Background picture of me & our Thanksgiving dinner in 2002 - it served 5-8

"Slow Down" by Simon & Garfunkle from Album "The Best of"


Excerpt from Cook Book "TasteBud's Delight" by Frances M. McCrory-Meservy copywrited 4/23/2007 #TXu1-354-553  All writes reserved. 

Make each recipe your own.  When it is almost done, add more spices until it fits your taste.  Each section of our great country has different cultures and different tastes.  I toned some of the recipes down because we like them quite spicy.            Happy Holidays.  Fran


By spreading everything out over a period of a week, preparing Thanksgiving Dinner won’t be as stressful.

There is nothing wrong with asking older children (yours, neighbors or grandchildren) to help cut up vegetables or whatever you need help with. My children say some of their fondest memories were cutting things up for me. My grandchildren seem to enjoy helping and neighbor’s children ask to help.

Ask family and/or friends to prepare and bring certain things that they do well.

Play your favorite music and sing along – it’ll make you feel better.

Highlighted are to the things I did to prepare the dinner in the background picture in 2001.

  1. Thursday (1 week before Thanksgiving)
    1. Clean your refrigerator before you do anything else. Leave only what is necessary in it.
    2. Make your grocery list. Clip Coupons to it. Note what’s on sale where. 
    3. Take Turkey from freezer and put it in the bottom of the refrigerator to thaw.
  2. Friday or Heaven forbid – Saturday
    1. (shopping day – if you aren’t in a hurry, you won’t get upset).
    2. Put groceries away.
    3. Organize kitchen.
  3. Sunday  Rest while you have a chance.
  4. Monday
    1. Cook Ham, Slice, put in Microwaveable covered dish and store in Refrigerator.
    2. Make the cornbread and cut up the vegetables for the stuffing and store in separate bags in the Refrigerator (separate because raw onions cause other vegetables to rot faster) Picture Example of preparation before the big day.
  5. Tuesday
    1. Prepare green salad and put in covered container in the refrigerator.
    2. Prepare the Pumpkin, Apple and/or your choice of Pies and put them in pie keepers or cover them with Saran Wrap and store in the refrigerator.
  6. Wednesday
    1. Make the dressing, stuff the turkey and cook it. Remove cooking bag & put the turkey in the refrigerator still in its roasting pan (covered). Or do it at 5 AM Thursday if you want to eat at noon.  If you want to eat at 6 PM or later stuff & cook the turkey on Thanksgiving day.
    2. Prepare Sweet and Unsweetened Tea and put in the Refrigerator.
    3. Prepare Candid Sweet Potatoes & put in Crock-pot to simmer overnight.
    4. Put 2 cans of cranberry sauce jell in refrigerator.
  7. Thursday
    1. If you did the turkey the night before, about 2 hours before time to serve Dinner put Turkey in oven & heat for about 2 hrs.   If you did not, stuff & roast the turkey.  Put in oven 4-5 hours before you plan to eat - read the turkey bag insert for time allowance.
    2. Put giblets in pot of boiling, salty water and simmer for 1 hours.
    3. Set pies on counter.
    4. Prepare your special Cranberry sauce or remove cranberry sauce jell & put in shallow bowl & slice.
    5. Peal Russet Potatoes, cut up and put in pot to boil about 45 min. before Dinner. Make mashed potatoes about 15 minutes before Dinnertime.
    6. Bring water for corn to a boil. Put corn in to cook about 10 minutes before Dinner.
    7. Heat Ham in Microwave (retains more juices than if in oven).
    8. Put brown & serve rolls in the oven when you take the turkey out.
    9. Make Giblet gravy/use some of the turkey drippings in gravy.
    10. Heat Green Beans in Microwave or cook on stove or in crock-pot.
    11. 10 minutes before Dinner drop 1 stick of real butter into Candid Sweet Potatoes.
    12. Bon Appetite’.
  8. Don’t feel shy about asking friends and Family to help you clean up after dinner.

