Thanksgiving Holiday Guide

Thanksgiving.  Friends, family, good food, a time to reflect on our blessings and enjoy the company of those we love and appreciate.   After numerous holiday dinners what I have come away with is great memories and a few tips to streamline the whole process.

In the past, I wrote individual posts about each step, breaking them down into small parts. I created this guide to streamline the whole process.   If I have not covered what you are needing, ask questions!  There are people here to help!

The Count Down to Thanksgiving:  Covers menu planning, shopping, timing, guest list, choosing your turkey. Fresh or frozen? What size turkey to buy? To brine or not to brine?

Choosing the Perfect Roasting Pan:  How are you going to roast that bird?  A good roasting pan can be a once in a life time purchase.  I have compared numerous roasting pans, researched and outlined what I look for in a roasting pan and why. Surprisingly, my top choice for the year came in under $100. and should last a lifetime.

Cooking Turkey – Comparing Methods:  This guide will help you decide  how you are going to cook that bird.  Traditional Pan Roasted, Deep Fried, High Heat Start, Convection Roasting, Cooking Bag.

To Brine or Not to Brine:   Every bird isn’t cut out to be brined.  Types of salt to use to brine, those to avoid and why brining works to make for a juicy tender turkey.  Including my favorite recipe and tips for success.

Timing & Cooking Time:   A time line of when to start is important to getting the turkey cooked, gravy made and dinner on the table.  Are you planning on cooking your turkey breast side down?  I tried several methods and compared them.   No matter what method you choose, do not cook to 180 as so many recipes suggest and you will not have a dry turkey.  Turkey is done at 165 in the deepest part of the thigh.   Get the pros and cons of cooking your turkey breast side down / legs and thighs up.  A sample timeline is included. Plus, a time and temperature guide to help plan your time line.

Gravy:  A step by step guide to making gravy.  Put on your gravy making attitude!  You can do this.  It isn’t hard and no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without gravy!

Side Dishes:  From the perfect dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans with bacon and cranberry sauce.  All family favorites, the side dishes make the meal.

Dressing or Stuffing:   I don’t actually stuff my turkey.  In my part of the world dressing goes on a salad.  What ever you call it, I call it delicius.  Check out our favorites.

Most Important – Defrost SAFELY:  Place the turkey  in the refrigerator, in the original wrapper, in a pan large enough to hold the turkey and catch any drips. Allow 1 day for each 5 pounds plus a day.   “Fresh” turkey are ‘almost’ frozen, give them a day or so in the refrigerator.  Do NOT defrost at room temperature!

Dinner is done, What to do with all those leftovers helps solve those storage questions.   Plus, if you are interested in a Turkey Pot Pie, we have that covered too.

When all is said and done, Remember to Smile & Laugh and if your Mother in Law offers to bring the Turkey on Thanksgiving Day, make sure it is defrosted!

Have a question?  Just ask – I will do my best to help.

Gobble Gobble – Enjoy!


About Baking Nana

Each morning my granddaughter Sarah calls to ask, “Watcha doing, Nana? Are you baking Nana?” Hence my “name” Baking Nana. I am a mother to three wonderful children and a grandmother to 12 very hungry grandkids. I don’t bake fancy cakes but I do make wonderful yeast bread and home cooked meals made with love.


Thanksgiving Holiday Guide — 6 Comments

  1. Baking Nana, thanks for pulling all of this info together for us! I’ve enjoyed your blogs on AR and this site for years. Thank you for sharing…wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving with your family!

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