If you’re hosting the holiday meal, it‘s time to give serious thought to prep and cooking of the turkey if you’re dishing up a menu of turkey plus the fixins’.
One of the biggest snafus that can come with the signature meal is failure to completely thaw the turkey. To avoid facing the icy challenge of a frosty bird, the following tips will help you stay on track getting the turkey, stuffing, sides and more on the table with time to spare.
- Plan on 1-1/2 lbs. of turkey for each person, if you’re looking for leftover nibbles later.
- Allow one 24-hour day for each 4lbs of turkey weight for the turkey to thaw in the ‘fridge. Don’t count the day you’re planning to cook it.
- When your turkey is thawed and you’re prepping it to cook, don’t forget to remove the turkey neck and giblets, typically inside the bird.
Now that the key turkey tips are checked off use this To-Do List to as your guide in putting together a dinner celebrating this season of gratitude with grace.
To-Do Five to Seven Days Before
- Complete grocery shopping.
- Buy a meat thermometer to confirm the food has cooked to recommended safe temperature.
- Pick up the turkey. Make sure you place the turkey on a tray or pan with sides while thawing in the refrigerator.
- Get out the dishes, serving bowls, and flatware, to make sure they’re ready to use.
- Chop onion, celery, etc. for stuffing.
- Remove cornbread from freezer to thaw.
- Toast or cube bread for dressing.
- Prepare gelatin salad if on the menu
- Prepare desserts.
- Remove any frozen foods from freezer; allow to thaw in the refrigerator.
- Prep or cook any vegetable just until almost tender.
- Combine stuffing ingredients and refrigerate.
- If you’d like, prep the turkey according to package directions to cook on Thursday morning. Cover the turkey with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Set table.
- Prepare the turkey to cook according to the recipe you’re using. Plan for the turkey to be done 30 (45 minutes if slicing it in advance) minutes before dinner.
- Place stuffing in turkey or casserole dish to bake.
Two Hours To Serve
- Unmold congealed salad; garnish and refrigerate.
- Bake or reheat any pre-cooked dishes.
- Prepare gravy.
- Place turkey on serving platter and garnish as desired.
- Heat rolls or cornbread.
- Put food in serving dishes.
- Break bread, give thanks and eat!