Thanksgiving is just 12 days away, and if you’re planning to host a meal, it doesn’t seem like much time at all. There’s nothing worse than being unprepared when Thanksgiving morning arrives. Here are some tips to make sure you’ll be ready when your family and friends ring the doorbell Nov. 24:
Take stock of your tools: Whether you’re barbecuing, deep frying or simply roasting your turkey, make sure your equipment is ready.
For the barbecue: Clean out the grill, dispose of old briquettes and make sure you have enough briquettes to last you.
For deep frying: Make sure your equipment is running smoothly, that you have enough oil and that your propane tank is full.
For roasting: Test your oven to see if it’s in good working order and make sure your roasting pan is big enough for your bird. It’s always a trick keeping side dishes and rolls warm while the turkey hogs the oven, so if you don’t have a roaster or slow-cooker, consider getting one.
Assess your pantry: Is your brown sugar rock hard? Are your spices old? Are you stocked up on the basics, like butter, cream and flour? Thanksgiving morning is not the time to realize that you are out of a key ingredient.
Prepare for leftovers: Make sure you’re prepared by checking that you have plastic wrap, aluminum foil and zip-lock plastic bags. It’s also a good idea to check your plastic containers to make sure lids fit snugly so they will keep the turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce fresh.
Survey your service: It’s better to notice a broken wine glass or chipped plate before you begin setting your table. Now’s the time to peruse your silverware, serving platters and gravy boat to make sure they’re all presentable and in good working order. If you’re looking for a perfect match for a plate or dish, head online and search for the proper pattern. You can then see if a local store sells it or, for a little extra in shipping cost, have it delivered by Thanksgiving Day.
Set the table: Now’s the time to check your tablecloth and cloth napkins for stains and make sure your centerpieces haven’t broken while being stored for the year.
Start making your lists: Lists are critical to make sure your day goes smoothly. You want all of your dishes ready and at the proper temperature at dinnertime, so it’s a good idea to keep a list of your kitchen duties. Work back from your dinnertime and you’ll know when to get everything started. It’s also a good idea to do prep work the night before. You can recruit a family member to be your sous chef — saving you time from having to do all the dirty work like cleaning and chopping. It’s also crucial to make a shopping list in order to avoid a last-minute trip to the grocery store — the lines will be long Thanksgiving Day and you’re already stressed as it is.