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The Ultimate Turkey Day Timeline: How to Prepare Like a Pro

thankgiving-dinner-mcgonigles-market-turkey-timelineCooking the Thanksgiving meal is a true test of one’s timing and multi-tasking skills. However, with so many details to remember, even the best multi-taskers can lose track while cooking this monstrous meal!

To make life a little easier, McGonigle’s has put together the ultimate Thanksgiving meal timeline of what you’ll need to prepare and when. So kick back, relax, and show your guests how the pros prepare for a Thanksgiving meal with these tips from McGonigle’s.

Related Read: The Ultimate List of Turkey Tips: How to Save Your Thanksgiving Dinner

1-2 Weeks Before Thanksgiving

  • Make a list of everything you’ll need to prepare your Thanksgiving feast. This includes fresh fall ingredients, place settings, refreshments and anything else you can think of. Do this ahead of time so, in case you forget anything, you’ll have time to run out before the big meal.
  • Order your Fresh Turkey from McGonigle’s Market to ensure you have the tastiest bird reserved for your Holiday meal. Hurry up, before they’re all gone!


2 Days Before Thanksgiving

There are plenty of dishes you can make ahead to ensure your Thanksgiving meal goes off without a hitch. Many are reluctant to prepare certain items before the big day because they don’t want to risk freshness, but the following dishes are no-brainers to get out of the way before the big day.

  • Pick up your fresh turkey (and sides if you’d like!) from McGonigle’s Market.
  • Make the cranberry sauce and store in the refrigerator.
  • Make your desserts and store in the refrigerator or cover and keep on the counter in a safe spot away from pets and pickers.

The Day before Thanksgiving

There are a few more things you can do the day before Thanksgiving to save some time, but be sure to just slightly undercook any baked goods so when you go to reheat them, they won’t get dry or spongy.

  • Prepare mashed potatoes and store in refrigerator.
  • Bake the stuffing and store in sealed container in refrigerator.
  • Set the table with festive decorations and place settings.
  • Make room in the fridge for leftovers! This is a pro tip that many forget, but making room in the fridge ahead of time will save time and stress when trying to pack in the leftovers or any additional food your guests may bring.

The Morning of Thanksgiving

  • Preheat your oven ahead of time to ensure seamless preparation. We suggest 325° Fahrenheit to start.
  • Start baking your turkey, basting when directions call for it.
  • Prepare other side dishes or appetizers that need to be made fresh.

An Hour Before the Thanksgiving Feast

  • Increase oven temperature to 350° Fahrenheit, and place mashed potatoes and stuffing in the oven to warm them before serving.
  • Set butter out on the table to soften for dinner rolls.

30 Minutes before the Thanksgiving Feast

  • Warm dinner rolls and anything else you have left that needs heating.
  • Take gravy out of the fridge and warm in a saucepan.
  • Cook green beans until tender. Since these don’t take long and you’ll want them hot, you’ll only need around 20 minutes to get these done and delicious!
  • Check refrigerator for that one item you always forget (cranberry sauce, Jello mold, etc.)

Just before Serving

  • Take the turkey out of the oven, carve and separate white meats and dark meats for guests, and last but not least, say thanks and remember how grateful you are to share this special tradition with the ones you love!

Haven’t ordered your turkey yet? We’ve got your back! Order your fresh turkey from McGonigle’s and for everything else on your Thanksgiving list, stop by McGonigle’s Market today!


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