A Less Stress Thanksgiving Dinner

And away we go! Are you ready? What? Not so much? That’s okay…don’t panic. We’ve got you covered. Today is Saturday, I know you are working Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but here’s your guide to a beautiful “Less Stress Thanksgiving Dinner” for 8 people. AND…they will be amazed at your prowess in the kitchen.

Less Stress Thanksgiving Dinner Joel

Part of the way we have Gr8 Fun when we get together is by planning ahead. So here you go….all planned for you!

  • Today, Saturday, go grocery shopping. That’s right, you can buy everything for your dinner today, no last minute shopping with this menu.
  • Sunday, make a couple of dishes.
  • Monday, figure out your Thursday time-line.
  • Tuesday, stop on the way home and pick up fresh flowers, then set the table.
  • Wednesday evening, do a little more prep.
  • And Thursday, finish up and sit down to a beautiful, homemade dinner.

Appetizers are not included in this menu. If you want appetizers, I recommend you task your guests with bringing a couple; that is the easiest. OR, you can put together a Cheese & Charcuterie Board, but this will add to your time in the kitchen.Cheese and Charcuterie Board

Less Stress Thanksgiving Dinner for 8



  1. Read through the recipes.
  2. Grocery shop.


  1. If your turkey is frozen, put it in the refrigerator to thaw.
  2. Make the Cranberry Apple Sauce, cool, put into your serving dish, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  3. Make the Apple Pie filling, Steps 4 & 5, place into a resealable plastic bag, freeze.
  4. Make the pie crust dough for double-crust pie. After chilling, roll out two rounds, lay a piece of parchment over half of each round, fold in half; lay another piece of parchment or wax paper over half and fold over. Use sprinklings of flour to prevent sticking. You should have two triangles of rolled dough ready to be laid into a pie plate and unfolded. Lay flat in separate resealable plastic bags and freeze. (Or, just buy frozen pie crusts!)

Monday Evening:

Figure out your Thursday time line:

  • What time do you want to eat?
  • Work backwards to figure out when the turkey should go in the oven, remember, it comes out of the oven AT LEAST 15 minutes before serving.
  • Figure out when the other dishes should go in the oven.
  • This is your time line for Thursday.

Less Stress Thanksgiving FlowersTuesday Evening:

  • Pick up flowers for the centerpiece. I love fresh flowers and always think I have time to arrange them (sometimes that’s true and sometimes not so much). If you want to arrange them yourself, Gr8! If not, just pick up a pre-arranged bouquet.
  • Set the table; you will be amazed at how nice it is to have the table set ahead of time.

Wednesday Evening:

  1. Remove the apples from the freezer and place in the refrigerator to defrost overnight.
  2. Make the Sweet Potato Casserole, and make the topping separately. Cover separately and refrigerate. The recipe serves 16, if you like, it can be divided in half and baked in an 8″x8″ pan. OR, you can send leftovers home with your guests!
  3. Follow the Gr8 Do Ahead Tips for the Green Beans, Bacon and Onion. This recipe is for 4 servings, please double for 8, the grocery list already includes the doubled amounts.
  4. Chop and cut up the ingredients for your stuffing and refrigerate. If you start with a cooked onion mixture, then go ahead and cook these up and then refrigerate the mixture.

less stress Thanksgiving turkey rawThursday Morning:

  1. Put the potatoes in the slow cooker.
  2. Bake the pie:
    1. Defrost the pie crusts in the plastic bags, this should take about 45 minutes at room temperature.
    2. Lay one pie crust into the pie pan, dump the defrosted apple mixture in.
    3. Follow the recipe to complete the pie.
    4. Bake.
  3. Clean and prep the turkey. Put it in the oven when your time line requires. In the meantime, you can keep it covered in the fridge.
  4. Make your stuffing and bake it per your time line.

Less Stress Thanksgiving Dinner Sweet Potato CasseroleAt Least One Hour Before Eating:

  1. Put the toppings on the Sweet Potatoes and bake for 30 minutes.
  2. Mash the potatoes per the instructions.
  3. Finish the Green Beans, Bacon and Onion dish.
  4. Remove the turkey from the oven.
  5. If you are making the gravy, do that while the turkey rests.
  6. If you are using a jar of gravy, heat it up. You can add some of the turkey drippings for extra flavor.

Put the food on the table and give thanks for your Gr8 Family and Friends!Less Stress Thanksgiving Dinner Plated

Grocery List - Thanksgiving Dinner

Check to make sure you have the pantry items required before heading to the grocery store.



  • 1 12-pound turkey, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 pound bacon


  • 2 onions
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 head garlic
  • 5 pounds russet potatoes
  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 8 large fresh sage leaves
  • 8 large fresh thyme stems
  • 2 lemons
  • 7 Granny Smith Apples
  • 1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries


  • 1 quart milk, whole
  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 pint half and half
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 3 eggs

Frozen Foods

  • 24 ounces green beans, frozen
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream, if you want to serve it with the pie


  • 1 12-ounce jar turkey gravy, unless you choose to make your own
  • 1 small bottle port wine


  • Kosher or Sea Salt
  • Table Salt
  • Black Pepper, I use a pepper grinder
  • Olive Oil
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Flour
  • Cooking Spray
  • Maple Syrup
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Ground Nutmeg
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Ground Ginger
  • Vanilla Extract

Happy Turkey Day!

less stress Thanksgiving Dinner

Last published November 19, 2016.

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