I’m a firm believer in preparation; combine that with a little skill, a few good recipes and stir the pot with love and you’ve got a great Thanksgiving meal. If you are cooking the holiday feast this year, it’s time to start planning. Get the recipes out, double check your cookware and get ready for the big day.
Don’t feel like or have time to cook a turkey and/or side dishes? Order our Complete Turkey Dinner – take the day off and still enjoy a feast! We also have complete Side Dish Packages.
That big bird and lots of guests calls for larger and more equipment than usual…
- A large roasting pan with a rack – foil pans don’t cook well and are dangerous!
- At least one reliable meat thermometer, more on Meat Thermometers Here>>
- Are your pots, pans, platters, etc. big enough?
- Enough plates, forks, glasses, utensils, measuring cups, mixing bowls, pots, pans?
- Compare your menu and recipes to your stove and equipment – is it realistic? Do you have the oven and stove space?
- Are your knives sharp? Drop them at Tony’s and we’ll have them back to you in a week.
- Are there any recipes you can prepare ahead to ease the big day? What dishes would you be better off buying than cooking? We’ll have all the classic trimmings fully cooked and ready to heat and serve in our markets on Thanksgiving week!
- If your guests ask, let them bring their favorite dish – it will make your life easier and allow them to share the spotlight on this special day.
- Visit our Recipe Database for 100 Holiday Entree Recipes and 100 Side Dish Recipes
Pantry Supplies: Here are some of my favorites…
Turkey Brine: Most turkeys are literally injected as full as possible with water, salts and flavorings, to me that is just wrong. A natural turkey assures you a clean product, and brining yourself with natural ingredients seasons the bird inside, aids in browning and increases moisture naturally.
We’ve got the ultimate poultry and pork brine available at Tony’s – watch my Turkey Roasting Video for brining and cooking tips.
Stock or Broth: Stock or broth (essentially the same thing) are key ingredients for a great Thanksgiving feast. I use it in the roasting pan, in my dressing, in the gravy and in my vegetables. A great stock adds wonderful, rich flavor – a cheap stock adds lots of salt and chemical flavorings. My first choice is homemade, which there is never enough of – so I also bring home a few containers of Tony’s Homemade Turkey stock and More Than Gourmet Glace de Volaille (roasted turkey stock).
If you don’t have turkey stock, the next best thing is chicken stock. I recommend More Than Gourmet concentrate or liquid stock – whichever you choose, look for natural ingredients on the label and low sodium levels. We also have homemade stock at Tony’s. We’ve also got More Than Gourmet’s Wine Foundation Sauces and homemade chef sauces such as Hollandaise, Bearnaise, mushroom, etc.
A great dressing is a must – I suggest making a couple different
recipes, there is never enough! Here is my Ultimate Dressing Recipe. For a moister, more evenly cooked and
safer bird, I roast the dressing outside the bird and douse it with a
rich concentrated stock and melted butter for that ‘in the bird’
richness. The best
dressings start with great ingredients such as our quality rustic breads
(challah, baguette, sourdough) and cornbread.
Chestnuts are another item that no holiday table should be without! I
love them in my dressings and countless other dishes. Get them while
you can – once they sell out, that’s usually it for the year.
If you are deep frying a bird, the Cajun Injector is a great little tool.
Cajun fried birds are literally injected with a combination of vegetable
juices, stock and butter – the Cajun Injector is ready to use with a
injector that you can even re-use later. We also have the peanut oil for frying.
If you love
fried onions on your green bean casserole, salad, dips, etc., Lar’s is the best! I love them right from the can, or
spoon out some Greek yogurt and indent the center with a spoon, drizzle
with olive oil and sprinkle heavily with the Lars onions for a great dip.
Chef Ben is making our Brandied Cranberries this year (and went
through a dozen gallons of French Brandy in the process!), but if you
ever wanted to try another fruit sauce with Turkey, I strongly suggest Lingonberries. These wild Swedish berries make a preserve that’s
amazing with poultry, game, beef, pork and cheeses.
Be sure to have something special for breakfast! I like to stuff the family with pumpkin pancakes, Tony’s Maple Cured bacon and Tony’s Quiche (keeps them full until our early supper!
Spatchcock – a faster cooking bird!
Link over to our website to get the recipe>>
Great post. I can't believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I think all that warm weather we've had this Fall has us confused. 🙂