How to: Holiday Meal Plan

I’m not claiming to be a holiday cooking expert but you wouldn’t believe the number of emails I’ve gotten asking for tips on making a complete holiday meal. With a little advance planning, the big day will be a snap.

Many of the ingredients and flavors in this menu are repeated in more than one dish so not only do all the dishes go well together, you don’t have a lot of unrelated specialty ingredients to buy and you won’t end up with a bunch of small amounts of random items. For example, there are pecans in the stuffing and gingered sweet potato pie and the pie crust which will just about kill a bag of pecans.

Shopping List:
1 16-18 lb turkey
Large bunch parsley (to be divided in 2)
Bottle of Madeira
Chicken broth or turkey stock
1 lb pecan halves
½ gallon apple cider
1 bag cranberries
2 lb onions
1 bunch celery
1 loaf sliced bread (about 1 lb)
Poultry seasoning (basically a mix of marjoram, sage, rosemary, thyme, pepper)
Celery seed
Sage (fresh or dried)
1 12 oz can sweetened condensed milk
Knob of fresh ginger
Light brown sugar
3 sweet potatoes or yams
Vegetables for side dishes
Potatoes for mashing

The night before or the morning of:

Make the ginger spiced sweet potato pie and pecan crust. Reserve leftover pecans for the stuffing.

About 4 hours before you want to eat, begin the turkey:

About 1 ½ hours in, prepare the stuffing.

About 3 ¼ hours in, boil the potatoes to mash. When finished, mash in 1 tablespoon butter, some milk. Make cranberry sauce.

About 3 ¾ hours in, steam vegetables. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, remove turkey from oven, drain juices and make the gravy.

Plate and serve.

Day after:
Use up your leftover cranberry sauce by making this yummy cake. And make these great turkey enchiladas.

Traditional Thanksgiving Menu Plan

Spring this menu!

Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Menu Plan

Spring this menu!

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