‘How To’ Guide for Thanksgiving Timing and Cooking

7 Days Before Plan Ahead 

Plan your dinner + Shop Dry Goods and Baking 

  • Spend ample time planning this year's Thanksgiving. It might look a little different. Use these tips from my InsideHook article to scale down dinner. 
  • Properly making a shopping list. Be sure to include ingredients that are required for multiple recipes (eg. garlic, onion) 
  • Make a game plan and write it down. A spreadsheet or a notepad in your phone works well. 
  • Think about the challenges from the previous year and plan accordingly 

Make space + Declutter 

  • Clean fridge, freezer, and cupboard --- make space ahead of time
  • Dedicate a special shelf for holiday cooking items for storage and easy access. 
  • Separate cooking vs. baking ingredients 
  • Have plenty of reusable containers for easy storage 

Keep it together 

  • Print all recipes, pull out books, and keep in a single place or on phone/email for easy reference 

6 Days Before Pre-measure + Prepare for Baking 

  • Pull out baking trays and tart pans ahead of time 
  • Pre-measure dry goods and store in a container 
  • Do the conversion for doubling recipes 
  • Measure sugar, salt, and baking agents 
  • Sift flour, sugar, and other dry ingredients together 
  • Cut butter and place in the freezer
  • Make pie crust 

5 Days Before Buy Vegetables + Prep, Prep, Prep 

  • Clean and thoroughly dry vegetables, peel garlic, onions, and shallots beforehand
  • Wash and wrap herbs in damp paper towels and store in a glass container 
  • A few days before clean and cut leeks, carrots, celery, green beans and store in reusable bags
  • Pie crusts, fillings, fruit purees, prepare any toppings 

4 Days Before Begin Sides, Dressings + Appetizers 

  • Saute batches of onions, garlic for stuffing and casseroles
  • Make mushroom gravy 
  • Bake sweet potatoes and cool
  • Prepare any dips and salad dressings

3 Days Before Cook Grains 

  • Prepare squash as a centerpiece or Defrost Turkey 
  • Cook grains, toast nuts, prep herbs for turkey 
  • Make cranberry sauce 

2 Days Before Casseroles Prep

  • Make roux and casserole sauces 
  • Prepare green beans, stuffing, and casseroles for baking 
  • Make sweet potato casserole 

1 Day Before Cook, Cook, Cook

  • Cook casseroles 
  • Par cook pasta + cheese sauce for mac and cheese
  • Roast vegetables 
  • Chill wine, beer and make simple syrup for cocktails 
  • Set the tables, linens, plates, glasses 

Thanksgiving Day Relax and Heat 

  • Bake casseroles
  • Cook squash centerpiece or turkey 
  • Make mash potatoes 
  • Make mac & cheese
  • Reheat gravy
  • Whip cream for desserts

This is a general outline. Check out the Instagram videos and stories to cook along. Enjoy.

Born in India and raised in Atlanta, Chef Palak Patel grew up surrounded by traditional Indian cuisine. As her love of all things culinary expanded, she experimented with food, marrying the flavors of her native country with those of her adopted one. Her zest for travel further broadened her flavor palate as she globe-trotted, feasting on everything from local street food to la haute gastronomy. Palak shares these experiences as a TV personality, writer and one of the food industry’s newest and sassiest rising stars, gaining critical acclaim from victories in shows like Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay on Food Network. Palak also battled it out against 24 other seasoned chefs in the Sears Chef’s Challenge, winning $20,000 for the Los Angeles Food Bank. Palak has been a guest on multiple Food Network shows, Marie Claire’s The Fix and Bravo’s Blood, Sweat, and Heels. She has been featured in Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and India Abroad, and is a regular food and travel contributor to Table Magazine. Palak also has partnered with high-profile brands such as BMW and Barclays to curate menus for large events, HelloFresh as a guest chef and Mashable about creating a personal brand. Learn more, and contact us to book Chef Palak Patel.

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