Your Guide to a Foolproof Thanksgiving

  • Decide which recipes you want to make, keeping in mind that there’s only so much one person―and one kitchen―can do. If you really do need 10 side dishes, look for recipes that use the same oven temperature, so they can cook at the same time, says Bluysen. After you narrow down your menu, reread the recipes that remain. Most can be broken into steps that you can do ahead of time. Then make a list of what you want to get done on each of the days leading up to Thanksgiving, says Bluysen. “I really think if you go through it enough times, you will be more relaxed,” she says.
  • Figure out what size turkey you need. Bluysen likes a fresh turkey, which can be picked up close to the holiday (call your supermarket to reserve one), relieving your refrigerator of the days required to defrost a bulky frozen bird.
  • Make a detailed shopping list and check it―twice. But don’t expect to get all your shopping done in one trip. Instead, divide your list into two parts: items you’ll need in advance and items you’ll need the final day or two before the meal. Planning a second trip not only keeps your refrigerator from groaning but also relieves you of having to remember every last stick of butter the first time around. When you go to the store, grab a few bottles of something to serve with the meal.
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