My 2019 Thanksgiving Menu and Timeline! Plus, My Must-Have Kitchen Tools.
Oh my gosh I’m so excited – my 2019 Thanksgiving menu is here!
Last year I shared my Thanksgiving timeline and while this is almost identical, it helps me SO much. I don’t change a ton in terms of dishes I’ll be serving, and now that I have kids, it helps me SO much to be able to plan and organize in advance. It allows me to enjoy the day so much. Because I love cooking a giant spread for everyone!
I’m sharing my full menu below, along with the kitchen tools I MUST have in order to pull off such an extensive meal. And then, my crazy timeline starting from four weeks out.
My 2019 Thanksgiving Menu
- Pomegranate Jeweled Cheeseball
- Butter and Wine Drenched Turkey, with this dry brine
- Grilled Turkey, with the same dry brine
- Grilled Bread Stuffing, out of the bird. (May make a double batch!)
- Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes
- The Best Gravy Ever
- Pomegranate Greens Salad
- Brussels Gratin
- Corn Pudding Souffle
- Vanilla Bourbon Cranberry Sauce
- Lightened Up Sweet Potato Casserole
- Lightened Up Green Bean Casserole
- Pumpkin Dream Cake
- Salted Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
- Red Apple Cider Sangria
Guests are bringing:
- Pies pies pies!
- Dinner rolls
The 14 Thanksgiving Tools I Can’t Live Without.
While practically EVERYTHING gets used in my kitchen on Thanksgiving (and the week prior!), these are the ones that I can’t live without. The meal has to happen with these things!
- Kitchen Shears. Can’t really prep the turkey without these!
- Cheese cloth. For my butter wine drenched turkey!
- Kitchen Twine. Must have.
- Mackenzie Childs Roasting Pan. This is basically the show stopped in my kitchen on Thanksgiving. It makes such a statement!
- Turkey Baster. This is my favorite one!
- Meat Thermometer. Also a favorite.
- Turkey Lifters. When I bought these a few years ago, it was life changing. These help so much.
- Electric Carving Knife. This makes carving two turkeys so much smoother.
- Carving Board. My favorite carving board that is beautiful.
- Fat Separator Cup. Love this for gravy!
- Shaker Bottle. Also a must have to make perfect gravy.
- Multiple casserole dishes. The matte white Staub ones are my favorite.
- Hand mixer. I use this for my mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes!
- Drink Dispenser for sangria or punch. I use at least one or two of these on holidays. I have this MacKenzie-Childs one and it only comes out to play on special occasions.
THE MONTH BEFORE (OR, UM, RIGHT NOW):
- I determine who is coming and how many people I’ll have for dinner.
- I figure out the menu! What exactly I’m serving, buying and what are others bringing. See above for details.
- I go through every.single.recipe and write down the ingredients. I take inventory of what I have. From there, I build a grocery list around what I need.
- I go through all of the serving dishes, place settings, glasses and everything I’ll need. This is personal preference but I love to use real dishes and set the table for Thanksgiving. It’s probably because my mom and grandma always did. I think it just makes for such a nice meal and it also allows people to linger at the table for conversation after!
- I also go through all of my cookware. Do I have the turkey roaster, kitchen twine, baster, enough pots, baking dishes, etc.
- I make a master list, based on all of the above, on EVERYTHING I will need.
- I order a fresh turkey.
- I usually make a list for Eddie to do that includes errands he can run during the week at lunch. Things like grabbing extra propane for the grill, light bulbs for any that may be burnt out in the house, etc.
- You can order florals if you wish. I learned this the hard way two years ago when I spent $100 upfront ordering one that looked like it belonged in a funeral home. I ended up buying my own flowers and making my own, so I don’t order any.
- I buy as much as I can right now. This includes wine, pantry ingredients, things like crackers for the appetizers, foil containers or packaging for people to take home leftovers – EVERYTHING. And I check it off the list!
TWO WEEKS BEFORE:
- I take some inventory of the fridge and figure out what we can eat/cook to free up space.
- I pick up any pantry ingredients or items I couldn’t get in the weeks prior.
THE WEEK BEFORE:
- I do a massive fridge clean. I clean the entire fridge, get rid of what I don’t need, make room for the turkey, the dishes I’ll make ahead of time, etc.
- I go over my master list again and see what else I may need.
- I grocery shop for the things that are fresh but will last until Thursday, such as milk, potatoes, squash, etc.
- I also think about next weekend and a lunch and dinner plan right now. I know that at some point we will be sick of leftovers and won’t want to eat out every single meal (and will want something light!) so I try to plan a light meal or two and have some things on hand for easy lunches and dinners during the long weekend.
- I do any miscellaneous house things and regular life things that must get done to live. Ha! Things like laundry, etc.
- I go over my list again. DO I HAVE EVERYTHING? Probably not. I always forget things.
- I clean out my dining room and set the table. I set up my own centerpiece space – or at least as much of it as I can. I also like to set out all of my serving and baking dishes with post-it’s of what will go inside.
- I do one final grocery shop. Grabbing anything else I may need.
- I pick up the turkey.
- I prep my dry brine and prep my turkey, get it all together and stick it in the fridge. Let the magic happen.
- I make the chocolate pecan pie bars and stick them in the fridge!
- Our house is getting cleaned – amen.
- I’m making the lightened up sweet potato casserole. I don’t bake it yet. I measure out the topping ingredients and set them aside for tomorrow. I’ve done this for 6 years and it works great! This is a great dish to bring if you are going to someone else’s house.
- I also make the green bean casserole. I make it up until the point of baking, then store it in the fridge.
