Turkey still not thawed?
Speed up the process by putting your wrapped, frozen turkey breast side down in your kitchen sink and covering it with cold running water. (Bathtub will work too, if too big for kitchen sink). Drain and refill the water every 30 minutes. It will take the turkey about a half hour for each pound to thaw using this method.
Worried about a dry bird?
Make a compound butter to give the bird a nice massage. Simply mix a couple sticks of softened butter or margarine with sage, rosemary and thyme, or your favorite combination, and gently fill inside the turkey skin (between skin and meat) with the mixture before roasting. Take care when separating skin from meat, you don’t want to tear it. The butter will melt into the meat as the turkey cooks, creating moist, yummy meat and will also drip down into the roasting pan to give you the most delicious drippings for your gravy, sauce or dressing.
Turkey time and it’s still not cooked through?
You simply cannot serve an undercooked bird. It may be time to give up on presentation, cut the turkey up into smaller parts (two legs, two thighs, two wings and the breast), rub with oil, sprinkle with herbs and roast it in a couple of baking pans at 350 degrees. It will only take about an hour. Your turkey should hit 165 to 170 degrees to be safe, make sure to check in the thigh area and the thickest part of the breast and wash the thermometer between testing.
If your whole turkey is not getting done fast enough, turn your oven up to as much as 450 degrees. If it starts getting too brown, tent it with aluminum foil, removing the foil during the last 10 minutes of cooking so it will brown properly.
My turkey is cooked and it is as dry as a sand storm!
No problem. According to epicurious.com, all you have to do is pour your turkey drippings into a sauce pan and add two cans of chicken broth, which you will bring to a boil. Slice the turkey and place in a large casserole dish then pour the broth mixture over the turkey. Cover the dish with foil and heat in the oven for 5 or 10 minutes. Remove turkey slices from the pan and arrange on a platter. Your guests will never know what happened.
This works fantastic for leftover turkey too.
Not a problem! Pour the gravy through a simple mesh strainer, right into a clean pan and keep on heating until ready. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to reheat. Better yet, you can put it in your blender or food processor and blitz the lumps out, pour it back into the pan and finish it up.
Gravy too thin?
Knead equal amounts of butter and flour together, then whisk into the gravy a small amount at a time, while simmering. Alternately, dissolve 1 teaspoon cornstarch into two 2 tablespoons cold water, and whisk a little at a time into the simmering gravy. Let it simmer for a minute or two to cook off the raw starch flavor. Cornstarch will give your gravy a shiny look, but a little more of a sauce (gel) texture.
Burned the gravy or potatoes?
Don’t stir! Remove pan from heat quickly and gently transfer the top portion of the food to another pan, taking care not to scrap the blackened food on the bottom. And always have packaged gravy and instant potatoes on hand, just in case.
Scorch the bottom of your butternut or other soup?
This one is a little tougher. First, don’t stir! And immediately pour the not-stuck mixture into a clean pan. Then, if there is still a scorched taste, before throwing it away, try adding peanut butter, ½ teaspoon or less at a time, allowing it to simmer a few minutes and tasting between each addition, until you can’t taste the scorch. Take care not to add enough to make peanut butter soup. I still get teased about serving that one!
Gummy mashed potatoes?
Gluey mashed potatoes are usually caused by over-mixing. Hint; mix by hand, not a mixer! Also, always mash the potatoes completely while dry, before adding butter, milk or cheese. Then just gently stir after each addition.
This one isn’t easy to fix and repairs usually just make it worse. Instead, try creating a whole new dish out of your gooey potatoes. Put your potatoes in a pan, top with a mixture of breadcrumbs and cheese, lumps of butter and some herbs, broil until breadcrumbs are crisp and cheese and butter are melted. Careful not to burn them! Or add a little flour and herbs, and make potato cakes.
Turkey is on the platter and so is the bag of giblets, right inside the turkey
Don’t worry, we have all done it. Giggle at yourself, remove it graciously and throw it away. The turkey isn’t compromised but don’t use the giblets at this point.
Worried that Uncle Jack and Cousin Janna will end up sitting together and argue the entire time?
Use name cards. A few inexpensive ways to do this:
· Use inexpensive coasters to write guests’ names on and lean them on the water glasses.
· Print out small photo of each guest and put in $1 photo frames or photo frame magnets from Dollar Store.
· Make refrigerator cookies, pipe each guest’s name onto a cookie with a store bought pre-filling icing tube and lay on dessert plate.
· Use a Sharpie to write guests’ name on their glasses. It wipes off easily with nail polish remover, or gift the glass to the guest.
Most of all, have fun and be thankful for being together - even if the turkey IS dry, burned and wearing the giblet bag!
And HAPPY THANKSGIVING from your Healthy Food Examiner to You!!!