When making pie dough, it's very important to use really cold butter. This will ensure that the crust is rich, flaky, and buttery. Most recipes remind you that the butter should be cold, but whenever I'm baking a pie, the first thing I do, before measuring anything, is cut the butter into 1/4-inch cubes. I put the cubes in a small dish and place it in the freezer. Then, I start making the dough. The butter is in the freezer for only a few minutes and doesn't really freeze; instead it gets really cold. Do you have a tip for great Thanksgiving pie?
Before a party or a big feast like Thanksgiving, there are a couple of minor — yet impactful — things I always make sure to do. One is to empty the dishwasher; another is to refill my ice trays completely with fresh water. There's nothing more annoying than reaching for ice to go with water, punch, or cocktails, only to find that there's one cube left.
Add a note to your Thanksgiving planner: The morning of the big dinner, fill your trays with distilled water, which will prevent ice from appearing cloudy in the center. When guests arrive, you'll be able to serve them drinks with a just-made batch of ice. What little tasks help you stay on top of all the Thanksgiving mania?
Besides setting the table early — a couple of days before Thanksgiving — I also put aside several extra place settings. I'll stack two to three plates, chargers, napkins, and utensils in a hidden spot in the dining room.
My Thanksgiving is a "the more, the merrier" type of event, so if someone shows up with an unexpected friend or family member, all I have to do is grab the extra place setting that's ready and add another chair to the table.
It's one less thing to worry about, and will ensure that you don't have to go digging into your China cabinet looking for extra plates on the big night. Got a great Thanksgiving tip? Please share it with us below!
Since the vast majority of you love turkey day leftovers as much as the meal itself, I thought I'd share my favorite post-supper pointer for those who are hosting this year.
Any time you order takeout, delivery, or take home a doggy bag between now and Thanksgiving, be sure to hand wash and reserve some of the plastic takeout containers that you get from restaurants. That way, on Thanksgiving day, you can send your guests home happy with leftovers of their choice — and you won't be short any servingware.
Got any tips for Thanksgiving leftovers? Share them below!
Recently, I decided to try a recipe that called for day-old bread. I wanted to make the dish that night and headed to the grocery store hopeful that I could find a loaf of day-old bread. Although I was out of luck, I chatted with the baker about my dilemma. How could I turn new bread into stale bread? Here's what she told me to do:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Slice the bread into 1/2-inch cubes. If your recipe calls for no crusts, remove them now.
- Place the cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Do not season or coat with oil.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the bread cubes are toasted and dry, but not browned.
Use the dried out bread to make your recipe. This technique worked perfectly for me! How do you dry out bread?
Still deliberating over what to serve for Thanksgiving?
While it's true that there's less than 24 hours until the biggest meal of the year, don't let the timing deter you from preparing a fabulous feast that's still outrageously indulgent. Unless you reveal your secret, your guests won't know the difference between this meal and one that you spent days preparing. To get our top suggestions if you've only got a couple of hours to put everything together, read more
If you are hosting Thanksgiving tomorrow, it's most likely your oven is going to see a lot of action. To ensure that everything gets cooked, I suggest making an oven plan to keep you organized. Here's how:
- Start by listing every dish that needs oven time. Write the name of the dish, the temperature it cooks at, and how long it takes to bake/roast.
- Take note of which dishes can be made in advance and which can be cooked at the same time.
- Make an oven time frame. For example, bake the pie in the morning, the turkey in the afternoon, and while the turkey rests, cook any other side (sweet potatoes, cornbread, stuffing, etc.).
Cooking a bunch of dishes on the stove? Adapt this plan to include stovetop space. How have you gotten organized for Thanksgiving dinner?
It's easy to get excited when the star of dinner — the Thanksgiving turkey — is done, but the key to a moist meal is to remain patient. Once you've tested the turkey with a thermometer and it's reached 160-165°F in the middle of the thigh, remove it from the oven and let the bird sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
There are several reasons for doing this. First, the temperature will continue to rise — in fact, by as much as 10°F — even after the resting bird's out of the oven. This will ensure your turkey is fully cooked.
In addition, while a turkey roasts, its juices tend to move away from the heat to the middle of the turkey. Cutting into the turkey immediately, therefore, will result in all of the juices running out.
Instead, focus your attention on the sides, and give the bird time for its juices to redistribute. Even the leanest parts of the turkey, such as its breast, will remain succulent. A juicy turkey is also significantly easier to carve than a dry one.
How long do you like to let your turkey rest? Do you have any other tips for keeping your turkey moist?
If you're hosting Thanksgiving at your house, then hopefully you've started planning your menu. Once you've decided on the menu lineup, don't wait to stock up on seasonal essentials. Three days before, shop for herbs, spices, seasonings, and other specialty Thanksgiving ingredients, as they'll be the first to go out of stock at the store. These include items such as:
- Fresh cranberries
- Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and sage
To see other items I suggest stockpiling, read more
With Thanksgiving a couple of weeks away now is a good time to plan your menu. I planned mine over the weekend. Here are some things one should take into consideration when deciding what dishes to serve on the big day.
- Start by choosing a theme. Traditional to modern, Italian to Southern, the possibilities for a menu's theme are endless.
- Search a wide range of sources for recipes that match your theme.
- Know your guests. If one friend is allergic to peanuts and another is a vegetarian, respect these dietary needs by serving dishes that everyone can enjoy.
- Several vegetarians in attendance? Think about serving a vegetable entree that's a hearty alternative to turkey.
For the rest of my tips, read more