Thanksgiving Tips & Tricks
November 17, 2015
Hosting your own Thanksgiving this year? Don’t get frazzled by the turkey or overwhelmed by the sheer number of sides. Here are some tips to make sure the only unknown on Turkey Day is whether you’re going for a slice of pumpkin or apple pie this year. We vote you go for both.
Start thawing frozen birds well in advance. The average sized bird, around 15 lbs., takes between 3 and 4 days to thaw safely in the fridge. To calculate the thawing time of your specific turkey, use this handy Turkey Thaw time Calculator.
Dice vegetables like onions, celery, carrots, garlic, etc. up to three days ahead of time. Store in zip top bags in the fridge and grab them once you’re ready to get cooking.
Worried about portion sizes? Plan on 1 ½ lbs. of turkey per guest, 1/2 – 3/4 cup of each side per person, and 2 rolls per guest. For deserts plan 1-2 cookies per guest, and one slice of pie, cheesecake, or cake per person. Once you have your total, add on however much you want in all-important leftovers.
To make sure your turkey is cooked through, insert an instant read thermometer into the thigh, being careful to avoid the bone. A finished turkey will read 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
For an extra juicy bird, let the turkey rest on the counter for 30 minutes after being removed from the oven. Cover, loosely with aluminum foil, while it rests.
Will little guests be attending your celebration? Host a kid’s themed table with crayons, coloring books, and simple crafts to keep them happily entertained during the big meal.
Use your oven space wisely. There will be many dishes needing real estate in the oven on the big day. Save room by making sides, like mashed potatoes, dressing, and green bean casserole in your crock pot.
For the ultimate Turkey Day timeline, including when to start cooking each dish, check out this Thanksgiving Cooking Timeline by Cooks Illustrated.