Including: do not try to cook a frozen turkey!
Helpful Tips for a Happy Thanksgiving
Get a fresh turkey if you can. It will taste better, plus you won't have to thaw it. But if you do choose to go with a frozen turkey please know: It will take longer than you think to thaw. And if you find yourself on Wednesday, November 23 with a frozen bird? Leave it wrapped and place in a tub of cool water to thaw. Do not try to cook a frozen turkey, it will not be pretty.
Once you are ready to cook your turkey, remember: There is “stuff” in the chest cavity, so remove it before you place the turkey in the oven. There are probably a hundred different ways to prepare your turkey. Apple cider glazed, citrus stuffed and on and on. But if this is your first attempt then stick with a nice butter basted turkey with salt and pepper seasoning. Salt and pepper the bird when you place it in the roasting pan, cook for 1 hour, pull it out and baste with unsalted butter, repeat every hour until done.
Stuffing or dressing? (In case you are wondering: it is stuffing when inside the bird and dressing when outside.) When it comes to styles; here again there are hundreds of variations! Oyster, cornbread, giblet, apple and sausage, old country, chestnut, cranberry and traditional to name just a few.
Side dishes are another way to bring a creative flare to your meal. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Pumpkin can be used for more than pie, like maybe a black bean and roasted pumpkin salad. Speaking of pie, don’t forget dessert. Maybe a nice apple cream pie. Not good at dessert? Your local bakery is, so pay them a visit!
Setting the table
I love a solid table cloth in a strong autumn color—burnt orange is a favorite—with lots of natural accessories. Too many people for your space? A 20’ x 20’ tent can provide seating for 32 people if your dining room is too small. That is four tables of eight guests using 5’ rounds. Set the table on Monday or Tuesday if it takes the pressure off, because the cooking has to be done more last minute.
Last but not least: enjoy your guests and be thankful for all that you have this holiday season. Remember none of your guests know what plan A is so whether you are on plan A, B or even Z you are the only person who knows, so just be flexible and it will all work out for the best!