3 Weeks Before
Decide which recipes you want to make, keeping in mind that there’s only so much one person — and one kitchen — can do. Get rid of any "dead weight" around the house, like a spouse or "significant other" that does more harm than good anyway ... Start creating your menu ... If you really do need 10 side dishes, start thinking about why you don't have a life and cut that nonsense menu down to a few items! Make sure they all cook together, just like the guests you'll be inviting to your little gathering...
After you narrow down your menu, reread the recipes that remain. Most can be thrown in the trash right now if you have a lick of sense. For the absolutely necessary ones, look at the steps that you can do ahead of time. Now make a list of what you want to get done and give it to that "good for nothing" sister-in law that is always preaching about how she can do everything better than anyone else anyway!! That should keep at least one loud mouth quiet for a few days leading up to Thanksgiving...If you give her enough time, she'll get it done and you'll be totally relaxed on the big day!
2 Weeks Before
Figure out what size turkey you need and call up your ex-husband or ex-wife or any other creepazoid that had the audacity to use up the best years of your life ... start crying, berating them and accusing them of ruining your life to the point that you can't even afford a ?!?!? turkey...let them know what size you need and when they should deliver it to your house. Make sure it's not a frozen one when they drop it on your doorstep, ring your bell and run... if it is, call them back and tell them what scum buckets they were for not getting you a fresh one. We'll talk about thawing the bird later...right now it's time for a few kudos and a martini. You've scored! Oh, don't forget to bathe the dog!! You don't want him more fragrant than the bird on the table.
The Weekend Before
Make a detailed shopping list and check it — twice. But don’t expect to get all your shopping done in one trip. Call two or three of the deadbeat relatives who will be guzzling your booze and eating up your food budget for three weeks and divide your list into parts: items you’ll need in advance (wine, vodka, gin, bourbon) and items you’ll need the final day or two before the meal (celery,onions...you get the picture.) Keeping these morons on separate trips, a few days apart, not only keeps your refrigerator from groaning but also relieves you of having to deal with all of them any longer than necessary and God forbid at the same time. Make sure your shopping lists suggest they grab a few bottles of something to serve with the meal (since there won't be much of the early deliveries left by Thanksgiving.)
Make everything that will be served chilled, like cranberry sauce and Martinis. Cover the dishes, place them in the refrigerator, and forget about them. Pour yourself a tall one and watch reruns of Desperate Housewives on TIVO.
Take inventory before calling your Bozo relatives to make their second trip to the store and make sure you haven't used all the beverages. AND don’t forget to check on the turkey. Have the nudnick from down the street who is going to stop by for free food anyway on Thanksgiving Day (always does) chop the onions and the celery, wash the herbs, and trim the rest of the vegetables. Pat him on the behind and send him home. Assemble the stuffing, transfer to a baking dish, and refrigerate. Prepare the dessert (put the ice cream in the freezer when the meathead gets back from the store.) Practice with the "bird" assuming it's been delivered!!
If, like most people, you think of one last thing you need from the store on Thanksgiving morning, call a trusted guest and ask if he or she could do you a favor (like buy a darned turkey!) All you’ll have left, is the final assembly.
While the Turkey Roasts…get cooked while thinking about side dishes.
While the Turkey Rests…you rest too and give that turkey a good smack on the bottom to help the juices emerge. Make the gravy (open the can and read the directions) search the refrigerator for left overs from the last time you cooked anything and serve as sides.
During Dinner… berate the guests for not bringing enough Holiday wine ... after all, you don't want them driving home sauced!? Best leave the hooch for you to enjoy after they are done cleaning up the kitchen.
And so you have it...another Thanksgiving Dinner "in the can" as they say in the studios...
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
Glad to be of service ! Charlie & Team South Bay