It has definitely been way too long since we last posted. Between new jobs, vacations, and the holidays things have definitely been busy around here! Two weekends ago, I did manage to make enough space in my busy work travel schedule to throw Friendsgiving with my roommate! Not only did I have a great time catching up with friends while eating some delicious food, I also was able to check another item off of my 30 Foods to Cook before you’re 30 List, Thanksgiving Dinner! Pulling off a great Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving meal is definitely no small task and so I’ve pulled together some tips and tricks to making it run as smooth as possible!
- Invites – Having a headcount is definitely the first step to planning a successful Friendsgiving. Not only will having a head count let you determine how big of a turkey to buy, it will also determine how many tables and chairs you’ll need. I set my the cap for my Friendsgiving at 18 people since that was the number of chairs I could borrow and equated to the largest turkey I thought I’d be able to find and successfully cook. We used Punchbowl to create invites since that way we could see who had viewed it and people could RSVP right through their email.
- Set your Menu – Since this is Friendsgiving, your friends are probably going to want to offer to make things. So decide early on what you’ll be making and what items you’d like friends to bring. I decided that we would make the staples (turkey, gravy, stuffing, & mashed potatoes) along with desserts since they are my specialty. Everything else we divided up between people that asked. We had friends bring everything from brussels sprouts and cranberry sauce to bottles of wine.
- Buy your Turkey Early – When you’re trying to buy a turkey a few weeks before Thanksgiving, chances are you may have a hard time finding a fresh one. While there is nothing wrong with a frozen turkey, it does mean you’ll have to leave time for it to defrost. I would suggest buying your turkey about a week in advance just in case you need to give it time to defrost in the fridge.
- Set the Table the Night Before – Even though you’ll most likely have some free time the day of, setting your table the night before ensures that you won’t have any last minute surprises like a chair being broken or realizing you don’t have as many napkins as you thought. I also like to take time the night before to pull out all the serving dishes I plan on using to make sure I have enough (and to wash them after sitting in my dusty basement for months).
- Write out a Timeline – You know what time your guests are coming, so now it’s time to work backwards to make sure you have enough time to cook your turkey and all your sides. Whatever start time you end up with, I would suggest padding with an extra half hour just in case you come across any surprises along the way.
- Utilize your Slow Cooker – This year I used my slow cooker not only to finish off my mashed potatoes but also to cook my stuffing. I suggest getting crock pot liners for easy clean up. Stuffing in the crock pot was super easy, I used my family’s recipe and put it in the crock pot on low for 4-5 hours until it reached 160F. It was definitely nice not having to worry about cooking the stuffing in the morning before the turkey and reheating or trying to cook it after the turkey came out.
- Clean as you Go – If your Friendsgiving is anything like mine, the wine will definitely be flowing and so the last thing you’ll want to do is spend hours cleaning up afterwards. I minimized this as much as possible by using crock pot liners, foil pans, and making sure everything that could be was washed and put away before people got there. By the end of dinner we only really had to clean the serving dishes and wine glasses, which luckily my friends pitched in to help with.
What other tips do you recommend for throwing a great Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving dinner?