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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Cooking on a Budget: OAMC, Make Ahead, Freezing & More / The logistics of my first large Thanksgiving.
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    The logistics of my first large Thanksgiving.

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    dividend
    Sat Sep 11, 2010 2:42 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I know this forum is more about budgets/OAMC, but I thought all that collective batch-cooking knowledge could help me figure out how to scale recipes up as I look ahead to Thanksgiving.

    I'll be hosting for the first time this year, and they'll be 10 of us, from my family, my DBF's family, and my brother's GF's family, running the gamut from college soccer players to retired Moms. I've never cooked for that many people before (my immediate family is small), and am already thinking about quantity. I'd like to do some things ahead and freeze them (mashed potatoes, turkey stock for gravy, blanched brussel sprouts, homemade rolls to bake off, etc), and also to stock up on wine/beer when I see good prices, so that's why I'm thinking about it so far off.

    I've got a menu in mind:
    Good Eats Roast Turkey [I do this every year, it's a no brainer]
    Brussel sprouts with bacon [last minute, made on the stove]
    Mashed potatoes (with Boursin and butter) [made the day before]
    Turkey gravy [stock made ahead, froze, gravy made last minute]
    *Mom's got the stuffing covered
    Green salad [assembled ahead, dressing on the table]
    Some kind of bread or dinner rolls [made ahead, frozen, baked off last minute]
    Probably 2 pies - apple crisp and pecan [made the day before, warmed in low oven during dinner]
    Beer / wine
    Snacks

    So... does that sound like an decent spread, and doable by myself?
    How large of a turkey will I need? Is one even enough for 10 people?
    How many potatoes for mashed potatoes?
    How much gravy, assuming it's used on stuffing, mashed potatoes, and turkey meat?
    What quantity of brussel sprouts?
    How much wine or beer per person?
    What kind of snacks should I put out for people to nosh on as I finish dinner, and how much?

    What other tips do you all have for such a large group, besides buying a few more dishes? icon_biggrin.gif
    sparkle_eyes
    Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:06 pm
    Experienced "Head Chef" Poster
    Oh, I love Thanksgiving! And honestly, 10 people sounds small to me, but I'm used to celebrating with extended family or large groups of friends--20-30 people is the average size. Of course, those meals are usually more of a potluck style.

    For turkey, depending on how many leftovers you want, they usually recommend 1-1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person. So for 10 people, a 10-15 pound turkey.

    For figuring out the other amounts, I would find similar recipes to the ones you intend to use on this website and use the feature to change recipe size. You can set it to a specific number of servings, so that should give you a guideline. Or you could just figure on doubling each recipe that serves 4-6 people. Since there are lots of dishes at Thanksgiving, each person probably eats less of each dish than at a regular meal.

    For the drinks, I would do a google search for how much beer or wine to buy.

    For snacks, I think it depends on what you and your guests like. My family isn't very gourmet, so we usually have raw vegetables and dip (either bought or made the day before), crackers and cheese (or a cheese ball, if you want to be fancy), nuts, chex mix, chips and salsa. You don't need huge portions of these, since you are getting ready to eat a big meal.

    Have fun!
    foodtvfan
    Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:22 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Your menu sounds yummy. Here are some make-ahead mashed potato recipes you might like.
    A Mountain Of Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes #88831 (12 people)
    Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes For A Crowd #12223 (5 lb. potatoes)
    Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes #111245 (5 lb. potatoes)
    Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes #294146 (5 lb. potatoes)
    Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes #362319 (5 lb. potatoes)
    Refrigerator Potatoes (Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes) #95606 (5 lb. potatoes) (53 reviews)
    To Die for Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes #81902 (91 reviews)
    Kittencal's Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes #191490 (36 reviews) make up to 3 days ahead..use 10 medium potatoes

    A layered salad is also great and you can make it a day ahead too.
    Classic Layered Salad #25094. Or, here is my own layered salad which I plan to post if it isn’t already posted:

    24-HOUR LAYERED SALAD
    About 12 to 15 servings.
    Use a 9”x13”x2” clear glass pan or deep clear glass bowl to assemble salad.

