Thanksgiving Meal Planner, Guide, and Schedule

Thanksgiving Dinner Meal Planner, Prep Guide, and schedule

Do you get overwhelmed at the thought of hosting Thanksgiving?  I get it!  I was a Caterer, I’m a type-A-crazy-list-everything-must-be-planned person and I love to cook and entertaining – and I STILL get overwhelmed by the thought of hosting a holiday party.  But I have figured out how to plan ahead and prep for these big events and now I’m giving you all of the tips, tricks, and checklists!  CLICK HERE TO GET THE FREE PRINTABLE Thanksgiving Meal Planner, Guide, and Schedule!


roll with the punches with this Thanksgiving Meal Planner

The first thing I tell myself when hosting a dinner? Things will not go as planned and THAT’S OK! Of course you want the major things to work out…a fully cooked turkey would be good ;). However, not every detail will play out as you hope. So gear yourself up to roll with the punches! We really only need each other, the rest of it will fall into place.

So, in the spirit of prepping as much as you can and rolling with it from there… Here are some tips for planning and preparing. Plus a detailed Prep-Ahead Schedule so you can enjoy the Thanksgiving Day with your family!  CLICK HERE TO GET THE FREE PRINTABLE.

Picture of Turkey being carved for Thanksgiving Dinner Meal Planner & Prep Guide


When it comes to planning any dinner party, there are a few key things to remember that I learned as a caterer in NYC.  Following these tips will help you no matter how big or small the dinner or event.    

1)  Make Lists! List all of the appetizers, dinner items, condiments, sides, drinks, etc. that you need to have ready (see menu page!). List out the times you want food to be served and then back into those times with the prep work.

2)  Enlist HELP! Assign certain foods to certain guests. People like to be needed and giving them a job to do makes them feel a part of. It also take all of the burden off of you! So, on the list of food, assign names.

3)  Prepare AHEAD! I know this one may seem obvious, but prep as much as possible in advance to make the day of easier. All of my recipes have Prep-Ahead instructions, so refer to those for an idea. You can chop, dice, even cook many of the dishes in advance and simply reheat.

4)  Label your serving platters in advance! This is a tip from my catering days. I find this one to be a huge help so I don’t get frustrated when the wrong food item is placed on the wrong dish and then I’m scrambling to find a new platter. Refer to your menu and then create labels for each item. Place each label on a dish and set them out so that they are waiting for you and the person assigned to that food know where it goes!


Here is a Menu Template that you can fill out for your Thanksgiving Dinner.  This template is part of the FREE Thanksgiving Meal Planner, Guide, and Schedule.  

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Planning & Prep Guide

I have given you some ideas, but you should customize this to your family preferences, traditions, and needs.


For the main dish, the obvious choice is Turkey, but you could also do a roast ham or roast beef.  For the turkey, I have prepared for you a TURKEY COOKING CHEAT SHEET within the FREE Thanksgiving Meal Planner, Guide, and Schedule!


Here are some recipes to consider for your Thanksgiving table!  

PREP AHEAD SCHEDULE – a few items each day the week ahead!

Like any big project, task, or event, doing a little bit every day is an easier way to achieve your goal vs. leaving it all to the last minute. So, to help you get ready for hosting Thanksgiving, I have created for you, a detailed prep ahead schedule of things you can do each day in the 7 days ahead of Thanksgiving Day!  If you follow this simple checklist, I promise that Thanksgiving Day will be sooooo much easier for you.  This is part of the Complete FREE Thanksgiving Meal Planner, Guide, and Schedule!

Prep Ahead schedule for Thanksgiving Dinner Meal Planner & Prep Guide


That’s right!  I’ve even created a hour-by-hour schedule for you for cooking your turkey, sides, setting the table, and everything else!  I also have a blank version that you can fill in yourself. Once again, you can get these as part of the FREE Thanksgiving Meal Planner, Guide, and Schedule!


I hope these tips, tricks, guides, templates, and schedules help to make hosting Thanksgiving as easy as possible.


Thanksgiving Dinner Meal Planner, Prep Guide, and schedule

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