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The Handy Thanksgiving Countdown For Hosts

November 9, 2017


Streamline your holiday preparations

We’ve all been there; the family’s arrived, you’re seated around the table and dinner is about to start when you notice something’s missing.

Skip the stress this year, our culinary experts, is here to help! Here is a tried-and-true take on planning Thanksgiving dinner.

  • Business

    Two Weeks Prior

    1. Plan your menu and guest list
    2. Invite your guests
    3. Do an inventory of chairs, table linens, plates, glassware and flatware and borrow or purchase any missing items
    4. Assign cooking projects to guests who offer to help
    5. Read through recipes and create a detailed shopping list
    6. Purchase a Jennie-O® turkey and put it in the freezer (plan on one pound of turkey per person)
    7. Shop for non-perishable goods
  • shopping cart

    One Week Prior

    • Shop for hardier vegetables like squash, carrots and potatoes
  • cooked bird

    Thanksgiving Week

    1. Clear space in the refrigerator and begin thawing the turkey. The time to thaw a turkey will depend on the weight of the turkey. A good rule of thumb is:
      • For 8 to 12 pounds allow 2 to 3 days
      • For 12 to 16 pounds allow 3 to 4 days
      • For 16 to 20 pounds allow 4 to 5 days
    2. Label your serving platters and bowls with the names of the dishes to be served in them
    3. Clean the house
  • Plate with Fork

    The Day Before

    1. Set the table
    2. Do any remaining baking, including apple, pumpkin and pecan pies
    3. Calculate cooking times and cooking order for Thanksgiving day
  • family

    Thanksgiving Day

    1. Roast the turkey
    2. Prepare side dishes, cover and refrigerate
    3. Boil and mash potatoes. They can be reheated just before serving. Or, use Hormel® mashed potatoes
    4. Warm side dishes
    5. Make the gravy
    6. Carve the turkey
    7. Put all the food on the table or buffet. Don’t hesitate to ask guests to help
For more helpful hints & delicious recipes visit