It's okay to ask your guests to pitch in. Not only is a potluck a great way to lower your expenses, it will relieve a lot of the cooking pressure and allow you to sample new recipes! If the idea of setting a beautiful table prevents you from going with this method, remember that you can always transfer items to the serving dishes when your guests arrive.
Don't wait until the week of to plan your Thanksgiving menu — start now so you have time to stock up on the ingredients you'll need. Make a detailed list that includes your turkey, stuffing, and all the trimmings.
If you're too rigid with the menu, you'll end up paying higher prices at the store. Have a menu, but be ready to swap items if you find a better deal. Some things sweet potato casserole, for example are a Thanksgiving Day staple, but others can be swapped in and out, as needed.
We always serve a fruit and veggie tray before the feast, to keep everyone out of my way as I cook, but I don't decide what goes in it until I see what produce is on sale in the few days before Thanksgiving.
Once you have a menu, spend some time writing down every. single. ingredient. You want the list to be detailed so you don't discover something missing on Wednesday. The main objective is to steer clear of the stores the day before Thanksgiving.
My pantry gets a thorough cleaning every November. This way, I can find out what ingredients I might already have, crossing off my list as I go. It's also the perfect time to donate extra items to the food banks.
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