Thanksgiving meal planning
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I figured it was time to share my plans for our menu. To be completely honest, my advance planning self has been thinking about it for months. I had the menu practically all ironed out quite a long time ago, but made finishing touches only recently. I was able to try out a few dishes that are new to me and made some changes where necessary to round out our meal.
When making our menu, I kept a few things in mind:
- The number of guests and desired amount of leftovers. We are actually a fairly small group, but we take our leftovers very seriously around here. I planned accordingly.
- Dietary needs of guests. I had a few dietary restrictions (and picky eaters!) to work with, so I made sure to include items that I knew would be okay for certain allergies, etc. I wanted to make sure that there would be plenty to choose from for everyone attending, regardless of their restrictions.
- A balanced menu. As much as I love my carbs, I wanted to make sure there were plenty of vegetables and other dishes to round out the menu.
- Items that can be made in advance. Like a lot of folks, I’ll be working through Wednesday, so it was important to me to have some dishes that I could make in advance (or at least do some prep work for in advance). This way I can spread out some of the preparations on my evenings after work, which gives me more time the day of to spend with family.
So, here is our menu for this year:
Main Dishes & Sides:
- classic mashed potatoes
- roasted red potatoes
- thanksgiving stuffing
- green beans with almonds
- baked spinach
- company corn
- acorn squash with maple syrup and sage cream
- honey yeast rolls
- honey corn bread muffins
- cranberry orange sauce
- compound butter
- apple pie with vanilla bean ice cream
- salted caramel pecan pie
- assorted cookies
To give credit where credit is due – while I’ll be handling the bulk of our Thanksgiving meal, the turkey is my husband’s thing. He’s even made it a few times when we’ve traveled for the holiday, so it’s completely his domain. He’s trying out a different brine this year, so I’m excited to see how that turns out. I’m happy to assist as needed : ) I also want to give a shout-out to my mother-in-law, who will be making her awesome apple pie and likely some cookies as well. More cookies is always a good thing in my book.
Getting your house ready for guests
Along with planning the menu for Thanksgiving, I’ve also been busy getting our house ready for guests.
While my favorite part of this aspect is putting up fun festive decorations, there are other parts that are not as fun. Like making sure the house is clean. Oh right, that. We’ve been tidying up, putting things away and doing some general organizing. When it gets a little closer to Thanksgiving, we’ll also be giving the house a good cleaning. We’ve also had to do some general maintenance, like installing a new water heater. Sigh, that was just my attempt to complain a little more about that costly repair. But I guess we do need hot water.
If you are like me and have family or friends staying with you, then it’s also a good idea to start getting the guest bedroom (or wherever they will be sleeping) ready. Same goes for the guest bathroom. When we visited my sister-in-law several months ago she put together an awesome little basket with some travel sized toiletries, magazines, etc. I thought this was a great idea and plan to do the same for them. Excuse to buy some magazines? I’ll take it.
Finally, in addition to planning our Thanksgiving day menu, I have also put together a list of other meals / grocery items for the days that we have our family staying with us. I’d rather get it all done at once (and in advance) rather than having to worry about running out at the last minute to make sure we have milk for breakfast, etc.
So, that’s it. I hope you are all having fun getting ready for the holiday and that your planning is going well. It’ll be here before we know it.