How to Prepare a Full Turkey Dinner
for the Holidays
Here in one spot are gathered all of my holiday recipes for easy reference.
You can find lots of recipes all over the Internet for individual
holiday dinner dishes. But what about how to coordinate several
dishes in the kitchen at once when you are pressed for time and you
want to get all the dishes on the table at the same time and have them
all be ready and stay hot or cold as needed?
Here’s how to schedule a big holiday dinner! I’ve listed here all
of the holiday recipes from my website, along with some tips on how to
time the creation of each dish just right.
So to help with your scheduling of your big holiday meal, I have listed all of these recipes in the order you need to
make them all.
Days ahead of time:
Cranberry Sauce - this can be made 2-3 days ahead of time and refrigerated.
Apple Cranberry Pie – all pies can be made 1-2 days ahead of time and microwaved just before serving.
Pecan Pie - ditto
Mince Pie - ditto
Pumpkin Pie - ditto
Yogurt Cheesecake - ditto
Pumpkin Scones - You can make the cinnamon butter for these days ahead of time.
The day before:
Mashed Potatoes – these can be washed, cut and stored in a pot full of water (to prevent browning) in the fridge
the night before, and cooked on the big day.
Stuffing – this can be made the night before or in the morning of the dinner. Do not add the giblets to the stuffing
or put any stuffing in the turkey until the turkey is ready to go in the oven. That’s a food safety precaution.
On the morning of the big day:
Roasted Vegetables – these vegetables can be cut up on the morning of the big day. Pick either this veggie dish
or else Green Bean Casserole to make, unless you have a double oven or you can try to cook both as
instructed below. The catch is that the two dishes need different oven temperatures.
Whipped cream – If you are making this to go with pie, make this in the morning and refrigerate it.
Pumpkin Scones - Make up the batter for these and set aside. Bake them now if you think you will run out of
time or patience when the turkey is ready.
Cole Slaw - My mother used to love crisp & creamy cole slaw, like cranberry sauce a cold contrast to all the hot
comfort food at the holiday table.
Midday on the big day:
Turkey – Everything is keyed on the time it takes to cook the turkey. It must be stuffed and then immediately put
in the oven around midday if you want it done at dinner time.
Gravy – Mix the flour and water as soon as the turkey goes in the oven. Also, start cooking the optional giblets.
Green Bean Casserole – mix this after the turkey goes in the oven and put it in the fridge. Omit if you are making
Roasted Vegetables instead.
Garlic Mashed Cauliflower - cook and mash in the middle of the day and microwave just before serving.
The last hour:
Mashed Potatoes – cook these about one hour before the turkey is going to be done. When done, take the
potatoes off the heat and leave them covered. They hold heat well and will keep warm until serving time if
Turkey – time to take it out of the oven when it is done and put it on a serving platter to cool a bit.
Pumpkin Scones - Put these in the oven after the turkey is out.
Green Bean Casserole – Put this in the oven as soon as the turkey comes out. Adjust oven temperature to 350
Roasted Vegetables – If you have a double oven, mix this up and put in the oven and adjust the temperature.
You can try to make both this and the Green Bean casserole at once, by cooking both at 350 degrees until
the Green Beans are done, then raising the oven to the temperature needed to finish cooking the Roasted
Vegetables for 10-15 minutes. Watch them carefully!
Gravy – start making the gravy in the roasting pan on top of the stove after the turkey is removed. Finish the
gravy and let it keep warm on the stove top until the veggie dishes are done.
Turkey – As soon as the veggies are done, carve and serve everything but the dessert & enjoy!
Pies – as soon as the main dinner starts, you can put any pies you have in the oven on *low* temperature, about
275 degrees, and let them warm a bit until dessert time.