With the holidays coming up are you looking for a simple Thanksgiving dinner for beginners meal plan that is easy to put together? The holidays can be stressful but the meal you put on the table doesn’t have to be.
If you have no idea what to fix and it just overwhelms the ever loving tarnation out of you to even think about it then hopefully what I have here with help.
Here you will find the meal plan that I made for my first Thanksgiving dinner I fixed at home. There is also the grocery list and cooking timeline I used. The timeline gives you the timed tasks in order to have your food ready by 2:00 pm. If you plan to have your dinner at a different time then you can adjust your times accordingly.
Now, my basic Thanksgiving meal plan is not the most traditional you will find considering I wanted to keep mine super simple and easy (and I mean simple) but tasty.
I get just as overwhelmed as the next person.
So, instead of turkey, I had an 11 pound spiral ham. And, instead of pumpkin pie, I had orange juice cake. Well, the orange juice cake was because I wanted to try one out.
What I mean by super simple is instead of garden green beans and corn on the cob, I mean canned green beans and corn. Get my drift?
Just a little further down you can get my basic Thanksgiving meal plan or if you prefer to create your own Thanksgiving meal plan I have put together some steps on how to fix an easy Thanksgiving dinner to help you do that too. Click here to get the steps for your own Thanksgiving meal planning session.
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Thanksgiving Meal Plan Menu
Here is a list of the dishes along with links to the recipes. Some of these recipes are at the bottom of the page and separated so you can print them if you need to. Here is printable version for you to save or print.
The servings are listed next to each dish. If the dish says “double recipe” next to it then you will want to double that recipe to get the servings listed.
The list has the recipes linked plus the link for each recipe written out just in case something goes funky and the links don’t work.
Included is one main dish, 12 sides, and one dessert. If your people need a little more dessert, then put out a gallon of ice cream or a few boxes of Lil Debbie cakes on the table and call it good. Plenty of variety for everyone!
Honey Baked Ham (depends on pounds) – click here for the recipe from Busy Cooks Plan
The Best Easy Stuffing Recipe (10 servings) – click here to get the recipe from Foodie Crush
Basic Mashed Potatoes (8 servings, double recipe) – click here to get the recipe from allrecipes
The Best Sweet Potato Casserole (6-8 servings) – click here to get the recipe from Food Network
Super Easy Broccoli Casserole (8 servings) – click here to get the recipe from Busy Cooks Plan
Mac & Cheese (8 servings) – click here for the recipe from Busy Cooks Plan
Rolls – follow instructions on package
Cranberry Sauce – canned, simply open and slice onto plate
Green Beans – canned, heat in pan
Corn – canned, heat in pan
Brown Gravy – follow instructions on packet
Cheese Ball (10-12 servings) – click here for the recipe from Busy Cooks Plan
Classic Deviled Eggs (8 servings, double recipe) – click here to get the recipe from Food Network
Orange Juice Cake (12 servings) – click here to get the recipe from allrecipes
Thanksgiving Meal Plan Grocery List
Now we are ready for the list of ingredients you will need to fix all these dishes. These ingredients were calculated to fix 8 – 12 servings.
Again, if you want this list to print out you can grab it right here.
4 lbs – Potatoes
1/3 cup – Green Onions
5 ribs (2 cups) – Celery
1 large – Onion
3 – 4 large (1 ¾ lb) – Sweet Potatoes
10 cups (1 lb) – Bread or dried bread crumbs (for stuffing)
2 packs – Rolls
Spiral cut Ham (mine was 11 lbs)
1 lb – Ham, sliced thin
4 cups – Macaroni, elbow
1 can – Cranberry Sauce
29 oz can – Corn, sweet whole kernel
2 – 27 oz cans – Green Beans, seasonal Southern style
1 ½ cup – Chicken Broth
2 – 10.5 oz cans – Cream of Chicken
2 – 0.87 oz packets – Brown Gravy mix
½ cup – Mayonnaise
2 tsp – Yellow Mustard
¾ cup – Honey
2 tsp – White Vinegar
½ cup – Vegetable Oil
Smoked Spanish Paprika (could just use regular if already have it, its only for garnish)
2 tsp – Poultry Seasoning, dried
1 ¼ tsp – Kosher Salt (could use table salt if already have it)
¼ tsp – Salt (could use Kosher Salt if already have it)
½ tsp – Black Pepper
1 tsp – Vanilla Extract
¾ cup – White Sugar
1 ½ cup – Brown Sugar
½ cup – All Purpose Flour
3.5 oz – Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
18.25 oz – Yellow Cake Mix
¾ cup – Pecans, chopped
6 sleeves – Round Crackers, like Ritz
½ cup – Pineapple Juice
1 ¼ cup – Orange Juice
3 cups – Milk
2 ½ lbs – Block Cheese, like Velveeta
2 – 8 oz – Cream Cheese
2 cups + 1 Tbsp (33 Tbsp total) – Butter
18 – Eggs, large
24 oz – Broccoli Florets, frozen
This shopping list only includes the food you need to cook the meal. You will want to add anything else like disposable plates, plastic utensils, drinks, etc. to help you
What Do You Need to Add for Your Thanksgiving Party
Let’s think about what else you need to add to your shopping list. I will give you some ideas here. I’m sure there will be other things you can think of that you will add to your own list.
