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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2009
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    VA
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    1,651

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    1. Have plans that allow you to include extra invitees. It never fails in our family...somebody knows somebody who'd not going to a dinner, can they come?

    2. If you farm out food prep, and the food needs to be kept warm until served, a cooler with a heating blanket set on high inside will do a fine job of acting as a warming oven.

    3. If you only have one oven, you need to do a practice fitting to see what will fit. Fix as much as possible early (days before) and then reheat in the oven while the turkey rests.

    4. Do as much as you can days before, that way you can enjoy your day. If people offer to help, let them.

    5. Our family does a BYOB policy. Tea, water, coffee, lemons, limes, and some mixers are provided by the host.

    6. If you are having a LARGE gathering, name cards for where people are to sit will help get everyone a seated quickly.



  2. #42
    Join Date
    Feb. 25, 2011
    Location
    So California
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    2,537

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    Quote Originally Posted by talkofthetown View Post
    Thanks for all the ideas! This is our first Thanksgiving being married, so I really wanted to be all Suzy Homemaker DIY Superchef. But honestly, the potluck is sounding better and better.


    So....turkey tips? Please speak slowly, and use small words, as if speaking to a small child!
    The classic newby mistake is leaving the giblet package in the turkey cavity, either the body or neck cavity.

    I'll give you detailed instructions for prepping the turkey, because you'll get a lot of good recipe suggestions from others. Whatever recipe you use for your turkey, give it at least three days in the refrigerator to thaw. The night before or the morning of, clean the turkey the following way:

    Prep:
    - Place a tray next to the sink. This will be used to hold the turkey, so make sure it is large enough to hold the turkey, deep enough to hold any liquids that drain off, but small enough to fit in the refrigerator.
    - Place a medium-sized pot nearby. This will be for simmering the giblets.
    - Place a clean pair of tweezers next to the sink and scissors if you are going to keep the weight/instructions from the turkey wrapping.
    - Place the garbage can next to you so you don't have to open the cabinet door with bird-juice-germy hands.

    Clean the Turkey:
    - Put the bird in the sink.
    - Remove the plastic/wrapping from the turkey and cut out the instructions and turkey weight and set that part aside. Throw away the rest.
    - Pull the legs apart, reach in and pull out any giblets/packages of gravy, or whatever.
    - Open the neck flap and pull out any giblets or packages in the neck cavity. DO NOT FORGET THIS STEP. Remove all giblets, rinse them, and place them in the pot. Don't touch the pot with your hands yet.
    - Use the tweezers to remove any pin feathers or parts of feathers remaining, especially checking the tail and wings.
    - Wash the bird, inside and out, thoroughly. I usually pick it up by the legs and let it drain pretty well, but some people pat it dry with paper towels.
    - Place the turkey on the platter/tray next to you. If you have already prepared the dressing to stuff the bird and are ready to cook it right now, I would place the bird in the turkey baking pan and stuff it there. You can pick up most of the bits that fall into the pan and pat them into place after both cavities are stuffed and the bird is positioned in the pan.

    Cleanup:
    - Wash your hands, the sink, and the turkey packaging instructions if you kept them very well with hot water and soap before you do anything else.
    - If you are not cooking the turkey right away, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge.
    - With clean hands, fill the pot containing the giblets with water to completely cover the giblets, plus a little. Place the pot on the stove, bring it to a boil and then reduce to simmer for a long time, at least an hour, refilling water as needed.
    - If you touch any part of the raw turkey, wash your hands again... just do it anyway.

    I hope that's not too detailed.
    Last edited by PeteyPie; Oct. 31, 2012 at 04:59 PM. Reason: mistakes


    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Feb. 25, 2011
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    So California
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    I like to use my crockpot for keeping the mashed potatoes hot, because the oven is always full.

    If you have a heavy-duty toaster oven, it can come in handy for side dishes.



  4. #44
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    Feb. 25, 2011
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    So California
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    I know you would like to do as much of it as you can, but trust me, one of the best parts of the holiday is the experience of cooking together with your friends or family. And when you are not exhausted, you can enjoy it much more. So delegate things. Have the teenagers decorate the table and fold the napkins. It can still be your design. Make the stuffing with your favorite sister-in-law. Have your Dad fire up the barbeque and use it as a warming oven for side dishes. Have a brother-in-law make an ice run. Ask a girlfriend to come over a couple of days before and you can make up the alcohol punch and sample it!

