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This should be fun! Help me figure out my T-Day schedule (menu inside)

  • k

Ok, so I have a tentative plan, but it has never really been my forte. Either Everything is cold by sit down, or I'm way late.

But any way, the menu that I'll be cooking is:

A Brined Holiday Spice Roast Turkey (13 pound)

Bourbon Gravy (from drippings)

Garlic Mashed Potatoes (someone else is making, but will need to be warmed)

Jalepeno Cheddar Corn Souffle Casserole (50 min @ 325)

Brown Butter and Bacon Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Praline Sweet Potato Casserole (25 min @ 375)

Scratch-made Green Bean Casserole (15 min @ 475)

Cherry-Apple Stuffing (30 min @ 325)

The dessert (an Orange Spice Chocolate Tart) I will make the day before. The brining and veg prep will be done the day before as well. Our sit-down deadline is 6:00pm. I only have one oven, but I do have a small counter top convection toaster oven also.

Okay, so I think I have a decent timeline thought out, but I want to compare it to what you come up with. Obviously, only having one oven, not everything will be piping hot at the dinner table; that's part of where i need your help (which things need to be hot/will be fine warm/which things will stay warm the longest...etc).

Let me know what you think my timeline should look like.

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  1. I don't think you have anything that will be fine not hot. No microwave, rice cooker or slowcooker? Maybe the person bringing the potatoes can bring them in a crock pot? Turkey needs to rest for 45 minutes, so put everything else in at 350 and you should be fine. If there's not enough room, decide what you can heat on the stovetop and then run under the broiler.

    1. What I usually do is think backwards from the time of the meal, figuring out what needs to be done at what time. So if I want to eat the turkey at 4, and it needs to rest for a half an hour, it needs to come out of the oven at 3:30. I do this for every single item that needs to go in the oven, and every single step required to cook each item.

      I write it all down, with minute by minute instructions for when to put everything in the oven. And I keep everything at the same oven temperature as much as a can. This means reworking recipes to make everything work at 375 degrees, or doing stuff in the morning and reheating. Oh, and I use the broiler liberally.

      Give yourself a lot of extra time. I like to do most of my work in the morning, that way I can spend time with my family in the afternoon. There will be issues, and the best thing to do is the plan for them in advance. This is probably a given, but make sure you stay relaxed and mindful in there, and remember that the point is spending time with people who care. Really, the food is less important than the company.

      1 Reply
      1. re: caseyjo

        +1 on pretty much everything caseyjo said: make a meticulous schedule that is constructed backwards from "sit down and eat" time, and realize that prescribed oven temperatures for various recipes are quite malleable, really. I also do absolutely everything possible before Thanksgiving Day--every bit of chopping and prep, table-setting, cooking of items that taste fine reheated or at room temperature, and so on. I have one oven and one cook (me). It all works.

      2. I let my turkey rest for a full hour. It makes it really juicy and makes cooking sides easy. Oven temps for all these things are not of precise importance.

        1 Reply
        1. re: magiesmom

          I always schedule myself a 30 minute slot for resting the turkey but I have let it sit for an hour or more with no issues - and magiesmom is right, it only makes it better! If it's not hot enough for your taste, you can always slice it and place the slices on a hot serving platter, or run them briefly under the broiler.

        2. A couple of questions. Is the green bean casserole essentially being broiled to get a crispy top? Also, how forgiving is the Jalepeno Cheddar Corn Souffle? Depending on how finicky the Green Bean Casserole is, would would make all the casseroles and stuffing ahead of time with the exception of the Jalepeno Cheddar Souffle casserole since you might want to serve it hot and "inflated." Also, I would heat the mashed potatoes on the stovetop as opposed to in the oven. YOu can slowly warm them and add a bit more milk to loosen them up as they warm. You'll have a better chance of warming them through on the stovetop. Ok so my timeline would be:

          Made before Thursday
          Sweet potato casserole
          Stuffing
          Green Bean Casserole
          Cranberry orange sauce

          12:30 pm put turkey in the oven
          2:00 pm take all of the casseroles out of the fridge to come to room temp
          3:00 pm make brussels sprouts
          4:00 pm make Cheddar casserole ready to be cooked by 5:00 pm
          5:00 pm take turkey out of the oven and cover with foil
          5:10 pm put cheddar casserole in oven
          5:15 pm make gravy
          5:25 pm put the sweet potato, green bean casserole and stuffing into the oven with the cheddar casserole
          5:30 pm Carve turkey and place on platter covered in foil
          5:45 pm reheat brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes on stovetop
          6:00 pm serve dinner

          5 Replies
          1. re: Dcfoodblog

            You know, the past several years, my turkey is really way sooner than I expect. Maybe it's because I now use a probe thermometer that I leave in and it alerts when temp is reached. I like small turkeys and this person says the turkey is 13 lbs.

            I don't think it will take over 3 hours so putting it in oven at 12:30 to serve dinner at 6 seems like it's too much time allowed.

            1. re: walker

              Absolutely. A 13-lb turkey will be dried to a crisp after 4.5 hours in the oven! I did a 10-pounder last week and it was done after just over 2 hours (started for 30 minutes at 425, then heat turned down to 300). The rest of the timing seems OK, though.

              1. re: travelmad478

                2 hours was my instinct as well but I went on the USDA website and it called for a 12-16 pound turkey to be cooked for 4-5 hours. I went against my usual practice because I didn't want to give bad info to a stranger. But hooray! Nice to know my usual practice isn't crazy.

                1. re: Dcfoodblog

                  USDA is nuts if that's what they're saying (unless they are cooking their turkey at 200 degrees, or sous-vide, or something like that...which I doubt!) I'd go longer than 2 hours for a 13-pounder, but definitely not more than 3.

            2. re: Dcfoodblog

              Awesome, yeah the turkey is a thirteener, so I'll prolly do just over 2 hours, but this is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!

            3. Thanks for the help, everyone! You've all given me some awesome ideas and a good platform to start from!