Thanksgiving morning is not the time to start planning a major feast. Even the best chefs need a few weeks of prep time to pull off the perfect holiday meal. At least two weeks before the big day, put together a list of dishes you'd like to include, along with a list of ingredients. Don't feel pressured to try a bunch of new and exotic recipes to impress your guests, especially if it's your first time acting as host. Most people look forward to classic Thanksgiving favorites like turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, so complicated recipes only increase your odds of a holiday dinner disaster.
Free up time on the big day by preparing casseroles and side dishes 24 to 48 hours in advance and refrigerating them. Make appetizers beforehand so your guests will have something to snack on while you're busy in the kitchen. Finally, don't underestimate how much time it takes to prepare a turkey. Frozen turkeys require several days to thaw before they're ready to cook.