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If you're hosting and cooking Thanksgiving dinner, a good plan of action and a little effort over several days can help keep your sanity and preserve the festive feel of this special Thursday in November. Here are the steps that I have taken to lead up to a successful Thanksgiving dinner.

1. For the week prior, leading up to the Saturday and Sunday are the days to clean the kitchen, including cleaning out the fridge, and possibly the oven. Also take time to wash any bakeware or dishes that don't get everyday use. Double check your shopping list, and think about adding leftover or take-away containers for after the meal.

2. By end of day on Monday, most all Thanksgiving groceries should be purchased. Everything will keep just fine for the remaining days before the big meal.

3. On Monday or Tuesday, start brining the turkey. This is also a good time to make the cranberry sauce, and even the gravy.

4. Wednesday is the perfect prep day to assemble the sausage stuffing, cover with foil and place it in the fridge to bake off on Thursday. Wednesday is also the day to bake pumpkin pies. You may even want to prep any vegetables, such as peeling and chopping. If you prep your Yukon Gold potatoes, place the peeled and large-diced chunks in a pot of cold water and store in the fridge overnight so they're ready to boil the next day.

5. Thursday is the big day. Be sure to remove the turkey from the fridge & brine and allow it to come to room temperature for 1 hour before roasting. Get the turkey ahead start in the oven, and then add the sausage stuffing along side. After the turkey comes out, the Brussels sprouts can go in while the turkey rests. Meanwhile, use the stove top to boil the potatoes, reheat the gravy, and braise the carrots and parsnips.

Hope you find these tips helpful while planning and preparing your Thanksgiving Feast!


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