TYPICAL MENU ITEMS (we have actually had all the items below at one dinner; but we had 18 people to help us eat it all)

Bread:                                                                             Deserts:               

Cornbread Sage stuffing                                             Apple Pie                

White bread Sage stuffing                                         Pumpkin Pie        

Brown & Serve Rolls

Gravy:                                                                             Pork:

Giblet Gravy                                                                  Baked Ham

Poultry:                                                                         Condiment:

Roasted Turkey                                                             Cranberry Jell

Roasting Hen (Chicken)                                                 Butter

Beverages                                                                         Vegetables:

Iced Tea                                                                          Mashed Potatoes

Variety of Sodas                                                             Candid Yams

Coffee                                                                             Green Snap Beans

Milk                                                                                Corn on the Cob (fresh or frozen)


Grocery List (check the menus and note how much of each item you will need according to the number of people you expect for Lunch (Noon) or Dinner (6 PM) or Supper (8 PM or after). We have our Thanksgiving meal according to when all or most can be here (sometimes it’s for 2 days/half on Thursday & half on Friday).  Highlighted is if you just want a basic dinner like shown in the background picture.

  1. You will get your best deal on Turkey (Butterball unless you plan on basting a lot) and/or Ham the week before the holidays. If you want a 20 to 25 lb. Bird or Ham, get it a month in advance. Check the label for defrosting.
  2. Consider purchasing Reynolds Turkey size-baking bag (for ham & turkey) because it makes the meat juicier). Disposable: Aluminum Turkey Roasting Pan, Aluminum ham roasting pan, Aluminum foil, Paper Dinner Plates, Paper Bowls, Paper Desert plates, Napkins or soft paper towels, Disposable glasses, Disposable foam coffee cups, Plastic forks, knives, spoons and Plastic serving forks and spoons, large trash bags (less to clean up after Dinner), & Toothpicks.
  3. Drinks: Decaff and Caffeinated Coffee, Decaff and Caffeinated Tea, assorted Sodas, and milk.
  4. Vegetables (fresh): Russet potatoes, Sweet potatoes, Lettuce, Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumber, Yellow or white onions, Bell Pepper, Celery, Delicious Apples, Cranberries (if you have a special recipe), Small bag of Baby Carrots, fresh, canned or frozen snap green beans.
  5. Canned: Pumpkin, Evaporated Milk, Pineapple rings, Cranberry Gel, Cream of Chicken Soup.
  6. Spices: Pumpkin Pie Spice, Apple Pie Spice, Sage, Salt, Black Pepper,
  7. Staples: White or Wheat Flour, Cornstarch, Sugar, Dark Brown Sugar, Baking Powder, Yellow Corn Meal.
  8. Condiments: French Salad Dressing, Italian Salad Dressing, Ranch Style Salad Dressing, Olive Oil, Salad Supreme (unless someone is allergic to MSG), Salad Toppings (unless someone is allergic to peanuts), Garlic Croutons.
  9. Frozen: fresh or frozen Corn on the Cob, Vanilla Ice-cream, 9 inch deep dish pie crusts.
  10. Dairy: Can of Whipped Cream, 2% Milk, eggs, Real salted butter, quart of buttermilk, Tub of margarine or soft spread butter
  11. Bread: Brown and Serve Rolls (splurge on a label brand – you will not regret it) – Wheat and White, Large loaf of white bread. Loaf of Stone Ground Wheat (for sandwiches later)
  12. Remember you’re in a long line and the traffic is heavy because God has blessed our country with jobs and plenty of food. Heavy traffic and long lines mean more folks have jobs. Light traffic and short lines mean a lot of people are out of work. Rejoice and be glad because this is the day that the Lord has made. It’s a present/gift just for you.

A little known fact is that Grocery stores have maps of their stores. Stop by customer service before the rush and ask for one. 

My Mom has Gout; therefore, when she can make it to our dinner, I also roast a stuffed hen so she can eat with us.  People with Gout are never supposed to eat Turkey or gravy (they are Purines & purines make uric acid go up).

I am diabetic and eat small portions of everything to keep the sugar from rising.  Two hours after I eat I check my blood sugar and if it is too high (over 150) I take an extra pill (with my Doctor's approval).  Dressing and gravy are my worst offenders.  I go really light on them.  Bet you thought it would be the pie.  I just get a small slice of pumpkin pie and don't eat the crust.  Brown sugar in the yams is not a big offender.  It's kind of like using whole wheat instead of bleached flour.  Since this is a family reunion time, I don't cook diabetic friendly.  I am the only one in our family who has diabetes and want our family to enjoy one whole meal without taking me into consideration.  Some one always shows up with something that a diabetic can eat anyway- just for me. 

If you continue to worship and obey God and let him guide us,

Deu. 28:11-12 "And the LORD will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, … The LORD will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.