Read back over your recipes one more time to see if there are other items like aluminum foil or certain pans you want to make sure you have on hand.
Now, let’s move away from recipes and focus on other areas.
So, do a little brainstorming session here. Or maybe you prefer it to be daydreaming…
OK, we will go with daydreaming. Daydream about your perfect Thanksgiving day. How does it look?
As you daydream about your perfect day think about what you will need on hand so nothing gets in the way of it being perfect.
When your bunch arrives what will they be doing until it is time to eat?
- Will they sit around and chat?
- Will they play games? (need anything for games)
- Will they admire your awesome table décor you secretly want to show off but be subtle about it?
- Will they need to go to the bathroom? Ummm, probably at some time… (don’t forget the toilet paper, hand soap, and clean hand towel)
Time for food!! What do they need besides the food?
- Do you believe in as little cleanup as possible afterward? We do! So throw away plates and utensils are on the list!
- Disposable plates
- Plastic utensils
- Serving ware (if you don’t have enough)
- They gotta clean their mouths so don’t forget the napkins or paper towels although some of us just use our sleeve…
- You don’t want to perform the heimlich maneuver so some form of liquid is a must
- Where will they dispose their leftover food?
- Have outside animals you feed? Setup a slop bucket (don’t ewww me).
- Prefer to pass on the slop bucket? Then make sure you have trash bags or your trash can just may become one.
What will they do after they get done eating? Ummm take a nap!
KEEP IT ALL IN ONE PLACE
The Simple Meal Planning Binder Sheets gives you a place to keep your recipes, meal ideas, stock item lists, and many more. Grab it here to keep everything in one place.
Thanksgiving Meal Cooking Timeline
Alright here is the part that will keep you on track and not running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
Before I give you the timeline let’s write out a plan to get things done before the big cooking party starts.
There are some things you will do the night before so everything will run a little more smooth the next day.
One thing that could be a great deal of stress off your plate is to tidy up the house the night before so you wake up to a nice, clean place to start in the morning. So, clean up the dishes you dirtied by fixing those foods you can prepare the night before. Be sure the sink is empty and ready to start your next day.
I’m not sure your situation but if there are other chores that would stress you out on the big day then get them done before you go to bed.
Also go ahead and make sure the toilet paper is stocked, and hand soap and hand towel are on the sink.
You can also do a few things in the kitchen…
These things would be stuff like decorating the table, setting out the plates and utensils, napkins, and cups.
Now let’s talk about what foods you can fix the night before.
Of course, if you are not having your dinner until late in the evening like at 6:00pm then you could do fix these earlier on Thanksgiving morning.
On the menu there are two cold foods you can fix ahead of time and refrigerate. That will be the Deviled Eggs and the Cheese Ball. In case you decide not to fix these ahead of time they are included in the timeline below so if you fix them ahead then this will give you extra time to get out ingredients for other meals.
You could also go ahead and peel the potatoes and put them in cold water in the fridge until it is time to put them on to boil.
Alright now that we got the cold foods and the house prep out of the way let’s get started on the actual timeline.
One part of the actual timeline is figuring out how long you need to cook the ham.
I’m not sure what size ham you will be cooking so here is what you will want to do.
The ham needs to be ready to have the glaze put on it by 10:55 am if your food is to be ready at 2:00 pm or 3 hours and 5 minutes back from whatever time you want to have your food ready by. So, if you need your food ready at 6:00 pm then the ham needs to be ready to glaze at 2:55 pm.
If this confuses you then I do have another solution where you can use this Google Sheet to do the calculating for you.
Alright, back to the getting figuring out what time your ham should be glazed.
Do you have your time for the glaze? Good. Now let’s figure out what time we need to put the ham in the oven.
