7 Days to Christmas

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving table is Set
Image by Somewhat Frank via Flickr

Whether you are hosting, traveling or contributing to a family dinner this year, you have probably already started planning your Thanksgiving weekend. A Thanksgiving feast can be a relaxing, inexpensive experience if you put a little extra thought and advanced planning into it. I have been hosting a dinner for several years so the basic plan and timeline remains the same.

With the big day only 3 weeks away, it is time to plan your menu! It tends to be pretty standard faire around here, but I will add new recipes to our old favorites as I see fit. Once the menu is planned, I’ll make a grocery list and start carrying it in my purse. I can pickup most of the essentials over the next few weeks—either as they go on sale or by grabbing 1 or 2 extra items with my groceries each week. The goal is to avoid a massive day-before-Thanksgiving shopping trip with the frenzied crowds.

Our Thanksgiving Menu:

Fruit & Veggie tray (Nothing specific planned; I will see what is a good price the week of the event.)
Turkey (Watch for awesome specials at grocery stores over the next few weeks!)
Ham (I don’t like turkey, personally, so we always have both.)
Mashed Potatoes & ham gravy
Homemade Egg Noodles (gluten free, of course)
Sweet Potato Casserole
Broccoli casserole
Festive Corn
Cornbread Stuffing (Yes, another gluten free project.)
Dinner Rolls (I am undecided on making gluten free homemade or just picking something up for the rest of the family.)
Pumpkin Pie

The Required Ingredients:

The next step is to write down everything you will need to make your planned dishes. Don’t leave out a single ingredient (even if you think you already have it), and write it down each time you need it. If you need butter for a casserole and for your rolls, it gets put in this list twice!

fruits/vegetables
dip
turkey
ham
potatoes
milk
butter
salt
pepper
ham soup base
gluten free flours
eggs
chicken broth
sweet potatoes
brown sugar
pecans
butter
broccoli
cauliflower
shredded cheddar
mayonnaise
bacon
red onion
vinegar
corn
red pepper
green onions
butter
cornbread mix
thyme
sage
chicken boullion
onion
celery
salt
pepper
dinner rolls
butter
pie crust
pumpkin
evaporated milk
pumpkin pie spice
eggs
cool whip
 

The Grocery List:

Now it is time to make your actual shopping list. This is where I can see that I have added butter 4 times so I know I need a lot. I’ll check the recipes for exact quantities, then purchase an additional butter tub (or turkey!) for use at the table. I will also compare my list to the contents of my pantry. However, when crossing something off the list because you already have it, you have to be sure it will still be there for the big day! Get out your Sharpies and label needed ingredients as Thanksgiving. This should keep others out of it and serve as a reminder to yourself to add it back to the list if you use it along the way.

Once you have a working shopping list, you will be able to spot items on our grocery lists that you need as well as keep an eye on available coupons. Don’t forget to check Cellfire and printable sources for more great coupons. As you gather the supplies you need, there will be steps you can take to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner along the way. Follow Inexpensively on Twitter for reminders over the next few weeks. We’ll be working to keep you out of the store on the 25th & 26th—you’ll need all your shopping energy for the the next day!

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