Weekend Kitchen Tip – How to Cook Your Thanksgiving Meal Without Going Crazy

First an exciting announcement.  I’ve gotten together with a few gluten free bloggers and we have decided to host a Gluten Free Thanksgiving Progressive Dinner Party. You are the guests.  It’s virtual so you don’t even have to get dressed up to attend, but you can if you want.  Next week, Monday through Friday we will have an assortment of recipes.  Each day will be at a different blog and more than one blog a day. By the end of the week you will have an assortment of wonderful gluten free Thanksgiving recipes.

We have some great bloggers joining us:

Shauna Ahern – Gluten Free Girl

Seamaiden – Book of Yum

Shirley Braden – gfe-gluten free easily

Ali Segersten – The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen

Stephanie O’Dea – A Year of Slow Cooking

Dr. Jean Layton -  Gluten Free Organics

Karen Schuppert -  Cook4Seasons

Here is the schedule:

I hope you will join us for our Gluten Free Thanksgiving Progressive Dinner Party.

Kitchen Tip

Every time I cook a Thanksgiving meal I think, I should cut down on the number of dishes.  But I do enjoy them all so much.  I also make lunch for that day so people are not starving by the time dinner is served.  The key is to plan out what and when you cook so you’re not trying to do something, that within the confines of space and time, just is not possible.  If you spread out the work, it’s much easier to get it done.

I have a process for designing the menu but more importantly a way to keep track of what I need, what I’ll make, when I’ll make it, how long it will take to make it, and what I’ll serve it in.  This way I can see if it really is possible or not.  I’ll include the oven temps too so I know if I can cook things together.  That will lengthen the cooking time a little but manageable.

I have created a table that I fill in with all of the information.  Once I’ve done that I use it as a guide to fill in my calendar.  This is when I really see if I can actually cook it all and have it ready when I’m thinking.  I usually have to do some tweaking but better now on paper then that day when we’re all hungry.

I also use this to make my grocery list looking through the ingredients of these recipes.  I put the table I’ve created and all the recipes into a folder.  If I’m lucky I’ll make any notes on the pages that day and they won’t be full of gravy and pumpkin when I’m done.

This year I’ll have my triple crockpot going with two different types of soup and a hot mulled cider which may turn out to be similar to Butterbeer.  A drink made famous by the Harry Potter series of books.  I’m hoping this will keep everyone busy and out of the kitchen.  I love to cook and I really don’t like people walking around in my kitchen while I’m trying to cook.  What I love is when they pull up a chair and keep me company.   That’s the best.  I can talk and do just about anything else at the same time.  Just ask my family.

So here is my table so far and I will share with you a blank version for you to play with.  It’s really a simple MS Word document with 5 columns.  You can even just draw lines on a tablet of paper.  Mind you use a pencil when writing things down because I can guarantee things will get changed around a bit.

I don’t like people to bring me food either, unless it’s a bottle of wine.  Really enjoy that.  I also love a potted plant or flowers but they don’t taste as good.  Well one more thing, I do really enjoy Scharffen Berger chocolate but that can be hard to find.  I am rather picky but it just makes it easier I think for others to come and eat.  It can be very difficult trying to figure out what gluten free and dairy free food to bring that has not been contaminated.  I don’t want my guests wasting any time on that.  Grab a bottle of wine, open it up and we’ll share it while I cook.  By the end of the bottle it won’t matter what we’re having for dinner.

So my menu (subject to change)  for Thanksgiving Day is as follows and it is all gluten and dairy free:

Lunch:

Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup, Roasted Sweet Potato and Plantain Soup, Toasted Procutti and sauteed Pancetta for topping along with the chipotle creme fraiche.  I also have to make Deviled Eggs.  Tradition my oldest son enjoys.  I may even make Pumpkin Dip that I know my mom likes.

Dinner:

Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Stuffing, Cranberry & Mango Relish, Green beans & Shallots, Roasted Squash & Mushroom Penne Pasta, Mixed Green Salad, Pumpkin Pudding, Scones and Cookies.

I think instead of cleaning up after dinner we all should take a walk around the block.  First one back cleans the kitchen.

Now here is the plan:

Thanksgiving Meal 2009

And here is a blank template as a word document that you can use yourself.  Planning will help you remember to look for that gravy boat before you need it.  Have a great pre-Thanksgiving week and let me know how your planning is coming along.

The W.H.O.L.E. Gang Thanksgiving Meal 2009
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7 Responses to Weekend Kitchen Tip – How to Cook Your Thanksgiving Meal Without Going Crazy

  1. Heather November 14, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    The progressive dinner sounds like fun. Can't wait to see what everyone is going to post.

    Love the Thanksgiving Meal planner. A reminder that it all takes so much time and effort, but it can be done! Thanks for sharing it.

    • Diane November 17, 2009 at 4:38 am #

      Heather- The progressive dinner will be a blast. I hope you'll follow along. As for the Thanksgiving Meal Planner, some think I'm crazy but I find if I get it down on paper and make sure it will work, I no longer have to worry about it. Also, I just follow my directions and it keeps me from forgetting things. I can be very forgetful when making a big meal.

  2. Lauren November 14, 2009 at 1:26 pm #

    Wow! I always forget how big of a deal Thanksgiving is in the States. I'm not saying its not important here, but for me, its never been a huge holiday. Much more low-key than Christmas. I love it because its a break from school and good food with my family! Anyways, I can't wait to see all the dishes from the Progressive Diner Party! I'm sure the food will be great =D.

    • Diane November 17, 2009 at 4:40 am #

      Lauren- We are a little over the top around here and that applies to Christmas too. Extra laps around the block!

      I hope you follow along with the progressive dinner. It will be a lot of fun!

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