Holiday Shortcuts And Food Prep Tips For Cooking & Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner



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Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year?

Over the years, I’ve hosted holiday parties many times and I’d like to share a few stress-free tips that will make your Thanksgiving dinner a smashing success.

Following are my best tips regarding food prep and cooking for dinner hosts who will be preparing the big meal on Thanksgiving Day.

Enjoy!

 

Turkey Tips

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You must properly cook your turkey.

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Internal temperature must be at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit in order to be completely cooked.

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Do not slow cook a turkey that is stuffed, because meat can become contaminated with bacteria which will cause botulism or food poisoning.

 

Stuffing Tips

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Allow 3/4 cup of stuffing per person. If the turkey won’t hold all the stuffing, place it in a casserole, add a dab of butter and bake for approximately 1 hour.

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Stuffing must reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit in order to be safe to eat. Use a food thermometer to check it.

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You can use whole wheat, French, sourdough, cornbread, white or sandwich bread for stuffing. Choose loaves that are firm. Fresh bread doesn’t make good stuffing.

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Cube the bread and allow it to dry overnight.

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Prepare dry ingredients for the stuffing the night before and add seasoning. Do not add any liquid.

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To add flavor to stuffing, replace some of the liquid with apricot or peach juice.

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Never add nuts to stuffing without checking with guests. Some people are extremely allergic to nuts.

 

Gravy Tips

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When preparing turkey gravy, use pan drippings from the turkey.

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Use all-purpose flour or cornstarch for thickening. Or, if you prefer, turkey dressing can be made with roux.

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Make 1/3 cup of gravy per person. If everyone loves gravy, then make extra — at least 1/2 cup per person.

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Be sure the gravy is completely cooked. Boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.

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If you won’t be serving the gravy immediately, lay a piece of plastic wrap on the top to prevent a crust or film from forming.

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Serve gravy in a fondue pot in order to keep it warm.

 

Mashed Potato Tips

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Prepare mashed potatoes approximately 2 hours before the meal.

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Place in a crock pot on low heat to keep them warm.

You can even serve directly out of the crockpot for easy clean up.

 

Dessert Tips

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If serving cheesecake, prepare it the evening before and place it in the refrigerator overnight. Add fruit prior to serving.
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Fruit pies can be baked a few days before Thanksgiving Day. Place them in your freezer once they’re completely cooled. Remove from freezer to thaw early Thanksgiving morning.

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If making pumpkin pie, use this easy method for cleaning and peeling the pumpkin:

  • Cut the pumpkin in half with a sharp knife.
  • Remove fiber and seeds.
  • Place pumpkin halves on a platter, cut side down.
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    Microwave until pumpkin is tender when knife is inserted.
  • Remove from microwave.
  • Use a spoon to remove pumpkin flesh from skin.
  • Cool thoroughly, and prepare pumpkin as usual.

Hopefully, these tips will make hosting Thanksgiving dinner much easier for you.

They are tips that I’ve gathered over a number of years, and I’ve found them to be valuable to my Thanksgiving dinner success.

 

Fun Thanksgiving Dinner Tips & Shortcuts

And now for some fun holiday shortcuts that will wow your guests (…even though they’re so simple they make it seem like you’re cheating).

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 Bake a pie using a pre-made crust, then sprinkle fresh cinnamon on top of each slice to add that wow-factor.

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 Use frozen dinner roles that you can buy in bulk & store well in the freezer. They’ll look homemade when you add your own “filler” to the center of the rolls.

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 Make simple appetizers by placing refrigerated biscuits into muffin tins, add white crabmeat, cheddar cheese, and fresh parsley. When cooked, they look like individual quiches.

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 Put a dozen fresh cranberries in clear votive candle holders. Fill with tap water and add a clear votive floating candle to each one.

Finally, just for fun, see how to decorate with food for your Thanksgiving dinner party. The tips include: creating a rosemary & cranberry candle holder, wrapping cinnamon sticks around a vanilla candle, and using small gourds as tealight candle holders:

 

More Great Tips For Preparing Thanksgiving Dinner

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How To Prepare For Your First Thanksgiving Dinner

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5 Ways To A Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner

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How To Plan Thanksgiving Dinner

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Thanksgiving Dinner That Includes Turkey And Vegetarian Options

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The Ultimate Thanksgiving Dinner Planner

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Step-By-Step: How To Host Thanksgiving Dinner

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Mary

I love writing about almost anything, especially my life experiences. Other favorite things to write are how-tos, household hints, nature and fishing articles, among others.

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