Back to Blog

Your Ultimate Thanksgiving Planning Guide

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Don’t panic. Let us be your guide to creating the perfect Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy a traditional meal with family and friends, right? For some people Thanksgiving turns into an all-out crazy fest in the kitchen filled with ranting’s and multiple trips to the supermarket.  Never again!  Read on for our simple, fool proof guide to hosting a stress free Thanksgiving meal.  If this all seems like too much for you, we’d be happy to help you…just call!

Not only do we have an up to the minute timeline for your Thanksgiving prep, but we have the quintessential recipes for: Marcia’s Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey & Old-Fashioned Southern Pecan Pie. 

Ready, set…Go!

3 Weeks Before Thanksgiving

~Send out your evite or just call you family and friends.

 1 to 2 Weeks Before Thanksgiving

~Confirm the number of guests and plan your menu.

~Order your turkey.  We love brined turkeys as they stay moister and juicer.

~Plan your table setting, serving dishes and decorations. Mark your serving pieces with what they are for with stickies or masking tape.

~Write a complete shopping list from the menu that you’ve created. Make sure you add all recipe ingredients, as well as garnish for the platters. Transfer the list onto your phone, dividing the list into the different markets that you must visit. If you don’t want to use a phone, simply do the same on a large piece of paper and mark off the items purchased as you go along.

~Shop for nonperishable items and any long lasting food items(i.e. sweet potatoes and onions) plus any cooking’ tools, cooking equipment, papergoods, candles, wine and bar ingredients, cider, soda etc. Plan the décor for the day and make sure you have or buy all that you’ll need to make you table look festive and inviting!

Two Days Before Thanksgiving

~Finish your food shopping, and pick up your turkey.

~Make pie crust and store in the refrigerator.

~Do any baking needed…cornbread, muffins, pumpkin and pecan pie

~Peel and cut white and sweet potatoes, and store in water in the refrigerator.  

~Make fresh cranberry sauce.

~Cut carrots, celery, onions and mushrooms for bread stuffing. Sauté and store in the 


~Refrigerate the white wine.

The Day Before Thanksgiving

~Prep green beans and/or Brussel sprouts and store in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator.

~Set the table and pull out labeled serving pieces.

~ Marcia does all, but the turkey, days ahead, so that she can enjoy Thanksgiving day.

Thanksgiving Day

~Prepare the stuffing and other side dishes.

~Prepare the turkey for roasting and put in the oven at the determined time. If you plan 

  to stuff the bird, do not stuff it until just before you put it in the oven.

~While the turkey is roasting, make the mashed potatoes and then try to relax and wait 

  for the guests to arrive.

~Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

Marcia’s Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

Her secret? Soak a cheesecloth in a fragrant mixture of olive oil, butter, lemon juice and white wine and cover the turkey with the cheese cloth.  The result?  A buttery moist turkey with a crispy golden brown skin. 

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

¼ C. olive oil

1 C. dry white wine

Juice from 1 lemon

Kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

cheesecloth (large enough for triple layer over turkey)

1 12-15 pound turkey (adjust amount of turkey stock for larger turkey)  

2 celery sticks, cut into thirds

4 large shallots, peeled and cut in half

3 sprigs thyme

1 sprig rosemary

A bunch of fresh sage leaves

6 fresh sage leaves

6-8 C. Turkey or chicken stoc

Preheat oven to 425.

Clean turkey, removing all of the insides (Check all cavities to remove the gizzards, liver, turkey neck, etc.) and rinse well. When ready to roast, pat dry, and season inside with salt and pepper.  

Pat inside of turkey dry. Season with salt and pepper.

Stuff turkey with celery, sage, thyme, shallots, rosemary.

Place turkey in roasting pan, on a V-shaped rack.

Combine butter, olive oil, white wine, lemon juice and a large pinch of salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Place cheese cloth in mixture until well soaked.  

Cover entire turkey with cheesecloth.  Add 1 C. stock, 1 C of White Wine and ½ C of Orange Juice, to bottom of roasting pan, and keep remaining stock on low heat.

Roast for 45 minutes at 425.

Lower to 350, and roast until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 180.

Baste turkey every 40 minutes, be sure to leave the cheese cloth on the turkey.  The cheese cloth will look dark brown, but don’t worry, the turkey skin will be nicely golden underneath.

Allow to rest 30 minutes before removing cheese cloth and carving.

Old-Fashioned Southern Pecan Pie

Makes 8 servings 

It’s impossible to go wrong with this delicious pecan pie; especially one that is loaded with nuts and a touch of orange zest.  This is also one of the simplest of pies to make.  Try it, and your guests will be begging for seconds!

Pastry dough

2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

3 Tbs. granulated white sugar

1/4 C. vegetable shortening, solid

12 Tbs. butter, cold and cubed

1/4 C. to 1/2 C. ice water

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt and sugar. Add the shortening and break it up with your hands as you start to coat it all up with the flour. Add the cold butter cubes and work it into the flour with your hands or a pastry cutter. Work it quickly, so the butter doesn’t get too soft, until the mixture is crumbly, like very coarse cornmeal. Add the ice water, a little at a time, until the mixture comes together forming a dough. Bring the dough together into a ball.

When it comes together stop working it otherwise the dough will get over-worked and tough. Divide the dough in half and flatten it slightly to form a disk shape. Wrap each disk in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. On a floured surface roll each disk out into a 10 to 11-inch circle to make a 9-inch pie when ready to use.

Or…Just buy pre-made Deep Dish pie crusts in foil pans from the supermarket’s freezer section. 

They’re really good, and we won’t tell!!



3/4 stick unsalted butter

1 1/4 C. packed light brown sugar

3/4 C. light corn syrup

Optional: 2 tsp. of Bourbon

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. grated orange zest

1/4 tsp. salt

3 large eggs

2 C. pecan halves (1/2 lb.)


Preparation: Preheat oven to 350°F with a baking sheet on middle rack. 

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round and fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang under and lightly press against rim of pie plate, then crimp decoratively. Lightly prick bottom all over with a fork. Chill until firm, at least 30 minutes (or freeze 10 minutes). 

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, whisking until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in corn syrup, vanilla, zest, and salt. Lightly beat eggs in a medium bowl, then whisk in corn syrup mixture. 

Spread pecans in pie shell and pour corn syrup mixture evenly over them. Bake on hot baking sheet (to prevent spillage) until filling is set, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool completely. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Yummy!!!!

Note: The pie can be baked 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.