November 9, 2022

Thanksgiving Prep

Thanksgiving Prep — Place Setting with turkey, sweet potato and cranberry

The big feast is a few weeks away. Here are some Thanksgiving prep ideas to help you get ready.

What sides should I serve?

Consider who is coming. I like to have at least two starches, 1 or two vegetable dishes and I also like a salad. From there fill in the menu based on family favorites, colors, textures, etc. I always serve rolls but honestly, they are for the turkey sandwiches after the meal. 

How Much Food Should I Have?

I always have too much food. It’s a curse in our house that I am still cooking for a family of 6 when there are only 2 of us at home. So here is a quick handy guide to help you prepare how many items to make.

  5 Servings 10 Servings 20 Servings
Turkey  6-8 lb 13-15 lb 22-26 lb
Appetizers 1 2 3
Bottles of Wine 3 6 12
Starchy Side Dishes 1 2 3
Veggie Side Dishes or Salads 1 2 3
Pies or Desserts 1 2 3

What Type Of Turkey Should I buy?

Fresh, Frozen, Organic what is the best bird for you?

Fresh vs. Frozen Turkey?

Frozen turkeys have frozen and require thawing time which is typically at least two days.

Fresh turkeys are fresh and require no thawing but make sure you are actually buying “fresh” and not previously frozen turkeys.

Few people can tell the difference between fresh or frozen birds

Self Basting Or Pre-Brined?

Self-basting and pre-brined turkeys have been injected with broth, salt, seasonings, other flavorings.

Do not salt or brine these turkeys they will dry out.

What Are Natural Turkeys?

Have not had any artificial flavorings or preservatives added. They may, however, have had salt, water, and “natural flavorings” added so the term natural is somewhat meaningless.

What About Organic Turkeys?

Have been fed Organic Feed all their lives and have never been treated with antibiotics. 

Free Range Turkeys

Free range means the animal is allowed to be outside at least part of the time. For some growers this may be a short time; other growers allow the animals to roam a large area and hunt and peck as they like.

No added Hormones

No turkeys sold in the U.S. can have been given hormones (or steroids), so this label or claim is meaningless since it applies to all turkeys.

I typically buy a Frozen, free-range Turkey, organic is a plus.

Ingredients to stock up on

Always have extra stock (gravy right?), butter, lemons and herbs on hand. These items can amp up the flavor in any dish but can also make a platter prettier or a cocktail fancier.

Things to make in advance For Thanksgiving Prep:

  1. Pie Crusts
  2. Cranberry Sauce
  3. Vinaigrettes for salads