Thanksgiving Dinner, Turkey Help, Cooking Turkey, Thanksgiving Timeline


Thanksgiving Dinner, Timing is EVERYTHING!

Thanksgiving Cooking Timeline

I took the turkey out of the freezer and put it into the refrigerator four days before Thanksgiving so that it would thaw thoroughly. I also kept an eye on it to make sure it was thawing. The day before Thanksgiving I got the turkey out, removed the giblets. I covered the turkey with plastic wrap and put it back in the refrigerator.


The secret to an easy Thanksgiving is to prepare as many dishes as you can the day before.

The day before Thanksgiving I cooked up the giblets in chicken stock with celery, onions, salt, pepper, and sage, just like my Mother and Grandmother did. I simmered this most of the day. This is the broth I used in the stuffing and gravy. It made all the difference in the world. I made both stuffings the day before and stored them in the refrigerator. Note: Do not put the stuffing into the turkey until you're ready to put it in the oven. I also made the White Chocolate cake, the Pearl Onion au Gratin, and the Cranberry Compote. That's five things off my list.

My mother-in-law was making her dessert specialty, Strawberry Trifle and the mashed potatoes. My sister-in-law was making the sweet potatoes. That's eight things off my list for Thanksgiving Day.

All I had to prepare on Thanksgiving Day was:

Glazed Ham
Candied Carrots
Green Bean Casserole

Creamed Corn
Cranberry Jelly

Madeira Gravy

Pretty easy, especially since the peas, creamed corn and rolls only needed heating up, the jelly needed to be slid out of the can onto a plate. So I had to fuss with the turkey, glazed ham, candied carrots, green bean casserole and Madeira gravy.

Thanksgiving morning. I knew the turkey had to cook 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours. It had to be out of the refrigerator 1 to 1 1/2 hours prior to going into the oven. It had to be ready by 4:30. So, the turkey came of of the refrigerator at 10:45A. The stuffing that went into the turkey came out of the refrigerator at 11:30A. I stuffed the turkey and put it into the oven at 12:15. 4 1/2 hrs of cooking would mean it would be ready by 4:30-4:45. Since I needed to take the foil off for one hour for it to brown, take foil off turkey was on my list at 3:30. We checked the temperature so we were sure the turkey was done. The thigh temperature should be 175 degrees and the stuffing 160-165 degrees.

My timeline to cook Thanksgiving dinner looked something like this:

10:45A ......Turkey out of refrigerator
11:30A.......Sage stuffing out of refrigerator/preheat oven
12:15P.......Turkey (stuffed) into oven 325 degrees covered with foil
2:30P........ Ham into convection oven 325 degrees - glaze every 15 - 20 minutes
3:30P..........Foil off turkey
3:45P ........Sage sausage and apple stuffing out of refrigerator
4:00P ........Pearl onion au gratin out of refrigerator
.........Sage sausage and apple stuffing into oven
................... Make green bean casserole
4:30P ........Turkey out of oven, out of roaster, cover with foil, rest 20-30 min.
....................Pearl Onion au Gratin into oven
Start Madeira gravy
....................Make candied carrots
5:00P .........Pearl Onion au Grain out of oven - cover with foil
....................Green bean Casserole in oven
....................Check apple sage stuffing add liquid if needed
....................Start heating peas and corn
....................Carve turkey
................... Ham out of oven, carve
5:15P.........Apple sage stuffing out of oven
- cover with foil
....................Dinner rolls in oven
5:25 P .......Stir green bean casserole, add remaining onions to top
....................Dinner rolls out of oven
5:30P ........Green bean casserole out of oven


As you can see a lot was going on around 4:30 I had my sister in law keep watchful eye over the Madeira gravy after I started it and my mother-in-law carve the turkey and ham while I saw to the other dishes.

I'm an admitted "A" type so I like lists and I like organization. I liked this list because I was able to relax knowing I was doing what needed to be done. I had plenty of time to relax and get the table set. I got all the serving dishes and serving utensils out. When my mother-in-law and sister-in-law walked in the door I know they were surprised how well everything was going.

This really worked for me. I know that it can work for you. It's so simple. Figure out what time you want to have dinner and work backwards from that time.

Every Thanksgiving since I've been married I've heard about the time my sister-in-law left the giblets in the turkey when she cooked it. I also hear about the time she forgot to cook the stuffing. I'm sure that in the years to come I'll make a few blunders of my own.

What made this Thanksgiving so enjoyable for me was adding new dishes. That's definitely a tradition I'll continue. My nephew wanted to know if I had made that "green bean stuff" and was very happy that I had. He also tried a bit of everything - without being asked!

As Thanksgiving approaches we'll be adding more of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes.

Cooking Thanksgiving Turkey Tips

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Thanksgiving Recipes

Bourbon Cranberry Sauce
Campbell's Green Bean Casserole
Chestnut Stuffing
Fresh Cranberry Orange Compote
Homemade Turkey Broth
Madeira Gravy
Pearl Onions au Gratin
Sage Sausage and Apple Stuffing
Tangy Cranberry Apple Chutney
Tips on Cooking a Turkey

Christmas Recipes

Christmas Brunch Recipes

Baked French Toast Casserole (Paula Deen)
Egg & Sausage Scramble
Grand Marnier French Toast

Potato Pancakes, Rosti

Christmas Dessert Recipes

Cake Recipes, Cookie Recipes, Pie Recipes

Christmas Dinner Recipes

Apricot & Bourbon Pork Tenderloin
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Italiano Meat Pie
Leg of Lamb, Creme de menthe
Pineapple Glazed Ham

Tasty & Easy Green Bean Recipes

Armenian Green Beans with Ground Meat and Tomatoes (Fassoulia
Blanched Green Beans
Cream of Green Bean Soup (Company's Coming)
Fried Green Beans
Dilly Green Beans Recipe - Canning Recipe
Ginger Garlic Green Beans
Greek Green Beans
Greek Potatoes and Green Beans
Green Bean Soup (Company's Coming)
Green Beans a'la Waterman's
Green Beans Almondine

Green Beans Almondine (with a hint of lemon)
Green Beans Almondine (with an Asian flair)
Green Beans Almondine (with mushrooms)
Green Beans and Prosciutto Pasta Salad
Green Bean Casserole (Campbell's)
Green Bean Casserole (Cook's Illustrated)
Green Beans, Endive & Boston Lettuce Salad
Green Beans in Sour Cream & Tomato Sauce
Green Beans Provençal, Chef Simone Beck
Green Beans Provençal, Cooking Light
Green Bean Salad, Dill, Parsley & Savory
Green Bean Salad, Feta & Pecans
Green Bean Salad, Soy Glazed Almonds, Cilantro
Green Beans with Coconut
Green Beans with Ginger Butter
Green Beans with Onion Paste (Madhur Jaffrey)
Green Beans with Roman Mustard
Green Beans with Shallots
Italian Green Beans (St. Anna Beans)
Lemon Green Bean & Celery Salad
Oven Roasted Green Beans
Pears with Green Beans & Bacon
Persian Green Beans & Rice (Lubia Polo)
Sautéed Green Beans with Hazelnut Crumbs
Sesame & Portobello Green Beans

Sicilian Green Bean & Fennel Salad (Cooking Light)
Stir-Fried Green Beans with Pork & Chilies
Sweet & Sour Green Beans
Thai Green Beans (Cooking Light)
Three Bean Salad Recipe
White Bean, Green Bean & Red Bell Pepper Salad