It’s easy to feel like a turkey when you’re a Thanksgiving novice. But the right plan makes it easy to host a memorable holiday. With a step-by-step timeline and six classic recipes that taste as delicious as they are easy, our detailed guide will help you make a meal that demands seconds. One thing’s for sure: your guests will be thankful for the delicious spread! So go ahead and let them praise you for your hard work. And if you don’t feel like telling them how simple it was, don’t worry – we won’t, either.
From the turkey to the trimmings, we have it all in one place. Follow these recipes to bring the best to your table this year. Our menu plan offers some on-trend flavours and textures (kale, bacon, crunchy nuts) while checking off all the traditional boxes: turkey, stuffing, gravy, roasted veg, salad and, of course, pumpkin pie.
One week to Turkey Day: Stock up on turkey, equipment and non-perishable groceries
- Clean out your fridge and freezer to make room for the delicious dishes to come.
- Familiarize yourself with the recipes above and take stock of your pantry.
- Make a list of any non-perishables you still need, such as chicken broth, white wine and maple syrup.
- Ensure you have all the cooking equipment you’ll need:
|roasting pan||carving knife|
|digital meat thermometer||mixing spoons|
|baking sheets||cutting board|
|baking dishes||parchment paper|
|large skillet||paper towel|
|small saucepan||rolling pin|
|small and larger pots||pie plate|
|sharp chopping knife||cooling rack|
- Take stock of your servingware and make a list of everything you’ll need to set your table:
|serving bowls and platters||plates and cutlery||gravy boat|
- Check that you have the cleaning supplies you’ll need after dinner, as well as containers for leftovers.
- Visit your local Sobeys to find the ingredients that will make your meal memorable.
- If you haven’t already, talk turkey with our meat experts: order a fresh bird or buy a frozen one to take home; plan for about 1 ½ pounds (750 g) of turkey per person to feed your guests and still have leftovers to spare.
- Confirm RSVPs.
- Buy or make decorations.
Three days to Turkey Day: Buy fresh foods, defrost the turkey and declutter your home
- If cooking a frozen turkey, place it in the fridge to thaw. (Never thaw a turkey at room temperature. Yours might not need the full three days: allow about five hours of thawing time per pound, or 10 hours per kilogram.) Or stop by Sobeys to pick up the fresh turkey you ordered.
- Buy no-fuss appetizers like cheese, crackers and olives to serve guests who arrive early.
- Shop for fresh goods, such as vegetables, herbs and bread.
- Buy beverages and make or buy ice.
One day to Turkey Day: Prep and clean
- Prepare the compound butter for the turkey as well as the dressing for the kale salad; store in the fridge.
- Chop the onions, celery, garlic, herbs and salad greens for the recipes; store prepared vegetables in separate, paper towel-lined containers or bags in the fridge.
- Cube the bread for the stuffing and store at room temperature in a cloth-covered bowl.
- Make the pumpkin pie filling and store in the fridge; bake, cool and cover the crust with foil and store at room temperature.
- Clean the house, set the table and prep the drinks station (minus the ice).
- Set out the table decor and place cards.
- Clear household clutter and create space near the door for guests’ shoes and jackets.
Five (or more) hours before mealtime:
- Preheat the oven, put the turkey in and cook according to instructions. (Our recipe serves eight, so start this step earlier for a larger turkey. Your bird should be cooked an hour before mealtime so you’ll have time to let it rest, plus a bit of leeway. See this Turkey Farmers of Canada guide for weight-based cooking times.)
Three hours before mealtime:
- Prepare the stuffing to the end of Step 3 in the recipe: sauté the bacon, onions and mushrooms, then add wine and reduce, but don’t mix with the bread and eggs just yet.
- Finish mixing the creamy kale salad; cover and refrigerate. (See how to tenderize kale.)
Two hours before mealtime:
- Prep the roasted root veggies, remembering to peel and slice the parsnips and boil and halve the potatoes; cover and store on a baking sheet on the counter.
One hour before mealtime:
- Remove the turkey from the oven, tent with foil and allow to rest.
- Set out some basic appetizers, such as brie, crackers, figs and olives (you can do this earlier if your guests have already arrived).
- Finish mixing the stuffing and bake it. When it’s done, increase oven heat and roast the veggies.
- Make the gravy.
Just before serving:
- Reduce oven heat and place the pumpkin pie in the oven; set a timer to check on it during dinner.
- Enjoy, and pass the delicious!
Tips for Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner
- Create your own traditions: introduce games, stage a karaoke contest or lead guests in expressing what they’re thankful for. There are plenty of ways to build fun memories.
- Kids are great helpers. Put them to work with age-appropriate tasks like washing and peeling vegetables, cutting bread for stuffing, decorating the table, taking coats and showing guests to their seats.
- Don’t lose track of time: set timers so you can stay on top of what’s cooking while still chatting with guests. (Smartphones have useful timers and alarms that can help you manage multiple dishes.)
- If guests offer, ask them to contribute items that don’t take up valuable oven or fridge space, like antipasto, room-temperature appetizers, drinks and ready-to-serve desserts.
- Most guests will welcome a doggy bag of leftovers, so have bags or containers ready.