How to Serve a Large Thanksgiving Meal
The holidays are here again and planning ahead makes celebrating these joyous occasions less stressful and more enjoyable. The Thanksgiving holiday is a gathering of friends and family and always includes a big meal that is shared together. Planning and preparing a meal for 25 or 50 people does not have to be much different than feeding a family of six. Some of the main concerns will be making sure there is enough food for everyone and that the experience is enjoyable and happy. We’ve gathered some helpful hints to make your Thanksgiving dinner a success.
Planning Timeline Tips For A Thanksgiving Meal
Sit down and make a list. Use a pad and pencil, sticky notes, or make up a spreadsheet on the computer. Wherever possible, delegate jobs to others and enlist some help. Use the lists as a guideline and if a task gets overwhelming, scale back, rethink, and make it easier. Here are some important timeline items to consider:
- How many guests will be attending? Send invites out 6 weeks before so you can get a proper head count before shopping.
- Purchase non-perishable items as soon as possible and store until needed. Get fall and autumn disposable tableware early from Napkins.com by ordering two to three weeks before the event. Start gathering supplies for centerpieces and decorations.
- Plan the menu and decide how you will cook all the food. Try to plan for appetizers, one to two meats, three to four sides, desserts, and beverages. When you have an accurate head count you can determine the amounts for each course and how much oven, freezer, or refrigerator space you will need.
- Two weeks before, cook items you can freeze such as pie dough, bread, homemade turkey stock, or dessert bars.
- The week before buy frozen turkeys and allow about 5 pounds per day for defrosting. A 20 lb frozen turkey would need at least 4 days to defrost in the fridge.
- Three days before you can make cranberry relish and store in the refrigerator.
- Two days before defrost the pie crusts. The day before make the pies and store custard-based goods in fridge.
- Mashed potatoes can be made a day ahead, refrigerated, and microwaved when ready to serve.
- Wash and dry salad greens the day before. Cut up salad extras and store in plastic baggies. Store everything in the fridge and mix together before serving.
- Set the table the day or night before or assign that job to someone else.
- The morning of Thanksgiving prepare and stuff the turkey and roast. A cooked ham can be warmed up in foil in the same oven if there is room. Consider roasting a turkey the day before, slicing, and rewarming the meat for extras.
- While the turkey is roasting, chill beverages, set out appetizers, prepare other side dishes, and arrange the relish platter.
- When the turkey comes out of the oven, prepare the gravy, reheat side dishes, and warm up the bread or rolls.
- Carve the meats and serve!
- After dinner, make coffee and whipped cream to serve with the desserts
Disposable Products Make Thanksgiving Dinner A Success
Feeding a crowd can be intimidating unless you realize that it is okay to ask or look for help. If you are hosting an occasion for 25 to 50 people you probably don’t want to do dishes for all the guests. So the solution is to hire someone to do all dishes and cleaning for you or to purchase wholesale disposable tableware
that is affordable, easy to use, decorative, quality construction and, best of all, easy to clean-up.
Here at Napkins.com we understand the desire to make everything perfect and we strive to offer wholesale, quality products at affordable prices that will make any gathering special and memorable. Check it out:
- Our disposable Thanksgiving tableware is bright, colorful, and filled with the shades and symbols of the season. Consider using sturdy Autumn Disposable Paper Plates, which come in at least two different sizes. One case of dinner plates includes 96 pieces, and if you have a group of almost 50, that count is perfect. Guests might go back for seconds and want a fresh plate so this quantity assures plenty of dishes. Two cases of the dessert-sized dishes might seem like too many for 50 guests, but consider they can be used for hors d’oeuvres, relishes, rolls, salads, and desserts. Autumn Themed Hot/Cold Cups are also sold in cases of 96 and are perfect for all beverages.
- Wholesale Thanksgiving tableware themes have coordinating Autumn Design Paper Napkins that are sold in case quantities of 192 or 216. Lunch napkins are the standard size quarter-fold napkins perfect for mealtime, and the beverage style napkins are ideal for appetizers, cocktails, or desserts. Having extra napkins for substantial meals is always a great idea. Guests tend to grab more than one if they are stacked at a buffet or bar so more is always better. Larger napkins can be wrapped around cutlery before an event and set atop a stack of plates at place settings for a balanced, decorative look.
- No need to worry about enough glasses for beverages or cocktails when you purchase wholesale disposable plastic stemware. A case of 5 ounce plastic wine glasses includes 72 glasses made of medium weight BPA free plastic that are #6 recyclable or disposable. These are the perfect size for wine for the Thanksgiving meal and elegant enough to impress guests. Also available are 12 ounce stemmed plastic glasses ideal for serving ice water to guests during the meal and adding a stylish touch to the tableware.
- Tablecover options include Autumn Design Tablecovers and solid colored disposable tablecovers in plastic or poly-lined paper that provide a wonderful wash of autumn color and protection for the table surface below. There are plenty of options to drape banquet-sized tables or round tables and add a delightful accent to complement themed tableware.
The best and easiest decorations for the table are traditional, seasonal pieces. Look for gourds, pumpkins, leaves, fall flowers, and faux turkeys to jazz up tables and coordinate with the tableware and meal.
How Much Food For How Many?
A great question, and we have some of the answers. For 40-50 guests you will need:
- Appetizer—try three to four cheese balls with crackers. Let cheese balls sit out covered for a couple hours to soften. Offer punch, wine, or cocktails.
- Plan on ½ to 1 pound of meat per person. Two 20 lb turkeys will provide enough meat for the crowd. If you add a ham, guests will try both, so plan accordingly.
- Cook extra stuffing separately and consider using a crockpot to save oven space. ½ to ¾ cups per person is about 25 cups of stuffing or 3 casserole- =sized dishes.
- Gravy—plan on 1/3 cup per person. You can use chicken stock for gravy.
- Dinner rolls—plan on one to two per person. For a group of 50, get seven dozen rolls.
- Potatoes—use 12 pounds of potatoes for 50 people.
- Green beans—8 pounds for 50 people. If making the popular green bean casserole, one 3-quart casserole serves 12 people.
- Salad—Eight to 10 heads of lettuce for 50 people. Offer with bottled salad dressing.
- Relish tray—get cans or jars of: green or black olives, sweet and dill pickles, baby corn, pickled green beans, and onions. Chill cans/jars and arrange on trays before the meal.
- Dessert—for 50 you would need four to five pies, assuming 10 slices per pie. Cheesecake, cookie bars, or brownies can be cut into more servings.