Your Complete Thanksgiving Dinner Timeline

Nov 22, 2021


Cooking an entire Thanksgiving meal can be stressful, even if only for a few people. With so many side dishes and desserts, timing everything just right is no easy task. The hardest part of the whole process is often just finding enough precious oven space to be able to cook each dish at specific temperatures.
 
We want our Co-op family members to be able to spend special time with each other during the holiday. Food may be a big part of the celebration, but you should leave plenty of time to enjoy yourself. This meal prep timeline should allow you to get ahead and avoid stress on Thanksgiving Day.
 
Cranberry sauce:
Now is the perfect time to start on your cranberry sauce — it can actually be prepared up to a week in advance if left in the refrigerator. Plus, the sauce requires several hours to cool to achieve the right texture.
 
Desserts:
            Your desserts should be the first dishes you prepare the day before. Because pies require coveted oven space, finishing them early will allow you to use your oven for other dishes that have to be baked Thanksgiving Day.
 
Turkey:
            The turkey is not as intimidating as we often make it out to be. Simply season it the night before and start cooking it Thanksgiving morning. Since it is the star of the show, your turkey should be the first dish you begin cooking that morning.
 
Gravy:
            Start cooking your gravy the same time you are cooking your turkey. This will give you plenty of time to roast the bones and vegetables that you will be using for the gravy.
 
Stuffing:
            Prepare the bread the night before, but combine all of the ingredients around mid-day of Thanksgiving Day. If you use croutons in your recipe, it will be much easier to dry them overnight rather than last-minute in the oven.
 
Side dishes:
            While some side dishes can be prepared early, many such as green bean casserole, macaroni, and sweet potatoes are best served fresh and warm. Wait to start cooking these dishes until Thanksgiving afternoon, a few hours before the meal.
 
Salad:
            While your turkey and other dishes are in the oven, use this downtime to start chopping up vegetables for a fresh salad. When dinnertime arrives, all you have to do is throw them in a bowl and add the dressing.
            Making a game-plan for your meal prep is a great way to ensure your Thanksgiving celebration is stress-free and enjoyable. The best part is, if you do all the cooking, you can ask others to do all the dishes!
 
For more content like this, check out the latest issue of the Cooperator.

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