Getting Organized for Thanksgiving by Pepper Phillips

food thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving for several reasons.

The food. Family. It marks the beginning of the holiday season for me.

Several years ago, I finally got smart about planning Thanksgiving Dinner.

I adore spreadsheets and use them for about every area of my life.

So, I designed a Thanksgiving Dinner spreadsheet to assist with the menu, the shopping list and a time schedule for getting the meal on the table at a certain time.

Since we like certain things to be served at our Thanksgiving Dinner, it isn’t changed. So I can use this menu every year.

First, decide what you are planning to serve and make of list of the dishes.

We have turkey, cornbread dressing, giblet gravy, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato souffle, cranberry cloud, green jello salad and jellied cranberry. Pumpkin pie with whipped cream is for dessert.

So…in the first column of my spreadsheet I have the dish listed. Let’s do one that’s been in my family for decades.

Green Jello Salad.  With a cut and paste it looks like this below. The numbers in the second column represent where in the store that item is stocked. Handy when making the shopping list.

The third column is the ingredient.  Fourth column is the order in which it is made. Fifth column is what I am supposed to do.

Green Jello Salad 2.46 Jello – Green – Double box or 2 reg. 1 Dissolve in two cups boiling water
Green Jello Salad 2.56 Crushed Pineapple – Can  20 oz. 2 Drain
Green Jello Salad 2.21 Cottage Cheese – Small curd – one medium carton 3 Mix with jello and pineapple – refrigerate – add topping when firm.
Green Jello Salad 2.66 Mayonnaise – 1/2 cup 4 Mix with cream cheese until smooth
Green Jello Salad 2.21 Cream Cheese – 8 oz. 5 Spread over jello.

And I do that for every dish.

For my shopping list, I sort the list by Column 2.

When it’s time to cook or assemble the dish, I go by Column 4.

This is an easy dish and can be made on Wednesday.

Try it and see if you like my method.



malsveta / 123RF Stock Photo

8 thoughts on “Getting Organized for Thanksgiving by Pepper Phillips

  1. I must say, you’re definitely more organized than I am. I imagine the time saved is well worth setting up a spread sheet. Your Green Jello Salad is delicious. I made it last year and loved it. Happy cooking!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow. Just wow. I don’t have a spread sheet. I do have a menu that hasn’t changed much over the years. Here’s mine. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberries, cranberry jello salad, green salad, green bean casserole, yams, and rolls. Berry and apple pie and a pumpkin cheese cake for dessert.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Pepper, I officially crown you Queen of Spreadsheets! I make a Red Jello Salad using strawberry or cherry Jello. When slightly thickened, I add 1 can drained fruit cocktail, 1 fresh apple chopped, and 1/2 cup chopped pecans. That works for 1 small box of Jello. Just double all add-in’s for 2 small boxes or 1 large box. My mother-in-law made this every Thanksgiving and Christmas. The general opinion is that Jello salads are passe, but all our kids and their friends love this. It’s always a big hit when I take it to friends’ homes for the holidays.


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