(Closed) First Thanksgiving

posted 8 years ago in Married Life
Post # 3
1235 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

PLAN! And anything you can do ahead of time and reheat do it. And don’t stress. As long as you have a good time and remember that nobody expects you to be perfect you will do great!

Post # 4
155 posts
Blushing bee

Are your in-laws local? Depending on the type of people they are, they might like to be included in the preparation and planning. My Mother-In-Law is a very good cook and very crafty. While she probably wouldn’t like to spend the whole day cooking with me, I know she’d love to know that I need her help. Kind of a mother-daughter-in-law bonding session. Maybe ask her for some suggested recipes or about her favorite Thanksgiving dishes. If she has any traditional family dishes, maybe see if she wants to bring something over. Don’t feel like you need to do the whole event by yourself. And make sure your husband is involved as well!

Post # 5
582 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Potluck! Pick one to three big dishes to concnetrate on and have your guests bring the rest. For example, my mom hosts, and she does the turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing. Everything else (corn pudding, broccoli casserole, pies, rolls, etc) comes from others. Also I think the rolls are usually frozen now, not from scratch. So also you can look for fast, easy fixes like that. It doesn’t ALL have to be from scratch.

Post # 6
4824 posts
Honey bee

ITs a big day to host so dont feel bad using shortcuts and ask for help.

Ask someone to bring dessert or buy it from a bakery.

Turkey cooks another 5-10 degrees after its pulled out of the oven and it stays hot a long time. Cover in aluminum foil and then with bath towels. This will give you up to 2 hours (really!) to finish up the rest of the meal. It gives you flexibility.

Borrow a second microwave to make it easier. Make your mashed potatoes the day ahead and reheat in the microwave. Make anything you can ahead and reheat!

And remember dont apologize even if it comes out not the way you expected.  They probably are not going to be as picky as you.

And when all else fails double up on the wine before dinner for everyone 🙂 Everything will taste better!

And set the dinner table the night before along with deciding what platters and serving bowls to use! Trust me that is the last thing you will want to be thinking about that day.


EDIT: you dont really need a baster if its tented.  start the turkey for the first 45 minutes at 425 then drop it to 325 and then make a tent out of heavy duty aluminum foil. (it doesnt really touch the bird, but hover over it)

Post # 8
4824 posts
Honey bee

Large roasting pan with rack

2 instant read thermometers

enough serving dishes and spoons

gravy boat (or other pour-able vessle)

a sharp knife for carving (the electric ones are great)

the rest depends on what you are making?

potato masher or mixer (stand up kind or hand)

Be sure to have chicken boullion on hand. A lot of recipes call for it and it can be used to extend the gravy (IE make more of it) in conjunction with gravy master (or similar branded product)

Post # 9
41 posts
  • Wedding: November 2009 - Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church (LaCoste, TX) and Mary Gray Events Center (Castroville, TX)

You can buy those one time use large roasting pans for the turkey at the grocery store.  Remember that turkeys take days to thaw in the fridge and a while to cook.  I like to have all my veggies chopped the night before and make my list and check it twice, so I don’t have any crazy grocery store runs the day of.  If you make dessert, make something that keeps well overnight, so that you can do it the day before.  As far as special kitchen things, I’d definitely get a meat thermometer, they have the proper cooking temps printed on them, and make sure you have plenty of foil to keep things warm.  You’ll do fine, just prep as much as possible.  Good luck.

Post # 10
1088 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

@astayer: Definitely get a turkey roaster. They have them at Target, Walmart, etc.

Something like this:


The turkey is easy to cook in there. Then, pull the turkey out when it’s done and make the gravy from the juices on the bottom. You can also make garlic mashed potatoes, have someone who really knows how to cook bring stuffing. Buy rolls or some of those pillsbury rolls (easy and good), you could make a green bean casserole easy too. Cranberry sauce is soooooooo easy from scratch. Just pick up some cranberries from produce and the directions are on the back.

Buy lots of Martinellis, wine, even real apple cider would be nice (Trader Joes). You could totally pretend to be domestic with these ideas and it’s not too hard. Buy pies, make easy cookies, and turkey should be easy. Good luck, I am hosting too, AHHH!!! lol 🙂

Post # 11
1088 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

You will also need a BASTER along with meat thermometerand gravy boat (we always forget these things and then the store is sold out when we remember)

Post # 12
10366 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

Get a cooked turkey from Whole Foods so that at least the main part of the meal is off your shoulders. It’ll also free your oven up to make all the sides, which is key!

Post # 14
642 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

I use the turkey bags, I think Reynold’s makes them. I love them!!! I used to baste the turkey and one year even used cheese cloth in a Martha Stewart recipe. Nothing ever really worked great for me. Yeah it was still a turkey, but it wasn’t moist. 

Like the other posters said, cover the turkey and towels will keep it warm longer, and PLAN.

I made a schedule for my oven like a staff schedule I make at work. I put things that could share temps close together and the most sensitive foods were put on the schedule after the turkey according to how well they would keep. Look for things you can do on the stove top too. I made another schedule for that.

Label post its and put them in your serving bowls and pots so you can plan out what bowls you will need and what serving spoons will work best. I set the table the night before, another poster suggested that too, and then I put all of my bowls with their post its on the table. It makes it a lot easier when people want to “help”. They can grab a bowl and load it up….

And finally the best advice I ever heard, and ignored quite a few times, is KISS, keep it simple stupid, I am not calling anyone stupid, but I sure did feel foolish when I made it so much bigger and harder than it needed to be. Do fewer dishes of larger quantities.

Good luck and remember to enjoy yourself, it is your holiday too!

Post # 15
3762 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

The first step is to plan our your menu! Then divide up your menu into three categories: Items to be purchased, Items to be made ahead of time, and items to be made on the day of. 

Here are the staples I love for Thanksgiving.  

  • Turkey (duh)
  • Stuffing 
  • Gravy
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Corn casserole (easy to make ahead of time and just pop in the oven on the day of)
  • Green bean casserole (again easy to make ahead of time)
  • Rolls (make the frozen ones that you just heat up or get fresh bakery ones)
  • Sweet potatoes (I’m not a big fan but lots of people do like)
  • Cranberry relish (I think you can just dump it out of the can)
  • Dessert (I would vote to purchase these, do a pie and then a small item like cookies).

Post # 16
2006 posts
Buzzing bee

Make sure you have to-go containers on hand for all your left overs or ask your guests to bring some with them. My aunt and uncle host all the big family parties so they just buy styrofoam to-go containers from Costco like these..

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