An age old conundrum: How to get everything done and to the table at the optimum time for your family.

(We like 2:00 pm: lots of lead up time without getting up too early on a holiday. And 2:00 gives an hour before the Cowboys’ kickoff. A must-see in this family, but of course, it’s a proven fact turkey has sleep-inducing qualities. So some of the football fans have been caught napping.)

The turkey is the biggest consideration. Thawed, of course.

(Check other sources for reliable info on safely thawing your bird.)

Calculate your start time before turkey day arrives:

Read the label for poundage and use the cooking times and temperatures suggested.

OR consult a cookbook or on-line for the same info. I have seen techniques for slow-baking, fast-baking, bake-in-a-bag, etc. It’s best to always follow a recipe closely to avoid an under cooked bird.

After baking, the turkey must rest for easier slicing. I time my turkey to come out one hour before serving time. After removing the broth from the baking pan, I re-cover the turkey with its foil, place pan and all on a heat retaining wooden cutting board and cover with 2 thick towels.

While the turkey bakes, I assemble the dressing/s and all other side dishes. (I bake my pies on Tuesday or Wednesday, but they can be assembled during the turkey-baking and pop into the oven just before sitting down to eat. Adjust temp and set timer.)

Dressing is ready to go in the oven immediately after the turkey is removed. (For us, at 1:00) Adjust oven temp according to your recipe.

From the saved broth, make your gravy.

Also prepare your other sides while the dressing bakes.

Yeast rolls go in the oven as soon as the dressings are out (with oven hiked up to 400 degrees) for 10 minutes.

Getting all the menu items done at the same time is the biggest challenge of Thanksgiving Dinner.

I have a little sign on my refrigerator.

That’s the reason, both my children have had their menu items to contribute since they were 8 and 11 years old. They still make the same items: Son makes mashed potatoes. Daughter makes No Knead Rolls.

Watch for that recipe on another post.

Have a blessed family day!