7 things NOT to do for Thanksgiving and free printable

Are you new at hosting Thanksgiving dinner and are stressed out? Is everyone, giving you countless tips on what you should do? Fear not, I’m not one of them. Instead, here are 7 things you should NOT do.

7 things NOT to do for Thanksgiving (and free printable) - All that's Jas

7 things NOT to do for #Thanksgiving and #free #printable Click To Tweet

NO HAM

There is a reason Thanksgiving is associated with turkey. Ask any pilgrim. Ever since they served four (wild) turkeys at the first Thanksgiving it has become a tradition. Unless you’re vegetarian, turkey is the only way! Don’t need a whole bird? Then buy a turkey breast, or leg, or whatever your favorite part is. Mine happen to be the butt, but you can’t get those in bulk. Darn.

NO FROZEN TURKEY

Unless you won the bird at your local turkey bowling tournament (I’m making this up, maybe), then go with fresh turkey. Granted, it costs a little more but it’s worth it! I order it from my butcher and pick it up a day before Thanksgiving. It doesn’t crowd your refrigerator for days and it doesn’t end up swimming in its bloody juices. Or even worse, the bloody juices don’t leak all over your refrigerator.

NO CREATIVE MENU

Keep it simple. Trust me on this one. It is easy to get wrapped up in the holiday spirit and wanting to deliver the 10-course menu you saw in a magazine. I slaved over Turducken once for almost a week. Turducken is turkey stuffed with a whole duck that is stuffed with a whole chicken and has layers of dressing between them and in them. Of course, I had to make the dressing from scratch too. All that work and the flavor was just MEH.

NO NEW TRICKS

Don’t try a new recipe the day of thanksgiving! My daughter says: “I made a cauliflower head with a creamy cheese dressing for thanksgiving but it was the first time I tried it and the dressing ended up chunky as well as watery. (How’s that for a combo?) Nobody touched it, and it ended up going to waste.

NO LAST MINUTE PLANNING

Don’t wing it. Even a simple meal requires some planning and prepping or it’ll end up a disaster. Make your list and shop early. Have all your ingredients in one place. And management is a must! Figure out what to cook when. Other things you can do a day or two ahead:

• Chop vegetables. Keep them in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag.
• Cube bread for stuffing.
• Make pie dough. Or bake the entire pie.
• Prepare cranberry sauce.

NO WASTING

Got a bunch of leftovers, but you’re sick of eating the same meal again? Don’t throw it away! Have some Tupperware ready to send off with your family or repurpose your meals. Make turkey and cheese sandwiches with leftover turkey, or throw the veggies into a pan with eggs for a breakfast hash.

NO STRESS

Too many times we get caught up in the perfection of the meal and stress about our home being clean etc. Remember Thanksgiving is about family, being together and being thankful for what we have. So sit back, pop open a bottle of bubbly, and enjoy the holiday season.


Sometimes my turkey dinner comes to me. Although, our yard is fenced dozens of wild turkeys fly in to eat our grapes and spilled bird food. Some are so brave they don’t flee when we let our dogs out.

7 things NOT to do for Thanksgiving (and free printable) - All that's Jas

Come at me bro

7 things NOT to do for Thanksgiving (and free printable) - All that's Jas

Headless turkey. I guess you’d call it a butterball?

 

In case you’re deciding not to make the same side dishes as before and want to try something new, I would highly suggest roasted butternut squash with pecans and blue cheese or crispy roasted sweet potatoes. Both recipes are super easy to make and fail-free. To use up leftover turkey my two go-to recipes are turkey tacos and kickasserole.

And here is your free printable. You can download two sizes: 7×5 here or 8×10 here.

give-thanks

 

Invest in a roaster. It’ll pay for itself. Disposable aluminum pans are too weak and risky for a good size turkey. I own this particular one and I love it. It is light in weight, non-stick, and easy to wash. It is dishwasher safe, but I always wash it by hand. It’s a breeze.

 

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Jas

publisher and creative director at All that's Jas
Jas is a cheesecake addict and the author of the Balkan Comfort Food cookbook available on Amazon. You can download a free excerpt of the book when you subscribe to All that's Jas newsletter updates. To learn more about Jas visit her About page.
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26 Comment

  1. Reply
    Kareen Walton
    December 11, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Yes, completely agree with you. In this too busy, colorful and complex life, a simple, comfortable and saving holiday is very needed, especially it is Thanksgiving. I don’t want add too much modern factors in this traditional custom. Your tips are so great and I have learned a lot from that. Thank you!

  2. Reply
    Emily
    December 7, 2016 at 1:15 am

    Mmmm, these sharings are very useful. I agree with you on most of them. Even when I am a vegetarian, in my opinion Thanksgiving holiday can’t lack of turkey. It is one of the most important part at this time of year! Although I don’t use turkey, I still cook a certain turkey dish for my family and then I eat something go along with it, vegetables, fruits or breads, for example. And over many years, I feel that is so OK. Thank for your topic too much!

  3. Reply
    Kim Clark
    November 29, 2016 at 10:22 am

    Lol Ms Jas these are sooo true! This Thanksgiving we were trying with such a long menu and we were exhausted after the day with a big bunch of leftovers. Wish I was here sooner. Great article. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      November 29, 2016 at 1:16 pm

      Thank you, Kim! Keep it for next Thanksgiving, lol.

