Food. Friends. Family. Football. Thanksgiving would be incomplete without any of them, but the most important is the holiday feast your family and friends have gathered to enjoy while the game plays in the background. Serving up a full holiday spread – from turkey to dessert – that is sure to bring everyone back for years to come is easy with these tips for every stage of the meal.
From a Farm Family’s Table to Yours
Pair this perfectly pumpkin dessert with a glass of milk for a tasty twist on a holiday favorite. From fourth-generation dairy farmers – Ryan and Susan Anglin and their sons, Cody and Casey, of Triple A Farms in Bentonville, Arkansas – this savory dessert, featured in The Dairy Good Cookbook, is sure to become a tradition in your family, just as it is in the Anglin family. For more recipes, visit MidwestDairy.com.
Turkey Day Tips
The sight of a beautifully cooked, golden brown bird being brought to the table is one of the most memorable moments of any Thanksgiving gathering. Follow these tips to prepare the perfect centerpiece for your holiday meal:
Thawing Your Turkey
- For every 5 pounds in weight, thaw in original wrapper for 24 hours in the refrigerator. Thaw faster by covering with cold water in the sink and soaking approximately 30 minutes per pound.
- Refrigerate as soon as thawed or cook immediately. For best quality, do not refreeze uncooked turkey.
Roasting the Bird
- Baste with extra virgin olive oil.
- Place breast-side-up on rack in shallow roasting pan. Cook in 325 F oven.
- For an unstuffed turkey, place a stalk or two of celery, seasonings, a cut-up onion and a handful of parsley in the cavity to keep it moist.
- Lay “tent” of foil loosely over turkey to prevent over-browning.
- Turkey is done when meat thermometer is 180 F or when the red stem on the pop-up thermometer rises.
- For easier carving, let turkey stand at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
More Ways to Make the Perfect Centerpiece
- Grilled: Grill 15-18 minutes per pound. Air in grill must be between 225-300 F.
- Deep Fat Fried: Cook 3-5 minutes per pound in 350 F oil.
- Smoked: Cook 20-30 minutes per pound. Air in smoker must be between 225-300 F.
- Microwaved: Cook 9-10 minutes per pound on medium power. Rotate during cooking.
Have Your Sides and Eat Them Too
While the turkey takes center stage on Thanksgiving, surrounding the centerpiece with a variety of delicious side dishes can take your turkey day to the next level. Here are a few popular sides to round out your table:
- Potatoes: While mashed potatoes and gravy are always a holiday hit, other serving options, such as roasted potatoes, scalloped potatoes or sweet potatoes, can add variety to a favorite traditional dish.
- Fruits and vegetables: From green bean casserole and cranberry sauce to roasted vegetables, corn pudding, candied yams and butternut squash, no table is full without a variety of fruits and veggies to choose from.
- Noodles: Outside of a traditional potato side, many turkey day tables offer pasta-based sides, such as homemade turkey noodles, macaroni and cheese or pasta salad.
- Bread: No Thanksgiving meal can be complete without cornbread, rolls or biscuits – which can also be used to make miniature turkey sandwiches after the meal is over – and a holiday classic, stuffing.
Originally appeared on Family Features