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Thanksgiving Dinner Countdown

Pulling off a successful Thanksgiving dinner is easy with this handy countdown plan! It’s sure to save you loads of time in the kitchen and make dinner even more satisfying for you and your family.

1 DAY BEFORE

Chop your onions, carrots and celery for your stuffing and store it all in the refrigerator. Chop all of the bread for your stuffing and leave it on a baking sheet in the oven overnight. The oven doesn’t have to be on; it’s just a nice dry place and saves some counter space.

Peel and chop your potatoes for mashed potatoes—but once they’re cut, you’ll want to keep them submerged in water in a pot to prevent premature browning. Cover and refrigerate.

Trim and chop all of your veggies like green beans or Brussels sprouts so they’re easy to prepare the next day. Cover and store in refrigerator.

Make your own cranberry sauce from scratch. It’s really as easy as simmering some fresh cranberries, freshly squeezed orange juice, a little orange zest and some sugar in a saucepan. Once it’s thickened, simply cool it and refrigerate.

Prepare your sweet potato casserole ahead of time because it reheats beautifully the next day. If you’re feeling ambitious and planning to make homemade desserts, like pies or tarts, it’s always best to tackle these the day before as well.

Set the table: put out all place settings and serving dishes. Add a sticky note to each serving dish for it’s designated food so you know what is going where.

THE BIG DAY: 10:00 AM

Make your stuffing. If you’re not a huge fan of stuffing your turkey, then just spoon your prepared stuffing into a casserole dish, cover and refrigerate it until it’s ready to be reheated.

11:00 AM

Prepare the turkey. Arrange it in your roasting pan on a bed of veggies to maximize flavor and season with salt, pepper and sage. Next, cover it with a cheesecloth soaked in butter to make the skin extra yummy and then tent it with foil.

12:00 PM

Preheat your oven. Keep in mind that cooking times will vary based on the size of the turkey and the temperature of the oven. A temperature probe is the only surefire way to know when a turkey is properly cooked. If you have a convection setting, be sure to use it. Convection circulates hot air around your food so it cooks more quickly and evenly.

1:00 PM

It’s time to baste the turkey and then take a break!

2:00 PM

Baste your turkey again. Then it’s time to get your Brussels sprouts going. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then use your second oven rack to roast them up with your turkey.

3:00 PM

Remove the Brussels sprouts from the oven. Toss them with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and then transfer to an oven-safe dish covered with foil.

3:30 PM

Place your sweet potato casserole and stuffing, still covered in foil, in the oven to reheat. Then boil your potatoes.

4:00 PM

Remove turkey from oven and let it rest for 20 minutes. In that time, mash your potatoes and snag all of those tasty pan drippings for some homemade gravy. Pop your cranberry sauce in the oven, covered in foil, to reheat.

4:30 PM

Carve turkey and get it plated for dinner. Transfer all of your hot dishes to the table for serving and your hot gravy to the gravy boat.

Tip: Turn the heat off on your oven and place any pies in to heat through in time for dessert.

5:00 PM

Dinner time! Sit down, relax and enjoy your meal. You have outdone yourself – let someone else handle the dishes!