Nov 21, 2013

Thanksgiving Menu Plan

posted by Marion@Life Tastes Good on 2013-11-21
Thanksgiving menu plan | by Life Tastes Good is a full menu and loaded with tips on how to pull off Thanksgiving with ease!
Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday! There is so much for which to be thankful! And, of course, we LOVE the food! 

Are you hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner this year? Are you freaking out about how you are going to get it all done?

Relax! It's not about putting on the "perfect" dinner party. Remember it's about gathering with family and friends and giving thanks. Have fun and enjoy the holiday and assign someone else the dish washing duties!

I've been hosting our Thanksgiving family meal for several years now, and I have a plan that works for me. For the most part, having a plan lessens the stress, except for that year the oven went crazy and the turkey caught on fire, but that almost never happens! No worries!  Here is my menu with some tips mingled in that work for me...

My Menu

Be a Thanksgiving Hero - Learn How To Roast Turkey to perfection every time!

  • Butterball has a great tool to help you decide how big to go
  • Fresh or Frozen: I use a frozen, store brand turkey
  • Thaw: Allow 1 day for every 5 pounds of turkey for the big thaw
  • Brine: I follow this how-to recipe for the brine. I brine in a large bag placed in my roasting pan to catch any leaks. I start this on Wednesday morning and flip the bird over before I go to bed to brine the other side over night. On Thanksgiving morning I drain, rinse, and put the turkey on the rack in the roasting pan. I return it to the fridge to allow it to dry out which ensures a crispy skin. Watch this video on how to execute the Perfect Turkey recipe.
  • Roasting: Dinner is planned for 5:30 this year to work around everyone's schedules. I have a 20 lb turkey that will take about 4 hours, so I put it in around 1pm to allow for cooking and resting time
  • Temperature - Check the temp of your turkey by inserting an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. When the thigh meat registers 165 degrees F, remove from oven and let the turkey rest for at least 30 minutes. To ensure a Perfect Turkey you need to ensure you aren't overcooking it! So check that temp!!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
  • I make the soup the day before, and reheat on Thanksgiving. I have the soup ready to go before everyone arrives, so they can help themselves and enjoy a delicious starter before dinner is on the table
  • I make the stuffing the morning of Thanksgiving and refrigerate. While the turkey is resting, the stuffing goes in the oven to reheat. I don't stuff the turkey. I have found you have to cook it too long to get the stuffing up to a safe temp that it overcooks the turkey and dries it out.
  • I leave the skin on, because peeling is no fun! Just give 'em a good scrubbing and dice 'em up. I start boiling the potatoes about 30 minutes before the turkey comes out. That way they can be ready to go or can keep warm in the oven as needed
  • I make this up Thanksgiving morning. It only takes 10 minutes and can be refrigerated until ready to use!

Butternut Squash Dinner Rolls

Within the hour after the turkey goes in the oven, I start making the rolls to allow for rising time. These are soft and delicious. Everyone will love these rolls!! They are pretty easy to make too and can bake in the oven while the turkey is resting. 

Also on the menu

Steamed Green Beans with mushrooms - these only take about 10 minutes. Early in the day I wash and trim the beans and wash the mushrooms. I toss everthing into the steamer pot and put it in the fridge. While the turkey is resting I steam them up until tender crisp. Don't forget to season with salt, pepper and butter before serving!
Creamed Corn - I cheat and buy the Jolly Green Giant frozen creamed corn (never in the can - personal preference). While the turkey is resting I just have to microwave and put in a serving dish - easy peasy!


The Best Pecan Pie Bars

You can make these ahead of time and freeze. Take out of the freezer the day before so they can thaw.

Apple Cinnamon Cake

This gets made the day before the big meal

Pumpkin Pie Bread

This gets made the day before the big meal

Tip: Set the table the night before - napkins and all! Be sure to set out all the serving dishes and utensils too, so they are handy when you need them. I put them right on the table with the dishes to make sure I have enough room for everything.


  1. Hmm, I recognize that blue dish ;) Great post Marion!

    1. I love those dishes! The lids really put them over the top for me!! Thanks, Shelby <3 I hope you have a wonderful holiday!


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Thanks! I hope it's a great day!! ~Marion