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Holiday Survival Guide

How to Time Everything Like a Pro

Holiday Survival Guide
This is your shining culinary moment. It’s your turn to host the annual holiday meal, and you’re already overwhelmed with the prospect of prepping and cooking seven or more dishes and trying to find a way to have them all come out warm and fully cooked at roughly the same time. There’s a lot to consider when your meal is going to be the star of the show. Do you ask guests to bring anything? What kind of table décor are you going to set up? Are you planning to serve any appetizers? What time should everyone come over? RecipeLion Magazine is here to help—at least with the timing part of it. We’re going to give you plenty of tips and tricks along the way to ensure your dinner goes off without a hitch. What to Make Ahead: You don’t need to worry about making all of your dishes on the holiday itself. There are several dishes you can either make or mostly prep ahead of time, so you’ll be able to focus on a few key dishes the day of. The Weekend Before: If you’re making a turkey, you’re going to want to defrost that well ahead of time. For every four pounds of turkey, you’ll need about a day to thaw it out in the fridge. A Day or Two Before: If you’re a family that enjoys fall soups as a starter to your Thanksgiving meal, make those ahead of time and freeze them. Defrost the morning of Thanksgiving, warm it up on the stovetop, and you’re all set! Gravy also freezes well, so if you really want to work ahead, you can buy extra giblets and other turkey parts at the butcher separately to make your gravy and freeze ahead of time. Then just reheat in a saucepan on Thanksgiving Day. If you plan on making homemade stuffing, you’ll want to make sure your bread is nice and dried out a couple days ahead of time. Cube your bread and let it sit out to stale a couple days before Thanksgiving. Then finish making your stuffing on Thanksgiving Day. Cranberry sauce also keeps well for a couple days in the fridge, so do yourself a favor and make it ahead of time. (Plus, you won’t even have to reheat it before everyone sits down!) Season your turkey the night before to allow it time to rest and absorb overnight. Thanksgiving Morning: The first thing you should do on Thanksgiving morning is start cooking your turkey. The length of time will depend on the size of your turkey and whether or not you’re stuffing it. Generally speaking you’ll want to cook an unstuffed turkey for about 15 minutes per pound at 325°F. Always check with a cooking thermometer at the thickest part of the turkey’s leg. It should read 165°F. Stuffed turkeys will generally need about an extra hour on top of that. Casseroles should be made the day of so that they’re hot and fresh on the dinner table. You can always prep the veggies ahead of time with the slicing and dicing, but wait to put them together and bake them until a few hours before dinnertime. Finish making your Mashed potatoes should also be made the day of, so they’re nice and fresh for the dinner table. You can always keep them on a low flame on the stovetop to keep them warm if you finish a bit early. And that’s it! Your holiday dinner is ready to go! Take a deep breath, hold your head high, and be confident that everything will go off without a hitch.
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