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Holiday Foods/Thanksgiving

Recipe info
Category: Holiday Foods/Thanksgiving
Rating: 0.00

Preparing for Thanksgiving Doesn't Have To Be a "Thankless"

Categories: Lifetime tv, Life4
Yield: 1 servings


Preparing for Thanksgiving Doesn't Have to Be a "Thankless" Chore

This month, Virginia Willis, the food stylist for "The Main Ingredient,"
shares some tips on how you can whip up a Thanksgiving feast with less wear
and tear.

Having just made my flight reservation to return to Georgia for
Thanksgiving, I'm looking forward to seeing my family, walking down to the
pond where the leaves still hang on the trees, and spending some special
time cooking with my grandmother in the kitchen.

As with many other families, Thanksgiving would not be complete for us
without turkey and dressing. We usually have butterbeans, sweet potatoes,
green beans, rice and giblet gravy, and creamed corn. My Aunt Lee brings a
honey-baked ham, Aunt Louise comes with a smoked turkey, and I usually make
buttermilk biscuits. As for dessert, Meme, my grandmother, always creates a
pound cake and Mama makes pecan pie and chocolate pie -- two of each
because they're so good!

Our buffet table groans and buckles from the vast amounts of food forced
upon it. How do we manage to prepare this vast feast with ease? The key is
organization, and having family and friends pitch in to lend a hand.
Remember, if you're having friends and family over for Thanksgiving, you'll
need to be organized. Here are a few tips:

Treat Thanksgiving Dinner as a dinner party. There's no need for the
million and one dishes my family has. Your menu should include a starting
dish, a main course (turkey, obviously), two vegetables with a starch --
rice or potatoes -- and dessert.

Thanksgiving Day is not the time to try out new recipes. Your guests will
be hungry and anxiously waiting for dinner. Always prepare whatever you can
ahead of time!

Make a time chart for the week. List all the chores that need to be done,
and allocate the proper amount of time to each one. Choose, iron and wash
your table linens the previous weekend. Decide when you are shopping for
groceries, setting the table, and vacuuming the hallway. Make stock for the
dressing the week before and throw it in the freezer! If you can, buy a
fresh turkey, not frozen or previously frozen. Bear in mind that a frozen
bird takes about three days to defrost in the refrigerator.

I don't advocate freezing finished dishes and re-heating them, but do this
if it makes your life easier. Cakes and pies should always be made ahead
because they'll hold so well. Some dishes can be assembled the day before
and finished while your turkey is resting. Don't kill yourself. You
probably have 4 burners and one oven, so plan ahead!

There's nothing wrong with asking your guests to help. Have your sister set
the table, and your brother fill the tea glasses. Family and friend don't
need to feel like they are working for their supper, but they can easily
chip in!

Think of your turkey as a really big chicken and you'll be fine. A 15-pound
bird serves 10-15 people. Unstuffed, it takes about 2 hours to cook at 500
F, or 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours at 325 degrees. (I normally don't stuff the
bird's cavity because of food safety concerns about the internal
temperature of the stuffing.) Remember: remove the bag of giblets first!

Here are a few rules to follow when cooking your bird for the masses:

Place the oven rack towards the bottom of the oven. It's your choice
whether you want to spend 2 or 4 hours with the turkey. I advise cooking
the bird at 500 degrees.

Season the skin and cavity well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
I often place a quartered onion and herbs such as rosemary and thyme inside
the cavity for flavor. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a
large roasting pan. Cook until the leg bone moves easily when wiggled and
the temperature registers 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer
inserted at the thickest part of the thigh.

I like to baste occasionally with butter, olive oil or stock to keep the
turkey moist. If the breast starts to look too dark, place an aluminum foil
tent over the skin to prevent burning.

Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes after it's left the oven before you
carve it. The juices will redistribute and the turkey will be much the
better for it. Note: a clean oven prevents a smoky kitchen!

But most of all, keep in mind that the main focus should not be the food,
the time chart or fear of turkeys. It's about having fun, enjoying the
company of your family and friends and giving thanks.

© 1997 Lifetime Entertainment Services. All rights reserved.

Formatted using MC Buster by Barb at PK

Recipe by: Virginia Willis



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