I have to say, Thanksgiving is one of my VERY favorite holidays. I love having family and friends get together to cook, eat and have fun on Turkey Day.
One of my family’s traditions for Thanksgiving is to get up early and spend the WHOLE day cooking. For someone who blogs about food, it’s pretty much heaven, which is why Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year.
Here I’ve brought in 10 fun ideas for how to host a super fun and delicious Thanksgiving dinner.
1. Prep Ahead
When it comes to Thanksgiving, the more that can be prepared in advance, the better. This can be done in so many ways, like reading the recipes beforehand so as not to miss a 4 hour chilling step, or doing some of the basic prep a few days earlier to save a little time.
2. Involve the Little Ones
I’ve always loved cooking, and my mom has always let me and and my siblings into the kitchen while she cooks. We’ve all graduated from “making water” with every single bowl and utensil in the cabinet, but between then and now when I’m a full on culinary contributor, we were still allowed to help out by rolling pie dough, making cookies, and peeling endless apples and sweet potatoes.
3. Make a Menu
This tip serves many purposes. First of all, its a great way to stay organized with ingredients so you know exactly what to pick up when grocery shopping. It also fits in well with tip #2 – getting the little chefs involved. When I was younger, I had tons of fun typing and illustrating an elaborate menu of all the foods we prepared. We made a bunch of copies and handed them out later to all the guests, who loved it! After the dinner, we framed a copy and hung it up in our house. Every year since, we’ve had somebody asking where the menu was. This year might be my cousins’ turn to make the masterpiece…
4. Serve Intermezzo
Intermezzo is an ice cream-like palate cleanser designed to be served between courses. You may remember it from the fancy dinner scene of the Princess Diaries (one of the best movie scenes ever). We’ve never had that kind of situation happen at our dinner, but everyone loves having a little extra dessert in between the soup and the turkey. How can you say no?
5. Have a Designated Shopper
My dad is the annual Thanksgiving hero. Why? Well, when you’re making a lot of food, it’s inevitable that you’re going to forget something at the grocery store. It makes it about 1000 times easier when you have somebody (ie. my dad) who’s willing to spend the day running back and forth picking up forgotten ingredients. Thanks in advance, Dad!
6. The More the Merrier!
Seriously, invite everyone. We always have to perform incredible feats of seating by adding in extra tables and chairs. It’s always worth it though – nothing brings people together like food, so be sure to invite everyone!
7. Make These Rolls
If you remember those fantastic Rosemary Black Pepper Rolls from a few weeks ago, you should probably make them. If you don’t remember those fantastic rolls from a few weeks ago, you should still probably make them. They really don’t require a lot of effort – it’s mostly just needs time to rise – and they taste rather fabulous. You will love them and your guests will love you.
8. Do Something Different
Everyone has the classic family recipes that HAVE to show up at the table every year. But, make sure you switch up the tried and true with something new! It’s always exciting to test out a new dish (if you’re nervous, do a test a few days earlier to make sure it’s perfect), and it will make your spread a little more interesting 🙂
9. Know Allergies and Restrictions
It’s always an excellent idea to call up your guests and find out if they have any allergies or dietary restrictions. You definitely don’t want to end up with someone going hungry, and alternate dishes can be easy as pie so long as you have a little time to prepare.
10. Got questions? Ask for help!
Even if your family isn’t full of culinary experts, there are plenty of resources out there to look to for help. The Butterball Turkey line has Turkey Experts awaiting your call from November to December – just call 1-800-BUTTERBALL (I heard my freshman biology teacher had a good experience with these guys). There’s also TONS and TONS of websites and blogs out there that simply know everything you could possibly ask. Don’t forget, you’re always welcome to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org!) or comment below and I’ll do my best to answer your questions.
I hope you found this Thanksgiving guide helpful and you have a great (not to mention delicious) holiday!