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Thanksgiving 2012: Planning for the Perfect Holiday Meal

Every week leading up to Thanksgiving Patch will share tips and ideas to help you plan for the perfect holiday.

If the food website Epicurious is to be believed, if you didn't start planning for Thanksgiving six weeks before the Nov. 22 feast, you are already behind. (I must be doomed)

Not to fret: We're here to share some planning tips leading up to Thanksgiving Day to help you pull off the perfect meal for friends and or family.

Thanksgiving is about the food, but it’s also about the kind of meal you hope to serve. Will it be a casual event or more formal? This is decision No. 1, according to Epicurious.

Once you’ve nailed down the feel for your Thanksgiving meal, you need to create your invite list and send out invitations. You need to know how big that turkey needs to be, right? In Plainfield, you can find invitations and stationery for all your holiday needs at The Perfect Invitation. Because while e-vites are quick and easy, isn’t it much nicer and — let’s be honest — more fun to receive an invitation in the mail?

Taking into account the type of meal you hope to create — more casual may include the Campbell’s green bean casserole, versus haricote verts or Brussels sprouts. Decide how much time you wish to spend in the kitchen, what you can make yourself and what you will purchase pre-prepared.

Or, make it easy on yourself and stop in Jewel-Osco and order an entire holiday feast — the "Classic turkey dinner" comes with a fully cooked 10-12, choice of savory or cornbread stuffing and turkey gravy. The "Ultimate turkey dinner" includes a turkey, green bean casserole, stuffing, pumpkin pie and dinner rolls. Just heat the turkey for two hours and you're all set.

Once you know what you want to cook, have the turkey ordered, the invitations sent and RSVPs received, then you can start making your cooking plan for what will get done at what time, Epicurious says.

Have tips of your own on how to tackle the Thanksgiving meal? Or, have a special recipe you’d like to suggest? Share them in comments.

Share your thanks this holiday

The Plainfield Moose Lodge will host the annual Ford Family Turkey Drop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17. 

Drop off a frozen turkey and get a complimentary lunch, courtesy of the Moose Lodge. Turkeys will help the Moose fill Thanksgiving food baskets for local families in need, along with helping the following organizations: the Plainfield Interfaith Food Pantry, the Wheatland Township food program, We Care pantry in Romeoville and MorningStar Mission in Joliet.

You can also drop off non-perishable donations at the C.W. Avery Family YMCA (click here for a list of other YMCA drop-off locations) to help out area food pantries this Thanksgiving. 

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