How to Plan Your Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Plan Your Thanksgiving

How to Plan Your Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Now that Halloween is over and we’ve moved on to November it’s time to learn how to plan your Thanksgiving dinner menu. Do you usually host Thanksgiving dinner at your home? If so, here’s some great tips and the perfect Thanksgiving planning guide so you’ll be prepared for the big feast.

4 weeks prior

  • Finalize guest list. Consider the amount of space available and how many guests you can accommodate.
  • Plan your menu. Be mindful of guests with food allergies & special diets.

3 weeks prior

  • Order your turkey. To guarantee leftovers, assume 2 pounds per adult and 1 pound per child.
  • Create a shopping list. Read the ingredients of each recipe and determine if those items are already on-hand or if they’ll need to be purchased.

2 weeks prior

  • Decide on decor. Choose a decorative centerpiece for your table. The rule is to keep centerpieces low enough so guests can easily talk over them.
  • Get organized. Clean out the pantry, freezer and fridge to ensure there is plenty of storage space available for groceries and prepared dishes.

1 week prior

  • Create a seating chart and plan the table setting. Decide where each guests will sit, and create festive place cards to take the guess work out when it’s time to take seats. Make sure you have enough plates, glasses, cutlery and napkins available for everyone.
  • Pick up the turkey and purchase non-perishables. If you’ve ordered a turkey, now is the time to pick it up to get it prepped for defrosting. If a turkey was not ordered, purchase a frozen one when shopping for non-perishable items.
  • Create a cooking schedule & plan for leftovers. Review all recipes and cooking temperatures to create a cooking schedule for Thanksgiving day. Purchase affordable disposable containers to leftovers can easily be packed up and sent home with guests.

3 days prior

  • Defrost turkey and purchase perishable items. An 8-12 lbs. turkey takes 2-3 days to defrost, and larger turkeys take even longer. Thaw the turkey by placing it in the coldest area of the fridge with a pan underneath to catch any drippings.

2 days prior

  • Make cranberry sauce, pie crusts and pie. Cranberry sauce stays fresh for up to two weeks, so use that to your advantage. Make pie crusts, or defrost purchased pies if frozen.

1 day prior

  • Prepare dishes that can be reheated, bake pies and prep ingredients. Make appetizers, casseroles and side dishes that can be refrigerated and reheated the next day. Bake pies and cover them with tin foil. Do any necessary chopping or prep work for salads, garnishes, etc.

Thanksgiving Day

  • Stick to your cooking schedule, and enjoy this moment with your guests!

Click on the images below to download and print your own Thanksgiving planning guide! Enjoy Thanksgiving!

Plan Your Thanksgiving


How to Plan Your Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Melanie Kampman

Melanie Kampman is a web designer, developer and owner of Giveaway Bandit and Farm News for Kids. She lives in Northwest Missouri on a large family farm with her husband and eight year old son, the Giveaway Bandit. They raise cattle with a variety of pets including horses, chickens, ducks, and a slew of cats. By Melanie Kampman If you are interested in writing a sponsored post on Giveaway Bandit please email me at melanie (at) giveawaybandit (dot) com.

  • June S.

    (How to Plan Your Thanksgiving Dinner Menu) This is one family holiday that I look forward to every year. Our whole family chips in to make sure that it gets pulled off with no mishaps.

  • Outrun1986

    This is helpful for planning a thanksgiving dinner.

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