    1 head iceberg lettuce, torn into small pieces, divided
    1 teaspoon sugar
    salt and pepper to taste
    6 hard cooked eggs, sliced
    10 oz. frozen peas, thawed and drained if necessary
    1 sweet red onion, sliced or chopped (optional)
    1 pound bacon, crisp cooked, drained and crumbled
    2 cups shredded Swiss cheese (8 oz.)
    OR mild or medium Cheddar cheese cubed or shredded
    1 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing

    Place 3 cups of the lettuce in the bottom of a deep clear glass bowl or
    a 9” x 13” x 2” glass pan.
    Sprinkle the lettuce with the sugar and salt and pepper to taste.
    Layer the egg slices (stand some on edge so you can see them on the side of the glass dish).
    Layer in order listed:
    • peas
    • sweet red onion
    • remaining lettuce
    • crumbled bacon (reserve some for garnish)
    • cheese
    Spread salad dressing over the top, sealing to the edge of the bowl or dish.
    Sprinkle top with reserved bacon. COVER AND REFRIGERATE OVERNIGHT.Toss before serving or cut wedges making sure some of each layer is in each serving. Seal leftovers with more Miracle Whip salad dressing. Refrigerate.

    Add one or more of the following to the middle layers (optional):
    1 cup chopped celery
    1 green pepper, cut into strips or chopped
    2 cups chopped firm tomatoes
    2 cups fresh mushroom slices
    6 green onions, chopped
    par-boiled sliced carrots


    For dessert you could make two dishes of Apple Crisp #80681 and serve it with French vanilla ice cream.

    Basic Stuffing Balls With Variations #146597 can also be made day ahead if you like but I see your Mom has dressing covered.

    icon_smile.gif Burnice
    foodtvfan
    Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:07 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    How much gravy, assuming it's used on stuffing, mashed potatoes, and turkey meat?
    About 1/2 to 1 cup per person? My family loves gravy!

    What quantity of brussel sprouts?
    About 1/2 to 3/4 cups per person should be more than enough.

    How much wine or beer per person? It really depends on the drinkers. Found this information online:
    “Count 5 servings of wine per bottle of wine and one bottle of beer per serving. Assume three servings of beer and three servings of wine per drinker. Add extra 3 bottles of wine if you are serving the good stuff. “
    and also found this information:
    “Figure 2 drinks per hour per person. Determine the demographics of your group. If you have a large male crowd, they drink more beer and will likely break the 30 minute rule for drinking.
    There are 4 (6oz.) glasses of wine per bottle or 5 (5 oz.) glasses of wine per bottle. If your party is for 2 hours, then plan on 4 drinks per person.....some will drink less....some will drink more.”
    “Plan on 5 bottles of wine for 10 people. That will more than cover it for up to 3 hours.”

    My own thoughts on beverages: Serve some chilled bottles of water. Remember designated drivers too. Serve special non-alcoholic drinks like Cinderella Non-Alcoholic Highball #149847. Have fruit juices or canned pop available for them.
    foodtvfan
    Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:09 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    foodtvfan
    Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:15 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Found a brussel sprout Brussels Sprouts with Bacon #51625 that can be made several hours ahead that you might like to try.
    Or how about Bacon-Topped Brussels Sprouts and double it.
    Lvs2Cook
    Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:14 am
    Food.com Groupie
    I make my gravy the day before and it's delicious! I don't have the recipe on here but if you want it let me know and I can zmail you the link! It makes the day less stressful if all I have to do it warm it up.

    I also use my Holiday Mashed Potatoes for potatoes to make the day before and Slow Cooked Sweet Potatoes ~ both make lots of potatoes.

    Good luck!
    Houseblend
    Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:41 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I hosted my first Thanksgiving last year as well and the best tip I had was to make the turkey the day before! Roast it, carve it and layer it into a large crockpot...every few layers of meat place a pat of butter or margarine and a sprinkling of chicken broth, then put the crock in the fridge. First thing in the morning on Thanksgiving before you start preparing everything else, put your crock in the base and turn on, checking it every hour to ensure it's heating properly and adding chicken broth/butter as needed.
    I was leery of getting yucky meat, but let me tell you how JUICY and SUCCULENT that meat was. I had so many complements and NO ONE would believe I had made it yesterday. Plus, since I had done it the day before all the clean up was done, and I was able to really spend time carving it nicely and spend TONS more time with my guests. Win-win if you ask me!
    mickeydownunder
    Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:01 am
    Food.com Groupie
    Houseblend wrote:
    I hosted my first Thanksgiving last year as well and the best tip I had was to make the turkey the day before! Roast it, carve it and layer it into a large crockpot...every few layers of meat place a pat of butter or margarine and a sprinkling of chicken broth, then put the crock in the fridge. First thing in the morning on Thanksgiving before you start preparing everything else, put your crock in the base and turn on, checking it every hour to ensure it's heating properly and adding chicken broth/butter as needed.
    I was leery of getting yucky meat, but let me tell you how JUICY and SUCCULENT that meat was. I had so many complements and NO ONE would believe I had made it yesterday. Plus, since I had done it the day before all the clean up was done, and I was able to really spend time carving it nicely and spend TONS more time with my guests. Win-win if you ask me!