You will want to preheat your oven at 275 degrees and it will take 15 minutes per pound to heat. Once you get this time calculated out then subtract 30 minutes because you will want to put the glaze on your ham 30 minutes before it is done.
Let’s go over an example using an 11 pound ham and the food needs to be ready at 2:00 pm.
11 pounds time 15 minutes per pound a 11 x 15 = 165 minutes to heat
Now, let’s convert these minutes into hours so it will be easier for you figure out how much time you need.
There are 60 minutes in an hour so take 165 minutes divided by 60 a 165 / 60 = 2.75 hours
Now we know it takes 2 hours but we gotta figure out how many minutes the 0.75 is. Since there are 60 minutes in an hour you want to know how many minutes is 0.75 of those 60 minutes à 60 x 0.75 = 45 minutes
So, your ham will take a total of 2 hours and 45 minutes to heat. Our final step is to subtract 30 minutes from this because you already know you need to glaze your ham at 10:55 am. That would mean your ham should be in the oven 2 hours and 15 minutes before 10:55 am.
Your oven needs to be preheated and ready for the ham at 8:40 am.
Yeah, that was a lot. Don’t forget if you would like it calculated for you then grab the Thanksgiving Meal Timeline Planner.
You will notice at 8:45 am you are given time to take a shower. If you don’t need a full 55 minutes to get your shower and dressed for the day then use that extra time to get ingredients out and ready for cooking. This will be super helpful especially when it comes close to the end of your cooking time and the time shortens between each step.
Now, on to the rest of the timeline…
This timeline starts at 8:20 am in the morning to be done by 2:00 pm so if your Thanksgiving dinner will start at a different time then you will need to adjust for your times.
|8:20 AM||Preheat oven 275 degrees for ham & Prep ham|
|8:35 AM||Lay out cream cheese for the Cheese Ball (if not fixed already)|
|8:40 AM||Put ham in the oven|
|8:45 AM||Need to take a shower? Now is the time!|
|9:40 AM||Prepare Deviled Eggs and put them in the fridge (if not fixed already)|
|While eggs are boiling/setting cut up ham and green onions for Cheese Ball|
|10:20 AM||Prepare Cheese Ball and put in the fridge (if not fixed already)|
|10:35 AM||Open Green Beans and pour in pan for later|
|10:40 AM||Open Corn and pour in pan for later|
|10:45 AM||Mix up glaze for ham|
|10:55 AM||Take ham out of the oven to pour on glaze / Increase oven temp to 350 degrees|
|11:00 AM||Prepare Broccoli Casserole to put in the oven later|
|While broccoli is cooking cut up cheese for Broccoli Casserole and Mac n Cheese (2 1/2 lbs)|
|11:15 AM||Prepare Orange Juice Cake for the oven|
|11:25 AM||Remove ham from the oven|
|11:30 AM||Put Orange Juice Cake in the oven for 40 minutes|
|11:35 AM||Prepare Sweet Potatoe Casserole for the oven|
|12:10 PM||Remove Orange Juice Cake from the oven|
|12:15 PM||Put Sweet Potatoe Casserole in the oven for 30 minutes|
|12:20 PM||Finish Orange Juice Cake|
|12:30 PM||Prepare Stuffing|
|12:45 PM||Remove Sweet Potatoes from the oven and Increase oven temp to 400 degrees|
|12:50 PM||Put Stuffing in the oven for 40 minutes|
|12:55 PM||Put water on to boil for Mac n Cheese|
|1:00 PM||Start peeling potatoes for Mashed Potatoes|
|1:05 PM||Put macaroni in boiling water for Mac n Cheese|
|1:10 PM||Put potatoes on to boil|
|1:15 PM||Finish Mac n Cheese|
|1:30 PM||Remove Stuffing from the oven|
|1:35 PM||Prepare Rolls and put them in the oven|
|1:35 PM||Put Green Beans and Corn over heat|
|1:40 PM||Finish Mashed Potatoes|
|1:45 PM||Put Broccoli Casserole in the oven|
|1:50 PM||Prepare Gravy|
|1:50 PM||Remove Broccoli Casserole from the oven|
|1:55 PM||Slice Cranberry Sauce|
|2:00 PM||Get the Deviled Eggs and Cheese Ball from the fridge (don’t forget crackers for Cheese Ball)|
Alright, I hope this helps you put together a holiday meal without all the stress with the menu, grocery list and timeline.
Have a wonderful and Blessed Holiday!!
IT’S UP TO YOU NOW
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