Checklist Your Way To Thanksgiving Success

It’s time to get ready for Thanksgiving. Stay in budget and manage your time effectively with ShelterPop’s pre-Turkey Day checklist. What do you do around your house to prepare?

(Photo: basykes)


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  1. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    1) Swedish meatballs in the freezer
    2) Wii operational
    3) Books on hand

    OK, I’m ready.

  2. DirectMailFan says:

    Well, that’s pretty thorough!

    But given these times, I suggest that we considerthose less fortunate than ourselves (veterans, homeless, seniors) and donate some time by helping out at a “soup kitchen”. At Thanksgiving & Christmnas the last three years, I’ve spent a few hours 2 or 3 days before helping to prepare, then serve, a very nice meal.

    Or, you can always buy a little extra (canned goods, especially) to donate to whoever is conducting a drive to put together food baskets at a food bank.

    • Slave For Turtles says:

      @DirectMailFan: The school here does a big food drive, which they organize as a contest per class. The class with the most items wins, but easily half the food donated are ramen noodles packs. It’s very disturbing that the boxes of soy milk and cereal that my children bring are frowned upon by their peers since the money could have been “better” spent on ramen to help their class. Wrong message there, but my kids understand.

  3. lucky929 says:

    Reading that list is enough to make me want to just make reservations at the nice place around the corner.

    • magic8ball says:

      @lucky929: I don’t even own a tablecloth, and I can’t remember the last time I cleaned behind my couch. I … I feel so inadequate.

      • lucky929 says:

        @magic8ball: Seriously. I can’t remotely cook. I only go under my couch if I’ve lost something that may have rolled under there. I use Facebook to invite people to things. Martha Stewart actually wants to punch me in the face.

  4. Bluth_Cornballer says:

    I call shenanigans. Nowhere on that list does it mention mom swearing because the potato casserole is still cold in the middle, uncles arguing over the dark meat, or me complaining that I have to sit the kids table in the next room even though I’m in my 30s.

    • Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

      I have never understood the “kids table”. This is a family holiday, not a bachelor party. I have done Thanksgiving at my house for the past 10 years and I (a guy) do ALL the cooking, for 16 this year.

      When it comes to seating, I run a couple of folding tables from the dining room table and around a corner into the living room. Yes, some of the kids like to sit near each other, but they are interspersed with the adults, not sentenced to Siberia.

  5. umbriago says:

    1. Keep the cats out of the oven.
    2. Warm up TV for the annual national TV appearance of my beloved football team from childhood, the Detroit Lions (seriously).
    3. Make sure I have plenty of ice and clean cocktail glasses.
    4. Head off to wherever I was invited to a couple of weeks before, since they always feel sorry for the single guys.
    5. Let cats back into oven.

  6. Etoiles says:

    Ours is easy: I’m cooking the full spread, but just for two of us. No decorations… we’ll probably eat it on the couch, wearing flannel jammies. ;)

  7. Jon34511 says:

    What is Thansgiving? Sorry I couldn’t help myself :)

  8. CompyPaq says:

    I never understood the uproad over cooking a thanksgiving meal:

    Turkey: 5 minutes of prep, 3 hours of cook time. Start it in the afternoon, it will be ready for dinner.
    Stuffing: 10 minutes of prep, can cook alongside turkey
    Mashed Potatos: 5 minutes of prep, 10 minutes cooking, 5 minutes finishing
    Green Beans: 10 minutes prep, 10 minutes cooking

    This is maybe 30 min of hands on cooking.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @CompyPaq: Not that many people cook, let alone do a main course and side dishes!

    • DoubleBaconVeggieBurger says:

      @CompyPaq: Well, you’ve only accounted for 3 sides. And where’s the gravy? There’s rolls, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes… usually one other thing. I don’t get too stressed out about it but it does take some coordination for everything to come out of kitchen at roughly the same time and temperature.

  9. ArcanaJ says:

    I declared a halt to big family gatherings years ago. My mother already lives with us and that’s stressful enough on regular days. No need for some giant menu either, turkey and some basic sides are plenty.

    Let the extended family squabble over giblets and football, I demand peace and quiet (and pie) on Holidays.

  10. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    Where is the part about convincing the Australian husband that even though his people don’t have Thanksgiving, his wife thinks it’s very important and doesn’t want to be a single girl on such an important family day? *sigh*

  11. Alexander says:

    My checklist for success in Thanksgiving:

    1) Plane tickets out of Dodge. SUCCESS!

  12. Powerlurker says:

    Step 1: Drive to ski hill.
    Step 2: Ski (weather permitting)
    Step 3: Eat Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant.

  13. katia802 says:

    My sweet 6 yr old nephew invited us for Thanksgiving this year. He talked his Mommy into making the whole spread. First time in years, I get to sit in the livingroom playing Mario Bros with him while someone else cooks :+) First time in years I’m looking forward to the holiday.

  14. H3ion says:

    Get extra shells for the shotgun so we can go out and get ourselves some turkeys. Or we could just go to Geek Squad.

  15. K-Bo says:

    @Oranges w/ Cheese has 2 cats! ahahaha.: My mom has a little paper she makes changes to based on what goes right and wrong each year, and how many people will be there. It starts on Monday, and lists everything that can be made ahead of time and just warmed up that day through everything that has to be done at the very last min. It also has when she should set the table ect. Very detailed, but when you are stressed out over a big crowd coming over, that helps make sure you don’t forget the seemingly unforgettable things. It’s taken about 28 years, but she’s finally got it near perfection, and barely makes any changes to it now.

