Thanksgiving dinner preparation can be a harrowing experience especially since you don’t usually do this type of cooking every day so your menu for Thanksgiving has to contain some things that can be prepared ahead of time. There are a lot of people who have large walk in freezers who prepare portions of their menu for Thanksgiving well ahead of time then they store the various parts of the dishes in the freezer just waiting to be removed and combined for the perfect meal. This in itself requires a lot of pre-planning and also time plus a large amount of freezer space. If you don’t have these things available for that menu for Thanksgiving here are some tips to make it easier.
Tip 1) Make Lots Of Notes And Plan Ahead
One of the hardest things to accomplish when preparing that menu for Thanksgiving is to have everything come out at the same time or in a timed sequence for serving with everything fully cooked or prepared then plated and garnished making it ready to serve. And most of the time a kitchen is smaller and can’t fit an entire restaurant prep staff in it to assist. So before actually starting that menu for Thanksgiving you will need to have a flow chart with countdown steps in place plus how long each and every step takes, what can be done in advance and what has to be done at the same time. And make sure you have noted how something can hold before actually serving it.
Tip 2) Make Sure You Have Adequate Plates, Servings Dishes And Silverware
When you plan a menu for Thanksgiving sometimes you forget just how many serving containers and serving pieces you will require for all of the dishes you have prepared. So this tip for the perfect menu for Thanksgiving is to make a list of all the dishes even those being brought by guests so that you have adequate serving dishes for them if needed. Not everyone thinks to plate their contribution ahead of time or even bring the dishes needed to do it. Also make sure you have enough plates and cups and other dishes or have good quality paper plates on hand instead.
Tip 3) Make Some Dishes Ahead Of Time
As noted in the first tip when preparing a menu for Thanksgiving there are many different steps that you can take to prepare parts of a dish in advance. Salad greens can be washed dried and bagged all ready to be assembled. Some dressings can be assembled and lay in wait in the refrigerator until ready to cook. Other items on your menu for Thanksgiving like homemade cranberry orange sauces can be made ahead and chilled until ready to serve. Make it a point to choose appetizers that can be prepared ahead of time like some dips or deviled eggs.
Tip 4) Get Guests To Bring Their Specialties For Side Dishes
One of the best tips for the perfect menu for Thanksgiving is to get your guests to contribute their specialties to the meal. Either assign them what they need to bring so there are no duplicates on the menu for Thanksgiving or if you know the guests well and know what their special dishes are that they make then just let them bring what they want. This will make that Thanksgiving menu easier to handle. And you will use less refrigerator, oven and counter space leaving you more room to make your own dishes.
Tip 5) Make Sure You Have Enough Room To Cook Everything
This ties back to Tip 4 in that by having guests bring some of the food dishes that are on the menu for Thanksgiving in that you will have more room to prepare the main meal and any side dishes that you need to make or assemble. When preparing your menu for Thanksgiving and are making up your organizational flow chart so that all of the dishes come out when they are supposed to you also need to add a line to the chart as to how much oven or cook top or microwave space each dish needs to get to the completion stage. It does no good to plan a side dish if there is no room in the oven to cook it.
Tip 6) Prep Vegetables, Aromatics, Grated Items And Whatever Else Ahead Of Time
Many dishes on your menu for Thanksgiving should have some of the steps that can be prepared in advance then set aside until final preparation and cooking. This is the type of thing that makes that menu for Thanksgiving easier to handle and serve. For example vegetables can be chopped in advance, cheese if used can be grated in advance, aromatics like celery, onions and garlic can be chopped and combined in advance then put into whatever dish you are going to add them to. This includes washing and drying fresh herbs too. Also dried spices and condiments like sugar or flour can be measured in advance just sitting awaiting their addition to the correct dish. Label them though so they don’t end up in the wrong dish.
Tip 7) Consider Freezing Cookies Or Pie Fillings Ahead Of Time
For an easier menu for Thanksgiving pie crusts can be made in advance or even frozen well in advance as can cookie dough. So can completely made and cooked cookies be frozen then defrosted in without much flavor loss. Also some of the other components of the dessert also can be made in advance such as the actual pie filling or perhaps the sauce for the top of the dish which then only requires a trip into the microwave to reheat before serving. Don’t discount the value of a microwave when preparing a large menu.
Tip 8) Take Deep Breaths Often And Relax
The last tip for your Thanksgiving day is to take some deep breaths during the day. Also remember it is supposed to be fun when you decide on that menu for Thanksgiving.