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Grab your legal pad, folks, this week is planning week. First you'll want to write down everything being served from the turkey right on down to the chips and dip. Make sure to put this in the left margin so you can write your shopping list along the right side. Now is not the time to be conservative.

An item like butter, for instance, gets used in a lot of recipes.  I usually make sure I have at least 4 pounds on hand. You'll also want to have both unsalted and salted.  Make sure to use the unsalted butter while cooking to control the salt, especially in things like stuffing. Use salted butter for the table - nothing beats real butter at holiday time. I also use real cream to make everything richer.

Now that you have your list, you want to separate it into perishables and non-perishables. This week concentrate on non-perishables. Items like canned goods and gravy and stuffing mixes can be stocked up this week and lessen the load for next week. This is also a good time to plan the drinks menu. If you are having cocktails make sure there is a good variety. For hard liquor the best standbys are vodka, whiskey and rum and have plenty of mixers like 7-Up, tonic and V8. Give the kids a little something more special like flavored sparkling water and soda. If you are serving wine I would recommend a bottle for every 2 adults. For beer try out one of our local breweries or use a standard that most folks drink like Sam Adams. My personal philosophy is it's better to have too much than not enough.

If you're in the Chicago area Binny's Beverage Depot is the best place shop for your liquor. The prices are great and they are super helpful in choosing any wine or liquor. They are very knowledgeable and will help you match wines with the food.

Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2013 8:12 AM by Dean's Team


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