- And I’m making the cranberry sauce, the pumpkin dream cake and prepping the bread and veggies for the stuffing. I leave the bread in baking dishes and sauté the vegetables, then stick them in jars in the fridge.
- I chop and measure ingredients out for the brussels gratin. Same goes for the salad – wash and chop the lettuce, toast the nuts, etc.
- I prep the pomegranate cheese ball. This actually tastes better as it sits.
- Before I go to sleep, I make sure that the kitchen is clean and the dishwasher is running!
- Turkey (for the oven) comes out of the fridge to take the chill off.
- I peel the potatoes and place them in a pot of cold water in the fridge.
- Prep the cheesecloth, butter/wine mixture for the turkey.
- Turkey is stuffed, legs trussed, ready to go.
- Turkey goes into the oven! A 15lb turkey using this recipe takes about 4 hours. I’m giving myself more time for a slightly larger turkey. I set an alarm on my phone so I know when to baste the turkey.
- I run the dishwasher again if needed, only so I can have a completely empty dishwasher after dinner!.
- I make the sangria and keep it in the fridge. Also make sure coffee and dessert space is prepped!
- This is probably when I will shower and get ready myself.
- The turkey for the grill comes out of the fridge. We preheat the grill.
- The turkey goes on the grill! I set an alarm to check it every 20 to 30 minutes.
- I prep the mashed potatoes.
- I also prep the brussels gratin!
- I prep the halloumi for the salad.
- I take other dishes out of the fridge that have to be heated soon, like the sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, corn and the cranberry sauce.
- Then I clean up the mess that I probably made.
- It’s snack time. Pomegranate cheese ball coming right up!
- Take the turkey temperatures. GUESTS come!
- We eat and snack and chat.
- Turkey is out of the oven. Turkey is also off the grill! Both are resting for 30 to 45 minutes. Side dishes that have to be warmed/baked go into the oven. I start making the gravy. I love the gravy made fresh with the turkey drippings. I follow my exact recipe! It’s worth it, trust me.
- I throw together the salad quickly. Everything is measured, washed, made and chopped so it takes a few minutes!
- Eddie carves the turkeys!
- Fill up water and wine glasses, sides come out of the oven, everything is set out and arranged for serving.
6PM: Give thanks and EAT.
I live for this day. This week! Truly. It’s all the prep – that’s where the fun is.
Now I’d love to know if you prep something crazy like this? Tell me your menu (and your ways!).
24 Comments on “My 2019 Thanksgiving Menu and Timeline! Plus, My Must-Have Kitchen Tools.”
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I love this! I have one question / comment. We always eat around 2, and then just graze on leftovers the rest of the day. With your schedule eating at 6 ummm when do you eat lunch? You set aside no time for a hangry meltdown.
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Wow. That is incredible, CEO execution. I can’t imagine any of this. I don’t have family, friends, or even eat a Thanksgiving meal on that day… You are the epitome of what I wish everyone can experience during the holidays. Probably not what you want to hear, but as mind boggling and stellar as all this is that you put together, it hurts too. Haven’t had any Thanksgiving in more years than I can remember at this point.
You are an amazingly gifted human being. Thank you for sharing. What lucky family and friends you have.
Where did you get your gold leopard plates? So fabulous!
Not sure where Jessica got hers but I just saw some at Pier 1:
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WOW, long list but perfect scheduled time for everything!!!
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You know what Jessica? I’m so glad we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Italy..haha!! I got tired just reading your week! Anyway, prepping for Christmas is just about the same. Wish I were half as organized as you are. Enjoy!
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How many people do you cook for every year? That seems like an insane amount of food :)
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I love reading your timeline. This year I decided I wasn’t going to do the whole meal alone, but I have in years past, and I used to plan it all out like you. The only way to get it done right, and with less stress! I hope the day goes well for you.
Where did you get those dishes from? I love them!
Not sure where Jessica got hers but I just saw some at Pier 1:
Wow – that is insane! I also love to cook and used to go crazy like you, but I’ve learned over the years it’s best to keep it simple and not overdo it. Relax more and enjoy the day with the family instead of nonstop cooking/cleaning/dishes etc. Also We always eat early on holidays – by 3 or 4pm at the latest. By 6pm I’m ready for bed after all the food!
I remember reading this similar post last year, and I was SO RELIEVED that someone else plans holiday cooking as methodically as I do, haha. I’m all about the master list, multiple shops to get pantry items then fresh items, making sure I have a clean and empty dishwasher ready for loading after dinner, and making a timeline down to the half-hour marks on The Big Day. :-) It’s a lot of planning, but it’s honestly so worth it to have things go smoothly. I don’t host Thanksgiving, but I host Christmas Day and Easter Day, and my game plan for both days is exactly like this post, haha. The lead up is REAL!!! Thanks for sharing, again. Happy Thanksgiving!! xoxo
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Thank you for all these GREAT ideas! I definitely plant make a few of these! I would LOVE to make the Vanilla Bourbon cranberry sauce. Can I sub regular vanilla for the vanilla bean and if so, how MUCH? Thank you!!! Happy thanksgiving!
Thank you for all these GREAT ideas! I definitely plant make a few of these! I would LOVE to make the Vanilla Bourbon cranberry sauce. Can I sub regular vanilla for the vanilla bean and if so, how MUCH? Thank you!!! Happy thanksgiving To you and your loved ones!
I am using several of your recipes this year!!! Thank you for the time line. Where do you buy your turkey?
YAY i’m so glad marsha! i get fresh turkeys from schramm’s farm (i actually think they come from pounds farm in leechburg?) – they are fresh and never frozen. they have to be ordered by early november though. if you’re in my area and still need one, i suggest checking pounds turkey farm!