If you’re one of those people who hosts with style, pulling off feasts for 24 with ease and finesse, good for you. If not, join the rest of us. The good news is, there is a way to entertain without flirting with a nervous breakdown—or at least, with a deodorant breakdown. It’s simple: The Checklist.
With a full-proof checklist, you can put a Thanksgiving dinner-to-remember on the table with a smile that’s genuine. You can rest assured the turkey will be done on time, the mashed potatoes will be whipped and not gluey, and you’ll actually be able to sit at the table instead of slaving in the kitchen. Relax—and enjoy the party.
The Essential Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Checklist
- Your best silver flatware, china, crystal, tablecloths and cloth napkins—or whatever you’re planning to set the table with (locate, polish or clean well in advance)
- Extra chairs, table leaves, and tables – whatever you need for the crowd
- All the condiments, S&P and dressings to accompany the meal
- A flower bouquet or holiday arrangement for the table
- Pre-dinner drinks – juice, sparkling cider or soda for kids; bubbly, juice spritzers, sparkling water, wine or cocktails for the grown-ups
- Hors d’oeuvres – Nuts and olives in colorful bowls, artisan cheeses and charcuterie, grapes and dried pears, plus something hot, such as Crispy Potatoes with Lemon Crème Fraîche and Dill—a gorgeous starter of bright blue Creamers, drizzled in tangy lemon-horseradish- Crème Fraîche sauce and sprinkled with fresh dill sprigs. Here are other delicious appetizer recipe ideas.
- Appetizer/Cocktail napkins
- Dinner wine and beverages
- The traditional stuffed, roasted turkey – Allow time to bring to room temp before putting in the oven.
- Cranberry sauce
- Roasted or steamed vegetables – carrots, Brussels sprouts, peas
- Mashed potatoes – Try Country Style Smashed Garlic Potatoes, rich with cream cheese and sweet roasted garlic, Alfredo Mashed Potatoes, a zesty take on the classic inspired by Fettucine Alfredo, or rustic-style Light Mashed Potatoes with Kale & Goat Cheese, flavored with caramelized shallots and tangy goat cheese. If you find yourself rushing, go for 10 Minute Garlic Parsley Mashed Potatoes, ready in a jiffy, thanks to our Garlic Parsley Microwave Creamers. Just mash with buttermilk, or milk, and butter. Served!
- Dinner rolls with butter – If you want to get fancy, whip the butter the night before and squeeze through a frosting tip into pretty dollops and refrigerate.
- Pie for dessert, plus ice cream or whipped cream
- Coffee and tea for after-dinner service
- Liqueur, champagne or dessert wine
- A long bubble bath for the host!
One last piece of advice:
Be sure to start your turkey early, most likely after breakfast, and look up the roasting and resting times in advance, so you are well informed of the timeframe. You don’t want to have an over- or under-done bird when dinnertime rolls around. Then write up a play-by-play schedule of to-dos for the week before, a day before and day of. Good luck!
WHAT’S ON YOUR THANKSGIVING DINNER CHECKLIST? LET US IN ON IT?
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