What We Love Right Now November 17, 2010: Stress Less: Tips for a Terrific Thanksgiving

November 17, 2010 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk, Meals In Minutes, Party Planning

Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays of the year, but it seems it is a lot of work and preparation and in the blink of an eye the food is eaten and guests are on their way out the door and you are left with a mess to clean up and lots of leftovers. This day, whether you host a big gathering or spend a quiet day at home with your immediate family, should be a peaceful, enjoyable time with as little stress as possible. We’re all about making things easier for moms, so What We Love Right Now: Tips for a Terrific (and hopefully less stressful!) Thanksgiving.


If you’re cooking for a large gathering we suggest a Potluck Thanksgiving. You can cook the bird and guests can provide the sides. This will be a TON of less work for you as the hostess. Now, if this is your first time cooking a turkey you may have some questions and hopefully we have some answers!

How long does it take a turkey to thaw?

In order to cook properly you turkey needs to be completely thawed.

8-12 lbs – 2-3 days

13-16 lbs – 3-4 days

17-20 lbs – 4-5 days

21-25 lbs – 5-6 days

How long should the turkey cook?

First, preheat your oven to 450°F. Rinse turkey; pat dry with paper towels. Prepare stuffing, if desired. Stuff body and neck cavities loosely with stuffing, if desired. Tie legs together with cotton string or tuck through skin flap, if provided. Tuck wings under turkey. Place turkey on meat rack in shallow roasting pan.  Insert ovenproof meat thermometer in thickest part of thigh not touching bone. You may want to brush your turkey with a little melted butter. Place turkey in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Roast 18 to 20 minutes per pound for unstuffed turkey or 22 to 24 minutes per pound for stuffed turkey (you can brush with butter after 1 hour and then after 1-1/2 hours, if desired). Baste with pan juices every hour of roasting. (Total roasting time should be 4 to 5 hours.) If you notice the turkey is overbrowning, tent with foil. Cook until internal temperature reaches 180°F when tested with meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh, not touching bone.

Yummy Side Dishes

You may be the guest attending the Potluck or need a few sides to complete your small family gathering. What should you cook? You may have a great family recipe up your sleeve, but if you don’t here are two yummy side dishes sure to please everyone at the table.

Tasty Twice Baked Potato Casserole

What You’ll Need:

  • 10 large russet baking potatoes (about 7 pounds total)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 pound bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
  • 1/2 pound sharp white cheddar, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 pound mild Cheddar, grated (3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten

Fix it Fast:

1. Scrub the potatoes well and rinse under cool running water. Pat dry with paper towels and prick the potatoes in several places with a fork. Place the potatoes in the oven and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside on a wire rack until cool enough to handle.

2. When the potatoes have cooled, cut each potato in half and, using a spoon or a melon baller, scoop the flesh out of the skins, leaving as little flesh as possible.

3. Place the potato flesh in a large bowl and add 1 stick of the butter, the sour cream, heavy cream, salt, and pepper and mash until chunky-smooth.

4. Add the bacon, cubed white Cheddar, half of the grated Cheddar, the green onions, and eggs and mix thoroughly.

5. Butter a 9 by 13-inch casserole with the remaining tablespoon of butter and reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

6. Place the seasoned potato mixture in the prepared casserole and top with the remaining grated Cheddar.

7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until bubbly around the edges and heated through and the cheese on top is melted and lightly golden. Serve hot.

Sauteed Green Beans and Mushrooms

Instead of Green Bean Casserole, try this yummy green bean variation.

What You’ll Need:

  • Green Beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Gralic and/or onion, optional
  • French Onion Crisps
  • Butter

Fix it Fast:

1. Blanche green beans in boiling water until cooked.

2. Meanwhile, in a saute mushrooms (and garlic and onions, optional) in butter over medium-high heat, until golden.

3. Add mushroom mix with drained green beans. Toss with salt and pepper.

4. Place mixture in serving bowl and top with onion crisps.

How long can you keep turkey?

After you’ve all been stuffed with yummy food, you’ll probably have some left overs to deal with. You’ll want to pack up any leftovers within two hours of serving. Leftovers should only be kept in the fridge for 2 days, so anything you have mass quantities of should be frozen for safe keeping. Always defrost your frozen leftovers in the refrigerator.


One Comment on "What We Love Right Now November 17, 2010: Stress Less: Tips for a Terrific Thanksgiving"

  1. Daniel on Fri, 17th Dec 2010 12:36 pm 

    great post, thanks for sharing

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