Let's face it: Most people don't wait until the week of to start thinking about Thanksgiving dinner. Many cooks, especially those who are hosting a lot of people, are planning/dreading/anticipating the year's largest meal weeks before. I know I am, as I prepare to host about a dozen people at my house on Nov. 24.
Here are some key things to start thinking about in the coming weeks if you also have turkey on the brain.
• Prepare your guest list — and let people know when they need to confirm their attendance. This will change the amount of food you need to buy, and what kind. Be sure to ask anyone if they have dietary needs — allergies, preferences, etc.
• If you have guests already on board, don't be afraid to assign them helpful tasks or let them know what they can bring.
• Decide on your final menu and collect the recipes you'll need. Select a variety of dishes, including some that can be served cold or at room temperature so you don't have to worry about keeping everything hot.
• Order a turkey if you're buying fresh. Or, about a week before Thanksgiving, buy your frozen turkey. These take at least 3-4 days to defrost. Go for about 1 pound per person.
• Shop for nonperishable food items that can be in short supply as the holiday gets closer — canned vegetables or pumpkin, packaged stuffing, cranberries and even heavy cream. This will also make your grocery trips more manageable between now and the big day. Vegetables like butternut squash, carrots, potatoes, parsnips and turnips will also last at least a week in your kitchen.
• Look for easy weeknight dinner recipes like the one-skillet wonder below, to minimize your cooking stress the week before and of Thanksgiving.
Information from the Associated Press was used in the report.
Contact Michelle Stark at [email protected] or (727) 893-8829. Follow @mstark17.