This year I decided to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for my whole family! Thanksgiving also sometimes coincides with my mother and sister's birthdays, as it did this year, so it turns into a week of cake and good food.
On the menu this year was the usuals: turkey, potatoes, carrots, turnips, gravy and stuffing, as well as a few other side dishes: Greek Salad, Sweet Potato Casserole and Shortbread cookies. I planned out my grocery list alongside my recipe list early in the week, and as it came closer to the weekend, purchased the items (while battling large crowds)
I then organized my entire weekend on the Notes app in my phone. I would normally do so with paper as I prefer the physical act of writing ideas down to remember things; but knowing how I cook, the paper would end up completely ruined by the end of the first day! My plan was to do the more labor-intensive / multiple ingredient dishes on Saturday afternoon, then do the longer-cooking dishes prior to going to my parents' house. I started with the homemade stuffing, sweet potato casserole and shortbread cookies. I did each dish back-to-back; so when one dish went into the oven I started preparing the vegetables & other ingredients for the next one. This allowed me to keep the oven hot in between dishes, and also get some cleaning in when I finished all of my prep work. I caught up on my podcasts & youtube videos between both days, so I passed the time well and didn't find it to be stressful at all.
Sunday morning I put the turkey in the oven, and boiled/mashed the vegetables. To avoid making more than we could possibly consume (therefore reducing waste), I did several small batches of each vegetable and placed it in a large foil pan to see how much I had made. We had 6 adults and 2 kids,and judging by the small amount of leftovers (1 or 2 servings), I think my portioning system worked out well.
When I got to my parents house later in the afternoon, I just reheated everything I made the day before, set it up buffet-style, arranged the table and put dishes out, and everyone was able to choose their own portions.We had birthday cake and cookies for dessert. Clean up was easy and everyone then went into the living room to descend into turkey coma mode!
I am considering for my next cooked holiday meal to try to buy everything from local farmers. By the time I realized I could do that, I had already bought my ingredients from the grocery store, and the weekend was fast approaching. Judging by the selection at my local farmer's market, I believe it is possible; so next time I definitely don't have an excuse not to!
Do you celebrate an Autumn holiday? How does your family do it?