    And I so agree with Flightcheck about counting backwards so you don't forget things like the butter, salt and pepper, or gravy boats. How many times have we heard a hostess say, "Oh! The rolls!" halfway through the meal?

    Also, just think of baking the turkey as cooking a big chicken. The turkey is not difficult, it is coordinating all the other dishes that is hard.



  5. #45
    Join Date
    Mar. 30, 2009
    Location
    CA to Costa Rica to WI
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    If you decide to allow people to bring stuff (and I recommend you do because it makes everyone happier), do consider what they're bringing and if it needs to fit into your schedule. Appetizers, rolls, salad, cranberry sauce, desserts, etc. are the best to hand out. If guests are bringing side dishes, ask them if they need to be heated up and if so at what temp and for how long.

    There's nothing worse than sitting down for dinner and having Aunt Annie telling you her potatoes need 20 minutes in the oven.

    Good luck. Keep it simple. Invite a couple people over early to help (no more than 2 or 3 depending on your kitchen size), keep appetizers and drinks out of the kitchen for guests, and then never turn down clean-up help.
    Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

    Fourteen Months Living and Working in Costa Rica



  6. #46
    Join Date
    Feb. 26, 2011
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    Its not nowhere, but you can see it from here
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    Quote Originally Posted by carolprudm View Post
    If you get a good turkey you won't need to brine it. Expect to pay about $2/lb for it, if not more. Don't get the frozen $0.39 special
    I hate turkey so in my book it needs all the help it can get. Even wild turkey doesn't do much for me (no, not the bottled variety you pack of CoTH lushes)
    From AliCat518 "Seriously, why would you NOT put fried chicken in your purse?!"


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Jun. 26, 2001
    Location
    California
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    1,304

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    I don't think anyone has mentioned NEVER EVER STUFF YOUR TURKEY THE NIGHT BEFORE!!!! You will kill everyone!!!! Stuff your turkey (if you are going to stuff the sucker) right before you put it into the oven.

    I don't know all the chemistry (I'm sure one of our smarter members does so help me) but you can contaminate the dressing with the raw turkey etc etc. Bad stuff!!!!

    Also I normally spend an arm and a leg on a huge Diestel turkey every year. Last year I won a big fresh Butterball at the grocery store and it was just as good as the expensive over the top turkey!
    Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!!



  8. #48
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    13,997

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    ...there is never enough gravy - make lots and lots.

    At the end ouf our big meals we send some of our guests home with tv diners in tinfoil plates with tinfoil over the top. It sure helps get rid of left overs and our guests have a ready to serve meal with all the fixings ready to heat and eat.

    We save a little turkey for a few sandwiches.

    The rest of the carcass gets made into soup that very night....we just had Canadian Thanksgiving.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique



  9. #49
    Join Date
    Dec. 4, 2002
    Location
    Alpharetta, GA
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    Have fun!!

    Do plan your menu ahead. I would certainly do a pot luck. Let your family bring a dish. If you can pull off the turkey, dressing, bread and beverages, with family filling in the sides- you'll do fine.

    I do a huge Christmas eve dinner and it's so much fun. I plan days in advance. I clean and organize way ahead of time. Think about your seating. My house isn't huge so I have several tables including a 4 top in my entry hall. I plan my center pieces ahead of time too.

    I even have a time table written out for the day of the party. Put the turkey in. Put the bread in. You have to plan for everything. Wine glasses, water glasses, coffee...

    If you're organized then you can relax and enjoy yourself. That's the the secret to a great party- a relaxed hostess.



  10. #50
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2003
    Location
    Tucson
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    648

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grasshopper View Post
    Planning way ahead will be necessary.
    Quote from Grasshopper -as a second thumbs up on Epicurious.
    Miscellaneous tips:

    Epicurious.com is my go-to for new recipes, in large part thanks to the often-helpful reviews.

