September 18, 2011

Hostess Survivor Guide – Part 4

Hostess Survivor Guide to the Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner

This is the last of my mini-series, Part4 –
The Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner.

By now,  you have done all the planning and preparation for your party. Now, your big day has arrived.  Don't get overwhelmed.  Just follow my guide. 

First thing I start with in the morning, is making (or just finishing ) the stuffing. Next, stuffing the bird and placing it in the oven, allowing sufficient time for roasting, according to the chart bellow.
Roasting times are for a preheated 325 degrees F. oven.
Approximate Roasting Times for Stuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight Hours
6 to 8 pounds 3 to 3-1/2 hours
8 to 12 pounds 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours
12 to 16 pounds 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours
16 to 20 pounds 5-1/2 to 6 hours
20 to 24 pounds 6 to 6-1/2 hours
Approximate Roasting Times for Unstuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight Hours
6 to 8 pounds 2-1/2 to 3 hours
8 to 12 pounds 3 to 4 hours
12 to 16 pounds 4 to 5 hours
16 to 20 pounds 5 to 5-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds 5-1/2 to 6 hours

While the bird is roasting in the oven; 
- I prepare my specialty drink, Cranberry Dazzler ( or other drink or coctail of your choice) and set it in the fridge, ready to serve  guests as they arrive.
-  Make the salad and set it in the fridge.
-  Place condiments in little serving bowls and place them in the fridge.
-  Place bread in the basket; cover and set  aside.
-  Whip the cream and place it in the fridge.( I love to use my whipping  cream dispenser. It’s fast and ready in minutes. Nu fuss, no mess).
- I Take one more walk around the house and straighten up, if needed, and make room in the foyer closet for extra coat hangers if needed.

- Check powder room; change paper roll and place fresh, clean towels for the guests.
          napkin-ring combo2

One hour before;
          -  Prepare all the vegetables for cooking.

          - Clear kitchen counters and sink.

          - Get myself ready.

Half an hour before;
-  I start the music and light the candles.

-  Place potatoes to boil.
Awaiting guests’ arrival.
One thing I find disruptive is having guests come into the kitchen, wanting to help me, no matter how well intentioned it is, I politely decline and invite them to find a place to relax in the family room while someone (usually my husband) offers drinks.  They sit and talk and I can do my stuff. It works beautifully!

While the guests mingle with each other I do the following last things;
- Remove the turkey from the oven and set aside, covered, to relax.
- Make the gravy using the drippings from the pan.           
- Place yams (or other root vegetables)  in the oven, to roast. When done, place them into a covered casserole serving dish.

- Warm up the mushroom gravy and cabbage sauté if using.
- Steam Brussels Sprouts. Rinse under cold water (to stop cooking and maintaining their color). Place into a serving bowl.
- Remove the cranberry mould, and place it on a plate.
-  Make the mashed potatoes. I let my hubby do this. He whips them up really well, with some milk and a dab of butter until light and fluffy.  
Dinner Time;
Dinner begins by inviting guests into the dining room.
I like to place most of the food dishes on the table and then invite the guests to find their place at the table.
          The turkey gets carved in the kitchen. I remove the stuffing and place it in a serving  dish  and the turkey, on a large serving platter. Everything else is done. Time to sit down and eat, spend time with our families and friends and be thankfull for all that we have.
          Usually dinner at our house goes for 4 – 5 hours, until 7:00 or 8:00 o’clock or even later. We like to take our time and enjoy it. No one is in rush and the best part if, I get to sit, relax and enjoy it too !


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