    This has me intrigued

    was wondering about how much chicken brother for how many turkey slices..

    crockpot on low or auto

    for about how long does it stay like that?

    Does the chicken broth dissipate?

    GREAT idea...was doing a glazed turkey this year, so not sure if it would apply but certainly would be a great thing to do

    Thanks

    WHOO HOO!
    Houseblend
    Sun Sep 19, 2010 4:43 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I don't have an exact science- sorry! What I can tell you is that I did an 18lb turkey and sliced up most of the white meat and some of the dark meat and filled my extra large crock pot with it to the brim. I actually used margarine to cut down on some of the fat and just used a dinner teaspoon and dotted margarine after every good 1/2-1 inch layer of turkey or so.
    I got the best turkey stock/broth I could find at the store (I don't make my own) and used a small ladle to spoon it on at the same time I dotted on the margarine. I was conservative at first because I wasn't sure how much to use and didn't want to drown out my turkey! I put it back in the warmer at about 6am that morning on high for about 3 hours or so until the temp of the turkey was where I thought I could serve it, then dropped it down to low. I was removing the top about once per hour to add a bit of stock and check the temp so I'm sure it wasn't the most efficient, but it ended up perfect and it was so juicy I don't think anyone would have cared if it wasn't quite hot enough!
    I also did the same thing with my spiral sliced ham as well and it worked out!
    S/V Auspicious
    Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:05 pm
    Experienced "Head Chef" Poster
    The menu looks fine.

    In my experience a few people (at least) are going to want to help you in the kitchen. Other people will wander in "to watch." Think through your plan ahead of time so you can give chores to people. It helps to write out the instructions before hand.

    About the only thing I don't delegate is the turkey: no one seems to be able to leave the oven door shut, and I want to carve the way I want to carve.

    Everything else can be delegated. I don't ask for volunteers but I am prepared to accept them. I've had dinners where the only thing I ended up touching was the turkey and everyone had a glorious time.
    Mickeymousemom
    Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:54 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    We do 10-11 people every year. I usually buy a, roughly, 20 lb turkey and it works great. There are enough leftovers for everyone to take home(about 3 other families). I think your menu looks awesome!
    KennKonn
    Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:12 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I love cooking for the family and I buy a bigger turkey then what we need...I like turkey buns after and then for soup. I do my breads the day before and prep what I can as early as I can. I don't freeze my potatoes I peel them cover them in cold water till I am ready to cook them...same with my carrots and turnips. If I can do a salad a day before I will. I also delegate out...never hurts to ask someone to bring salad or a dessert. Do what you can so you arent overwhelmed the day of. 10 people is everyday around my mom's house, Thanksgiving, Easter and Xmas usually are about 25-30 because mom hates someone being alone for the holidays so we have had many widows and bachelors sitting with us over the years.
    kabobka
    Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:06 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    wow....congratulations on your first TG. Turkey....1 to 1/1/2 lbs per person if you don't want leftovers (you can always bake a breast extra just in case)

    Sounds like you've got it covered, meat..potato...veggie...stuffing...salad...dessert. What about sweet potato?
    meddings77
    Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:16 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    We usually between 15 to 20 people and I start cooking on Wednesday. We fix:
    A 20 lb. turkey in the oven
    A 15 lb. turkey in the deep fryer
    A 15 lb. ham
    Chicken and Dumplings
    Green Beans and Potatoes
    Dressing
    Corn
    Sweet Potatoes
    Mashed Potatoes
    Baked Beans
    Potato Salad
    Macaroni Salad
    Pasta Salad
    Pea Salad
    Rolls
    Cornbread
    Deviled Eggs
    Sometimes we also do Prime Rib or a Standing Crown Roast

    For dessert, we have
    Pumpkin Pie
    Pumpkin Roll
    Suzie Q
    Chocolate Pie
    Lemon Pie
    Fruit Salad
    Banana Split Pie
    Banana Pudding
    Jello
    Various Cakes

    And we offer soda and water for drinks

    Needless to say we are truly blessed with food and family!!!
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