Whether you’re hosting your first turkey dinner or you’re a time-tested pro, you’ll find new recipes and ideas in this collection from Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Country Living, and Woman’s Day that will make this year’s holiday meal super-delicious—and practically stress-free. Tips and illustrated how-tos will guide you every step of the way. There are ideas for easy ways to set a beautiful table, a guide to carving, and help for Turkey Day troubles (like what to do when guests are late). Plus you’ll find menus for the perfect meal, whether you’re serving four or twenty-four. Choose from more than a dozen recipes—both classic and exotic—including mouthwatering dishes such as:
· Roast Turkey with Giblet Gravy· Roast Turkey with Cocoa-Spice Rub· Pomegranate-Lacquered Roast Turkey
Feast on all the delicious trimmings, too, with recipes including:
· Savory Bread Stuffing with Pears· Sour-Cream Smashed Potatoes· Maple Sweet Potatoes with Pecans· Ginger-Cranberry Sauce
Soups, salads, vegetable sides, and desserts (not just pumpkin pie!) round out the meal. Finally, there are great recipes to use to gobble up any leftovers. Make this year’s holiday gathering one you and your guests will never forget!
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Let's Talk Turkey ... And All the Trimmings
100 Delicious Holiday Recipes, Tips, and Ideas from America's Top Magazines
By Hearst Communications
Hearst Communications, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Hearst Communications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
MAKE IT EASY: DINNER-PLANNING POINTERS
From grocery shopping to carving tips to ideas for setting a welcoming table, the following pages will help make your meal memorable—and (reasonably) stress-free.
4 Weeks to a Foolproof Feast
The ultimate turkey dinner to-do list
From Good Housekeeping
Create your guest list; check to make sure everyone's coming—and whether anyone's planning to bring a friend.
Select the menu: Keep in mind how much oven, stovetop, and microwave space you have available, and what each recipe entails. (If you're attempting a dish for the first time, give it a test run beforehand.)
Write out or print your grocery list so you can keep it handy over the next few weeks for minor tweaks.
Agree on dishes company can bring if they offer. (Then cross those items off your shopping list.)
Check your spices: Toss any that are past their prime; add to your list.
Look for sales and stock up on staples—paper goods, candies, beverages, inexpensive toys to entertain kids.
Assess your cooking equipment, china, cutlery, and serving dishes. Is the vegetable peeler dull? Are the pot holders frayed? Plan to buy or borrow what you'll need.
Survey your surfaces. Any really visible stains on the carpet or dining room chairs? Either schedule time to clean them soon or call in a pro.
Place all orders for catered trays or pies. Figure out whether you should go with a fresh turkey (which you'll need to order now) or a frozen one.
Enlist the spouse or kids to wash platters and polish silver now so they'll be free to run errands or take out the trash the night before or morning of the big day. Once silver is clean, wrap it in tissue and then place in airtight plastic bags to keep it tarnish-free.
Clean the house thoroughly so you can focus on other projects for the next couple of weeks. Put the oven through a self-cleaning cycle. Do a cobweb check by flicking on the lights or chandelier in the dining room.
Pull out the table linens you plan to use and the hand towels for the bathroom. Are they faded? Developing mysterious spots? Wash accordingly. If they're too far gone (or the thought of scrubbing stains makes you want to scream), buy some stain-resistant tablecloths and inexpensive towels.
Sharpen knives—and not just the turkey carver. All your kitchen work will go more smoothly.
Stock up on wine. Choose one red and one white, and buy multiple bottles of each.
Clean out the fridge. It's pricey real estate this time of year; you'll need every square inch.
Prepare piecrusts and freeze until next week.
Pick up some plastic containers; they'll hold prepared items before the meal and leftovers afterward—and they make good doggie bags for guests. Also get extra foil and plastic wrap, kitchen twine, trash bags, paper towels, toilet paper (if you haven't already found this stuff on sale). Consider buying nonperishable grocery items now, too, to shorten the inevitable marathon shopping trip next week.
Charge up your hand-vac (or just locate your broom and dustpan)—so you're ready to cope with those unavoidable spills.
Iron linens that need it and lay them out, if possible, so they don't re-wrinkle.
Grocery-shop a couple of days before the holiday—don't wait until the day before.
Make or buy plenty of ice.