  4. Reply
    The Rambler
    November 22, 2016 at 10:20 am

    You are so right on keeping it simple and don’t overdo it. Last year, I about gave myself an almost mental health meltdown for wanting it to be perfect. And planning…so so important. I’m deathly afraid of birds so if a Turkey decided my backyard was the place to hang out, it wouldn’t be pretty. For me…they wouldn’t give a peep. #turnituptuesdays

    1. Reply
      Jas
      November 22, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      LOL, that seriously made me giggle. Not the fact that you’re scared of birds, that’s not funny. Yeah, simple is always the safest and sometimes the best route 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Reply
    Christie
    November 22, 2016 at 7:22 am

    This year, our grown children are all going different directions for Thanksgiving, which left me feeling a little down, so my husband and I decided to stay at the Grand America and enjoy a night of total relaxation in a beautiful atmosphere and let someone else bring a delicious meal to our room. Then we’ll be rested up for the masses that come to our house on Christmas!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      November 22, 2016 at 9:43 am

      Christie, that sounds like a great plan! Enjoy and recharge your batteries. You’ll need them come Christmas 😀 Happy Holidays!!!

  6. Reply
    Thomas
    November 21, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    I am not a fan of eating the same dishes by days but you gave me a very useful tip to do with leftovers.
    By the way, thanks for your Crispy Roasted Sweet Potatoes recipe.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      November 22, 2016 at 9:45 am

      Hi, Thomas! Thank you and thanks for stopping in. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  7. Reply
    Helen at the Lazy Gastronome
    November 21, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Although I buy frozen because fresh is hard to find, we did get a turkey from some friends that owned a turkey ranch. And by fresh, I mean they butchered it that day. There is absolutely no comparison in the flavor of that fresh bird – none. Great tips! Thanks for sharing on the What’s for Dinner Link up! And Happy Thanksgiving!
    Helen at the Lazy Gastronome recently posted…Steak FritesMy Profile

    1. Reply
      Jas
      November 22, 2016 at 9:52 am

      Not just fresh bird, but also the way it was fed. The flavor is amazing! Our butcher only sells either totally organic or no GMO, no hormones and antibiotics meat. Thanks for visiting, Helen!

  8. Reply
    Minnie Scott
    November 21, 2016 at 4:44 am

    Holidays always make me feel a lil bit more stressful due to prepare for celebrating especially Thanksgiving (yeah you know that – turkey, baking, shopping, cleaning,…)
    However, it’s still a good occasion for us to reunion with the family for a dinner !
    By the way, happy holiday Jas !

    1. Reply
      Jas
      November 21, 2016 at 8:32 am

      Hi, Minnie! I agree. Each time I think next year we’ll go out and have someone else do the work, but by the next time I’m ready to “sacrifice” again, LOL. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

  9. Reply
    Angie ~ ambient wares
    November 20, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    I like the “no creative menu”. Whatever you’re used to, stick with it 😉 I always make green bean casserole. One year, it sat in the microwave the entire day because we all forgot about it. I’ll never forget that because I LOVE green bean casserole and I STILL forgot about it 😀 Thanks for sharing with us at Funtastic Friday!
    Angie ~ ambient wares recently posted…Chalkboard Fun & Organization Station from Tube TV ShellMy Profile

    1. Reply
      Jas
      November 21, 2016 at 8:29 am

      Oh no, lol. I bet you will never forget it again, Thanks for sharing, Angie, and have an unforgettable (no pun intended) Thanksgiving! 😀

  10. Reply
    Bam's Kitchen
    November 19, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Great pointers…Holidays are stressful enough without adding new unpredictable recipe results into the equation.
    Bam’s Kitchen recently posted…Moroccan Olive ChickenMy Profile

    1. Reply
      Jas
      November 19, 2016 at 10:15 pm

      Totally! Thanks, Bobbi! Hope your Thanksgiving is stress-free 🙂

  11. Reply
    Lisa/Syncopated Mama
    November 18, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    I have to say, turducken has never been on my list of things to try to make (or eat, for that matter!) At least you can say you tried it once, right?

    1. Reply
      Jas
      November 18, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      Right, but I will never get over it, LOL! Thanks for stopping in, Lisa, and have a great weekend! 🙂

  12. Reply
    Mary-the boondocks blog
    November 17, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Also my kids don’t like surprises. So we try to stick to the basics.
    Mary-the boondocks blog recently posted…Easy Green Christmas Centerpieces – Wrapping Up the HolidaysMy Profile

    1. Reply
      Jas
      November 18, 2016 at 7:41 am

      Mary, I love that you are keeping the tradition of celebrating with your family even in Greece! And yeah, kids are funny that way. Every time I’d try a new recipe my daughter would complain that I’m “experimenting”. Now that she has a family of her own, guess what she does? LOL

  13. Reply
    Ann
    November 17, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Very sound advice although I hv to disagree with no frozen turkey because at one point that was the only thing we could get (before they decide to take turkey off the shelves altogether!)

    Yes, yes, yes to all! Happy Thanksgiving! Xoxoxo.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      November 18, 2016 at 7:37 am

      Ann, understandable – if you have no other option, then frozen it is 🙂 Have a great weekend! Smooches and hugs!!!

  14. Reply
    Skipah
    November 17, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Did the turducken thing one year and completely agree, it may look pretty but definitely not worth all the effort!
    Skipah recently posted…Welcome to Sugartit, Kentucky!My Profile

    1. Reply
      Jas
      November 17, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      You know it! Bummer, though.

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