Thanksgiving Dinner Planning - How To Plan Thanksgiving Dinner

  Home    |   Recipe Indexes   |   Dinner Party Menus   |   Food History   |   Diet - Health - Beauty

Baking Corner |  Regional Foods | Cooking Articles Hints & Tips | Culinary Dictionary | Newspaper Columns

Follow What's Cooking America on Facebook

Author Linda Stradley
Article by Linda Stradley of What's Cooking America.

Fresh vs. Frozen Turkey

Fresh - A turkey may be labeled "fresh" only if it has never been chilled below 26°F. (Turkey meat, according to the National Turkey Federation, doesn't freeze at 32°F, but at a temperature closer to 26°F.)

Frozen - Turkeys chilled below 0°F must be labeled "frozen." Or, if they're sold already defrosted, you may see "previously frozen" on the label. Most turkey producers agree that freezing adversely affects the texture and taste of the meat.

Hard-chilled or not previously frozen - Turkeys that have been chilled below 26°F, but not below 0°F can't be labeled fresh, but they don't have to be labeled frozen either. If a turkey isn't labeled as either fresh or frozen, it's most likely in this category. This type of bird may also be identified as "hard-chilled" or "not previously frozen."


Thinking about hosting a holiday dinner party?

Dinner Party Menus and Recipes

Simple Rules For Planning A Dinner Party

Are you planning on hosting a cocktail party?

Check out my favorite Appetizer Recipes - Lots of appetizer recipes from easy-to-make to gourmet.

Appetizer Hints How many appetizers to make for your party.

Peggy's Baking Corner

Peggy says, "For a holiday morning, I like a breakfast that is filling, easy, and tasty. This is the recipe that I use. Holiday Morning Coffee Cake

Caviar for that special day

Learn how to handle and serve caviar

To purchase your caviar for the upcoming holidays, check it out here: What's Cooking America's Caviar Specials




Thanksgiving Dinner Planning
- How To Plan Thanksgiving Dinner

It's that time of year again - time to think about planning your Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving Day is the time to gather with your friends and family, turn on some football, and enjoy your Thanksgiving meal. The Thanksgiving meal is the one meal of the year that you usually know what to expect and what you will be eating. Different areas of the United States have different thanksgiving traditions, plus family have their traditional dishes that must be prepared. Honor your family traditions and make the traditional foods expected. Then add a new dish that you would like to introduce.

Check out my Thanksgiving Dinner Menu (includes recipes) for some great ideas.

Thanksgiving Planning - Stress-Free Thanksgiving
The Thanksgiving dinner is a simple meal to prepare. All it takes to pull it off is some advance planning. The best advice is to write down everything you'll do and then prioritize according to your needs and schedule. And, above all, give yourself ample time to prepare everything; do not "rush things."

Guidelines for Brining Poultry
The secret to juicy chicken breast is simple - brine them before grilling or baking! This is the secret that chefs never tell you about. It's very easy and economical, and requires no special cookware. Brining is like a marinade as it keeps food moist and tender. Brining or salting is a way of increasing the moisture holding capacity of meat resulting in a moister product when it is cooked.

roasted turkey
Oven Roasted Turkey America's traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Guideline for roasting a whole turkey. It appears that "timing is NOT everything." Recommended cooking techniques must also be followed. A meat thermometer should be used to check the internal temperature of the bird in several places for safety's sake and to prevent overcooking. More Oven-Roasted Turkey Tips to help you.


Turkey Terminology - Types of Turkeys

Cajun Fried Turkey
This is the best way of cooking a turkey I've ever tasted. The turkey is anything but greasy as the deep-frying process seals the outside and the turkey remains incredibly juicy, while the skin gets wonderfully crispy.

Barbecued Whole Turkey Barbecued Turkey
This is a very easy and efficient way to cook your Thanksgiving turkey. No mess in your oven or the kitchen. A whole turkey may be prepared on either a gas grill or a charcoal grill.

smoked turkey
Smoked Turkey
The absolute first step in doing a turkey on a smoker is to pick out a bird that is not the biggest one you can find.


A Turducken is a 5 to 16-pound de-boned turkey (except for wing bones and drumsticks), a fully hand de-boned duck, and a fully hand de-boned chicken, all rolled into one and stuffed with lots of delicious stuffing (three (3) kinds of stuffing are layered between the three (3) kinds of meat). This regional delight has become one of the latest food fads. From the outside it looks like a turkey, but when you cut through it, you see a series of rings making up the three birds and three stuffing.

Linda's Favorite Turkey Stuffing
Whether you call it "stuffing" or "dressing," what's not to love about turkey stuffing? It's often one of the best parts of a turkey dinner. Turkey stuffing is one of my favorite dishes for Thanksgiving dinner. It is so easy to prepare. Also be creative - add your family's favorite ingredients. The following recipe is how I basically make my turkey stuffing.

Advice on Stuffing a Turkey Safely
To stuff or not to stuff -- that is the question on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Meat and Poultry Hotline. It is an important question to ask as the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday draws near, because cooking a home-stuffed turkey can be somewhat riskier than cooking one not stuffed. If the stuffing is not cooked and handled properly, food borne illness could occur.

Let's Make Turkey Stock
My favorite thing to do the morning after Thanksgiving is to make homemade turkey stock from the turkey carcass. It is so easy to do and so delicious! The turkey stock can be used for a delicious soup or frozen for future use. I love a good homemade turkey soup and after the heavy Thanksgiving meal, it is just what my family needs. Be sure and refrigerate your turkey carcass until your are ready to make the stock.

Perfect Turkey Gravy
When making sauces and gravies and want to get the right consistency without trial and error, just remember this easy 1-1-1 formula.

Gravy Making Tips

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Wonderful recipe - use this easy-to-do potato dish for your next Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. This recipe is especially great when serving a crowd as it eliminates the mess and last-minute hassle of whipping potatoes.


Perfect Prime Rib Dinner
Includes a cooking timetable chart for the perfect prime rib.

Ham and Pork Recipes

Ham 101 - Learn all about the different types of ham and how to cook them.


Have a Safe and Fun Thanksgiving Holiday Dinner

Food safety is the most important part of holiday planning, as food can spoil very quickly out of refrigeration. It is important to keep  food safety in mind when planning for and packing a picnic.

Advice on Handling Leftovers Safely - Leftover" foods are cooked foods that you or your family do not eat within 2 hours after they are cooked. The chance of food poisoning increases the longer you store a food after it is cooked. Improper handling or storing cooked food is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the home.

Buffet and Party Safety - Have a safe and fun party

Food Safety - The golden rules of food safety

Using a Cookingor Meat Thermometer - For the perfect prime rib, turkey, or ham for yourThanksgiving dinner. Have you ever cut into a roast or a turkey to see if it has finished cooking? Never guess if your meat is done again!

Purchase and Use a Good Instant-Read Thermometers

Meat and Seafood Internal Temperature Cooking Chart



What's Cooking AmericaŠ copyright 2004 by Linda Stradley - United States Copyright TX 5-900-517- All rights reserved. - Privacy Policy