Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner Tips from Taste

Thanksgiving is my favorite Holiday of the year because it’s centered around family gathering together rather than about gift giving.  That being said, it can be quite stressful if you are hosting the dinner.  Preparation is the key to making your Thanksgiving memorial and stress free. 
If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner, plan your guest list and menu now.  Ask your guests to RSVP so you know how many people you will be planning for.   When they RSVP, it’s a good time to decide if you want your guest to bring anything and communicate that to them.
Right now is the time to get your first round of shopping completed.  All of local grocery stores are fully stocked with Thanksgiving dinner needs.  If you are serving alcohol   re-stock your liquor cabinet.  If not serving alcohol, you can still decide on your beverages and stock up.  If you are ordering a fresh turkey (I highly recommend!) you should do that now as well.
Two weeks before the big day you should check to make sure you have all the tools, pots, pans, serving dishes, flatware, stemware, utensils, etc. you need including a large enough roasting pan for your turkey.  If you are a DIY’er, start working on your centerpiece arrangements, place settings, etc.  If you are not, make sure you have enough of everything and go purchase what you need.

3 Days before:  Take out all of your serving trays, bowls, utensils etc. and label them with what you will be serving in them.  This will save you a lot of time the day of.
2 Days before: Set the table with linens, plates, utensils, stemware and centerpiece.  Finish all the last minute shopping and pick up your turkey. 
1 Day before:  Do as much food prep as possible.  Bake pies, cut bread for stuffing , clean and chop veggies, peel and cut potatoes (store in fridge in a pot of cold water and a pinch of salt).
Prepare as much as possible in advance so that Thanksgiving Day can be spent celebrating and relaxing with family and friends. 

This recipe is a family favorite of mine and kids love it!  I make this a day ahead because it needs time to set up and it keeps really well.
1 pkg (6 oz) cherry gelatin
1 and ½ cup boiling water
1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple, undrained
1 can (16 oz) whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 and ½ cup seedless red grapes halved
1 cup pomegranate seeds
In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin in water.  Stir in pineapple and cranberry sauce.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Stir in grapes and pomegranate.  Pour in a serving bowl (2 quart) and refrigerate until firm. 
- Laila Hardman, Taste Culinary Boutique

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