Four Days Ahead – as appropriate, begin defrosting the frozen turkey in the refrigerator. Start making extra ice cubes and store them in the freezer. Do major housecleaning and organizing. Check with guests who are bringing food to see if they need oven space. Organize containers, bags, and wraps for leftovers. Fill salt and pepper shakers and butter dishes.
Two Days Ahead – Shop for perishable items. Clean, rinse, and chop all the vegetables. Put them in plastic bags labeled for each dish. Organize non-perishable ingredients for each dish on the counter with the recipe and the serving dish you plan to use. Set out bread or bake cornbread for stuffing. Complete light housekeeping.
One Day Ahead – Peel potatoes, place in a pot of cold water and keep in the refrigerator. Make all dishes and desserts that can be prepared ahead. Set up a drink and dessert station. Stock with flatware, sugar and creamer, cups and saucers.
Thanksgiving Day – Prepare stuffing for the turkey (if you’re stuffing the turkey) and prep the turkey with your favorite recipe. Place the turkey in the oven. Just before the turkey is done, begin cooking fresh vegetables and get any other dishes ready that need to bake.
Remove the turkey from the oven and put a foil tent over it to rest. Put the side dish of stuffing and other oven dishes in to cook. Warm whatever needs to be warmed, including mashed potatoes, rolls, soups and casseroles. Make the gravy. When everything is ready, slice the turkey and put all the food on the table.
Sit down and enjoy the feast you’ve created with your friends and family.