Set out your serving dishes and utensils and define their use with sticky notes (e.g., "Brussels sprouts here").
Move your frozen bird to the fridge to thaw (check label for guidelines).
Start cooking the day before—either make dishes completely and store for reheating (think pies, casseroles), or partially prep foods (like vegetables) that need to be finished the day of. Thaw frozen make-aheads, like that piecrust you made last week.
Set the table (or better yet, ask family to do it) the night before. For festive ideas, see Set a Stunning Table.
Chill the white wine.
Stuff the turkey, if you like, and get it roasting; make the potatoes, then veggies.
Whip the cream for dessert; chill.
Transfer your turkey to a platter. See our carving how-tos.
Make the gravy with drippings; reheat potatoes in the microwave.
Serve, sit down, and dig in. (But remember to warm the pies after dinner's through.)
Company's Coming: How Much Do I Need?
From Good Housekeeping
Cooking for a crowd can be complicated—how much stuffing will 20 people eat? Solution: Simply consult these at-a-glance guidelines for 11 Thanksgiving basics, showing the minimum amount you'll need to buy whether you're entertaining 8 or 24 or various numbers in between.
It's just a turkey. Relax, and bone up on the basics for confidently buying and roasting the centerpiece of your holiday meal.
From Good Housekeeping
What to Buy
Frozen turkeys are widely available and often on sale during the holidays. Some are pre-basted to enhance juiciness. You can buy them well in advance, but you'll need to allow enough time for them to thaw.
Fresh turkeys are preferred by many people but are usually more expensive, have a shorter shelf life, and may need to be special-ordered. Don't buy one more than two days ahead.
How Much to Buy
Estimate 1 pound uncooked turkey per person to ensure enough meat for Thanksgiving dinner—and leftovers.
How to Thaw
The best way: Place frozen turkey (still in packaging) in a pan on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Allow 24 hours thawing time for every 4 to 5 pounds. A thawed bird can keep up to 4 days in the fridge. Last-minute solution: Submerge a still-wrapped turkey in cold water. Allow 30 minutes of thawing time per pound; change water every 30 minutes. Cook thawed turkey immediately.
How to Roast
Place the turkey (breast side up) on a rack in a large roasting pan in an oven preheated to 325°F. If you don't have a rack, place 2 or 3 large carrots crosswise underneath the bird to ensure good heat circulation.
For moist meat, cover with foil from the start—but remove it during the last hour of roasting to produce browner, crispier skin.
Roast turkey 3 to 3 ¾ hours for a 12- to 14-pounder (that's approximately 15 to 17 minutes per pound for an unstuffed bird).
Use an instant-read meat thermometer to test doneness. Turkey should be taken out of the oven when the thickest part of the thigh (next to but not touching the bone) reaches 175°F. and the breast reaches 165°F.
If the turkey is fully cooked earlier than expected, wrap the entire bird and pan with foil and place a large bath towel on top to keep it hot and moist for 1 hour. For safety reasons, never leave turkey standing at room temperature longer than 2 hours.
How to Carve a Turkey - In 4 Simple Steps
Everything you need to know to be ready for the big moment
From Woman's Day
Before you start... Let the cooked turkey rest at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes to redistribute the juices, which guarantees the most succulent slices of meat.
Step 1: Place the turkey on a cutting board set in a rimmed baking sheet to catch excess juices. Using a boning or other sharp knife, remove a leg and thigh by slicing down through the skin that connects the drumstick and the breast until you reach the hip joint. Cut through the joint to release the leg from the turkey. Repeat with the other leg.
Step 2: Separate a drumstick from its thigh by cutting through the joint—you can find it by moving the drumstick back and forth. Place the drumstick on a platter. Remove the thigh bone by running your knife alongside and underneath the bone. Repeat with the other leg, and set the thighs aside to carve later.
Step 3: Remove a breast and wing by slicing carefully along one side of the breastbone, keeping the knife as close to the bone as possible. Follow the rib cage all the way down and around until you reach the joint where the wing is attached. Cut through the joint to release the breast and wing in one piece. Repeat with the other breast.
Step 4: Separate the wing from the breast by cutting through the joint. Using a carving or other sharp knife, slice the breast and thigh meat. Arrange the turkey on the platter and garnish with fresh herbs and fruit, if desired.
