Everything You Need to Ace Thanksgiving

Follow our schedule to get ready for Thanksgiving with recipes, how-tos and tips.
By: Lindsay Damast

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The countdown has begun: Thanksgiving is officially two weeks away. If the thought of the impending feast has you freaked out — fret not — we have a week-by-week, day-by-day countdown guide, plus all the recipes, cooking how-tos, decorating ideas and entertaining tips you'll need to be the consummate holiday host. So take a deep breath and get started with these six tasks; you'll be sitting as pretty as pumpkin pie come Thanksgiving week.

Photo by: Tara Donne ©2009, Tara Donne

Tara Donne, 2009, Tara Donne

1. Plan Your Menu

As our Thanksgiving Countdown Schedule tells you, it's time to finalize your number of guests, order your turkey(s) and start picking your recipes. Browse through our Turkey, Sides and Dessert recipes — and don't forget the Appetizers! Try something new this year: a stuffing or dressing recipe with a Southern twist, out-of-this-world butternut squash, cranberry sauce that's most definitely not canned, the sweetest apple desserts you've ever tasted and even some seasonal cocktails to complement your meal.

Kelsey Nixon - Easy Herb Roasted Turkey

Photo by: Adrian Mueller ©2012, Adrian Mueller / AMueller.com, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Adrian Mueller, 2012, Adrian Mueller / AMueller.com, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

2. Get Ready to Tackle the Turkey

First time roasting? Seeking better brines? Head over to our Turkey central to get our 10 tips for cooking the perfect turkey, a brining lesson from Alton Brown, a step-by-step guide on turkey-carving, a lesson on gravy-making and more how-tos to keep you from getting twisted in twine.

Cooking Channel: The Voltaggio Brothers Take On Thanksgiving (behind the scenes). Bryan and Michael Voltaggio.

Photo by: Ed Anderson ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Ed Anderson, 2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

3. Prepare for the Unexpected

No matter how seasoned you are at hosting, or how long you've been planning for T-Day, something is bound to go wrong. Brush up on our quick fixes to face every kitchen disaster:

These cooking tools and utensils will get you through Thanksgiving Dinner.

Photo by: Marshall Troy ©2012,Television Food Nerwork, G.P. All rights Reserved

Marshall Troy, 2012,Television Food Nerwork, G.P. All rights Reserved

4. Stock Up On Tools

Do you have all the cooking equipment and utensils you'll need to prep everything from the turkey to the pie? Flip through our gear guide to make sure you're ready.

Cooking Channels Thanksgiving Holiday Inspired Modern Table.

Photo by: Marshall Troy ©2012, Cooking Channel,LLC All Rights Reserved

Marshall Troy, 2012, Cooking Channel,LLC All Rights Reserved

5. Get Easier-Than-They-Look Decorating Ideas

Whether your style is rustic, modern or traditional, we have table decorating ideas and amazing tips on DIY decorating and making your own centerpieces. (And don't forget the kids' table.)

6. Find Inspiration from Food People

Our favorite food bloggers and stylists share what inspires their Thanksgiving table and menu choices, including their family traditions and unique stories.

Want more? Visit our complete guide to Thanksgiving:

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