My Favorite & Maybe Best Thanksgiving Recipes
Hello friends! A different concept today, we’re going to try something I’ve never done before, including sharing some of my favorite and Best Thanksgiving Recipes. But before we do, I just want to express how excited I am because it is that time of year again for my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving!
I have always appreciated Thanksgiving because I have so much to be grateful for in my life. And much of it is due to me living in America. That is another reason I love this holiday because it is so deeply rooted in the American culture, as well as being celebrated at different times of the year in other countries around the world.
As I write this, I’m sitting in my kitchen with a keyboard in front of me. I’ve selected my favorite Thanksgiving Recipe Videos to share with you. Some of these Thanksgiving Recipes I have been making for over 50 years. They were also very popular in my restaurant.
While watching these with you, I am going to critique myself. Not too much though, I am going to let the videos mostly play out, but I am going to add the occasional comment, suggestions, or quick stories.
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do. You can jump directly to the video if you choose, or you can jump to the individual recipes in the video, or to the recipe page.
Thank you so much for visiting my website and viewing my YouTube Recipe Videos. You are the reason I do what I do. I love my life and I love you. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you!
Wishing you and your family, wherever in the world you live, a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Frequently Asked Questions About the best Thanksgiving Recipes and Dinner
1. What Should I Do If I Forgot to Thaw the Turkey?
If you realize you’ve forgotten to thaw your turkey, don’t panic.
Thawing: This is a quicker method than refrigerator thawing. First, ensure the turkey is in a leak-proof plastic bag to prevent cross-contamination and to prevent the turkey from absorbing water. Submerge the turkey in cold tap water, changing the water every 30 minutes. Allow about 30 minutes of defrosting time per pound of turkey. For example, a 12-pound turkey would take about 6 hours to thaw using this method.
Cooking the Turkey Frozen: As a last resort, you can cook the turkey while it’s still frozen. The cooking time will be at least 50% longer than the recommended time for a fully thawed turkey. Remember to remove the giblet packets with tongs or forks during the cooking process, as they will eventually thaw. The turkey is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F in the thickest part of the breast and thigh.
Plan for a Different Main Course: If you’re pressed for time and the turkey won’t thaw in time, consider preparing an alternative main dish that doesn’t require extensive thawing, such as a smaller cut of meat or a vegetarian option.
As a last resort, use the microwave: You can use your microwave to expedite the thawing process. Check your microwave’s owner’s manual for specific guidelines on thawing poultry.
Place the turkey in a microwave-safe dish to avoid a mess. Once thawed, transfer it immediately to the oven for cooking. Remember, microwave thawing is a last-minute solution and should be followed by immediate cooking to ensure food safety.
Safety First: Regardless of the method you choose, always prioritize food safety. Never thaw a turkey at room temperature, as this can promote bacterial growth.
Remember, the cold water method is considerably faster than refrigerator thawing but requires more attention. Always ensure the turkey is cooked to the safe internal temperature of 165°F to ensure it’s safe to eat.
2. How Can I Ensure My Turkey is Cooked Properly?
To ensure your turkey is cooked thoroughly, use a meat thermometer to check its internal temperature. The safe internal temperature for cooked turkey is 165°F. Focus on checking the thickest parts of the turkey, like the breast and thigh, as these areas take the longest to cook.
If the temperature isn’t high enough, continue cooking and check periodically. Relying on your own thermometer is more reliable than the pop-up indicators that sometimes come with turkeys.
3. What Can I Do If I Don’t Have Enough Food for My Guests?
If you’re worried about not having enough food, it’s a good idea to have some backup options. Pre-made casseroles, or microwavable sides can be great in a pinch. Additionally, consider ordering some items like pies or specialty bread from local bakeries. These shortcuts can reduce stress and ensure you have plenty of food for everyone.
4. How Do I Fix Lumpy Gravy?
Lumpy gravy can be easily fixed. If whisking isn’t smoothing out the lumps, pour the gravy through a strainer. This will separate the smooth gravy from the lumps, leaving you with a silky sauce for your meal. Remember, making gravy is often a last-minute task, so this quick fix can be a real lifesaver.
5. Is It Necessary to Stick to Traditional Dishes for Thanksgiving?
While tradition plays a significant role in Thanksgiving meals, it’s not mandatory to stick to traditional dishes. Try a Prime Rib Recipe for instance, instead of a Turkey. https://chefjeanpierre.com/beef-recipes/how-to-cook-a-crusted-prime-rib/
Feel free to experiment with new recipes or put a twist on classic dishes. The essence of Thanksgiving is about gathering and giving thanks, so whether you serve classic recipes or try something new, the focus should be on enjoying the day with loved ones.
