Thanksgiving is next week! Hard to believe … November is flying by!

Last year I hosted (my first) huge feast (16 made-from-sratch homemade dishes). I learned so much about putting together Thanksgiving and I have to say that all my OCD planning and hard work ahead-of-time really made for a relaxing Thanksgiving Day. I followed my Thanksgiving Week and Day of Cooking Schedule to a T and everything came out hot and fully cooked (even the turkey was juicy and beautiful!).

This year we’re heading to the in-laws for Thanksgiving lunch and I’m pitching in by making yeast rolls, brussel sprouts and dessert. With an expanding baby bump I got off easy this year (excuses, excuses). I’ll bring you all the recipes later this week.

Looking back at my Thanksgiving posts last year, I thought I’d put together a comprehensive how-to. If you’re hosting this year, here’s you’re cheat sheet.


1. Get Organized

The week before you should make your menu (assigning out any dishes that guests may be bringing), decorate (check out my Thanksgiving table here), deep clean your home, and start making food that can prepped in advance. This is a great time to make homemade chicken stock, bread for your stuffing, yeast rolls, and even pies you can freeze.

Here’s my Complete Week Before Checklist. Check it twice!


2. Make a Schedule

Write everyday down. Make a Thanksgiving notebook. You’ll know where everything is the day of (like those instructions for where to insert the turkey thermometer) and you’ll have it all in the same place for years to come. No more searching for that dressing recipe every year—it’s in your Thanksgiving notebook!

Make a schedule from Thanksgiving week (what you will prep everyday in the days leading up to Thursday) and a minute-by-minute schedule for Thanksgiving Day. You’re laughing. Nope. This is really important. 7:30 Preheat oven. 8:00 Place Turkey in oven at 450 degrees. 10:30 Turn down Green Beans to just warm. 1:45 Remove stuffing cover, put cranberry sauce on stove to warm. Etc. Etc.

Follow the schedule and it will really make for a stress-free affair. No guessing, no rushing. Everything will be warm and out of the oven on time.

Here’s my Thanksgiving Week (and day of) Cooking Schedule.


3. Research Your Recipes

Thanksgiving Day is not the time to try some new recipe you found Pinterest the night before. There is no margin for error on Thanksgiving Day so if you want to try something new, try it this week!

Here are a couple of my family’s favorites: Mom’s Yeast RollsBrûlée Topped Pumpkin PieHow to Make the Perfect Pie Crust.


4. Create a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Day

A couple of days ahead of time lay out butcher paper on your buffet, trace each serving dishes with a white paint pen and put out serving utensils. This makes putting the buffet together SUPER simple. You’ll know ahead of time that you have enough serving pieces, that it will all fit on your buffet and family can help assemble the buffet as things come out of the oven. Plus, it makes for easy clean up and is a great check list to make sure you have everything out (you won’t forget those deviled eggs sitting in the fridge).

Check out my Thanksgiving Wrap Up from last year.


Still stressed about putting it all together? Don’t be! I’m here to help! Let me know your questions … we’re all in this together.


Complete Week Before Checklist

Thanksgiving Week and Day of Cooking Schedule
Thanksgiving Table Decorations
Mom’s Yeast RollsBrûlée Topped Pumpkin PieHow to Make the Perfect Pie Crust