Your Thanksgiving Timeline

More cheer, less fear

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A low-stress Thanksgiving dinner doesn't happen overnight.

Here is a step-by-step plan that spreads most of the work over seven days.

Post this plan on the refrigerator and check off things as you finish, and enjoy more cheer with the holiday.

Seven days before:

-- Order fresh turkey (if using).

Six days before:

-- Shop for frozen turkey, longer-lasting produce (potatoes, onions, yams, etc.) and all nonperishable items (flour, coffee, canned pumpkin, aluminum foil, etc.).

Five days before:

-- Place frozen turkey in refrigerator to defrost, allowing one full day for every four pounds, plus an extra day if brining.

-- Make piecrust dough, wrap in wax paper and aluminum foil, then freeze.

Four days before:

-- Check cupboard for needed pans and baking dishes.

-- Make a list of what will be served in each dish.

Three days before:

-- Prepare and refrigerate salad vinaigrettes.

-- Make cranberry sauce/chutney.

Two days before:

-- Purchase all perishable items (fresh turkey, cream, ice, etc.).

-- Make dips or other appetizers, wrap and store properly.

-- Place frozen pie dough in refrigerator to defrost.

One day before:

-- Brine turkey.

-- Chop ingredients for stuffing.

-- Wash and dry salad greens.

-- Make dough for rolls, refrigerate overnight.

-- Make pies.

-- Set table.

Eight hours before:

-- Shape roll dough, let rise and bake.

-- Assemble side dishes, cover and refrigerate.

Six hours before:

-- Assemble stuffing; stuff and roast turkey.

Two hours before:

-- Peel, cook and mash potatoes, keep warm.

-- Whip cream for pies.

One hour before:

-- Remove turkey from oven, tent with foil, let rest 20 to 40 minutes before carving.

-- Bake casseroles and vegetable dishes.

Last minute:

-- Carve turkey.

-- Make gravy.

-- Reheat stuffing and rolls.

-- Toss salad.

-- Enjoy the feast with family and friends!


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