We hosted dinner guests from India tonight. Jordan and Nicole. Missionaries’ kids who met and married in India and are relocating to New Zealand. Early 20s and so precious. Jordan is a gifted musician/artist and Nicole is a photographer. It’s so cool to see your friends’ kids grow up and ‘adult.’ Kind of weird really, when all you remember is the little ‘rugrats’ they used to be and now – voila! They’re carrying the torch far and away! So this is what I made for dinner tonight. Comfort food, the kind of meal I’d serve my own kids if they were on the road and wanted home cooking. Chicken Schnitzel is a dish I learned while living in Australia – boneless chicken breasts pounded and dipped in egg/unsweetened coconut milk and breadcrumbs with spices then fried in butter and olive oil, mashed potatoes with sour cream and coconut milk (unsweetened), steamed carrots and corn and a green salad with Asian dressing. All organic. YUM. Here’s a pic of the schnitzel. So easy. Highly recommend! And…made the mashed potatoes in the instant pot – ohemgee I saved so much time and labor!
Below is the note I scrawled quickly when I was planning for our meal. It was a whirlwind day and I didn’t want to forget anything at the last minute so I made a list in the morning to revisit throughout the day – that’s how I roll. I always try to make a detailed list when I’m not stressed out because by the time guests are about to arrive, I’m sure to forget a detail. (One time we all finished dinner and a major dish I wanted to serve was still in the fridge ;(( that’s a drag. This never happens with a list.
So….drumroll please…here’s my Thanksgiving Checklist. Not a fake but the real deal I use every year to refer to for delegating, shopping and preparing. I tweak it along the way as needed.
Cornbread Dressing (celery, onion, broth)
Mashed Potatoes (butter/milk)
Corn (frozen corn)
Whole berry cranberry sauce
Sweet Potatoes (marshmallows/brn sugar/butter)
Ambrosia Salad (mandarins, pineapple, coconut, sour cream, marshmallows)
Cranberry Jello Salad w whip cream
Rolls (frozen dough balls)
Ham (Costco spiral sliced)
Pies and whip cream (Costco)
Sparkling cider, sparkling water, water, ice (Costco)
Shopping List (helps to jog my memory so I don’t get ready to cook and find I’ve forgotten the celery, etc.)
Boxed Cornbread Stuffing mix/or homemade cornbread stuffing
Onion for stuffing-Costco
Celery for stuffing-Costco
Turkey cooking bag/tin pan
Canned whole berry cranberry sauce
Mini marshmallows for ambrosia and sweet taters
Crushed pineapple for jello salad
Canned Mandarins for jello/ambrosia salads
Canned pineapple tidbits for ambrosia
Coconut for ambrosia
Mini marshmallows-ambrosia/sweet potatoes
Sour cream for ambrosia-Costco
Raspberry and lemon jello
Fresh cranberries for jello salad
Sugar for jello salad
Butter for both potatoes, stuffing, and rolls
Decide on seating-nametags
Placemats/tablecloth/plates, utensils, napkins, wine cups, water cups
Food buffet arrangement
I don’t just ‘wing it’ on where people will sit or where the buffet will be or what they’ll drink out of etc. etc. Planning ahead brings peace to the entire event. If I need to borrow tables, chairs or TV trays, I have time to consider that. We always serve buffet style to facilitate feeding a crowd – I honestly love buffet style for most meals when there are more than 4 people eating.
Here’s how I broke it down this year and how I delegated the bits and pieces:
Menu to feed 20 adults-planning enough food for second rounds and hang out time!
If there’s something missing, please bring it! xoxo
Young couple-Costco ham and 2 bottles white wine/ground coffee and creamer for large coffee tureen
Seasoned cook and family-one turkey/dressing/gravy (please bring coffee tureen and paper coffee cups)appetizer plate
Bachelors-ambrosia salad for a crowd
Gregory and Denise-One turkey, dressing and gravy, 2 bottles red wine, butter, hefty red cups, clear cups, dessert plates and EGG NOG
Young couple seasoned cook-5#mashed potatoes (Pioneer woman recipe can be prepared the day before and baked day of), Costco organic 5# sweet potatoes, 2 bags ice in cooler
Single busy businesswoman-2- 5# bags costco frozen corn and 6 bottles sparkling cider and 3 cans whip cream (all costco)
Young couple and family-2 bags of 36 Rhodes rolls baked and 6 cans whole cranberry sauce, 4 gallons water jugs, 3-2 litre bottles of flavored sparkling water
Couple who don’t enjoy cooking-Costco 3 pumpkin and 2 fruit pies and 1 cheesecake and hefty dinner plates, eating utensils for dinner and dessert, napkins for 40 people
Young couple and fam-5# mashed potatoes (Pioneer Woman recipe can be prepared a day ahead and baked day of) and 2 bottles rose wine and appetizer tray
A couple days before I begin preparing I will make a list of to-dos complete with times of execution and ingredients involved. Something like this:
Sunday: begin thawing turkey in fridge. double check list to be sure I have all necessary food items and paper goods handled.
Tuesday: bake cornbread and set out with white stuffing bread to dry. Clean bathroom, dust and vacuum.
Wednesday: make Pioneer woman mashed potato recipe/dice onion and celery for stuffing. Make ambrosia. Pick out clothes to wear for tomorrow. Check to be sure turkey is completely thawed and if not, fill sink with water and begin emergency thaw process. LOL. #truth
Thursday: wake and simmer giblets, prepare stuffing by 10. Turkey stuffed and in oven by noon. Ice in cooler with wine and sparkling water to chill. Dress, makeup and hair done by 2. Music, essential oil diffuser and candles on by 3:45 (set alarm)
I truly hope these planning and preparation details help you to experience more peace and joy during the holidays, spilling over into all your relationships. May God bless you and yours this holiday season! For those of you who haven’t yet subscribed for my exclusive content, here’s the link to my video you missed on 4 Nuggets of Gold for Making Your Home Irresistible to Your Adult Kids (and everyone!) on Thanksgiving)
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So much love,
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