Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving is America’s national chow-down feast, the one occasion
each year when gluttony becomes a patriotic duty.

Michael Dresser

Here are some great dinner prep tips that I found - many I follow (I totally do the Post-It notes on serving dishes!) and others I thought were new and helpful. I don't have to cook Thanksgiving this year but many of the ideas are great for entertaining or hosting at any time of the year.

Have a happy Thanksgiving and especially enjoy the long weekend!


Thanksgiving Kitchen Tip Sheet
from Better Homes & Gardens

Well in advance, write down your entire menu and post it somewhere in your kitchen so you don't remember midway through dinner that the mashed potatoes are still in the refrigerator.

Prepare a cooking schedule and timetable based on your recipes and write it down. Post it in a visible place in your kitchen.

Clean out your refrigerator a few days before you begin cooking to make room for make-ahead dishes.

Set your Thanksgiving table the night before - or earlier, if you don't use your dining room every night.

Assemble and organize your serving dishes and utensils a few days before. Pair them up and put a sticky note on each serving dish that tells you what's going in it so that in the last-minute frenzy of getting dinner on the table, you don't forget.

Turkey Tips

Defrosting a turkey: Defrosting time for your turkey depends on how big your bird is. Use these figures as a guide -- and always defrost a frozen turkey in its original wrapping in a pan in the refrigerator (don't count the day of roasting):

10- to 12-pound bird: 2 days 12- to 14-pound bird: 3 days 14- to 18-pound bird: 4 days 18-pound-plus bird: 5 days

Consider grilling your bird: Free up oven space for side dishes by cooking your turkey (unstuffed!) in a covered grill. (Although this can be done with a charcoal grill, a gas or propane model will be much less work.) An 8- to 12-pound turkey will take between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 hours to grill over medium coals. Be sure to grill indirectly (with the heat source coming from under each side of the bird rather than directly under it). You can bake your stuffing in the oven with the rest of the sides.

Turkey for a smaller crowd: Unless you really relish lots of leftovers, consider roasting a turkey breast rather than a whole bird if you're having six or fewer guests.

Herbs for stuffing: The best herbs for your stuffing are the ones you enjoy the most, though you may want to consider some of the sturdier, highly aromatic ones such as sage, thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary, and flat-leaf Italian parsley.

For the shortest cooking time: Keep the oven door shut as much as possible. Slow, steady heat coaxes maximum flavor from the bird and produces a golden, crackly skin. Basting is not necessary, and may lengthen the cooking time.

How to tell if your turkey is done: A meat thermometer inserted into the thigh (but not touching bone) should read 180 degrees F and the stuffing should be 165 degrees F. The drumsticks should move very easily in their sockets and juices from the thigh will run clear when the thigh is pierced with a long-tined fork.

Vegetable Math for Cooking

ASPARAGUS Purchased Amount: 1 pound Yield: 2 cups pieces

BEANS (green, Italian green, purple, and yellow wax) Purchased Amount: 3/4 pound Yield: 2-1/4 cups pieces

BEETS Purchased Amount: 1 pound Yield: 2-3/4 cups cubes

BROCCOLI Purchased Amount: 3/4 pound Yield: 3 cups florets

BRUSSELS SPROUTS Purchased Amount: 3/4 pound Yield: 3 cups

CABBAGE Purchased Amount: Half of a 1- to 1-1/4-pound head Yield: 4 cups pieces

CARROTS Purchased Amount: 1 pound Yield: 3 cups slices

CARROTS, TINY WHOLE Purchased Amount: 1 pound Yield: 3 1/2 cups

CAULIFLOWER Purchased Amount: 3/4 pound head Yield: 3 cups florets

CELERY Purchased Amount: 5 stalks Yield: 2-1/2 cups slices

2 comments:

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

Thanks for the tips! I sure hope I don't have beets or celery at any of our meals. Happy Thanksgiving Randall!

Newlywed Hostess said...

Thanks for the advise about what to see in St. louis. I am grateful because I will be all on my own for those few days due to my husbands work schedule. I know we have a few meals with colleagues but nothing else is on the agenda yet. I am glad to have some stuff to consider.

You are awesome!

 
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