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1.  First thing to remember, relax! Chances are your guests are going to be mostly family so if you mess up they are usually forgiving.

2.  Keep it simple.  Stick to family favorites that you are familiar with. If your family is anything like mine, that's what they want anyway.

3.  God love Martha Stewart but trying to live up to one of her Thanksgivings is difficult even for the best of us.

4.  Plan your menu a week ahead. Don't forget appetizers, relish trays and desserts. Make your shopping list. You can pick up the non-perishables several days ahead of time and pick up fresh vegetables, breads and desserts the day before.

5.  Make sure to give yourself enough time to thaw the turkey in the fridge. This can take 2, 3 or more days. It is extremely dangerous to thaw outside of the fridge.

6.  Speaking of food illness, it's really not a good idea to stuff a turkey. I know it tastes great but the chances of salmonella are so much higher that I don't do it anymore. It will take less time to cook the turkey unstuffed so that's an advantage.

7.  The day before Thanksgiving get the table ready. Set the table and cover with a clean sheet. Have the serving dishes and utensils all ready, also plan which pots and pans you will need.

8.  Early morning Thursday prep veggies, peel potatoes, arrange relish and veggie trays. If you are having salad, wash and bag the greens. When you decide what time you want to serve that will determine what time your turkey goes in. Remember the turkey needs to rest at least 20 minutes before carving.

9.  Most of the vegetables can be prepared while the turkey is cooking and warmed up in the microwave before serving. Mashed potatoes can be kept warm in a bowl placed over simmering water. A word on mashed potatoes - it's thanksgiving, real butter and cream or half& half only! Also, always heat the butter and cream together before adding to the potatoes.

10.  Don't go too crazy over desserts. When guests ask me if they can bring something I always tell them dessert. I say bring whatever you like! At my house everyone is usually too stuffed for dessert anyway. An easy dessert menu, buy a prebaked pumpkin pie and a cheesecake.

11.  Best advice, be calm. Have a good time with your family. Remember to have plenty of g b ravy in case the white meat is dry!

Happy Thanksgiving!!


Posted: Tuesday, November 08, 2011 9:47 AM by Dean's Team


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