Making the Cut
From Good Housekeeping
A good electric carving knife can help you dissect your bird like a professional, working expertly around the bones and producing those gorgeous wide slices of white meat trimmed with crispy golden skin. The Cuisinart Electric Knife (cuisinart.com) does a great job, and it has plenty of year-round uses as well: making perfectly thin slices of roast beef or tomatoes, or cutting up a loaf of crusty bread without struggling.
Turkey Day Troubleshooting
It's inevitable that something will go wrong. Learn from the mistakes of Good Housekeeping readers.
From Good Housekeeping
Q. Help! It's Thanksgiving morning and my turkey is still frozen. How can I salvage the main attraction?
A. Don't have a meltdown; quick-thaw instead: Submerge turkey, still wrapped, in a large container of cold water (use the sink if you don't need it for anything else). Allow at least 30 minutes of thaw time per pound, and change the water every 30 minutes. (FYI, you can roast a frozen turkey—but the oven time will be 50 percent longer.)
Q. My sister-in-law drained—not strained—all the drippings from the roasting pan. Now how will I make gravy?
A. A tasty save: Melt 4 tablespoons margarine or butter in a saucepan and stir in ¼ cup flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until it browns; don't let it burn. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and milk to equal 4 cups, and cook until mixture boils and thickens. Boil 1 minute.
Q. My stuffing came out gummy and dense, almost like bread pudding. I tried to fluff it up, but nothing worked. Help!
A. Turn stuffing out onto a jelly-roll pan or baking sheet and break it up with a spoon, then spread into an even layer. Place in a 325°F oven and bake, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes or until dried to a consistency you like, stirring once. Then spoon into the serving dish and no one will be the wiser.
Q. Oh, no—my pumpkin pie has a giant crack across the top. How can I possibly put it on the table this way?
A. Here's how: Spread some sweetened whipped cream over the top and sprinkle with some pumpkin-pie spice. That's how you planned to serve it anyway, right?
Q. Dinner's ready but the guests are late. How do I keep the meal from turning to dust?
A. Set oven to 200°F. Cover dishes with foil and place in oven up to 30 minutes.
Q. I dropped my pecan pie and the glass plate shattered. What's a quick replacement dessert?
A. First clean up that glass. Then whip up one of these instant treats:
Pumpkin Parfaits: Swirl canned pumpkin-pie mix with whipped cream and layer in tall glasses with crushed cookies like ginger or chocolate (for contrast).
Marmalade-Glazed Oranges: Remove the peel and pith from 6 large navel oranges and cut fruit crosswise into slices; sprinkle with brandy. Heat 1/2 cup marmalade until melted; pour over fruit.
Simple Shortcake: Bake refrigerator biscuits; split, then top with canned pumpkin-pie mix folded into sweetened whipped cream. Or if you're feeling fancy, use whipped cream folded into whipped cream cheese flavored with orange liqueur; either way, top with thawed frozen berries.
3 Tricks to Keep Food Warm
It's a challenge to get everything to the table while it's hot. Try these 3 secret strategies
From Woman's Day
1. Stack casseroles in a cooler. In the same way a cooler keeps drinks cold, its insulation will keep food warm for up to an hour by trapping in the heat. Place baking dishes straight from the oven into the cooler (separate different-size dishes with baking sheets to avoid squishing).
2. Rely on your grill. Set it on its lowest temperature using indirect heat (turn on half the burners, place food on the opposite side of grill—not over the burners—and cover the grill). Use heatproof dishes, and remember the food may develop a slight smoky flavor.
3. Use the slow cooker. Mashed potatoes, gravy, or creamed vegetables can be kept warm in the slow cooker on low for up to an hour. Make the food a little more moist than usual, as slow cookers can dry it out while keeping it warm.
Microwave to the Rescue!
This pint-size powerhouse can do more than just heat up gravy. Check out these 7 shortcuts perfect for Turkey Day.
From Good Housekeeping
Your microwave can cook a pound of just about anything in 4 to 6 minutes. And that's only one of its tricks. So when your stovetop and oven are totally occupied, it's time for some micro-management.
Cook cranberry sauce. In 2-quart casserole, combine a 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries, ¾ cup sugar, and ¼ cup orange juice or water. Cover with lid or vented plastic wrap, and microwave 7 to 11 minutes until cranberries pop.
