NAPSI - A good entertainment plan that saves time and money is something to be truly thankful for. With the right plan, all that cooks will need to do on Thanksgiving Day is put dishes into the oven and remove them when they are done.
A few hints from professional chef Jim Coleman can help you save money while affording you more time to spend with your guests.
Plan and Prepare
• Start freezing stale bread a few weeks before Thanksgiving so you can use it to make stuffing.
• Plan the menu the weekend before Thanksgiving. Compile recipes into a recipe booklet for easy reference.
• Save gas and time by making lists of ingredients so you will only need one trip to the store.
• Cut up celery, carrots, etc. and store in ziplock bags for ease of use during the next few days of prep.
• Make stuffing the night before and make it a little dry so you can add gravy on Thanksgiving day to moisten.
• Cranberry sauce, pie, gravy, and side dishes can be made a few days ahead.
• Save money by asking guests to bring wine, desserts, a salad or a side dish.
Table and Tools
• Set your table in advance; everything from a centerpiece and glassware to plates and napkins.
• Enlist the help of family members in preparation and cleanup.
• Sharpen your knives beforehand to save time on food prep. That includes your carving knife.
"A sharp knife is one of the most important tools and essential for the holiday season with all the food prep and carving of the bird," said Coleman. "Preparation can save time and money, and a quality knife sharpener can renew the knives you already own and save you from the expense of having to buy new knives."
Fortunately, you don't have to be an expert to put a razor-sharp edge on your knife. A sharpener such as Chef'sChoice® EdgeSelect® Model 120 electric knife sharpener can make sharpening easy. It uses 100 percent diamond abrasives and precision angle guides for a supersharp and durable edge. Call (800) 342-3255 for more information or visit www.chefschoice.com. A good knife sharpener saves money by renewing the knives you already own.
• For a quicker cooking time, start at 400ºF with breast side down; after 45 minutes, turn over and lower heat to 325ºF. An 8-12-pound bird will cook in about 21/2 hours.
• Get your carving knife ready. After the turkey is cooked (meat thermometer should read 180° when inserted in the thickest part of the turkey), cool the bird for 20 minutes.
Cooling makes the meat firmer and easier to slice. Remove and set aside the turkey legs and the last joint of each wing. Make a long, deep (to the bone), horizontal "base cut" into the breast just above the wing.
Slice down vertically through the breast until you meet the original base cut. This will release nice, even slices.
• Refrigerate leftovers immediately. Add leftover cranberry sauce to mayonnaise to jump-start leftovers for sandwiches.
If you follow these tips, you will keep costs down and have more time for fun on Thanksgiving.