Talk to Me Tuesday: Turkey Day Tips

I love Thanksgiving.  Well, actually that’s not exactly true.  I love the idea of Thanksgiving – the boatloads of rich foods, the decorations, the traditions, the leftovers.  Unfortunately, since I live several states away from any extended family, I’m kind of on my own when it comes to pulling off this massive, potentially stress-inducing meal.  It’s a daunting task to take on each year.

So for today’s Talk to Me Tuesday post I’m asking for your help.  I need some fabulous Turkey Day Tips.  What tricks do you have up your sleeve that help you pull off a warm, family-friendly Thanksgiving?  What recipes do you love?  How do you organize your timing to pull everything off?  What traditions do you incorporate into your Thanksgiving celebration? How do you involve your kids in the preparations? Are there any cooking tools or tips that save you time and energy on the big day?

To get you started, I thought I’d share my new favorite turkey recipe.  Last year, I made a maple & sage roasted turkey and I can honestly say it was the most delicious turkey I’ve ever tasted – moist, tender and packed with flavor.  My house smelled fantastic for hours!  I found it on Food Network’s website.  You can find the link here.  The recipe includes a corn bread stuffing but I skipped it and used a box mix instead.  If any of you give it a shot, I hope you’ll let me know if it was worth it.

Now it’s your turn to pass on your favorite Turkey Day Tips.  As always, to those of you who comment, thanks – in advance – for passing it on.


  1. My tip is NOT to go to an all you can eat buffet for Thanksgiving dinner. We did that one year with my husband’s family. The line was huge and the food wasn’t that good and no leftovers. It is worth it to make your own.

  2. Making the potatoes the night before then heating them up in a crockpot. Then you can serve them hot without having to do all the last miute stuff and cold potatoes.

  3. I love April’s idea! I’ll have to try that this year. Doing what you can the day before has always helped! With 12 kids my mom had us help her with as much as possible for Thanksgiving. And most of that was done the day before since it’s tradition in my family to eat around 1:00 in the afternoon rather than dinner time. All the cold salads and most of the pies were done Thanksgiving Eve. And one of the few pies I eat is Sweet German Chocolate Pie. Yummy! It turns out more like a fluffy cheesecake… oh, so good! I’ll have to find the recipe and email it later. I’m all about the easy and fast!

  4. My tip is to stick with the things you absolutely love. I pick three things that are most important to me and focus my energy on that,then when things don’t go as smoothly as I would have liked (which is almost always) at least I can look back and enjoy the moment and children get tired mommy instead of tired AND grumpy. Also I delegate. A formal table setting is not a priority for me so this year I am planning on letting my children decorate. love your website BTW. It has been a real blessing in our home. My favorites are stash boxes, the job chart and the sticker reward system. Thank you!

  5. Okay, here is that fabulous German Sweet Choc. Pie recipe I talked about!

    1 package (4 oz.) Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate
    1/3 C milk, divided
    4 oz. cream cheese, softened
    2 Tbs. sugar
    1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed
    1 prepared graham cracker crumb crust

    Microwave chocolate and 2 Tbs. of milk in bowl on high for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring halfway through heating time. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

    Beat in cream cheese, sugar and remaining milk until well blended. Refrigerate about 10 minutes to cool. Gently stir in whipped topping until smooth. Spoon into crust.

    Freeze 4 hours or refrigerate till firm. Garnish as desired. (I like to shave chocolate over the top) Let stand at room temperature till pie can be cut easily.

    This is seriously the easiest pie in the world!

  6. Witchy Wanda

    This is what I am going to work on for my Thanksgiving dinner for next year. It will be one of my goals for the New Year.

    I am going to gather all the recipes I make for Thanksgiving each year and type them into one document. I imagine it will be two or three pages with multiple recipes per page. Then I will put them in page protectors and put them in my recipe binder. That way I will have all my recipes for Thanksgiving in one place vs. my current situation with some on 3 x 5 cards in my recipe box, some on full pages in my binder and a couple others in different recipe books. I think this will make it much easier come Thanksgiving day.

    I also plan to make a Master Thanksgiving Shopping List. I make the same thing for our meal each year and write out the same shopping list each year. I might as well type it out and keep it in my recipe binder. Then I can just check stuff off that I already have and go get the stuff I need.

    Thanks for all your wonderful tips.

  7. I like to ask my 4 kids what specific foods they want (besides turkey, dressing and cranberry) like potatos mashed, scalloped or roasted? What desserts and sides will just make their Turkey Day? My husband loves it all, so nothing specific for him. Then, as long as I fell like they are getting what they want and have some imput, my day is less stressful. I also delegate jobs for helping in the kitchen, setting and decorating the table and getting the house ready. We always are very thankful and careful to recognize our blessings, but I think it comes easier when we all have some ownership in making the day special!

    LOVE your blog–thanks for sharing!

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