Steam string beans. Cook 1 pound green beans and a few tablespoons water in a covered casserole for 4 to 6 minutes until tender-crisp.
Make a crunchy crust. Mix 4 tablespoons softened butter, 1 cup cookie or graham cracker crumbs, ¼ cup finely chopped nuts, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Press onto the bottom and side of 9-inch glass pie plate. Microwave 2 to 3 minutes until firm.
Brown nuts. Pile ½ to 1 cup in glass measure or bowl (don't spread them out on a plate as if they were on a baking sheet in the oven). Heat 1 ½ to 2 ½ minutes or until lightly colored and aromatic—and don't forget to stir them a couple of times during microwaving.
Poach pears. In 2-quart casserole, combine ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup water, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Microwave 2 minutes to dissolve sugar. Arrange 4 peeled pears on their sides in the syrup, with stems pointing to the center. Cover with lid or vented plastic wrap, and cook 10 to 12 minutes or until fork-tender.
Fix breadcrumb topping. In glass measuring cup, combine 1 cup dried breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter. Toast 1 ½ to 2 ½ minutes until browned. It's important to stop and stir twice.
Bake sweet potatoes. Prick 4 medium sweet potatoes, then place on turntable and zap 10 to 11 minutes until soft.
What's the best wine to pour with turkey?
From Good Housekeeping
Don't get hung up on the white-versus-red debate—with a turkey dinner, you can go either way. If you prefer white wine, try a Riesling, which has enough honey notes to meld with dishes like sweet potatoes, and enough tangy acidity to complement the rest of the meal. If you'd like to serve red wine, try a fruity-but-not-sugary Pinot Noir, which matches beautifully with turkey and stuffing. For a long, festive holiday meal, figure on three or four bottles for every four people.
Turkey Dinner Shortcut (We'll Never Tell)
From Good Housekeeping
Buy a prepared turkey and pumpkin pie, and make the sides yourself. Top the pie with homemade Bourbon Whipped Cream: In a medium bowl, combine ½ cup heavy or whipping cream, 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar, and 1 ½ teaspoons bourbon or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. With mixer on medium speed, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Place a dollop on each slice of pie, and sprinkle with spiced, sugared pecans.
A 5-Ingredient Turkey Menu
Want to keep it simple? Every dish in this holiday menu has just 5 ingredients or less (not counting true staples, like butter, oil, and salt and pepper)!
Pomegranate-Lacquered Roast Turkey
Cranberry–Apple Cider Gravy
Cranberry, Apricot & Clementine Relish
Cornbread, Bacon & Onion Stuffing
Maple Sweet Potatoes with Pecans
Creamed Parmesan Spinach
S'mores-Pumpkin Ice Cream Cake
Dinner for Four
Hosting a small group gives you a chance to pull out all the stops
Warm Mushroom Salad with Endive & Watercress
Turkey Breast with Spinach-Herb Stuffing
Jellied Cranberry-Port Molds
Crispy Potato-Parmesan Galette
Carrot Ribbons with Cashews
Brussels Sprouts with Leeks & Bacon
If you're feeding a platoon of family and friends, follow this crowd-pleasing menu, which expands to serve 24
Apple & Squash Soup (follow instructions for 24 at end of recipe)
Orange-Scented Roast Turkey (follow instructions for 24 at end of recipe)
Do-Ahead White Wine & Sage Gravy (follow instructions for 24 at end of recipe)
Mushroom Stuffing (follow instructions for 24 at end of recipe)
Broccoli with Garlic & Lemon (double recipe for 24)
Garlic & Rosemary-Infused Mashed Potatoes (triple recipe for 24)
Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallow Meringue (double recipe for 24)
Ginger-Cranberry Sauce (double recipe for 24)
Crisp Corn Breadsticks
Apple Cider–Spiked Pie
Excerpted from Let's Talk Turkey ... And All the Trimmings by Hearst Communications. Copyright © 2012 Hearst Communications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Hearst Communications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Make It Easy: Dinner-Planning Pointers,
The Main Event: Turkeys,
Tart & Tangy: Sauces & Relishes,
Simply Sumptuous Stuffings,
Starters: Stand-Out Salads & Soups,
On the Side: Vegetables,
Everyone's Favorites: Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes & Rice,
Recipes for Turkey Leftovers,