many, the preparation and production of Thanksgiving dinner
can be a stressful and frenzied operation. The meal is complicated
by a menu that usually includes many side dishes, salads,
gravy, condiments and servings of large portions that are
a little more cumbersome to prepare than usual. Add to the
equation, the dynamics of visiting relatives, a house full
of people that require a bull horn to get them to sit at the
table and the stress of trying to get the food to the table
still at least warm
.and, well, you get the picture.
And how about the gluten-free issue? At
our house there is no gluten-free issue because we, and everyone
who dines with us, always eat gluten-free.
This year we would like to share a Thanksgiving
dinner game plan that will enable you to keep stress to a
minimum, get everything to the table hot, and on time and
even allow you a little time to freshen up before the feast
begins. I prepared the following
Thanksgiving dinner for twelve by myself and was able to take
30 minutes before serving the hors d oeuvres to relax.
You may still need a bull horn to get your guests to the table,
but at least the dinner will be on the table when they get
The key to an efficient game plan is to
prep everything ahead of time and prioritize the order in
which you prep and prepare the dishes. In this way, your kitchen
will remain organized and you are less apt to forget garnishes,
toppings and the special touches that will make your dinner
extra special. As most of us know, the real test is the final
hour before serving. This is when a lot of the actual cooking
occurs and much of it needs to happen simultaneously. If you
are well prepped, even the final countdown will be far less
work and far less stressful.
Dont feel obligated to do everything
yourself. (This is advice I should really think about taking
myself) Some of your guests would rather help in the kitchen
than wander around looking at your family photos and talking
to the other relatives. Give out jobs that wont affect
the outcome of a dish, such as peeling or mashing potatoes
or ladling the soup into bowls. These jobs can be done by
anyone and will free you for more complicated tasks.
Prepare Your Menu
your turkey. We prefer organic natural free-range turkeys
and order them from our butcher. They are more expensive but
as your turkey will be the star of your meal, we feel it is
well worth it. If you cant get an organic free-range
turkey, be sure the turkey you select has no added solutions
or flavorings, as these may contain gluten.)
When selecting your menu items, remember
to think about make ahead recipes. These are recipes
that will store well in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
It is always nice to have a few things that can be done even
the day before and set aside. The more you can do ahead, the
better. Choose an appetizer that is simple to prepare and
is a light compliment to the coming meal instead of several
appetizers. Serve two or three bite-size appetizers per person.
Appetizers should be an appetite stimulant, not something
that will fill your guests up before dinner.
Once your menu has been selected, read through
every recipe very carefully,. Make notes regarding the time
it will take to prep and cook each dish. Make a shopping list
from each recipe and shop for groceries a couple of days before
the meal to make sure you have time to look for harder to
find ingredients and to assure the freshness of the produce.
Prepare Your Game Plan
Go over your notes and put your plan together
beginning with the turkey. The method of preparation and weight
of the turkey will dictate the game plan for the entire meal.
For our dinner, we prepared a Honey Brined Turkey, which required
24 hours of marinating time in a brine solution. Therefore,
our game plan began the day before our dinner. Your game plan
should be as specific as possible. And dont forget to
allow resting time for your turkey after it comes out of the
Thanksgiving Dinner Game Plan
The day before:
- Wash, dry the turkey and prepare the
brine solution. Place the turkey in the brine and refrigerate
for 24 hours.
- Prepare the Spiced Pecans, cover and
- Prepare the Cranberry Sauce with Port
and Blueberry Chutney. Cool, cover and refrigerate.
- Prepare the Glazed Nuts for the Mashed
Potatoes. Cool, cover and set aside.
- Fry proscuitto, cover and set aside.
- Sugar and freeze cranberries for garnish
for the torte.
- Make the cream cheese frosting for the
torte, cover and refrigerate.
- Set the table.
The day of:
- Step 1. 8am: Make the torte
- Step 2. Poach the pears, drain and refrigerate
- Step 3. Peel potatoes, cut into pieces
and cover with cold water
- Step 4. Prep the soup
- Step 5. 1:00pm Remove turkey from brine
solution, stuff with lemons and thyme and put in oven. Our
turkey weighed 20 lbs. and took about 5 hours to roast,
about 15 minutes per pound.
- 1:30pm Roast turkey
- Step 6. Blanch asparagus
- Step 7. Make soup
- Step 8. Assemble torte
- Step 9. Prepare Salmon Roll-Ups, cover
Take a few minutes and relax!
- 6pm Serve Salmon Roll-Ups and Spiced
- Step 11. Prepare Pumpkin Muffin batter
- Step 12. Cook potatoes, drain and cover
- Step 13. Reheat soup
- Step 14. 6:30pm Remove turkey from oven
and tent with foil. Turkey should register 170-180 degrees
F with a meat thermometer.
- Step 15. Make gravy
- Step 16. Finish mashed potatoes
- Step 17. Prepare Asparagus dish
- Step 18. Carve turkey
- 7pm Serve
Happy Thanksgiving, Glutenfreeda