Tuesday's Tip: Tips for Big Deal Meal Prep - FamilyEducation

Tuesday's Tip: Tips for Big Deal Meal Prep

November 22,2011
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

Tomorrow SPH will begin to brine the turkey and turkey breast.  Tomorrow I will prep everything for the gravy and stuffing, and begin to thaw the cranberry sauce, green tomato chutney and pumpkin butter I made a couple weeks ago.  Tomorrow I will set up the extra table and move chairs.  But *today*, I will go over my check list.

For this week’s Tuesday’s Tip(s), I share with you a check list I use for big gatherings, to make sure nothing is forgotten:

House Preparation:

*Empty out closet space or prepare a place for jackets and outerwear (sometimes as simple as a free bed or sofa)
*Spot clean the bathroom, make sure there is plenty of toilet paper and soap, and clean hand towels
*Sweep the entryway to make sure it is presentable
*Have the boys put away toys, especially ones that might cause others to trip
*Do a quick, general spot clean and pick up of any errant items
*Since we have lots of young kids in our extended family, make sure there are no dangerous or toxic items in toddlers’ reach

Kitchen Preparation:

*Pull out any serving pieces I might need to use, check that I have counter or table space for dishes and other sides folks might be bringing, also checking serving utensils.
*Determine a space in our home for drinks, dinner serving and desserts.
*Pull out plates, napkins, silverware and glasses, making sure I have enough of each
*Figure out seating (this can be as casual or formal as you like) and do place cards if necessary

Dining Room/Tables Preparation:

*Set up enough chairs, do a headcount if doing a seated dinner
*Put out tableclothes and placemats, if using.
*Either set tables if doing a formal seating, or stack dinnerware for use
*Spot clean or polish anything, if necessary
*Figure out centerpieces, if using.

Final touches:


*Chill wine or other drinks, if necessary
*Make sure your grocery shopping is truly finished (I am notorious for thinking “we have onions” and then realizing I need 3 or 4 and I only have 2), checking each recipe carefully
*Check cleaning supplies, especially dishwasher detergent and dish soap, paper towels, etc.
*Make sure you have a good supply of kitchen towels.

Last but not least:

*Take a load off...and chill for a bit.  Chances are, if you are hosting a big group, you will need the extra energy!  

Hope these tips serve as a good list of reminders to make your Thanksgiving go smoothly.  

Did I forget anything?

SPC