My Complete Breakdown of Thanksgiving Day

Updated On — 11th Mar, 2020

A Complete Breakdown of Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving dinner is just right around the corner. My family and I love to focus on being grateful this time of year. But it can always be difficult for moms to spend time and focus on what’s important because this is a CRAZY time of year for us.

There’s so much chaos, so much cleaning, cooking, hosting, decorating … I can go on.

So let’s skip the headache this year!

I’ve done ALL the work for you and created this complete breakdown of what to cook, when to cook it and for how long.

A Few Notes

I do want to start this off by making a few notes about my dinner. In order to save some time (and my sanity), I have a few corners that I cut.

Also, we are a family of five; me, my husband and three kids. My oldest son is five, my second is three and a 11 month old baby.

First, we do not eat Green Bean Casserole, Cranberries, or Stuffing. We are a Mexican-American family and this is just something we have never enjoyed so we skip it all together.

But don’t worry if you love these family favorites there will be a section of time for you to cook these in order to stay on track and have the recipes you love!

Lastly, I buy store bought pies and rolls (and sometimes the gravy!). Ideally I would LOVE to make pies but pie is so important to my Thanksgiving dinner I would hate to ruin it by burning the pie. 😂

Instead I skip the drama and just pay for it!

Every year I buy Kings Hawaiian Rolls; I just love the sweet bread with the savory food!

This will cut you some time on the day of and even the week before.

My Thanksgiving Spread

Last year for Thanksgiving I was only weeks away from giving birth to my now baby girl. I was so afraid of how I was going to pull it off for my family.

Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday and no matter how pregnant I wanted to have a good time without inducing myself. So I scoured all of Google and Pinterest, got my favorite notebook and created this guide for myself.

I kept it simple and delicious with the following as my spread:

Main Dishes

  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Mashed Potatoes with bacon bits
  • Macaroni and Cheese

Side Dishes

  • Corn on the cob
  • Yams / Sweet Potatoes
  • Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
  • Olives
  • Salad
  • Hawaiian Bread/Rolls


  • Pumpkin Pie (my Favorite)
  • Pecan Pie (Hubby’s Favorite)
  • Fresh Fruit (also an appetizer)


  • Soft Drinks
  • Sparkling Water

see below for a free planner!

My Complete Breakdown of Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Prep

First on your list of to do lists is a Grocery List! (Say that five times really fast)

Every great dinner or event must have a plan beforehand. When creating your grocery list keep in mind if you are hosting people, how many and if they have any dietary restrictions. You’ll want to offer alternatives to any people who may need them.

Like I said before, my list is for a family of five but only four of us eat it plus leftovers for the next day.

You will then need to actually go shopping. I normally do it the week of or before because we like it buy things fresh.

I live in a city in Los Angeles County and I’ve never had an issue with not finding what I need even with shopping “late.”

A few things I to not forget to buy if you don’t already have are:

  • Roasting Pans
  • Twine
  • Foil
  • Thermometer
  • Carving Knife
  • Disposables (Unless I am having guests I won’t use my own dishes for an easier clean up)

Meal Prep

The only thing I do before hand in terms of preparing food in advance, is make sure everything is completely thawed out, I make my frozen butter roll (see below) and marinade the turkey the night before.

I will also spread what I’ll need on the counter for the next day and use my checklist to make sure I have everything for the big day.

My Dinner Schedule

A Complete Breakdown of Thanksgiving Day

Every year we like to start dinner early. It allows us to have a nice meal with enough time for activities after and still allow our kids to sleep at their regular schedule.

My husband and I like to enjoy post Thanksgiving dinner with a movie and pie so we get dinner started usually around 5pm or sometimes before!

With that said…

10:00AM Remove Turkey from the fridge to allow turkey to reach room temperature before cooking

10:45AM Prep Turkey with Butter Cubes that were made the night before

11:00AM Place Turkey into the oven *Tip: Place legs first and covered with foil*

11:30AM Prepare Ham

12:00PM Place Ham into the oven + Baste the Turkey


| Peel + Boil Potatoes

| Prepare Mash

| Cook Macaroni

| Prepare Mac N Cheese

2:00PM Remove Turkey Foil + Baste

2:30PM Take Out Turkey + Ham. Allow to rest


| Place Mac + Mash into oven

| Place sweet potatoes in oven

| Cook Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

| Roast Corn

3:00PM Remove Dishes from Oven

I always allow extra time in my schedule in case something happens to go wrong for whatever reason. Thanksgiving tends to do that to ANY schedule or plan you make haha

If all went to plan we will just eat – no need to wait. We’ll enjoy some quiet time for dinner and then Football, Dessert and more! Free Thanksgiving Planner

Final Thoughts

I hope this blog post has helped you figure out how you can tackle the craziest day of the year for moms!

If you need a guide to cooking your Thanksgiving Dinner please read My Complete Guide to Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Ideas? Talk to me in the comments!

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