No-Worry Thanksgiving

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Prepare as much as possible in advance. For example: Homemade cranberry sauce tastes better after curing in the refrigerator for a few days; premeasure seasonings and store them in labeled bags or containers; clean, cut and store vegetables in plastic bags in the refrigerator.

Let your family set the table. Children will gobble up the chance to make place cards, fold napkins and dress up the holiday table. This will also keep them out of the kitchen while you attend to the food.

Serve buffet style. With pretty serving bowls and silver utensils, guests can help themselves to seconds whenever they want, while you remember your portion sizes.

Let the turkey rest before slicing. To avoid a last-minute crunch and assure tender turkey, let the bird rest out of the oven, covered for about 30 minutes before slicing.

Thermometers are essential for food safety. When choosing a meat thermometer, look for an easy-to-read dial with a stainless-steel face and shatterproof lens. Check the thermometer for accuracy by submerging at least two inches of the stem in boiling water. It should read 212 degrees F (or the boiling temperature of water at your altitude). An alternative to the typical meat thermometer is an instant-read thermometer, also known as a rapid-response thermometer, which is designed to measure a wide range of temperatures, typically from 0 degrees F to 220 degrees F. It does not stay in food during cooking. When it’s inserted in the food, the temperature should register in about 15 seconds.

Finally, remember that this is Thanksgiving. Take time to thank God for what He has done in your life this past year and for what He is going to do for you in the coming year.