Yes, Thanksgiving can be stressful. But it’s just another dinner party. And the key to any dinner party is preparation.
My How To Plan Thanksgiving Guide keeps things easy and organized. And starts with my Thanksgiving Prep List, which includes a day-by-day timeline and a look at my menu. Get ready for some lists! You know I love ’em.
Roasted Turkey with Dry Brine: I keep this pretty simple. I generally make a 12-14 lb turkey. Remove the giblets and neck and all that. Pat it dry all over with paper towels. And place it on a rack in a roasting pan.
Mix up 3 tablespoons kosher salt, 2 teaspoon dried herbs, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Rub this all over the skin and underneath it. I tuck the wings under but I don’t even bother tyling the legs. Refrigerate uncovered overnight.
The next day, let it sit out at room temperature for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Pour 2 cups of broth in the roasting pan. Put the turkey in the oven and reduce heat to 350 F. Cook until internal temperature hits 165 F, which takes about 3 hours. Baste every 30 minutes or so.
Turkey Gravy: Add 1/2 cup grease from the turkey drippings (bacon grease is a good substitute too) to a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup flour, stir to make a roux, cook for a couple minutes. Add the rest of the turkey drippings (leave extra grease behind) and 7 cups of broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.
Mary Berry’s Sage and Onion Stuffing: I saute the onions in the butter until softened (instead of boiling) and bake at 375 F until the top gets crispy, about 30 minutes. Then I stir it up to distribute the crunchy bits.
Food Network’s Best Mashed Potatoes: I make a double batch and season with 2 teaspoons of salt total.
Green Bean Casserole: I tend to try out different recipes. But I don’t skimp on the French’s fried onions, I usually add a splash of soy sauce, and I pretty much always bake at 375 F for 30 minutes.
Food Network’s Best Parker House Rolls: My friend and former colleague, Amanda, developed this recipe and it’s literally perfect.
Cranberry Sauce: This is honestly an afterthought. I don’t really care for this format of cranberries so I just pop open a can for anyone who might be interested.
Appetizers: I try to keep appetizers in the no-cook zone, for the most part. I love a charcuterie board because everything is store-bought. If I have some extra time, I make my baked Pumpkin Cheese Dip.
Dessert: Since dessert is kind of my thing, this one is hard to narrow down! I like making two different pies (options are good). I always do my Ube Pie and then see what my crowd wants.