Football Watching > Thanksgiving Cooking

You: You want to make a nice thanksgiving for the fam and some friends. But your Detroit Lions are a priority.

Your SO: I want a traditional thanksgiving. No funky stuff!

You: But the reverse sphereized mushroom soup caviar in that deconstructed green bean casserole sounds awesome.

Your SO: NO! I want peas too.

You: Ok. Ok. But put microwaving the frozen peas on your blog.

Your SO: And I want you to pay attention to the guests, don’t just cook the whole time.

You: We can watch the game together.

Your SO: Ok. Ok.

So here’s the goal – watch the Lions game with minimal interruptions, have some snacks during the game, and eat (stuff) dinner for 8-10 at a normal time, say 4:30.

I.e. (2017 edition) Watch the Lions stuff the vikings and then stuff your face, all while being a thanksgiving hero sending everyone home with leftovers.

Very doable on the west coast, but to get this done, we need a plan.

The Menu

Football Snacks aka Lunch

Shrimp with cocktail sauce
Pimento Cheese
Cheese and Crackers
Cured Meats

Thanksgiving Dinner

Spatchcocked Turkey (recipe below)
Sausage and Sage Dressing
Mashed Potatoes
Brussels Sprouts ala dell’anima
Creamed Onions
Rolls (i love the ones in the tube. sue me.)
Cranberry Sauce (i just follow the package)
Pumpkin Pie (still working on it!)

Auxiliary Recipes

Turkey stock

Weekend Prep

On the weekend, you should assemble all your gear, print out this plan and the recipes, clean your fridge, play some golf (sorry east coast friends.)


It’s grocery shopping day! Don’t worry. You will forget something. I always do. We have wednesday as a back up, and we have it in our plan to go back on wednesday to get cocktail shrimps.

You will also have a bunch of this stuff in your pantry already. So, print it off and check off what you have before you go shopping.

Grocery Lists

Fruits and Veggies
1 stalk brussels sprouts 2 shallots
3 large white onion 1 bunch celery
8 large russet potatoes 2 lb Pearl onions
1 bag cranberries 2 lemon
1 orange 2 carrots
3 boxes butter 1 dozen eggs
1 carton whole milk 1 large heavy cream
A couple Cheeses for cheese and crackers 1 brick cream cheese
16 oz sharp cheddar
Herbs & Spices
1 box morton’s kosher salt pepper
Rosemary Pink Peppercorns
Nutmeg Ground cinnamon
Ground ginger Ground cloves
2 heads garlic 1 bunch parsley
1 box sage 1 box thyme
1 Jar Honey White wine vinegar
8 oz dried cranberry 8 oz walnuts
2 loaves italian bread 1 box panko
1 tube wondra flour rolls
sugar ap flour
yeast mayo
franks hot sauce crackers
8 oz pimentos ketchup
horseradish dijon mustard
worcestershire wine, beer, other booze
1 Turkey 1 lb thick cut bacon
2 lbs italian sweet sausage 3 lb turkey parts: necks, backs, wings, etc
cured meats

Tuesday Night

Got all that stuff? Double check and note what you need to go back to the store for. Then stash your stuff in the fridge. Put the turkey in there to start thawing. You are going to spatchcock and brine it tomorrow.

Tuesday night is a good night to get started on things that will be awesome come thursday. Work at your own pace here just get it done.


Cut up bread for stuffing. Pop it in a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel overnight. You want the bread to dry out so it can absorb more moisture in the form of stock.


pimento cheese
Make the dressing and toast the walnuts for the brussels sprouts.
Cranberry sauce
Cocktail sauce

Wednesday AM

Play golf. 6:36am tee time.

Wednesday Afternoon

Time Action
11:30am Cut bread into cubes and layout on a sheet pan to finish drying
12:00pm Eat Lunch
1:00pm Nap
2:00pm Heat oven to 450
2:05pm Pull turkey from fridge, take out nasty bits, rinse, and then spatchcock that sucker
2:10pm Put turkey back in fridge
2:15pm Put turkey parts on sheet pan, roast
2:45pm Pull turkey parts from oven, put in stock pot
2:46pm Add 1 onion roughly cut, 2 carrots, 2 celery, parsley stems, peppercorns to stock pot
2:47pm Cover with water, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer
2:57pm Skim stock, do this roughly every 15 minutes or so.
3:00pm Make pie crust
3:30pm Prep veggies – onions, shallots, celery, brussels sprouts. Bag and stick in fridge
4:00pm Take a break
4:30pm Make pumpkin pie filling
4:45pm Heat oven to temp for pie
5:00pm Put pie in to bake
5:05pm Make brine for turkey – 2 cups mortons for 1 gallon water. Heat and stir on low until salt just dissolved.
5:10pm Fill a gallon container with ice, then add water. Combine with warm brine to cool warm brine to 40f.
5:15pm Add turkey to brine, put in fridge.
5:30pm Make dinner
6:00pm Eat dinner
7:00pm Stock is done! Strain it and put it on stove on low.
7:30pm Assemble sausage and sage dressing, put in fridge.
8:00pm Make make ahead gravy
8:30pm Toast panko for creamed onions
9:00pm Clean up
10:00pm Rest


Time Action
7:00am Coffee. Eggs. Bacon. Toast.
7:30am Evac turkey from brine, pat dry, put on sheet pan with veggies and back in fridge
8:00 am Peel and dice potatoes, put in bowl and cover with water
8:30am Prep pearl onions
9:00am Watch pregame, talk to family
9:30am LIONS!
11:00am Halftime, put out meats, cheese, and shrimps
12:30pm Game over. Lions win! Start watching the other game
1:30pm Pull turkey from fridge, rest on counter
2:00pm Fire up oven to 450
2:30pm Put turkey in oven
3:30pm Start cooking sprouts
3:45pm Start potatoes boiling
3:46pm Start warming gravy
3:50pm Start onions
4:00pm Pull turkey, set aside to rest. put stuffing in oven
4:01pm Strain drippings from turkey in to bowl. Skim fat. Add to gravy
4:05pm Potatoes should be done. pull strain. put butter and milk on. Rice potatoes and mash.
4:10pm Assemble onion, put in oven
4:15pm Put rolls in oven
4:20pm Check onion, pull foil from stuffing
4:25pm Pull rolls
4:30pm Carve turkey
4:35pm Assemble troops and eat!