If you haven’t started planning for Thanksgiving yet, you are in trouble! Truth be told, I have been planning for weeks! I plan for the holidays like I am personally launching the ships for the D-Day invasion. No rock goes unturned, no beach unexplored. The last thing I need is to have a ton of people at my house and then not have the items I need to make the recipes I want. This year it looks like I am going to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 14 people at my house this year. That is far from the most I have ever had, so I am feeling a little more relaxed this go round.
I have already started making some of the basic ingredients and mixtures that I am going to use for different meals while I have to provide while I have guests – breakfasts are a cinch! I am going to serve sausage balls, pigs in blankets for one morning – and pancakes with a cinnamon apple compote for day two. The recipes for pigs in blankets (well zombies, they were for Halloween) can be found here – simply don’t over monster your piggies and you are good. The apple pancakes are here. The great thing about these recipes is that you can mix and form them in advance, freeze them, and then store them in a zip lock bag until you are ready to cook them. The apple compote is super easy and freezes well. I am going to use this same compote as the filling for tiny apple hand pies for Thanksgiving day – which can also be made in advance and frozen so that you just thaw and bake the morning you need them.
I am focusing on making my life as easy as possible this year. Checking out how I Navigate The Minefield of Family at the holidays here. I am going to make a sweet potato souffle, a turkey, gravy, stuffing, salad and apple pie. Each of the recipes can be made in advance and finished off on the morning of! I’ll be sharing those recipes in the coming weeks so that you are also able to get a jump on your holiday.
Since I am planning for 14 this year, I am going to look for a 14 to 15 lb bird. I want a few left overs, so I am planning for 1 pound of turkey per person. Sides are going to be planned at ½ cup of each side per person. Honestly, I want a few left overs of some of my sides as well! I tend to like the sides better than the actual dishes.
Last year, I made a few of my dishes ahead, it worked wonders for me! I made the base to my sweet potato souffle, the apple tarts, and even the stuffing and put them in the freezer. The night before Thanksgiving, I just thawed and cooked the next morning. Poof, done! I am making dishes ahead again this year as a result. So, the day before and of Thanksgiving will be focused on brining the Turkey. I have already started to assemble my shopping list and started to make sure I have all the dishes, silver ware, and accessories I need. At the holidays, I like to go to Sam’s and get foil baking pans to prep sides in prior to the holiday. Since they freeze well and minimize my cleanup, they are well wort the time I would be spending to wash and clean every single dish, pan, and plate to my day.
As I set a dish I want to make, I go ahead and pull out the baking dishes or foil pans I will need to have for that dish and put them on the dining room table. This helps me know that if it is out, it is already in use – no over scheduling a single dish. At the same time, I jot the ingredients I will need down on my shopping list. Feel free to subscribe to my e mail list and get the downloadable planning and shopping list for your own feast!
What do you do to organize your gathering and keep your budget on track during the holidays?
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