Thanksgiving Meal Plan & Tips for a Less-Stress Holiday


Thanksgiving Planning Tips

For the first time in many years we have made the decision to stay home for Thanksgiving. As much as I’ll miss spending the day with extended family members, it will be nice not having to drive 1-2 hours in each direction on a holiday. We’ll be able to simply enjoy the day as it comes, maybe watching the parade on television in the morning and playing board games in the afternoon. Even though I’m very much looking forward to a day with just Paul, Cody, and Nick I do have a confession to make. I’m dreading it a little bit, too. Not the family time, but the food prepping, food cooking, and the most dreaded task of cleaning up after we eat. I plan to make sure everyone does their part to help, though, they just don’t know it yet.

Since we have decided to eat Thanksgiving dinner at home this year all the planning pretty much falls on my shoulders. I have tried to get a little organized to hopefully avoid the stress that is sure to overcome me on a day that I’d like to be as relaxing as possible. What? A person can dream can’t she? The first thing I did was create a menu because let’s face it, Thanksgiving is all about the food.

Thanksgiving Meal Plan

Here’s what’s I’m planning to have on my Thanksgiving table this year, you know, if everything is edible.

Thanksgiving Meal Plan

  • Turkey
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Homemade Stuffing
  • Carrots
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  • Squash
  • Peas
  • Baked Onions
  • Dinner Rolls
  • Gravy
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Chocolate Cream Pie
  • Apple Pie

That actually seems like a long list of food to me, but I can’t help but think I’m forgetting something. Am I? What would you add because clearly you can’t have too much food on a Thanksgiving dinner table, am I right?

Thanksgiving Time-Saving Tips

The second phase of my plan to have a low to stress-free Thanksgiving is to do some food prep ahead of time. Paul and Nick have generously volunteered to bake the pies, which they will most likely do on Wednesday. I’m not good at allowing them into the kitchen, but I swear I’m going to find a way to distract myself and not interfere. I should recommend they send me to a local massage therapist because everyone knows that if mom is relaxed, everyone is relaxed. I’ll let you know if they take me up on my generous offer.

Here is what I’ll be doing on Tuesday and Wednesday (when Nick and Paul aren’t in the kitchen and when I’m not having that imaginary massage) to get some of the more time-consuming dishes prepped and ready for easy reheating on Thanksgiving Day.

  1. Peeling, quartering, boiling, and mashing several pounds of potatoes. While potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple for us, they are truly the most labor-intensive in my opinion. (Note to self: assign someone to help with the peeling.) I’ll prepare the potatoes and put them in a large casserole dish in the fridge so they can easily be thrown in the oven to reheat just before it’s time to set the table.
  2. Stuffing is my absolute favorite dish on Thanksgiving, but it’s another one that takes a bit of prep time due the the fact I make it from scratch. There’s a lot of chopping, from bread to celery and onions, so I’m more than thrilled to do most of the work a couple days ahead of time and then add it to oven at about the same time as the mashed potatoes on the big day.
  3. Serve dinner on paper plates and eat with plastic flatware. Oh, I’m only kidding, but you have no idea how tempting it is because just the thought of cleaning up all those dishes is already making me want a nap.
  4. Making sure there is plenty of wine on hand because… (Second note to self: add more wine to last-minute shopping list.)

Regardless of how the food turns out or what the weather looks like outside it really doesn’t even matter because we’ll all be here together giving thanks for the people and things we love most…..each other and electronic devices.

Happy Thanksgiving!




  1. I love that you are giving thanks for the electronics!!! 😉 TRUTH! This is a great plan. The goal is not to stress on a holiday!
    Keikilani recently posted..Caramelized Bacon Pumpkin Ginger CookiesMy Profile

  2. I’m happy not to be hosting this year, as my ceiling just started leaking today in my dining room! I’ll have to keep these tips in mind for next year!
    Milena recently posted..10 Things I Learned This Week #LifeLessonsMy Profile

  3. Oh Yum! I cannot wait for next week. It is going to be sooo good! Absolutely going to have roasted brussel sprouts on our table too! Forgot about those.

  4. Its nice to stay home once in awhile. 🙂 It’s going to be a great day with lots of good food and lots of family time (whether we stay home or go to the big gatherings). Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. This is great! I want to try this for the blog

  6. Zero Waste cooking is really wonderful! If we think about how much food waste is being thrown away each year we must start thinking more of the food we throw. It is great that we can also save a lot of money by using all the food materials we have! ? Thanks for the post! ?delicious food recipes for breakfast

  7. Looks delicious. I’ll have to try this recipe with a Louisiana twist using my Jambalaya starter sauce. It always adds more to the dish

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  1. […] Before I whine about that I have a question for you. Do you travel for Thanksgiving, do you stay home for Thanksgiving, or do you host people at your house for Thanksgiving? We’ve traveled most years and stayed […]

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