How to Cook an ENTIRE Thanksgiving Dinner

Are you in charge of making Thanksgiving dinner?  It can seem very overwhelming to cook the entire meal, especially in a smallish kitchen.  But I promise, it can be done!  I will show you How to Cook the Entire Thanksgiving Dinner without losing your mind!

How to Cook an Entire Thanksgiving Dinner in one oven without loosing your mind!

I have a little bit of Holiday ADD right now.  Last week I posted about Halloween, earlier this week I posted about Christmas, and now I'm posting about Thanksgiving.  But that's just because this is an AWESOME time of year full of lots of Holidays!!

Along with all of the holidays, can come a LOT of stress!  Especially if you are in charge of cooking Thanksgiving dinner.  And you live in a regular sized house with a regular to small sized kitchen, like me.

Now if you have a kitchen like this-

with double ovens, huge island, tons of space I'm sure cooking Thanksgiving dinner is no sweat.  Ha!  But my kitchen is more modest.  Although it is smaller, this kitchen works great for our family.
And with a little planning, I can cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner!

First of all, I love making ALL of Thanksgiving Dinner!!  I know my family would be happy to help, but I want to do it.

There are lots of reasons like-  my kitchen is too small for more than one person, I am a little bit of a control freak and like things my own way, and I want everyone to have a nice day spending time with one another.

I do not feel pressured to sit in the kitchen all day.  This is something I choose.  (I just had to get that out of the way.)

How to Cook an Entire Thanksgiving Dinner

Ok, so how do you get started?  Where do you even begin when it comes to the kind of daunting task of making Thanksgiving Dinner?

1.  Make a Menu

thanksgiving menu, what to cook for Thanksgiving

I cook just about the same things every year.  My family demands it.  Ok, not really.  But we all really look forward to all of these foods that we usually only eat once a year.

When planning, take 2 things into consideration  
  • how many guests are invited
  • the serving ware, dinnerware, flatware and linens you have on hand.

2.  Make a Shopping List

Don't forget to add any needed dishes, silverware and/or napkins to your list, and SHOP!

I usually shop for groceries the Monday before Thanksgiving.  The stores are not too crazy yet, and that gives plenty of time for my turkey to thaw.

Some of my secrets are:
  • I buy frozen Sister Schubert rolls and pre-made pie crusts.  
  • I also buy a disposable turkey roasting pan, which makes clean up SO much easier and doesn't leave me with a big roasting pan to store for 364 days.  

3.  Make Ahead

bake, cook things ahead of time, thanksgiving menu

Anything on your menu that can be made several to one day before, do it.  
  • The day before Thanksgiving I make pies, orange fluff (similar recipe here) and dips.  
  • I also boil eggs and bake the sweet potatoes.

4.  Make a Thanksgiving Day Time Line

Making a timeline ensures that you will get everything done by the time is dinner time.  
  • Decide what time you're having dinner, then work backwards to figure out what time everything needs to go into the oven.
  • Write down everything that needs to be cooked, whether it needs to be cooked on the stove top, microwave, or oven, and how long it needs to be cooked for.
  • Put all of the dishes in the correct order to be cooked, along with what time to start each dish.

If you do this, you will have a check list for cooking with cooking times written down and you won't forget anything.

  • The turkey will take the longest to cook so it needs to go into the oven first.  Read the preparation and timing instructions on the turkey package or read theseDon't be scared, cooking a turkey is SO easy!!  
  • Plan to have the turkey  done cooking  1 - 1.5 hours before eating time.  It will have time to rest and be sliced.
  • The oven will then be free to bake rolls, sweet potatoes, veggies and any other last minute items, in the order you have on your list (from above).
  • About 30 minutes before taking the turkey out of the oven, I peel potatoes and put them on to boil. They will be done while the turkey is resting and can be mashed and prepared.

See another idea for Gravy Here

Then start rotating baked dishes through the oven.  Right before serving, warm the rolls in the oven
 and make gravy from turkey drippings.  

Then put everything on the table (Thanksgiving table decor ideas here)  and DIG IN!  

It seems like it's difficult, but with a lot of planning and preparation, anyone can Cook an Entire Thanksgiving Dinner!

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