I always begin with my guest list, this year I am cooking for 15 people. If you haven't bought your turkey yet, now is a good time. While you're there, pick up 4 turkey wings to make extra gravy - that is always the first to go (you can find the recipe at the end).
Now, compose your menu and don't forget to assign dishes to guests coming. They love to help and it will lift some of your burden if you only concentrate on the core menu. I keep all my lists from previous years in my roasting pan so it is easy accessible the next year.
Thanksgiving Menu- 2008
Brie with cranberries and pecans
Chili cheese dip
Veggie sticks and fruit
Turkey (22 pound)
Turkey breast, just in case
Fresh Kielbasi (this is Pittsburgh, it's a part of every holiday meal, I don't know why)
Pineapple Souffle (it goes with the kielbasi - salty/sweet)
Green Bean Casserole (Amy)
Sweet Potatoes (Mom)
Sauteed Mushrooms (Mom)
Pumpkin Pie and "Delight" (Sheri)
Pilgrim Hat cookies for kids
Jello Salad (Grammy must have this)
From here, make your shopping list.
Now, go ahead and make your schedule.
Saturday: Take turkey out of freezer. If you miss this first step you're screwed. Just saying.
Sunday: Take turkey wings out of the freezer.
Monday: Take turkey breast out of freezer, make gravy (I double this recipe)
Make Ahead gravy (Woman's Day magazine, 2003)
4 turkey wings (3-4 lbs)
8 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup chopped carrots
1/2 tsp thyme
3/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. pepper
Heat oven to 400 degrees
Roast wings in roasting pan in a single layer with onions scattered on top for 1 1/4 hours or until browned.
Transfer wings and onions to large pot. Add 1 cup of water to roasting pan to loosen any brown bits then add to pot with 6 cups of broth, carrots, and thyme. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 hours.
Remove wings and strain broth into a saucepan, pressing the veggies to extract all the juice. Skim fat from the top, or put in fridge overnight to pull solids off top.
Whisk flour into remaining 2 cups of broth.
Bring broth in saucepan to a boil and whisk in flour mixture. Boil 4-5 minutes to thicken, then stir in butter and pepper.
Tuesday clean the house, wash the dishes to be used
Saute veggies for stuffing
Inject turkey and breast with brine (1/4 c. salt, 2 T. brown sugar, 1 quart veg stock.)
Make corn pudding
Make Pilgrim hat cookies
Assemble pineapple souffle (recipe tomorrow)
Prepare cranberry mixture for brie
Set the table
Make jello salad
Make Bloody Marys
This day's schedule is arranged by the count down to dinner (2:00 this year)
Turkey, 3.5 hours
Make stuffing (I do not stuff my bird)
Pull out corn pudding and pineapple to come to room temp.
Pull out appetizers and bloody marys, brie and chili dip in micro.
Make mashed potatoes and keep in crock pot, adding extra milk if they get dry
Grill kielbasi, 1 hour
Bake stuffing, 45 min.
Bake corn pudding, 40 min.
Reheat gravy, 40 min.
Reheat mushrooms, 30 min.
Green beans and sweet potato casseroles in oven, 30 min
Let turkey rest, 30 min
Bake pineapple, 25 min.
Plate cranberry sauce