Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Cooking

From the editor: Tips and recipes to help you prepare the big Thanksgiving meal

RECOMMENDED READING


Every year, it seems so doable. You've got everything under control the week before: The turkey is thawing in the fridge, canned goods are purchased, meal time is set. Then you're staring down the backside of a raw turkey on Thursday morning and Thanksgiving dinner suddenly feels quite overwhelming.

There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you're preparing the main feast this week, especially if you have less help in the kitchen than you would like. So we put together a story dedicated to staving off some of those likely Turkey Day problems before they turn into full-blown disasters. We have tips for everything from thawing a turkey to making room in the oven to feeding your guests throughout the day.

For expert advice, we reached out to Butterball Turkey Talk Line's Sue Smith, who has been answering phone calls from distressed cooks on Thanksgiving Day for more than 15 years. (Her longest call? Forty-five minutes, with some newlyweds who had never really cooked before. The runnerup may be the time she talked to a 92-year-old man whose wife had recently passed away. He was cooking a turkey himself for the first time and wanted to carry on the tradition for his wife and the rest of his family.)

In addition to detailing the best way to thaw and cook a turkey, Smith talked about recent changes in the type of Butterball hotline caller, saying that the number of men callers specifically has increased. There also are more people inquiring about different turkey cooking methods other than roasting, she said, like deep frying and grilling (one of our writers swears by this method).

Look also this week for recipes for sides (fresh cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, vegetables and more), local spots to pick up desserts (one less thing to worry about!), Thanksgiving safety tips and suggestions for American wines to pair with the meal.

We also have five ideas for turning Thanksgiving leftovers into something other than the ubiquitous turkey soup. That's the inspiration for this week's #CookClub recipe, a simple creation that takes the standard post-Thanksgiving sandwich and twists it just a bit. We're treating cooked turkey like chicken here, and making a sweet, salty, crunchy salad fit for eating on a leftover dinner roll or atop a bed of greens.

Contact Michelle Stark at [email protected] or (727) 893-8829. Follow @mstark17.

Comments
Five ideas for easy Thanksgiving appetizers

Five ideas for easy Thanksgiving appetizers

Thanksgiving can put a heavy burden on the host. We’ve assembled five appetizers that are quick and easy to prep. Some, like our risotto balls and goat-cheese figs, cater to vegetarian diets, so you can be sure to please all your guests. Even i...
Published: 11/21/17
Five ideas for cooking with fresh cranberries

Five ideas for cooking with fresh cranberries

Cranberry sauce has long been a fixture on the holiday table. According to the Chicago Tribune, Ocean Spray, the popular producer of cranberry sauce, cans about 70 million tins of the stuff a year, 85 percent of which gets sold between Thanksgiving a...
Published: 11/21/17
Tips for first-time Thanksgiving hosts (or really, any of us)

Tips for first-time Thanksgiving hosts (or really, any of us)

Take small bites.This may be the most crucial advice for Thanksgiving hosts who don’t have years of cooking and coordinating experience to provide the confidence that comes with leading the charge on the year’s biggest cooking day.It’s the first thin...
Published: 11/20/17
How to make a pie from scratch: filling ideas, decorating tips, crust recipes and more

How to make a pie from scratch: filling ideas, decorating tips, crust recipes and more

Perfect your crust. Try new filling recipes. Learn some decorating tricks. And prepare for the biggest pie day of the year: Thanksgiving.   From apple to thyme You’ve got the crust down. Now it’s time to choose a filling for your holid...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/20/17
Thanksgiving 101: Everything you need to prepare for the big cooking day

Thanksgiving 101: Everything you need to prepare for the big cooking day

From appetizers to pies and everything in between, we’re here to help you put together a low-stress Thanksgiving spread. Here are a few ideas, and be sure to check out our Thanksgiving special report for more tips on preparing for the big day. ...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/20/17
Thanksgiving sides beyond the classics: corn casserole, Brussels sprouts salad, pecan pie carrots

Thanksgiving sides beyond the classics: corn casserole, Brussels sprouts salad, pecan pie carrots

There are probably a handful of essentials, things you must have on the Thanksgiving table lest some family members begin to riot. But I find there are often a couple of slots open for new things, chances to get weird or creative or, gasp, healthy. ...
Published: 11/17/17
How to make solid turkey gravy before Thanksgiving Day

How to make solid turkey gravy before Thanksgiving Day

As far as we’re concerned, anything you can make in advance of actual Thanksgiving Day is a good thing, and this make-ahead gravy fits the bill. Plus, Tucker Shaw of America’s Test Kitchen says it tastes just as good as if you made it wi...
Published: 11/17/17
How to plan your Thanksgiving menu

How to plan your Thanksgiving menu

Planning a really good menu is the stealth approach to being a really good cook. Here are some tips from the experts. New York Times Put some thought into the menu What leaves an impression is not only the dishes you can make, but also how they t...
Published: 11/17/17
Everything you need to know to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey

Everything you need to know to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey

The turkey is the unquestioned star of the Thanksgiving meal. It can be the most daunting part as well. But with a little planning and care, it doesn’t have to be.   Before you start • A decent roasting pan, one heavy enough that it wo...
Published: 11/16/17
Taste test: prepared mashed sweet potatoes

Taste test: prepared mashed sweet potatoes

If you want to spend more time with your family and friends this holiday season and less time in the kitchen, our judges suggest serving Hormel’s mashed sweet potatoes. No need to wash, peel and heat potatoes. Just pop the container in the microwave ...
Published: 11/16/17