Thanksgiving Countdown

By now, your guest list is set, you've been brainstorming your menu and (hopefully) you've plotted out how to procure your turkey. But the prep work doesn't stop there. Here are five more things to get out of the way this week:

  • Get a jump start on your holiday desserts.

Save day-of prep for the bird and finicky side dishes and knock out your dessert prep this week. Pie dough can easily be made in advance and frozen. If you want to kick the canned pumpkin habit, you can also roast a pumpkin and freeze the puree now. Quick breads also freeze well, so mix up your dessert menu and try serving Alton's Pumpkin Bread, or have Zoe's Pecan Banana Bread on hand for breakfast for any overnight guests.

Read through all your dessert recipes and see what other recipe components can be prepped in advance.

  • Buy all your non-perishable grocery items.

Make sure you are well-stocked on the essentials -- spices, flour, butter, etc; but also take a look over the recipes you plan to make and see what else you can buy now. Potatoes, grains and dried fruit are just a few items you can get now. Read through each recipe and get your grocery list going!

  • Get your holiday drink offerings in order.

Take the time to stop into your local wine store for advice about what will pair best with your feast. A wine vendor will know which bottles will complement your menu’s flavor palate and enhance subtle ingredients. Also check out Food Network's guide to Thanksgiving wine. Alternatively, or in addition to, settle on a signature cocktail to offer to guests. Buy all the supplies this week, and plot out who will be mixing the drinks the day of.

Thanksgiving Signature Drink Recipes
  • Master important techniques now.

Whether it's your first Thanksgiving as a host or your fortieth, it never hurts to get a refresher in some key holiday kitchen techniques. Get Alton's tips for properly prepping your turkey, get our fool-proof technique for making gravy and master how to carve the bird (to make sure there's no panic when it comes out of the oven).

  • Tackle decorations, place settings and more.

Thoughtful details will make your Thanksgiving feast all the more memorable for your guests. Whether you go all Martha Stewart, complete with centerpieces, printed menus and napkin rings, or choose a more laid back route with some fall foliage in the center of the table, you can get all of that prep out of the way now. In fact, you could go as far as to set the table a day or two in advance! Get more inspiration for what the feel of your Thanksgiving will be by browsing our Thanksgiving Inspiration Board Project.

What else is on your Thanksgiving to-do list for this week?
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