This Two-Week Timetable For Thanksgiving Is The Ultimate Game Plan

Prevent any last-minute scrambling.

Thanksgiving is not a spur-of-the-moment meal that can be casually thrown together, especially if you're having the whole family over. You need to plan out a menu, check your grocery list twice, and have a very specific timetable if you want to get the turkey and the rolls on the table at the same time. Luckily, we've done the hardest part for you!

Here's a two-week timetable for Thanksgiving that you can personalize with family-favorite turkey day dishes. Start by gathering all the recipes you'd like to make and create two shopping lists: non-perishables you can buy a couple weeks before, and produce, turkey, and other items you'll need to shop for closer to the big day. Once you have all the ingredients you need, get to work on your show-stopping meal.

2 Weeks Before

  • Make sweet potato casserole (like this delicious Savory Sweet Potato Casserole) without toppings. Cover in plastic wrap and then foil, and freeze. Prepare topping, put in a ziplock bag and tape to top of casserole.
  • Make the Thanksgiving dressing of your choice and freeze (I'm making Aunt Grace's Best Cornbread Dressing). Prepare your family's favorite side dish casseroles, and prepare and freeze as well. For less stress on Thanksgiving day, pick a dressing and casseroles and that bake at the same temperature. That way, you can put them into the oven at the same time.
  • Plan out your Thanksgiving table. Locate the serving dishes and turkey knickknacks you stored away last November, be sure you have enough folding chairs if needed, and check to see if your table linens are clean and ironed.
  • Shop for non-perishables.
Thanksgiving Movies
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Weekend Before

3 Days Before

Day Before

  • Move casseroles from the freezer to the refrigerator. Stack them up vertically by placing a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan between each one.
  • Roast vegetables for Harvest Salad and refrigerate.
  • Move pumpkin pie to refrigerator to thaw.
  • Set out pecan pie and bundt cake at room temperature. Put up a sign that says "Do Not Eat Until Thanksgiving" for late-night munchers.
  • Make dough for Buttery Yeast Rolls, shape, and follow directions to let the rolls rise overnight.

Thursday Morning

  • Blanch green beans, slice pears, and make Harvest Salad dressing.

7 Hours Before Dinner

  • Take out turkey from refrigerator and start prep. (I'm using this Herb-Roasted Turkey recipe.)

5 Hours Before Dinner

  • Set the table and arrange centerpieces if needed.
  • Take rolls out of the refrigerator and follow the directions for rising and baking.

2 Hours Before Dinner

  • Put music on.
  • Take the signature drink out of the freezer and crush it into pieces in a punch bowl. Although it's slushy-looking at first, it will remain cold without being watered down by ice cubes. Garnish if desired.
  • Take out pumpkin pie, dab moisture off of top, and pipe whipped cream topping on top.
  • Take casseroles out of the refrigerator and set them to rest at room temperature.

1 Hour Before Dinner

  • Your turkey should be done by now, set it out to rest.
  • Add a few tablespoons of turkey drippings to the gravy, and reheat over medium heat.
  • Adjust oven temperature if needed to reheat dressing and casseroles.
  • Add topping to sweet potato casserole. Place it in the oven along with dressing and any other casseroles and reheat.

30 Minutes Before Dinner

  • Assemble Harvest Salad.

15 Minutes Before Dinner

  • Take out casseroles from the oven and place them on the table.
  • Light candles if using.

After all of that, take a seat near the punch bowl and enjoy the night with friends and family. Whether you're watching football or preparing for Black Friday shopping, just know that you were the superstar of the night.

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