  16. Kuchen says:

    @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): My mom used to decorate like that. Knitted pilgrims, squash centerpieces, it was kind of ridiculous.

    The extent of my decorating is going to be putting the baby in the onesie with the turkey on it (if it still fits her in 2 weeks). I don’t even remember where I put the tablecloths when we moved, and I’m not going to look very hard. My parents basically invited themselves over and told me I was making dinner, so they get half-assed decorating.

  17. junkmail says:

    @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): Way too much work. I just kick the throw pillows off the couch where I’ll be sitting watching the game and call it a day.

  18. Etoiles says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: That’s my problem with all of the charity drives and such we have at work: I come in by Metro, with a 1-mile walk on the front end and I change trains in the middle. There’s only so much crap I can haul on my back through DC rush-hour…

  19. katia802 says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: Better to cook stuffing in the oven separate from the turkey. No chance of the stuffing not getting to the correct temp to kill bacteria that way. I always stuff my turkey with peeled and cored apple chunks and/or whole onions, helps keep the bird moist.

  20. CompyPaq says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: Usually I don’t because the fat under the skin and the olive oil keep the turkey “self-basting” as long as its cooked at low temp like 350. I do stuff my turkey and usually it doesn’t affect the time too much. You just have to keep half an eye on it to make sure its cooking and not over cooking.

  21. cash_da_pibble says:

    Not to metion three cooks all trying to monopolize the oven.
    “Isn’t your Green bean Casserole done? my YAMS need to cook!”
    “I don’t want smoked wild turkey. I want regular oven-cooked turkey!”
    “What exactly makes a glazed ham glazey? Shoudl I just put syrup on it?”

    I pulled out my hair last year. Seriously.

  22. lucky929 says:

    @Etoiles: I prefer it to the zoolike big family thing, honestly. It’s just nice and quiet. Also, since we go to my uncle’s, my dad feels sorry for my dog being home alone on Thanksgiving. We got the dog in lieu of a second child, and it shows.

  23. Toffeecake says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: My mother-in-law uses oven bags every year. The turkey usually comes out kind of dry, ick.

    Does anyone else fry their turkey? Soooooooo good, especially with a little Tabasco or Cajun butter.

  24. Etoiles says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: It’s a lot easier (and much more common) to be carrying all kinds of crap on the NYC subway than on the DC Metro. When I bought a 5′ high roll of bubble wrap and carried it home with me on the 1 train, no-one even blinked an eye.

    The stupid rolling briefcases are the WORST, though. It’s like walking behind someone trailing a tripwire through a crowd. At least a backpack you can stick on your feet while riding and on your back while walking!

  25. CompyPaq says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: Actually I find that the breast cooks faster than the dark meat. I check to see if the joint between the leg and the thigh is loose because that indicates that that part is cooked.

  26. hi says:

    @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): Hi Eyebrows. This is off-topic. Was it you who said the h1n1 vaccine was different this time around and is safer than what they had in the 70’s? I said people will get Guillain-Barre syndrome after taking the vaccine just like they did in the 70’s. Do you remember this discussion months ago?

    Well what I said back then is now starting to happen. Expect more to come out:


  27. Ragman says:

    @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): I have mine all typed up in my recipe binder. First step is always get the turkey roasts into the fridge 5 days earlier so they’re FULLY thawed. Nothing screws up the schedule like partially frozen turkey! The day before we cook sweet taters, boil eggs, bake cornbread, etc.

    A few years back I picked up an 18 qt roaster oven on BF sale. Not only did it knock an hour off off the cooking time, it frees up the oven to get the other stuff cooked at the same time. Now cooking the dinner takes less than 2.5 hours, where it used to take about 5 hours (even with pre-cooking). Even better that the turkey doesn’t have to sit for over an hour before eating.

    That roaster oven and our Kitchen Aid stand mixer are the BEST time-savers when it comes to holiday cooking.

  28. Cat_In_A_Hat says:

    @katia802: My mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother have been stuffing the turkey with an apple, onions, herbs and spices as well for decades. BEST TURKEY EVER! And agreed, to avoid contamination from the raw turkey, I recommend cooking the stuffing separate. You can use the turkey flavored pan drippings and pieces of turkey to make your stuffing after the turkey is completed and your stuffing will be nice and crispy on top from baking in a pan.

  29. Quake 'n' Shake says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: I was referring to the side dishes when I said “leftovers.” hell yeah I keep the turkey and potatoes and gravey around.
    But the crap side dishes that my wife’s family cook are horrible the first time around, let alone the left over.

  30. lucky929 says:

    @Etoiles: I would have blinked from sheer unfettered jealousy of that much bubble wrap.

  31. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    @lucky929: His excuse is “It’s my day off”. He wants to stay home and play PC games.

    It really boggles my mind because he loves food. I can’t seem to get him to budge this year. It makes me sad.

    I understand a little because he does work two jobs and has few full, solid days off. But there are few family functions that I really expect him to go to, and I’m done making excuses for him when my family asks me where he is. I tell them the truth.