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Quick Tips for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Tips

I love Thanksgiving! Friends and family have often asked me for a short quick list of tips, so here they are! From my table to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.


  • Nothing in the actual thanksgiving dinner is difficult to make. What’s difficult is timing it all perfectly.
  • Start backwards, figure out how long each dish takes to make so you know when you need to start preparing each one.
  • The hour to 90 minutes before your guests sit down will be the busiest. Before that, it’s a bit of a waiting game.
  • Use your guests! If you’re short on time (and who isn’t?) have every one bring just one dish. Makes it easier on you and adds some new flavor to the meal.

The Turkey:

  • Add organic chicken broth to the bottom of the roasting pan before you put the turkey in the oven. It adds flavor to your gravy and increases the amount of gravy you can make.
  • Stuff the neck of the turkey to give it a full round look. Much prettier!
  • Plan to take the turkey out about an hour before you sit down with your guests. This will make sure it’s cooked on time, and it’s a beautiful site for your guests as they walk in.

The Table:

  • Set the table early in the day before things get to hectic in the kitchen.
  • Let Mother Nature be your guide as you decorate the table. (More great decorating tips!)

The Food:

  • Use pre-made pie dough and biscuits or crescent rolls. It’s a very small way to cheat that saves a great amount of time.
  • Bake the pie(s) the night before so the oven is free for the turkey.
  • Put biscuits/rolls in the oven just as you call your guests sit down. By the time everyone piles up their plates, the hot biscuits will be ready.
  • Make the cranberry sauce from scratch. It takes 10 minutes and it makes such a big difference for your guests. It can be made a few hours in advance.
  • The key to not having lumpy gravy is making sure the drippings are cool enough when you start to mix in the flour. When you pour the drippings into the saucepan, add cold water: 1 part water for 2 parts drippings. Slowly wisk in flour and salt (to taste), stirring constantly over a low to medium heat. It takes about 15 minutes for the gravy to thicken. (I like to start on the gravy right after I put the biscuits in the oven.)
  • If you’ll be hosting young children, serve a couple of things that are kid-friendly, even if they aren’t traditional thanksgiving foods — like mac and cheese or chicken nuggets. Nothing worse than having a kid that turns up their nose at turkey and fusses all through dinner.

Remember that the dishes and clean up can wait. Don’t pass up this special time with your friends and family just to do the dishes. They’ll be there in the morning *wink.

Fun tip from a reader: My mom has the kids play a few games of “Thanksgiving Bingo”. She made up some bingo cards with Thanksgiving pictures on them. Usually one of the guys will sit around a game table with the kids and play several rounds of bingo while the moms are busy making final preparations — that way the kids are not under our feet, or running through the house bursting with excitement. When you win a round of bingo you get to pick a present from the basket. My mom will wrap inexpensive little gifts for the kids to choose from — and every year, there’s a $20 bill in one of the boxes. It keeps things exciting, and the kids love it. Plus, they have a few new little toys to play with, so once the game is over, they are now occupied with their new prizes. My kids look forward to it every year!

Author: Sarah

Complete Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes!

Tips for the Turkey
Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar-Pecan Topping
Grandpa’s Stuffing
Fresh Cranberry Sauce
Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie

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