Last year was my first-ever “make it myself” Thanksgiving dinner. It was an accident really. We ALWAYS go for the big T-day meal with Nick’s family – like 28 people. It is both Nick and my own favorite holiday. Unfortunately, last year both Mackenzie and Nick ended up with mild pneumonia. I was pregnant. Not a good situation within our own family. BUT, it was really not a good situation to be taking pneumonia over to the great-grandparents house. Thanksgiving wasn’t going to happen for us.
I decided Thanksgiving day that I wasn’t going to just let the holiday pass us by. I headed out (in the snow
up hill both ways) to the grocery store and bought all the necessary items for a true Thanksgiving dinner. Ha! If you have EVER made a turkey – you already know. You can’t just buy a turkey on T-day and have it roasted in time. We had a “large chicken” instead.
Everything turned out great and we now have a new tradition – not the chicken. We now have a special Thanksgiving dinner with our little family BEFORE the real one. That’s why we’re having an early T-day before the big one back in Seattle.
BUT, I learned a lot from that experience. No, I’m not trying to sell you on the idea that one Thanksgiving meal has made me an expert – what I am going to tell you is that having hosted countless large, formal dinner parties at my house, combined with my Thanksgiving experiences in both the “family” kitchens and in my own – I know a thing or two about structuring a meal, cooking order and making it all come together.
See? I’ve got some decent experience under my belt. (These are both pictures from our annual Christmas Cocktail – which started in 2004 and has grown each year… this past year we had 27 people attend)
Back to Thanskgiving, I went a little backwards in giving you the shopping list first. Typically, you would come up with a menu and then make your grocery list but I wanted to give a little teaser about the concept before jumping into the thick of it.
I also have a Sugarless Pumpkin Pie recipe here.
For the rest of these posts, I will be posting the recipes in the order that you should be preparing them. Starting with prep items and leading up to the actual setting of the table. I will indicate when (whether it is days or hours) before the big meal so that you can easily prep your meal and not spend your entire T-day in the kitchen. Actually, you should be free to get in on that flag football game in the yard, or to settle in for the Macy’s parade on TV – along with whatever other family traditions you guys do.
** If you have a family favorite food item that isn’t on my menu, you can easily fit it in to the prep time – you’ll have lots of spare time! This is a pretty traditional menu – save for the wontons which I promise will become a family tradition once you try them.