    If you're nervous about how a new recipe will turn out, do a trial run beforehand. Far enough beforehand you can change gears if it bombs.
    The other thing I learned was to rent the glassware from local party supply store. We did that last year and 12 wine glasses, and 12 water glasses cost about $12. Made the whole table look good and presentable.



  11. #51
    Join Date
    Feb. 18, 2007
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    841

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    Concetrate on the core dishes and have everyone else bring something!
    I totally utilize my crock pots!!! Make the mashed potatoes early AM and put them in on warm, and voila! ready to serve when you are. I also do my corn with cream cheese in there as well.
    Do as much as you can ahead of time, and don't be afraid to use Chinet! I noramlly serve as a buffet in the kitchen. Everyone knows to get their own drinks, etc.
    Don't worry about getting everything perfect, since no one will care - they are just there for food and family fun!
    Some days the best thing about my job is that the chair spins.



  12. #52
    Join Date
    Apr. 9, 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,198

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    Quote Originally Posted by SmartAlex View Post
    Oh, and if somehow the turkey gets locked in the oven, be sure to come to CoTH to ask for advice on how to free the turkey.

    That's a requirement.

    That was the funniest thread I have seen on COTH.

    TalkoftheTown...feel free to provide us with that entertainment. Remember that it's not how good the meal was, but how memorable it was.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Apr. 9, 2005
    Location
    Colorado
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxtrot's View Post
    ...there is never enough gravy - make lots and lots.

    At the end ouf our big meals we send some of our guests home with tv diners in tinfoil plates with tinfoil over the top. It sure helps get rid of left overs and our guests have a ready to serve meal with all the fixings ready to heat and eat.

    My aunt had lots of plastic Ziploc/Rubbermaid containers one year and sent home leftovers with everyone. I recommend buying them in advance and then filling them as the table is cleared. Names can be written on the lids and then stored in a spare cooler until people are heading home.

    BTW, it's helpful to have drinks in coolers.....pop in one, beer in another....those seem to be the two key drinks at our Thanksgivings. Saves on refrigerator space.



  14. #54
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    Apr. 9, 2005
    Location
    Colorado
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    I am definitely using some of the ideas posted here. I'm quite impressed with a lot of them whether it's how to plan, how to brine a turkey, or how to delegate. Thanks!!!!



  15. #55
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2012
    Posts
    246

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    Grasshopper-you are really organized! You want to come to south Florida to plan my dinner? One tradition I have changed is moving it up to the Sunday before. My parents both work, so it's more relaxing for them! Plus-no huge crowds at the grocery store. Thanksgiving is spent riding!



  16. #56
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2004
    Location
    Yonder, USA
    Posts
    2,561

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    Quote Originally Posted by GypsyQ View Post
    Brine the turkey: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/a...ipe/index.html It's not as daunting as it may look. Very tasty.

    Stuffing made ahead, cranberry sauce can be made ahead. Pawn off desserts.
    That wasn't *quite* the one I was thinking of. This is a good step-by-step for buying and cooking a turkey and I still use the exact same method for AWESOME roasted chicken:
    http://www.bonappetit.com/magazine/2...?currentPage=1
    ---------------------------



  17. #57
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
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    9,168

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    I seem to be one of the few shift workers on the BB, but just so you know, shopping at 2AM a day or so before Thanksgiving will see you in the store with a hundred stockers, LOTS of freshly stocked goods and no crowds (except for the hundred stockers). At my store the self checkout is pretty much it at that time of night so that was pretty interesting, packing bag after bag and keeping it on the scale, but it can be done!

    6AM Sunday morning at Wally world is also good - just never go at about 4 because all the Wally worlds all over the country shut down and download their day's receipts at the same time so there you'll be with a dead register at 4 AM. And for some reason they don't announce it so you can run and check out. (yes I was PO'd)
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  18. #58
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2008
    Posts
    678

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    Now that you have everything planned down to the minute, the gravy is hot the turkey is carved, give EVERY DAMN male a 10 minute warning and make them heed you. Just when you want everyone to sit down to the delicious meal you have slaved over for a week they decide they have to visit the little boys room! Drives me crazy. Best of luck. Lots of good ideas here.



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