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Top 10 Turkey Tips -
1. Thawing a frozen turkey requires patience. The safest method is to thaw turkey in the refrigerator. Be sure to plan ahead-it takes approximately 3 days for a 20 pound turkey to fully defrost.
2. For crisper skin, unwrap the turkey the day before roasting and leave it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight.
3. Cooking times will differ depending on whether your bird was purchased fresh or frozen. Plan on 20 minutes per pound in a 350 degree F oven for a defrosted turkey and 10 to 15 minutes per pound for fresh. If you're still perplexed, estimate your bird's cooking time with our turkey calculator.
4. A turkey will cook more evenly if it is not densely stuffed. Consider adding flavor by loosely filling the cavity with aromatic vegetables-carrots, celery, onion or garlic work nicely-or by carefully tucking fresh herbs underneath the breast skin. For the stuffing lovers, cook the dressing in a casserole dish on the side.
5. For even roasting, truss your turkey.
6. Before roasting, coat the outside of the turkey with vegetable or olive oil, season with salt and pepper and tightly cover the breast with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning (it will be removed in step 7).
7. Don't be a peeping tom (no pun intended)! Once you get the turkey in the oven, resist the temptation to open the oven door and admire your handiwork. When the oven temperature fluctuates, you're only increasing the likelihood of a dry bird. About 45 minutes before you think the turkey is done, remove the foil from the breast to allow it to brown.
8. Remove the turkey from the oven when the deepest spot between the leg and the breast reads 180 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Check the internal temperature of the stuffing as well; it should be at least 165 degrees.
9. Tent the bird with foil and let rest for about 15 minutes before carving. If you need more time to make gravy, heat up side dishes, etc., you can let the turkey set for up to an hour without losing too much heat.
10. Remember to carve your turkey with a very sharp or electric knife.
More Helpful Holiday Hints:
The Kids' Table - use the kids' table as a way to draw the younger set into the festivities. Cover with brown craft paper and have markers/crayons around for decorating keeping in the fall/holiday spirit. This table can also be used for cookie decorating.
Mandatory ban on all gift certificates for significant others - i.e. wives, mothers, boyfriends . . .
Leftover ornaments are great additions to table centerpieces and mantel decorations.
Refridgerate centerpieces when not in use to insure freshness and longevity.
Get baking NOW and freeze for later.
Don't forget to do a little holiday decorating in your guestrooms, powderooms and other areas of your house that might be neglected.
Refresh your holiday CD collection with a few new additions.
If red wine is spilled, cover the stain with salt and place a clean towel over the area.
Always keep gourmet-type staples in your pantry for last minute entertaining. Some POL favorites are: assorted nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, olive paste, black bean dip and frozen loaves of French bread to be thawed, sliced and perfect for spreadables.
If you decide to do an Open House - the best time to have one is from 1 - 5pm on a Sunday afternoon.
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