COLD Water Turkey Thawing
Hours to Allow for Thawing Turkey
8 to 12 pounds
4 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds
6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds
8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds
10 to 12 hours
3 Days Before Thanksgiving:
A few days before Thanksgiving, iron table linens, designate serving platters, and make sure your glassware and silver sparkles.
Make cranberry sauce and refrigerate.
Prepare other sauces, jellies, and dressings; store in the refrigerator.
2 Days Before Thanksgiving:
Clean your house. The most important areas
are the kitchen and bathrooms the guests will be using. Resist the temptation to redecorate or rearrange, as this will only stress you!
The secret to juicy poultry 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. If you choose to brine your turkey, check out
Guidelines for Brining Poultry.
Remove frozen cheesecakes or frozen pie crust from freezer and let thaw in the refrigerator.
If you are making a gelatin dish, make it now and store in the refrigerator.
1 Day Before Thanksgiving:
preparing any pies that you are making.
Shopping Day - Purchase perishable items such as salad greens, fresh breads, or seafood.
Mise en Place - This is a French term for preparing all
the ingredients for a dish in advance, such as washing, trimming, chopping vegetables, setting out your spices and herbs, etc.
Clean and dry salad greens, and store in a resealable plastic bag.
I also make the Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes at this time. See recipe here:
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Set your table now - Set the table as far in advance as you can. Use your best dishes for special occasions. Having your family
together for Thanksgiving is a very special occasion. You will have plenty of things to do on Thanksgiving Day without worrying about setting the table.
Thanksgiving Dinner Day:
9:30 a.m. - Remove the turkey from the refrigerator, allowing it to sit for 90 minutes to 2 hours at room temperature. Depending on the size of
your turkey, you are going to need to start working on it 5 to 7 hours before dinner is served. Make sure that you take the giblets and neck out of
the inside of the turkey. Rinse the turkey in cool water, pat dry, season, and dress it according to your taste and traditions.
Linda's Favorite Turkey Stuffing. Prepare stuffing and stuff the turkey. Check out
Advice on Stuffing a Turkey Safely. It takes about 45 minutes to clean and stuff a turkey.
NOTE: Never stuff the turkey with stuffing and then refrigerate it overnight or hours in advance;
this is not safe and very dangerous; food poisoning can be a result.
Prepare the turkey according to your recipe. Roast the turkey; baste every 30 minutes with pan juices.
Check out my
Guidelines For Roasting a Whole Turkey.
Check the temperature using an instant read cooking thermometer. Always use a cooking thermometer. Check out
Using a Cooking or Meat Thermometer. Cooking time will vary with different ovens and whether or not the turkey is stuffed. Remember to leave
time for the turkey to stand before carving.
Remove the turkey from oven and make the gravy according to recipe. Check out
Making Perfect Turkey Gravy and
Gravy Making Tips.
Complete the vegetable dishes. Reheat before the meal.
Make the mashed potatoes or reheat Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes in the oven or microwave.
Warm breads or rolls.
Serve a small appetizer (I like to serve fresh cut-up vegetables with a dip. Also maybe some cold cuts). You do not want your guests to fill up on the
appetizer, just whet their appetite. Check out my
Thanksgiving Dinner Menu (includes recipes) for some great ideas.
Additional articles to help you with your Thanksgiving dinner planning:
Advice on Handling Leftovers Safely
Big Meal Doesn't Have To Equal Big Mess
Organizing for Clean-Up Makes for an Easier Holiday
Christmas kitchen secrets of the organized
Suggestions to help you make holiday entertaining look easy.
Mise en Place - Begin Cooking with Mise en Place
A cooking time saver - and stress reliever - by lining up your cooking.
Paper or plastic for holiday organization?
Holidays mean more recipes and groceries! Turn the kitchen chaos into calm.
Quick! Make your kitchen welcoming
Kitchens are a company magnet. Make yours welcoming with these steps.
Storing Table Linens
Don't wait for company. Get your table linens finally organized.
Day After Thanksgiving:
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 turkey 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. Check out
Let's Make Turkey Stock.