• [Photograph: ©iStockPhoto/MentalArt]

    1. Read Turkey Labels


    There are many popular turkey adjectives: organic, heritage, kosher, and basted, for example. According to our research, these terms still mean the exact same thing as they did last year. We make it easy for you to understand with How to Read Turkey Labels.

    2. Buy the Right Size


    Count the number of carnivores attending your meal. (Here are some ideas for meatless mains for the vegetarian guests.) Since you want leftover sandwiches, assume one pound of whole turkey (unstuffed) per carnivore. Note: the bigger the turkey, the bigger the proportion of meat to bone. Figure about a pound and a half per person if you're buying the bird pre-stuffed.

    3. Allow Enough Thawing Time

    Don't forget to set aside enough time for your turkey to thaw! Allow approximately 24 hours in the fridge per 5 pounds. If you're going the cold water route, allow about 30 minutes per pound and change the water every 30 minutes.

    4. To Brine Or Not

    Read More »from 10 Steps to the Perfect Turkey
  • During the South Beach/Atkins craze (or as I like to call it, the Great Carb Castigation), carbs of all kinds were given a bad name. That means that many whole grains and vegetables were eschewed in favor of protein alternatives. We've come to our senses somewhat, but there's still confusion about the merits of certain carbs, especially potatoes.

    The misinformed often put potatoes in the same category as white rice (i.e., the nutrient-deficient one), but all spuds aren't created equal. Some, like the humble sweet potato, have more benefits than many realize. In fact, making sweet potatoes a diet staple is one of the most healthful choices a person can make.

    A Primer on Sweet Potatoes
    Labels like sweet potatoes and yams are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference. There are numerous types of sweet potatoes, but most of us are familiar with the main two-the yellow, drier variety with lightly tanned skin and the sweeter, darker-skinned kind with orange insides. People

    Read More »from Spudtacular! In Praise of Sweet Potatoes
  • Every Day with Rachael Ray's frozen turkey tips
    Sixty-nine percent of people buy their birds frozen, according to a poll by the National Turkey Federation. These 5 tips will help cut down on thaw and prep time for your basic Butterball.

    1. Get Your Fridge Ready.
    Sit your bird in a sturdy pan that won't leak and cross-contaminate other foods.
    Our picks: What to look for in a roasting pan »

    2. Kill Two Birds with One Stone.
    Marinate your turkey during its last three hours of defrosting time. That's when it's supple and ready to soak up whatever seasonings your heart desires, be it soy sauce and ginger or lemon, olive oil and herbs.
    How to marinate »

    3. Give it a Brining Bath.
    That's 1 1/2 cups kosher salt dissolved in 2 gallons of cold tap water. Change the brine every 30 minutes. We tried this in our test kitchen with a 16-pounder-and shaved the thaw time from seven hours to four!
    How to prep a butter-basted turkey »

    4. No Room In There?
    No problem. Let your turkey chill with the cool crowd.

    Read More »from 5 Tips for Defrosting Your Frozen Turkey
  • By Heather Ashare - DietsInReview.com

    You might be surprised to learn that in shunning dark meat turkey at Thanksgiving, you're actually shunning some important nutrients. True, we've been told for a long time to stick to the white meat and avoid the dark meat because of the fat content, but really, the difference is so slim, especially when you look at the nutrition gain.

    Take a look at the nutrition facts of white and dark meat turkey, and you'll find some surprising facts that might have you elbowing your way in to a drumstick this year.

    The following information is for a 3.5 ounce serving of turkey meat without skin, a portion about the size of a deck of cards.

    Calories per serving:
    White meat = 161 calories
    Dark meat = 192 calories

    Fat per serving:
    White meat = 4 grams
    Dark meat = 8 grams

    Protein per serving:
    White meat = 30 grams
    Dark meat = 28 grams

    Iron per serving:
    White meat = 1.57 mg
    Dark meat = 2.4 mg

    Zinc per serving:
    White meat = 2.08 mg
    Dark meat = 4.3

    Read More »from Surprising Nutrition Benefits of Dark Turkey Meat
  • I had only been married for a year when we moved out of state, away from my family. Being a young couple, we didn't have much money, so travelling back to visit my family for Thanksgiving was not a possibility. For the first time, we spent Thanksgiving with my husband's extended family.

    My family is fairly small. It was just me, my parents, and my brother. My grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles are spread across the country, so Thanksgiving was usually just my immediate family. On the contrary, my husband comes from a large extended family (40+ cousins!) and most of them live within an hours drive of one another. Needless to say, their Thanksgiving was different from the one I was used to celebrating.

