Gearing up for for Thanksgiving?  

Your To-Do list is your BFF.

I use Wunderlist, a no-nonsense app that keeps track of it all: dates, reminders, subtasks, notes, files, comments, assignments.  Yes, assignments, no holiday happens without them.  Completed tasks get crossed out and checked off. I can even sort them ~ alphabetically, by due date or by assignee.  Easy enough.

November 2011 cover image of 3 red-accented plates with cutlery and gold pears on red background

On the Real Simple website, they’ve laid out a road map to a trouble-free Turkey Day.  See it all here.


Worksheet #1 is a Thanksgiving prep list, a schedule of all the tasks that need to be done ~ writing down all the recipes you plan to make, including oven temperatures and cooking times so you can identify which items can be cooked together, checking off any that can be made in advance.


Ready for Worksheet #2?  

Once you have a list of the dishes you plan to make (see Worksheet 1), check to see which can be prepared in advance and record them in “ The Day Before” section. Next, look at the cooking temperatures for the remaining dishes. Working backward from the time you want to serve dinner, figure out which dishes can be cooked in the oven together and when they should be put in. Record them on the worksheet in chronological order. Include notes about reheating and serving dishes if appropriate.


Finally, Worksheet #3  ~ The Countdown.

2 days before

􏰀 Make ice cubes and fill a plastic bag with reserves.

the day before

  • 􏰀  Prepare the Herb Stuffing (but don’t bake it).
  • 􏰀  Make the Warm Apricot-Cranberry Sauce.
  • 􏰀  Make the Apple Crumb Pie.
  • 􏰀  Set the table.
  • 􏰀  Chill wine, beer, and other beverages.
  • 􏰀  Set up a bar and a beverage area.
  • 􏰀  Gather coolers and ice packs to use as extra food-storage space.
  • 􏰀  Set out serving dishes and utensils.

    6 hours before dinner

    • 􏰀  Set up a breakdown/washing station in the corner of the kitchen, the utility room, or the garage.
      4 hours, 30 minutes before dinner
    • 􏰀  Prepare the turkey for Classic Roast Turkey. 4 hours, 15 minutes before dinner
    • 􏰀  Arrange the oven racks and heat the oven. 4 hours before dinner
    • 􏰀  Roast the turkey for Classic Roast Turkey.

3 hours before dinner

􏰀 Prepare the Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges. 2 hours, 30 minutes before dinner

􏰀 Remove the Apple Crumb Pie from the refrigerator.

􏰀 Fill your coffeepot with water and ground coffee so it’s ready to go after dinner.

2 hours, 15 minutes before dinner

􏰀 Make the Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes. 1 hour before dinner

􏰀 Cook the Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges. 45 minutes before dinner

􏰀 Make the Savory Gravy.
􏰀 Heat the Warm Apricot-Cranberry Sauce.

30 minutes before dinner

􏰀 Bake the Herb Stuffing.
􏰀 Carve the Classic Roast Turkey.

15 minutes before dinner

􏰀 Set out food-storage containers and resealable plastic bags for leftovers.

􏰀 Take out the trash and replace the bags for fast cleanup after dinner.
􏰀 Turn on the coffeepot.

􏰀 Warm the Apple Crumb Pie.


Real Simple means well.  Powering through this to-do list may be productive but they left out the dinnerbell-cheering stuff ~ family, friends, and, yes, even Campbell’s Soup green bean casserole with fried onions.


Some list ~ probably nothing will slip through the cracks.

But Thanksgiving is your story.

 It’s not perfect.  

And it’s not finished yet.

Toni 11/14/13

Day 14


3 thoughts on “GOBBLE GOBBLE

  1. My goodness! Nothing left to chance here and thanks for the incomparable Norman Rockwell memories. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


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