Five Ways to Make Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner Easier
If you're cooking Thanksgiving dinner this Thursday, you should definitely take a minute to check out these fantastic tips from "Reader's Digest" that have actually bailed me out of deep water a time or two.
1. Keep It Simple. All you need is turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, and a vegetable. If you have time to make more dishes, go for it, but don’t feel like you have to. Or, you could also turn your dinner into a potluck and ask your guests to do some of the cooking and bring food with them, but if you’re going to to do that, tell them TODAY.
2. Don't Be Afraid to Use the Microwave. Potatoes need to reach a temperature of at least 180 degrees to cook and your microwave heats them up to about 210 degrees, which is plenty. It's also alright to use your microwave for vegetables, like asparagus and string beans. People frown on microwaving because it’s not the “traditional” way to cook Thanksgiving dinner, but the microwave has saved me many, many times.
3. Cook the Breasts and the Legs Separately. It's harder to cook a whole turkey, because turkeys don't cook evenly. Did you know that the breast meat cooks faster than the dark meat? This is why it’s so easy to end up with white meat that's too dry.
4. Use a Meat Thermometer. If you use a meat thermometer, it takes the guess work out of if your turkey is completely cooked or not. The USDA says to cook your turkey until the thermometer reads 165 degrees, which is the "instant kill" temperature for any bacteria. Just be careful, because once it gets that hot, it can dry out pretty fast, which is why I become a basting machine if I’ve got to keep the bird in the over a little longer than anticipated.
5. Buy Dessert. Think out it. It costs about the same whether you make a pumpkin pie, or you buy a pumpkin pie and both versions pretty much taste the same. So unless you love baking, do yourself a favor and just buy one.