Every home warms and comes alive with a gathering and a home cooked meal. Most homeowners love to have their family and friends gathered for holidays like Thanksgiving. Yet for the home cook it can be a stressful affair. The desire to please and entertain with delicious Thanksgiving meals for example, can be very hard work. So in this article we offer you the secret top tips used by the best chefs.
Top Tips to making the most delicious Thanksgiving meals
The Thanksgiving dinner has evolved to be one of the most complicated meals you can make. In addition to cooking a massive bird, you also have to prepare the many dishes to serve alongside it.
What if you are housesitting and away from home at Thanksgiving?
If you are a solo traveller perhaps housesitting away from home at Thanksgiving you can organise a meet-up with others to help you celebrate the compliments of the season.
Another strategy to help make yourself feel festive whether you are at home or not, is finding decorative ways to warm the kitchen area in your home.
Solo housesitters have various strategies for making friends and celebrating high days and holidays while they are travelling alone. These feast days are special and always worth marking the occasion wherever you happen to be.
What’s a good menu for Thanksgiving?
Cooking a typical thanksgiving meal is a fantastic fear that often beats many. A good menu will usually include a roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberries in one form or another. You need to be prepared and put in the effort if the meal is to be successful. A thanksgiving meal should be not only plentiful but also tasty.
Preparing for the big day
If you are planning a Thanksgiving dinner and plan to be a regular host at high days and holidays you need to ensure your kitchen is well equipped with handy kitchen tools easily accessible.
It is also worth spending time to prepare your home for your guests, and in fact ensuring that you keep your home fresh all year round to make your home more welcoming to your guests.
Planning a menu for any occasion, especially holidays like Thanksgiving, is important. While we need to manage the nutritional value of all the components. And while traditional occasions like Christmas and New year invite a reinterpretation of traditional meals it is important to be mindful of the nutrition offered on the table.
What are the top 3 Thanksgiving dishes?
The following are some tips to make the most delicious Thanksgiving meals and to add incredible flavour:
Mashed potatoes are a favorite dish and one you are almost guaranteed to see at a thanksgiving meal. If you want to make excellent mashed potatoes for your Thanksgiving dinner, you should freeze them or embrace the make-ahead casserole.
Taking time over the potatoes
It would be best if you made the mashed potatoes as you regularly would but ahead of time. Ensure you use enough cream and butter and freeze it in a plastic container or bag in the freezer. Please put it in the fridge one or two days before Thanksgiving to let it slowly defrost. It will be ready to cook by Thanksgiving.
You can also make mashed potato casserole with a golden crust and delicious potatoes underneath. The casserole can be made ahead of time then refrigerated and defrosted.
Recipe for creamy mashed potatoes
- STEP 1 – Tip the potatoes into a large pan, cover with cold water and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt. Set the pan over a high heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15-20 mins until the potatoes are very tender – they should be able to be easily pierced with the tip of a knife. Drain well, then return to the pan and leave to steam-dry for 5 mins.
- STEP 2 – Pass the potatoes through a ricer into a large bowl for a lump-free mash (you may need to do this in batches). Alternatively, mash with a potato masher until smooth, then press through a sieve using the back of a spoon to get rid of any remaining lumps.
- STEP 3 – Tip the 50g salted butter, the milk and some seasoning into the bowl with the hot mash. Beat everything together with a wooden spoon or spatula until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add a splash more milk to loosen, if needed. Top with the remaining 1 tbsp butter and leave it to melt for a few seconds before serving.
The turkey is the main dish of Thanksgiving, and the holiday would be incomplete without one. vegetarians and vegans aside this is one of the top 10 thanksgiving foods. If you want to serve your family and friends a delicious bird, you should prepare it beforehand. Preparation is half the skill in achieving delicious Thanksgiving meals.
If you are bringing the turkey, then you should do it about three days before Thanksgiving. You may also decide to rub the bird with butter before you roast it, in which case you can store the butter in the freezer for weeks before using it.
Do you baste?
When cooking the bird, you will have to baste it. You should select one of the best turkey basters to do the job. It would be best if you also basted the turkey every forty to forty-five minutes to avoid opening the oven door frequently, which can reduce the heat and take the meal too long to cook.
Do you cook your turkey with stuffing?
As far as the stuffing is concerned, it would be best to cook it outside the turkey rather than inside it. The reason is that when you freeze the turkey, you will also freeze the stuffing, and when you cook the turkey, the stuffing might not reach a temperature high enough to cook.
Moreover, a thermometer to test the temperature of the turkey as it cooks is a good idea.
Recipe for Roast Turkey
How to cook a turkey
- 1 free-range turkey (5kg will feed eight people)
- 50g butter
- Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
- Smear the butter all over the turkey and season with salt and pepper.
- Put in a roasting tin, breast-side up, and roast for 40 mins per 1kg for the first 4kg, then 45 mins for every 1kg over that weight, or until the internal temperature reaches 65-70C. For a turkey of this weight, the cooking time should be 3½-4 hrs. The turkey will continue to cook and the temperature will rise while it rests.
- Remove the turkey from the oven and rest in a warm place for 30-45 mins – don’t skip this step as the juices won’t be reabsorbed back into the turkey and will run out if you carve it straightaway. Don’t cover the turkey too tightly if you want the skin to stay crisp, but keep it warm.
- Before serving the turkey, check that the meat is steaming hot throughout, there is no pink meat visible and when you cut into the thickest part of the meat, the juices run clear.
For accurate timing, always weigh your turkey after it has been stuffed. If it’s very large, you may need to use bathroom scales.
Everything’s better with a little everything, and so is a large thanksgiving meal. You want to ensure you make enough gravy for starters, so there is enough to go around.
You can roast several turkey pieces and use them to make stock, plus the drippings for the gravy. Freeze the gravy and defrost it the day before or on Thanksgiving. You will have to whisk it to eliminate any separation.
People love to have cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving, and thankfully, you can make it far ahead of time. Cranberry sauce is like a jam that you can keep in the fridge or freezer for a long time.
The cranberry sauce will still have its consistency if you make it ahead of time, and it might taste better because the flavors will have plenty of time to mix and mingle. The easiest way to make cranberry sauce is to make it on the stovetop or using a slow cooker on a free afternoon. Cranberries always help to make delicious Thanksgiving meals.
If you are going to make stuffing for your turkey, which you should, it would be best if you made it and put it in the freezer. If you use bread in the stuffing, doing it beforehand will allow you enough time to bake the bread. It is one of the top 20 thanksgiving foods, many see it as a must if you have roast turkey.
Toasted nuts are a great addition to the Thanksgiving table
The same goes for any homemade stock or toasted nuts that will be in the stuffing. Toasted nuts will be very fresh if you store them in the fridge. The stock can also last for weeks and still be good. Toasted nuts also make excellent Thanksgiving dinner sides.
Herbs and spices
If you want to make delicious Thanksgiving meals, herbs and spices should be part of your grocery list. Both will add incredible flavor to your meal and make it memorable. They help to make the presentation of our meal components particularly creative thanksgiving ideas.
Fresh herbs like rosemary, parsley, basil, and garnish will add freshness and flavor to your dinner. Your guests will greatly appreciate spices like turmeric, ginger, and masala.
Enjoy your delicious Thanksgiving meals – Now you know too!
Making delicious Thanksgiving meals takes some doing and plenty of planning. The best way to make a delicious Thanksgiving meal is to plan and make preparing the foods easy. The above tips should give you a solid foundation for a great and enticing meal that your guest will savor.
FURTHER READING ON KITCHEN HOME DECOR FOR HOME OWNERS
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