Thanksgiving dinner is probably one of the most awaited meals - a dinner that entails careful planning and preparation. It's an occasion for the family to get together and enjoy a wholesome homemade thanksgiving meal. But this can be quite stressful on the person getting the thanksgiving dinner together. From the traditional thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie, thanksgiving menu needs to chalked out in advance. Get set to make it a special meal with thanksgiving stuffing, thanksgiving side dishes and thanksgiving dessert!
Thanksgiving dinner turkey
It is essential to get your thanksgiving menu and guest list planned a few weeks in advance. This will aid better planning and purchase of ingredients for a perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Turkeys need to be selected and bought in advance lest you are left saddled with a sickly one or you have to look for other poultry alternatives. Goose and duck are alternative main dishes at thanksgiving meals.
- Pick a Grade-A turkey that is USDA approved. Look for one that is about 4-6 months old.
- The size of the turkey depends on the guest list. Typically a thanksgiving dinner for 8 may require a turkey of about 11 pounds.
- Buy the turkey a few days in advance and store it in the coldest part of your freezer.
- Defrost and thaw the turkey about 3 days prior to Thanksgiving dinner. Larger turkeys, 20 pounds and more must be defrosted for about 4 - 5 days.
- The turkey stuffing must be loosely filled. Ensure that the stuffing is moist. Use a meat thermometer while checking if your turkey and its center are fully cooked.
Review your recipes for the thanksgiving dinner and plan the cooking schedule. Chill the beverages and plan the defrosting schedule for the turkey. Prepare cranberry sauce and gravy a day prior to Thanksgiving. Get your flatware and glassware in place a couple of days prior to thanksgiving dinner. Take stock of your napkins and serviettes and have them ready. Plan out thanksgiving decorations and you should be all set to enjoy the meal with your guests.
Thanksgiving dinner menu
Traditionally, thanksgiving menu comprises roasted turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. There are variations of the traditional stuffed turkey recipe that you can try out. Traditional turkey stuffing for thanksgiving meals is bread cubes, onions and celery and sage. You can plan a thanksgiving menu with herb roasted turkey and potato casserole. Roast turkey can be served with oyster dressing or giblet gravy. Deep frying the thanksgiving turkey is another option, though this must be done with care.
Some prefer ham or lamb instead of the traditional Thanksgiving turkey. Herb roasted lamb or spiced ham can make for a tasty main dish. Alternatively you can cook roast chicken or goose with stuffing and herbs. Cornbread is yet another popular item on thanksgiving menus. Cornbread can be stuffed with water chestnut filling, rich with olives, pine nuts and spices.
Thanksgiving side dishes
Don't let all your attention be taken by the Thanksgiving turkey alone. The side dishes at your Thanksgiving dinner need to be taken care of too. Sweet potatoes and yam dishes can be blended with flavorful spices. Stuffing for bread is made with vegetables and herbs and seasonings. A Waldorf salad and green peas and carrots add a healthy crunchy texture to the thanksgiving meal. How about a gold mashed potato bake seasoned with green onions and cheese. You can go for creamed spinach or broccoli casserole to add the healthy touch. Sweet potatoes, stuffing and green beans are the all-time favorites as Thanksgiving side dishes.
Dessert options for thanksgiving dinner include coconut cake, cheesecake, apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie. Topped with shipped cream, these pies can make for a tasty Thanksgiving dessert. Other options for Thanksgiving desserts are sorbet, cranberry cheesecake, caramelized apples and pumpkin caramel custard.
Pick out the right wine for your thanksgiving dinner. Choose an all-purpose wine or serve different wines with each course. What is essential is to complement the wine and the thanksgiving menu, be it deep reds or livelier whites.