Three years ago, I wrote a post about my own Thanksgiving meal preparation schedule, and it detailed how I prepared the big meal on my own with all homemade foods for six people over the course of the days just prior to Thanksgiving. On that particular Thanksgiving, I wanted to serve all homemade items for the first time, instead of opting for a just a few homemade items and others that were frozen from the grocery store or purchased elsewhere. I wanted to see if a little more organization could help simplify the task and lessen my stress level, and it absolutely worked.
The only shortcut that I used in the prep work was to buy Rhodes Frozen White Rolls, as they are honestly as good as the homemade rolls that my mother always made. The rolls still needed to rise on their own, so I figured that had to count for something in the whole “homemade” concept. I factored that prep time in the schedule as well.
For the record, I used (and still use) Alton Brown’s Good Eats Roast Turkey Recipe, as it is the best way I’ve ever found to prepare a flavorful and moist turkey. No dry turkey at our house – ever! Brining the turkey according to the directions in the recipe is an essential step.
To make the food prep process a little more fun each year during the holidays, I turn on the DVD player in the kitchen while I cook and watch some favorite movies from years past. Spending two hours in the kitchen cooking and watching Steel Magnolias once again is always a good thing, unless you pay a little too much attention to the movie and not enough to the recipe at hand. I did that a time or two, but at the very least, it always makes me feel good to see that my cooking creation surely is better than the bleedin’ armadillo cake served at Shelby’s wedding.
This prep schedule for Thanksgiving worked well for me, and I want to share a link to that detailed post again here today. Perhaps it can serve as a guide for someone else that wants or needs to prepare the big feast on their own for the first time. With just a little bit of advance planning and proper scheduling, preparing the whole feast is really not a difficult task at all. It just takes a little time each day over the course of a few days, but perhaps not as much time as you might think, depending on how you approach it for your own family. Of course, if you have someone else in your family that can help cook, that is even better! Just know that it is possible to do the whole thing on your own, perhaps a little easier than you might think.
I’m almost sad that I won’t be preparing our own feast this year, due to some of our travel plans right before Thanksgiving. The turkey that we cook (according to Alton Brown’s recipe above) is so good and so much better than what we will eat at the hotel buffet. However, I will soon be back to baking and decorating cookies for Christmas gifts again, hopefully beginning the first week of December. That was so much fun, and I can’t wait to do it again this year!