Wow, the last three weeks have gone by so quickly!  Not only am I very excited to celebrate Thanksgiving — we have a super fun crew joining us this year — but I am looking forward to some one-on-one time with the kids.  They are all going to help me this year.  They just don’t know it yet.  I used to get all of them in the kitchen Thanksgiving morning to help me with pies or trimming green beans or whatnot, but two of my beauties have taken to sleeping until noon on days off.  However I had a stroke of genius, which is to tack my Thanksgiving to-do list on the refrigerator and have everyone sign up for three tasks.  I’m asking my husband to help too, to set a good example, of course.

I have a crazy work schedule until Sunday, so I’ll start getting busy then.  Here’s what my schedule will look like from Sunday until we eat on Thursday at 4:00 pm (-ish):


Go grocery shopping for most perishable items, bread for stuffing and food for remaining dinners this week.

Make cranberry sauce (I used to make applesauce on Sunday, too, but my friend Caitlin is bringing it this year.)

Arrange tables and chairs

Write out placecards for table (a good job for one of the kids)

Dinner:  orange and rosemary-glazed chicken, brown rice and broccoli


Make salad vinaigrette

Pick up turkeys and dry brine

Make bread cubes for stuffing

Make ice cream

Dinner:  tacos, black beans and salad


Shop for last perishable items from farmer’s market

Buy flowers and put together table arrangements

Set table (I’ll set one place setting and have one of the kids do the rest.)

Wash and dry greens (salad)

Chop walnuts (salad)

Seed pomegranates (salad)

Shred gruyere (tart)

Defrost chicken/turkey stocks

Dinner:  Spice-rubbed salmon, sauteed spinach, sweet potato fries


Chop onions for soup, stuffing and roasted vegetables

Prep beets (salad)

Blanche green beans (salad)

Slice zucchini (tart)

Make soup

Steam, bread cauliflower

Blind bake crust (tart)

Herb oil (tart)

Make stuffing

Prep vegetables for Maple-Mustard Roasted Veggies

Trim and halve Brussels sprouts

Make sweet potato gratin

Set up for coffee and tea service

Check powder room

Dinner:  pantry pasta with chickpeas

Before bed:  make sure garage refrigerator door is closed!


6:00 am wake and shower

Make cornbread (small oven)

Make pumpkin pies (large oven)

Bake coffee cake (small oven)

Make gingerbread (large oven)

9:15 Take turkeys out of refrigerator

All desserts must be out of large oven by 10:30 am

Make apple pie (small oven)

10:45 turkeys go in large oven breast side down at 425 degrees

11:25 turn oven down to 325 degrees and flip turkey breast side up

12:00 reheat soup and serve with cornbread

tidy up kitchen

get dressed and dry hair (a girl’s gotta look good!)

Put mixing bowl and beaters in freezer for whipped cream

Chop fennel (salad)

1:30 Peel potatoes and make mashed potatoes; keep in bowl, covered, over pot of simmering water

2:15 zucchini tart in small oven

2:30 fry cauliflower and heat tomato sauce; serve hot

3:00 serve hors d’oeuvres; start testing turkey temperature

3:00 – 3:30 take turkey out of oven

Put vegetables in large oven at 400 degrees

Make gravy

Reheat stuffing in small oven

Bake sweet potatoes in large oven

Make Brussels sprouts with turkey bacon and dates

Chop apples for salad, dress salad

Light candles, pour water in glasses

3:50-4:00 Carve turkeys

4:00 Dinner is served

After dinner:  whip cream (do not overbeat!), coffee and tea, sparkling water

Make notes on what to remember for next year.  Next year??!!

Recommended Posts


  1. ok – another question from the novice baker! so, i will be baking the apple and cranberry crumb tart tomorrow morning per your direction. after it’s baked and cooled in the morning – do i leave it out and warm it up at dessert time? or does it need to be refrigerated and then warmed? advice please! thanks!

    • You can leave it out until dessert time and serve it at room temp, or warm it up in the oven if you prefer it slightly warm. I wouldn’t keep it next to the stove, though. Put it in a cooler part of the house. Word of caution — I have used several different springform pans with that recipe and a few of them have leaked butter onto the bottom of the oven. You may want to keep a piece of foil under it or put the whole pan on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Also, the last oven I cooked it in, the sides of the crust slid a little. If that happens to you, do not let that bother you. The tart will still be great. Good luck!

      • thank you so much as always! happiest thanksgiving! xx

  2. I have been hosting Thanksgiving for the past 15 years and for the first time, I’m feeling 100% stress free. I’m looking forward to cooking (all your recipes) and having a wonderful get together with family and friends. I credit all this to you Pamela! Where have you been all my life? Just up the street I guess. Thank you, thank you…from your weekly updates to healthy and tasteful dishes. You are a true gem. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and thank you again for all you do to keep us eating well and healthy.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Sunni. It’s a nice feeling to be relaxed before Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

  3. Hi there! A couple of Thanksgiving questions for you – big & small:

    * I am considering buying a stand mixer (right now I just have a hand-held). What brand do you recommend? (Kitchen Aid?) And how large a mixer should I get? 7qt? 6qt? 5qt? I would love to know what you think is best and most useful as it’s a mini investment!

    * I also need to buy a springform pan but most of them seem to be nonstick. Where is the best resource for something healthier?

    On to the food!:

    * I love love your recipe for maple roasted veggies but I hate mustard. Eek! Is it essential to use – like will the recipe not turn out without it? And if it’s a must, do you have a recommendation for a mild mustard?

    Thanks Thanksgiving Goddess!! I’m sure there’s more questions to come when I attempt that apple cranberry crumb tart! xx

    • All good questions! I have used a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for 16 years and haven’t had a single problem. I prefer the model that allows the top to tilt up, rather than the crank to pull the bowl up, if that makes sense. If you have space for the big one and you bake a lot, get it!

      I have a springform pan from Sur La Table that is glass on the bottom, but nonstick around the sides. I don’t use it that much, so I don’t let it bug me. But you can easily grease the sides and line it with unbleached parchment paper.

      Leave the mustard out of the roasted veg recipe! Whole grain mustard is pretty mild, so if you didn’t like it, just forget it altogether. It will still be amazing.

      • thank you thank you!

  4. One more thing….I always forget to buy enough leafy greens and or crab apples for garnishing the turkey platters!

  5. Pamela,
    Thank you so much for the time line. I ordered my turkey today, and went through my kitchen to find the once in a year items I use. I realize I need a new thermometer (tested the way you taught me today…yikes, it was melted on top and didn’t even go past 190!) kitchen twine, parchment paper, the gravy fat separater are just a few things I could use. You bring organization to a new level. But once you’re organized the stress goes away. A relaxed host sets the tone for the day and night!

    • Thank you for summing it up so nicely, Linleigh. The whole idea is to that you and your guests have fun! Glad you checked the thermometer!!

  6. OMG, just reading this is getting me tired ! Pam, you’re my hero !

    • Wednesday is actually more work than Thursday, so I can be relaxed with my guests and maybe even catch a little of the football games if I’m lucky. My secret is an empty dishwasher on Thursday morning so everyone can throw their dishes in there after dinner and there’s not too much to clean up.

  7. Pamela,
    I have found these Thursday posts immensely helpful.
    Thank you!!

    • Oh good! You are very welcome.

    • I’m exhausted from reading this post! However, I’m sure everything will be delicious and beautiful! Happy Thanksgiving! I’m bringing your (Aunt’s) cranberry relish and the Harvest Chopped Salad to my friend’s home on Thursday. XO

      • Have a lovely holiday, Caryn!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.