6. How Can I Balance Sweet and Savory Flavors in My Thanksgiving Menu?
Balancing sweet and savory flavors is key to a well-rounded Thanksgiving menu. Pair sweet dishes like candied yams with savory ones like herb-roasted turkey. Consider the overall flavor profile of your menu and aim for a variety of tastes and textures. This balance will cater to different palates and make the meal more enjoyable for everyone.
7. What Can I Do in Advance to Prepare for Thanksgiving?
To reduce stress on Thanksgiving Day, start preparing in advance. Dishes like cheesecakes can be made and frozen weeks ahead. Plan your menu around items that can be made ahead and those that need to be prepared on the day. Utilize mail-order services for desserts or sides to save time. A well-planned menu and early preparation can make your Thanksgiving more enjoyable and less hectic.
8. Should I Wait to Serve All Dishes at Once If They’re Not Ready at the Same Time?
If your dishes are not ready at the same time, it’s usually best to serve what’s ready first. You can use the resting time for the turkey to finish up other dishes. Inform your guests that more food is on the way so they can pace themselves. This approach keeps the meal flowing and ensures that everything is served at its best.
9. How Can I Fix Dry Stuffing?
If your stuffing turns out dry, it can easily be revived. Drizzle some extra stock or melted butter over it and gently mix to distribute the moisture evenly. This will help rehydrate the stuffing and bring back its flavor. Be thorough to avoid having moist stuffing with dry edges.
10. Is It a Good Idea to Serve Appetizers Before a Big Thanksgiving Dinner?
Serving appetizers depends on your dinner timing and guests’ preferences. If there’s a long wait before the main meal, light appetizers can be a good idea. Choose simple, non-filling options to ensure guests still have room for the main feast. Avoid heavy or complex appetizers that might overshadow the main event.
11. Is Cooking Stuffing Inside the Turkey Safe?
Cooking stuffing inside the turkey can be safe if done correctly. The key is to ensure that both the stuffing and the turkey reach an internal temperature of 165°F. Avoid overstuffing the turkey and check the temperature of the stuffing separately. If you’re concerned about safety or simplicity, consider cooking the stuffing outside the turkey.
12. What Are Some Vegetarian Options for a Thanksgiving Meal?
For a vegetarian Thanksgiving, focus on seasonal produce and hearty dishes. Squashes, root vegetables, and grains can create satisfying meat-free options. Consider making a vegetarian main dish, like a butternut squash tart, or a variety of vegetarian sides. There are also vegetarian turkey substitutes available for a more traditional experience.
13. How Can I Make My Thanksgiving Dessert More Special?
To elevate your Thanksgiving dessert, consider alternatives to the traditional pumpkin pie. Pumpkin cheesecakes, spiced whipped creams, or completely different pumpkin-based desserts can add a twist to the meal. Tailor your dessert choices to your guests’ preferences, whether they favor traditional flavors or are open to trying something new.
14. How Can I Manage Help from Guests in the Kitchen Without It Getting Overcrowded?
When guests offer to help, assign them specific tasks. This can include setting the table, helping with cleanup, or preparing a simple dish. This approach keeps the kitchen less crowded and allows you to focus on the main cooking tasks. It’s also a great way to involve guests and make them feel part of the celebration.
15. What Type of Wine Should I Serve If I’m Unsure of My Guests’ Preferences?
When in doubt, offer a variety of wines. A selection of both red and white wines can cater to different tastes. You can also ask guests to bring a bottle of their favorite wine, ensuring there’s something for everyone and reducing your stress about having enough options.
16. What Non-Alcoholic Beverages Can I Serve to Kids at Thanksgiving Dinner?
For kid-friendly drink options, consider making fruit-based spritzers or serving sparkling non-alcoholic juices. Warm apple cider is a festive choice that appeals to all ages.
Offering both non-alcoholic and alcoholic versions of drinks ensures that everyone, regardless of age or preference, has enjoyable options.
17. What’s the Best Way to Thaw a Turkey?
The safest way to thaw a turkey is in the refrigerator, allowing 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds of turkey. If you’re short on time, you can use the cold water method, submerging the turkey in its original packaging in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. Microwave thawing should only be considered as a last resort and should be followed by immediate cooking.
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