a practice run and serve the gravy with your chicken dinner. Or, as member Chicagoland Chef du Jour suggests: “Buy a good jar of gravy just in case. Even the best cooks can screw up, so I always have a backup on hand. I add a little wine to it, a diced up a shallot and presto!”
• Make and freeze your pie dough.
Just wrap the dough discs in plastic and pop them in the freezer until you’re ready to thaw and roll them out. A pie dough newbie? Set yourself up for success with No-Roll Pie Crust or Classic Pie Crust, Idiot Proof Step-By-Step Photo Tutorial and then get to work on some our top-rated Thanksgiving pie recipes.
Get Creative: Dressing Up the Table
Table Décor, Place Cards & Centerpieces
If missed your chance to gather leaves, pines cones and more from outside, hit the craft store for festive substitutes. Bundle them together for simple centerpiece or sideboard decor or use them to decorate place cards (and don’t forget the craft glue, twine, card stock, glitter and more when you’re at the store!). Be sure these items are easy to move when it’s time for the dishes to parade in. If your centerpiece is staying put, keep decorations low so guests can still make eye contact.
And here’s a tip from duonyte for keeping everything dust-free and undisturbed: “My mother used to set the big table the day before and cover it with a clean sheet.”
Fun Napkin Folds
Recruit the family and start playing around with napkin folding. Some great starter folds are Bow Fold, Elegant Sail Fold or Simple Standing Fan. Thanks to members kiwidutch and NcMysteryshopper, we have dozens more napkin-folding “recipes” and tutorials — ranging from simple to complicated.
Feeling behind schedule?
Catch up on our tips from last week HERE »
TELL US: What dish are you MOST looking forward to on Thanksgiving day? Add it to the comments below!