October 22, 2019

It's In The Bag - An Unmistakably Weis blog on food and life

Turkey Day Planner

POSTED BY | POSTED IN Healthy Bites Articles | POSTED ON 11-3-2016

82-stuffingThanksgiving doesn’t have to be a frenzy of last-minute preparations. Use our planner to stay on track, ease stress and make the meal a success.

Two Weeks Before

  • Finalize the menu. When planning, consider any special dietary preferences of your guests.
  • Assign any dishes you’d like your guests to bring.
  • Check pantry supplies and prepare a shopping list.
  • Decide between a fresh or frozen turkey.
  • If you’re buying a frozen bird, make room in your freezer.
  • Purchase any frozen (turkey, veggies) and non-perishable foods (herbs and spices, dessert ingredients, cornstarch, canned pumpkin).
  • Not sure how big of a turkey to purchase? Rule of thumb: 1 pound per person.

Weekend Before

  • Clean the fridge to make room for prep-ahead dishes.
  • Gather serving platters, plates, bowls, glasses, utensils and table linens.
  • Place frozen turkey in the fridge to thaw. Allow one day of thaw time for every five pounds of turkey. For example, a 20 pound bird should go into the fridge on Sunday.
  • Prepare your cooking schedule.

Two Days Before

  • Purchase perishable foods (fresh fruits and veggies, salad greens, dinner rolls).
  • If you’re buying a fresh turkey, purchase 1-2 days beforehand. Keep it on a tray or in a pan in the fridge to catch any juice that may drip.
  • Purchase fresh flowers for the table.

The Day Before

  • Prep any make-ahead side dishes, such as cranberry sauce and casseroles for reheating the following day.
  • Prepare the desserts.
  • Chill beverages.

4-6 Hours Before

  • Preheat oven to 325˚F.
  • Season turkey and place in a roasting pan in the oven. Allow 15-18 minutes per pound for the unstuffed bird. Baste the turkey every half hour by drizzling the turkey juices overtop.
  • Set the table.

30 Minutes to 1 Hour Before

  • Heat the side dishes.
  • Once the turkey reaches 165˚F in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast, remove it from the oven. Allow it to rest 20 minutes before carving.
  • Make gravy.
  • Transfer foods to serving dishes.
  • Pour beverages.


Give thanks and enjoy the feast!




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