Planning an Informal Thanksgiving Dinner

A hostess plan for an informal Thanksgiving dinner that will leave you time to enjoy your guests and leave your guests praising your efforts.

Planning a meal such as Thanksgiving, can be a daunting task. It requires not only time but money as well. It can be made easy by simply following a few simple suggestions.
You will see that these suggestions are easy and makes your task as the coordinator of the feast, more enjoyable and can also allow you to enjoy the meal with your guests. Begin by sitting down and making out a guest list. If this list contains only family, it may not be necessary for a list at all. Most family members know they are going to mom’s for Thanksgiving dinner, no questions asked. However if you invite friends or co-workers, a list is a must.
Writing down a list of guests gives you control over seating and dish sizes. It also gives you an idea of how large the turkey must be to accommodate these guests. A small guest list means less preparation and less leftovers. A larger one means you may be cooking for days!
After writing the guest list, contact each guest and inquire about their likes and dislikes, allergies to foods, find out if any are diabetics, on a special diet and the actual head count for the meal. If you have guests who have special diets, you may (and yes it is appropriate to ask this) want to request they bring along their favorite dish. That is one dish you do not have to prepare or attempt to guess guests portions. The best idea is to ask each guest to bring a dish of their choice. At this time, make sure to write down exactly what each guest will bring. This assures you that you do not have 3 broccoli casseroles, 4 baked beans and no desserts. It also allows you to make dish cards to sit in front of each dish. Once you have your list compiled with each guest and their dishes, simply add your own dishes to fill the remainder of the menu. Of course you will be responsible for the turkey and stuffing so make sure your turkey is large enough to serve the entire list of guests.
Thanksgiving dinner should have lots of variety. The pilgrims had variety with all the foods the Indians prepared and the foods they prepared themselves. Set up a buffet table to allow your guests to serve themselves. This idea keeps the dining table free of excess items and allows guests to choose their own portions and food items.
Clean up is another concern for the planning of this meal. Instead of bringing out the good China, why not save yourself the trouble of having to wash all the dishes afterwards by buying good paper plates? These will save you time and money in the long run. Make sure the plates are of a size that will accommodate the guests wares but not so large that they over fill them and waste food. Purchase dessert plates as well for small portions of desserts.
Thanksgiving is for giving thanks for all you have. It shouldn’t be about the expensive China, the formal dinner and spending time preparing the meal. Allow yourself to enjoy this Thanksgiving with your friends and family, not slaving over the preparations.

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