    Besides all the people, the biggest difference between my husband's family's Thanksgiving and my family's Thanksgiving was the food. The basic meal was the same: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, and so on, BUT one family wasn't responsible for all of it. Every family

    Read More »from User post: Why Not A Potluck Thanksgiving?
  • Continuing our series of answers to readers' Thanksgiving questions, today I'm going to address a query from pavlina20: How to make a nice Thanksgiving meal for a very small group (in her case, just two adults and two children). The biggest challenge in this situation is the turkey: Even a small bird would be far too much food. There are several ways around this problem:

    -Cook just a turkey breast. This works well if your group particularly likes white meat. This recipe explains how to roast two turkey breast halves, on the bone, over a mound of stuffing to create an attractive dish that will provide some of the same visual appeal as a whole bird. The recipe will serve four people generously.

    -Roast a turkey in pieces. This is great because you can choose exactly how much white and dark meat you want. This recipe serves eight, but it could easily be adapted for a smaller group simply by cooking fewer pieces.

    -If your group is up for a bit of an adventure, why not skip

    Read More »from How to Make a Thanksgiving Meal for a Small Group
  • Whether you're the host or the guest, consider this your cheat sheet for what goes where on a crowded table.

    Every Day with Rachael Ray place settingEvery Day with Rachael Ray place setting

    BREAD PLATE
    You know it's small and off to the side, but is yours on the right or left? Try this hand trick to help you remember: With palms outstretched and facedown, touch index fingers to thumbs and stick your remaining fingers up. Your left hand will form a "b" shape (for bread) and your right hand will form a "d" shape (for drink).

    UTENSILS
    If your neighbor's spoon is so close to your salad fork that you can't tell the two sets apart, just count: Items on your right (most folks' dominant side) will have five letters-knife and spoon. On the left, it's only four-fork.

    PLACE SETTING
    Count the silverware
    to guess the number of courses. The main-course fork will be closest to your plate; anything outside indicates extra dishes to come. A soup spoon on your right or dessert utensils above the plate are hints too.

    WATER VS. WINE
    Not sure which glass to fill with water and

    Read More »from What Goes Where? Table-Setting Cheat Sheet

  • 1. Skip or Skim the Gravy: The easiest way to make the holiday healthier is to bypass gravy. But that's a tough option for many of the holiday's fans. So try a gravy strainer to separate fat from pan juices. We like the four-cup Oxo Good Grips model ($15). Pour the pan juices in, let the fat rise to the top, and you're ready to go. This gadget is also great for removing the fat from stocks when making soups.

    2. Control Portions: Serving size is the secret to not packing on the pounds, especially this time of year. Have a healthy snack about two hours before the big feast to ensure that you're not starving when you come face-to-face with the big bird. Try using a smaller plate. Eat slowly, and go easy on the wine--it will increase your appetite.

    3. Eat Your Veggies: Offer light sides in addition to (or instead of) creamy, buttery dishes. Try our Carrot and Cranberry Salad with Fresh Ginger Dressing--a wonderful compliment to rich foods. This Wild Rice and Mushroom Stuffing is a

    Read More »from 6 Ways to Make Your Thanksgiving Healthy
  • Whether you're with your family, your best friend's family, or your boyfriend's family on Thanksgiving--or perhaps all three at once, you'll want to be dressed appropriately. The key to dressing up for Thanksgiving is to wear something comfortable. The amount of food you're bound to gobble up during dinner is probably more than you usually eat in a week!

    Milly's Beaded Cashmere Sweater, $229.50, at theoutnet.com

    A tight fitting dress, pair of pants, or high waisted skirt might turn out to be terribly uncomfortable as your tummy starts filling up. Stick with a sweater dress or a shirt dress for comfort and style. The embellished detailing dresses up an otherwise casual approach and adds a sophisticated feel to promote your sense of style.

    Who are your favorite fashionistas? Vote here!

    Calvin Klein Zanza Flat, $93, at zappos.com

    Expect to be on your feet in the kitchen helping family members and friends alike prepare the Thanksgiving meal. Your best

    Read More »from The Dos and Don'ts of Thanksgiving Attire
  • If you're anything like me, your cooking repertoire consists of different types of cereal, and whether you're going to use soy or skim this time. Unfortunately, come Thanksgiving, we can't all go home to mom, and I doubt our friends would be too thrilled if you invited them over for a feast of Fruit Loops. (And if you would be...wanna be friends?) It might be a good idea to go the lazy/awesome route, and get dressed up for a nice Thanksgiving meal in a restaurant. If you're stuck in the area with nary a potholder or the knowledge of what a potholder is (hint: they hold pots), here are our top five reservation musts this Thanksgiving.

    Gordon Ramsay at The London

    If you want to be slightly ironic (and we know New Yorkers love some good irony), try having your Thanksgiving dinner at The London. The address is 151 W. 54th St; you might not get turkey and gravy, but you will get seriously yummy French cuisine (like baked fluke with almond bread). We know... having

    Read More »from The Best Restaurants Nationwide for Dining Out This Thanksgiving

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