thanksgiving planning guide


Can you believe it’s already time to start thinking about Thanksgiving?! Although we are a little more than two weeks out, it will be sneaking up on us, so I wanted to share with you some planning ideas, along with a few of my favorite recipes for the celebration. 

After some research, I have compiled a fabulous “Thanksgiving Checklist” to help you get through the next two weeks!

1) If you haven’t already, start planning the menu. The turkey and desserts are no-brainers, but also come up with a drink and/or small bite to serve guests upon their arrival. Whether it is wine, a specialty cocktail or just soft drinks, it’s good to start planning for that now. As for the small bites, you don’t want anything too heavy since there will be a ton of food for dinner, but something like this Brussels Sprout & Goat Cheese Crostini is a light appetizer to offer guests. 

Brussels Sprout & Goat Cheese Crostini with Balsamic Glaze

{what you will need}
1 French baguette, sliced diagonally
4 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
16 ounces frozen Brussels sprouts, thawed & quartered 
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Balsamic glaze

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place slices of French baguette on a baking sheet; lightly brush the tops with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip the baguettes and lightly brush the other side with olive oil; bake an additional 5 minutes. Set toasted baguettes aside. In a bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts, enough olive oil to coat the Brussels sprouts and salt and pepper to taste. Spread mixture out onto a clean baking sheet, making sure the Brussels sprouts do not overlap. Bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing once, until crispy. To assemble, spread the goat cheese on the baguette and top with the roasted Brussels sprouts. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. 

**If you aren’t a fan of goat cheese, ricotta cheese could be easily substituted!**
2) Make your shopping list. Besides your food list, don’t forget to include any decorative items or supplies that you may have needed last year. I’ve included some of my favorite tablescape items below for inspiration:

3) Order your turkey. From my experience, it’s pretty safe to assume 2 pounds for each adult and 1 pound for each child. And if you do order too much, it is perfect for leftovers! P.S. Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s post on the perfect leftover idea!

4) One Week Before: Shop for non-perishable food items, develop a cooking schedule and pick up your turkey! It’s good to get the non-perishable items out of the way the week before, which will allow you to have a shorter list the following week. We all know how crazy the grocery store is the week of Thanksgiving! Also, start developing a cooking schedule — what can be made ahead of time? Is there any food prep you can get out of the way early, like chopping vegetables? And, most importantly, don’t forget to pick up the turkey! Speaking of vegetables, here is one of my favorite vegetable side dishes. Simply roasted fall vegetables: all you have to do is slice them and stick them in the oven. It makes for a super easy, and delicious, side!

Roasted Fall Vegetables


**I cut all my vegetables into circles with about a 1/2 inch thickness
so they didn’t shrink too small once baked**
{what you
will need}
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
24 ounces baby potatoes, sliced
4 medium-sized carrots, peeled and sliced
12 ounces frozen brussels sprouts, cooked according to package
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
6 (about) basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the vegetables with a few tablespoons of olive oil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil, salt and pepper. Spread vegetables out onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

5) Three Days Before: You can start defrosting your turkey by placing it in the coldest area of your refrigerator. Also, gather your perishable shopping list and head to the store!
6) One – Two Days Before: It’s a great time to make any side dishes and/or pies that can be prepared ahead of time, such as cranberry sauce and preparing the bread for your dressing/stuffing! You can also work on your tablescape and other festive decorations you have planned. 


Leek, Mushroom and Prosciutto Dressing
{what you
will need}
1 loaf of day-old Italian bread
1/2 stick + 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2-3 leeks, cleaned and chopped
1 teaspoon thyme
16 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms
2 ounces prosciutto, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup gruyere cheese, shredded

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut bread into 1/2
inch cubes {If the bread is still fresh, place bread cubes on dry baking sheet
and cook at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes to dry them out}. Transfer bread
cubes to a large bowl. Heat 1/2 stick of butter in a large skillet. Add the
leeks, thyme and salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Add chicken stock and
bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, heat
a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and cook the mushrooms,
stirring occasionally, until all the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Transfer
mushrooms to small bowl and set aside. In the same skillet, heat a few
tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and cook the prosciutto until crispy,
about 5 minutes. Transfer crispy prosciutto to a separate small bowl and set
aside. In a medium-sized bowl, beat 2 eggs and add the parsley, stir to
combine. Add the egg and parsley mixture to the bread cubes, stir to coat. Add
the leek and chicken broth mixture and the mushrooms to the bread mixture and
stir to fully incorporate. Add the prosciutto and the gruyere cheese. Transfer
to baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray and scatter 3
tablespoons of butter on top of dressing. Cover with foil and bake for 30
minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes until golden brown.

7) Thanksgiving Day: Preheat the oven in the morning and begin to prepare other side dishes while the turkey roasts! Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy family, friends and food!


How do you prepare for one of the biggest food holidays of the year? I would love to hear in the comments section below! Thanks for stopping by and Happy Thanksgiving planning and cooking!

19 thoughts on “thanksgiving planning guide

  1. What a great post Rachel! Everything you need is right here! Those roasted Fall veggies sound divine and I love incorporating new side dishes!! Happy Tuesday lovely!!

  2. I can't believe it's already that time of the year again! I somehow always end up going to the grocery store Thanksgiving morning so thanks for the planning guide 😉 Hopefully I can avoid that last trip this year!


  3. This is such a handy checklist! Luckily I'm not prepping to host Thanksgiving, but my boyfriend and I are doing our own mini-Thanksgiving celebration in advance of the actual holiday so this is quite helpful for me to get ready for that!

  4. I just mentally cannot get to Thanksgiving yet. How is that possible?? But I need to get it together!! Love this post!!


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