Thanksgiving 2022: Tips for planning, offerings, defrosting turkey

Here’s a quick rundown of everything from defrosting the bird to looking for deals.

WASHINGTON – Organizing Thanksgiving is no mean feat. Food preparations that last for weeks, intensive deep cleanings and the panic that accompanies guest receptions.

Amid inflation this year, the worries of placing a Thanksgiving bird on the table are added to the list of host concerns. Despite this, planning is the key to a successful and stress-free Thanksgiving.

Here are some tips for hosting a stress-free Thanksgiving dinner.

Who is coming?

It all depends on the guest list when it comes to hosting Thanksgiving. Although some guests may crumble, it’s essential to have a general idea of ​​how many people are coming before you start shopping.

Taking the extra step of sending confirmation text messages to potential guests can help you finalize the guest list well before Thanksgiving Day.

Turkey or not Turkey? Finalize a menu

Thanksgiving meal planning starts with pen and paper. Write down all the dishes you plan to serve, including all side dishes, charcuterie boards, and desserts.

When thinking about recipes, keep in mind that the oven will mostly be off limits on Thanksgiving Day. Find dishes that can be made ahead or even served at room temperature.

If your budget is tight for a turkey this year, you can also opt for a roast chicken instead.

Rising holiday prices are not just the result of inflation. More than 47 million birds have been affected by bird flu in 43 states this year, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Prices for some types of poultry, including turkey, rose nearly 17% in October from last October, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But there’s still hope for a reasonably priced bird — that number doesn’t take into account common seasonal discounts from retailers before Thanksgiving.

MORE: Turkey prices rose 17% in October, but Thanksgiving shoppers will likely get discounts

Shopping lists and where to find Thanksgiving deals

Inflation is on everyone’s mind this holiday season, and stores know it. Several stores have announced deals and discounts ahead of Thanksgiving this year.

Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, announced lower prices for traditional Thanksgiving items in early November, a deal they call “this year’s Thanksgiving meal at last year’s price.”

RELATED: Walmart plans to sell some Thanksgiving items at last year’s prices

Discount supermarket chain Aldi is also joining in the promise of lower prices for Thanksgiving. It announced it would offer up to 30% off Thanksgiving groceries, to match prices before inflation from 2019 as part of the “Thanksgiving Price Rewind” promotion.

RELATED: Aldi Stores Match 2019 Thanksgiving Prices

Discount retailer Lidl, which has more than 170 stores on the East Coast, has announced it will once again be selling a Thanksgiving basket that can feed up to 10 people for less than $30.

With a game plan in mind, you can also shop more intuitively.

RELATED: What’s Open, Closed on Thanksgiving 2022?

A useful tip for organizing your groceries is to create two lists for the items you will need to purchase. One will be dedicated to groceries that last more than a week, while the second will be for easily perishable foodstuffs and the last groceries.

Check kitchen equipment

You’ll need more than an air fryer to cook Thanksgiving dinner, although that’s not a bad idea. Make sure you have all the necessary cooking equipment for your planned meals to avoid a nightmare situation.

In addition to checking that all cooking utensils are working, check that you have enough silverware, dishes, and appropriate seating for all the guests you plan to host.

Often an afterthought in the middle of food preparation is serving dishes. For over-the-top planners, delegating which food goes in which serving platter can help tame the chaos on Thanksgiving Day.

Too much work? Try a potluck

Potluck-style Thanksgiving dinners can help ease the workload and the impact on the host’s wallet.

If you’re planning on hosting a potluck-style dinner party, ask your guests what dishes they plan to cook so you can better prepare. Give friends and family the ability to whip up dishes that might overwhelm you, like the “perfect” dessert or casserole.

Win time

Preparing dishes in advance can lighten the workload for Thanksgiving Day. Side dishes like mac and cheese, stuffing and desserts can easily be made days ahead and reheated for dinner. This will not only free up time but also space in the kitchen.

Turkey 101: When should I defrost my turkey?

The centerpiece of a Thanksgiving dinner – and often the most overwhelming part.

Defrosting a turkey depends on the size of your Thanksgiving bird. The USDA says for frozen turkeys, you’ll need about 24 hours in the refrigerator for every four to five pounds of turkey. It’s about:

  • 1 to 3 days for a 4 to 12 pound turkey
  • 3-4 days for a 12-16 pound turkey
  • 4-5 days for a 16-20 pound turkey
  • 5-6 days for a 20-24 pound turkey

The thawed bird can sit in your refrigerator for a day or two before cooking.

When will I know my turkey is done?

For beginners, this is often the most confusing question. Using a cooking thermometer, read the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the thigh, and the innermost part of the wing.

The USDA says a ready-to-eat turkey should read 165 degrees. There’s a catch – if you’re stuffing the turkey, the center of the stuffing needs to reach that temperature as well. This can be difficult for larger birds.