The countdown is on for cooking one of the biggest meals of the year! Here are some tips to be prepared.
1. How to carve a turkey (with pictures). Make sure to sharpen your knives before you start and have an extra large cutting board ready for the job.
2. The key to a flaky pie crust to is chill your dough…twice. Chill it after it is first made and then again after it has been rolled out and put in the pie plate. You want the butter in the dough to be cold when it goes in the oven. Also use a recipe that combines both shortening and butter because they play different, but both important parts in pie dough.
3. If using a frozen turkey, make sure to put it in the refrigerator with plenty of time to thaw (for days, not hours). If the turkey is not completely thawed by Thursday morning, run it under cold water and remove any ice chunks.
4. Remember there are 2 places in the turkey that “parts” are hidden and need to be removed. Get to know your turkey well to make sure you get both of these removed.
5. Place your turkey in the oven with the thighs in the back and the breasts in the front because the thighs needs to cook to a higher temperature. If your breasts are done before the thighs, cover the breasts with aluminum foil to prevent them from drying out.
6. Do you grocery shopping late at night, around 10 or 11pm early in the week. You will have the store to yourself.
7. Brine your turkey to keep it extra moist. Use a new clean 5 gallon bucket if you have the space. It can be covered and kept in the garage overnight if it gets cold enough.
8. Have a plan. Make sure you have all of your recipes picked out, go to the store with a grocery list and have a schedule of when each item will be worked on or put in the oven.
9. Ask your guests for help! To lessen the last minute chaos of getting all the food to the table at the appropriate temperature, ask a few guests (but not too many) to help out and let them know in advance what their jobs will be (carving the turkey, stirring the gravy, etc).
10. Have a turkey or pie baking crisis? There are quite a few resources you can call with questions.
Regardless of the food, Thanksgiving is about family so try not to stress…too much. I know this is easier said than done!