Thanksgiving Game Plan

Pulling off Thanksgiving Day can be a little stressful without a plan so today I am sharing my tips and game plan for a stress-free holiday!

1 – Get Organized. Put together a game plan and stick to it. Write out your menu, make notes on what can be easily prepped in advance and reheated or even partially prepped (I shave my brussels sprouts days in advance and store them uncooked in tupperware). I also like to look at what takes time in the oven vs stovetop so I know how to best utilize  my limited space and then I like to look at cooking times so I know when to start each dish to make sure they all come together at once.

2 – Keep It Simple. I love trying new things and as a chef, I usually throw in one new thing each year, but for the rest of the menu, I stick to what I know. Don’t stress out over trying new recipes on Thanksgiving, save that for another occasion. I also like to really keep it simple when it comes to ingredients. For the turkey I don’t get crazy complicated, I use good ingredients and let them do their thing. Another question I often get asked is about appetizers. We typically eat early so I skip them, but if you’re a family that eats in the evening and you need some ideas I suggest keeping them simple. Pick up some good cheese, charcuterie, fruit and veggies, crackers and olives, Make it look pretty but keep it effortless.

3 – Prep and Reheat. Don’t be afraid to bake that stuffing and green bean casserole off earlier in the morning and pop it into the oven to reheat as your guests arrive. It’s better to have things done ahead and pour yourself a glass of prosecco and relax than be sweating whether or not the food will be done in time. Especially when you have a full oven things often will take a little bit longer. I suggest making a list of what you can do ahead and easily cover with foil and reheat. Even the mashed potatoes can be reheated in a glass bowl over a simmering pot of water.

4 – Enjoy. Don’t forget what Thanksgiving is actually about. Make time to focus on enjoying the experience and time with friends and family. While the food is important, quality time with those you love is why you’re all together so take a deep breath and savor the moment.

And to save you a little time here’s my menu + game plan for Thanksgiving!

The Menu: 

Roasted Garlic Smashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Shaved Brussels Sprouts
Mushroom Sage Stuffing
Caramelized Onion Butternut Squash Gratin
Cranberry Orange Sauce
Spiced Pumpkin Pie

>What You Can Do in Advance to Speed Up the Process:

The Week Before – 

  • Clean out your refrigerator and make room for all of your groceries.

The Week Of – 

  • Pick up your groceries!!
Two Days in Advance – 
  • Make the Cranberry Sauce
The Day Before – 
  • Bake the Pumpkin Pie (transfer the extra full-fat coconut milk into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator)
  • Tear the bread for the Stuffing and let it sit out overnight to dry
  • Thinly slice the Brussels Sprouts and put them in an airtight container
  • Cube the Butternut Squash
The Day Of – 
  • Follow our step-by-step game plan for stress-free Thanksgiving success!
  • Make the coconut milk whipped cream for the Pumpkin Pie
Thanksgiving Day plan for a 1 pm dinner: (if you’re eating at a different time, adjust accordingly)

7 am: Wake up and make a cup of my Butter Coffee! The healthy fats contained within will keep you satiated all morning so that you don’t end up snacking too much before dinner. Plus, this coffee will give you sustained energy and keep you focused all day!

In a blender, add 1 cup of almond milk, 2 cups of strong brewed coffee, 1 tbsp each of Kerrygold butter and virgin coconut oil. Blend and share with someone special ?

>Relax and eat a healthy breakfast and get the kitchen cleaned and organized before you start cooking.

8 am: Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.

8:30 am: Get your Turkey into the oven and bake at 500 degrees for 30 minutes before reducing the heat to 350. Continue to cook at this heat until the Turkey’s internal temperature reaches 155/160 degrees (I use a temperature probe for this that I put in the bird after I bake it at 500 degrees. It’ll take about 3 1/2-4 hours for a 12-14 lb bird.

9 am: Prep the Gratin, cover and put in the refrigerator, keeping the breadcrumbs out on the counter top. Pop the Pumpkin Pie into the oven if you haven’t already.

10 am: Prep the Stuffing. Make the Cranberry Sauce and transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.

11 am: Prep your Green Bean Casserole. Keep it in the skillet until ready to broil.

11:30 am: Cube the Potatoes and bring them to a boil in the vegetable stock. Slice your Brussels Sprouts if you haven’t already and let them sit in the skillet.

12 – 12:30 pm: Your Turkey should be reaching 155/160 degrees at this point and should be ready to come out of the oven. Cover the bird with foil and let it rest. Bump the heat of the oven up to 425 degrees and pop the Stuffing into the oven covered. Uncover the Gratin, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake as well.

12:45 pm Cook your Brussels Sprouts and let them sit in the warm skillet until ready to serve. Smash your Potatoes.

1 pm Carve the Turkey, warm the rolls. Pull the Cranberry Sauce out of the refrigerator and put it on the table. Whip your coconut milk whipped creme.

1:15 pm Pull the white wine out of the refrigerator. Broil your Green Beans Casserole and the Stuffing if you want a crispier top.

1:25 pm Bring all of the food to the table.

1:30 pm Sit down and ENJOY!!!!

And there you have it, Thanksgiving done simply! If you want my Thanksgiving Recipes bundle it’s currently free when you upgrade your A Healthy Passion account now through Thanksgiving. Just upgrade here and email me {} and I will send you the bundle!

Happy Cooking

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