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Putting together a holiday meal can be daunting. This year, let Thanksgiving be your time to shine. This article shows you how to make the most of your holiday meal, take advantage of a little help and still enjoy the day.

Here are 4 tips to put together the perfect Thanksgiving.

Plan Ahead

–Plan a menu. Whether turkey and traditional sides, or roast beef and ethnic dishes, menu planning eliminates guesswork and last minute impulses. Keep in mind gluten free, diabetic or vegan guests.

–Make a guest list and let folks know in advance of your plans.

–Try out new recipes in advance.

Check What You Have on Hand

–Check your plates, flatware and serving pieces. If they aren’t up to the job, take a look at online catering supplies. A vwide variety of disposable and compostable tableware can suit your needs.

–Make sure guests have enough sitting room. Borrow a table or a few chairs if needed.

Shopping, Saving and Stocking up

–Buy a frozen turkey (or two if it’s a great deal) ahead. Early November is when grocery stores have turkeys on sale. If using fresh or free range turkey, check with your grocer for pre-orders.

–Purchase canned pie fillings (if using) or frozen/premade crusts. Or pick up flour, sugar and spices. They keep well and help shorten your shopping list.

–Utilize a bakery to pre-order, breads, rolls, pies or other desserts.

–Look for early sales on sides, stuffing, canned cranberries, yams, frozen vegetables, etc. Adding a few of these items to your weekly shopping eliminates one huge, pricey trip for everything.

Let’s Get Cooking

–Set up a cooking time/schedule for your meal. Thaw your frozen turkey 1-2 days prior in the fridge. Check turkey packaging for cooking times per pound. Stuffing a turkey adds 45 – 60 extra minutes cooking time depending on size. Internal temperature for cooked turkey is 165 degrees. No exceptions.

–Make sides the day before or early day of. Then, reheat and keep warm. Take a look at Shop At Dean’s catering supplies for chafing dishes, warmers and accessories for any size holiday gathering.

–Try baking a slab pie. Place 4 pie dough squares into a large sheet pan, crimp, fill and bake at 350 degrees. Google “slab pie recipes” for ideas and how-to’s.

Whether you make everything from scratch, make a few and buy a few or cater the whole meal, remember to relax. The holidays are about sharing memories and fun with those you love. Enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving!