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Turkey Dinner Tips

Turkey dinner The main thing about making thanksgiving dinner is to stay organized and keep up with washing the dishes. Here is how our Thanksgiving dinner went my entire youth for our family of six.

Mom's Thanksgiving Dinner Schedule

1. Thaw the turkey in the fridge 3 days before Thanksgiving.

2. Mom had us polish the silverware the day before Thanksgiving, and clean up the house.

3. Make the pies the night before. Dry bread on cookie sheet in the oven and cube for the stuffing. Remove the giblets/neck and cook them in a pan of water on the stove. Let cool, save the broth for the gravy, pick the meat off the neck and cut up the giblets and liver in small pieces and set aside for the stuffing and giblet gravy.

Pumpkin pie
Pecan pie
Apple pie

At 6 am, Mom got up and prepared the turkey.

1. Cut up pieces of celery and onion, slightly cooked in butter and added sage and egg to the stuffing. Added some of the cooked meat to the stuffing. Stuffed the turkey and put in the oven with a tent of foil over it.

2. While the turkey was cooking, she made the cranberry relish. She ground the cranberries in her meat grinder and then ground up one quartered orange. Stirred it all together, sweetened to taste and refrigerated.

3. She spread a white tablecloth, and put out the China and water glasses. My sisters and I added the polished silverware.

4. Mom peeled the potatoes, and cooked them for mashed potatoes. She cooked the corn, green beans, and sweet potatoes.

5. We cleaned our rooms, the bathroom and stayed out of her way. We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on TV.

6. By 11:30 the turkey was finished. She generally let it cool a half hour, and then made two platters, one of white meat and one of dark meat. She used the drippings to make the Giblet gravy. The stuffing went in it's own bowl. So we never really had the whole turkey at the table.

7. At 1:00 pm the food started to go on the table. She kept things warm, like the mashed potatoes in the oven. She put out a relish dish with olives and midget pickles, and put the relish on the table. The last thing out of the oven was the dinner rolls.

8. By 1:30 pm we were giving thanks.

The interesting thing to note is that mom was very organized, and always kept a dish sink full of hot soapy water. Washing everything that was used. The knives, trays, cooking pans, etc. We did not have a dishwasher, so the only dishes we had to do was the plates and bowls. Very easy cleanup. Then after all was done, we got ready to go to the movies, and went to the 3 pm movie at the theater. Mom and dad dropped us off and then picked us up. Later in the evening the parents had friends over and they played cards, while we watched TV.

Easy Thanksgiving Shopping list

  • pie crusts or mix
  • pumpkin mix, or pumpkin and spices
  • evaporated milk
  • eggs
  • pecans
  • white corn syrup
  • apples
  • sugar
  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon
  • whipped topping

  • 1 turkey
  • 2 loaves of bread
  • ground sage, salt, pepper
  • eggs
  • 1 bag of cranberries
  • 1 orange
  • sugar
  • corn
  • green beans
  • sweet potatoes
  • potatoes
  • milk
  • dinner rolls

Turkey Cooking Tips:

- Un-waxed dental floss is good for trussing because it does not burn and is very strong. - Or instead of sewing up a stuffed turkey, close the cavity with two heels of dampened bread. Push each into an opening with the crust facing out, and overlapping to hold the stuffing in. - See the turkey cooking chart

- Instead of stuffing the bird, try steaming it by pouring one cup of water mixed with 1/4 cup of pineapple juice into the body cavity. The meat will be more flavorful and juicy.

- Nowadays, people roast their turkeys breast-side down so the juices will make the breast juicier. Turn the turkey back upright for the last hour of cooking.

Hope all this is helpful, and have a great Thanksgiving!

More Holiday Recipe pages

Thanksgiving Timeline - Thanksgiving for a crowd, and shopping list
Other Ways to Cook Turkey - Plus recipes for turkey leftovers
Cranberry Recipes - All of the cranberry recipes. Relishes too.
Zucchini Recipes - Try stuffed Zucchini or Thanksgiving Squash

Potato Recipes - Mashed, baked, twice baked, scalloped too.
Sweet Potato Recipes - All kinds of recipes for Sweet Potatoes

Turkey Recipes - Giblet gravy is on this page
Stuffing Recipes - Some simple recipes for stuffing.

Food for Thought:
"Believe in yourself and what others think won't matter."

Have a great day!
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