Plan early and make some dishes ahead of time
Some things you might serve on Thanksgiving can be purchased and prepared ahead of time when the ingredients you want might be more readily available. This is particularly important if you are following the Autoimmune Protocol. Nothing worse than waiting until the last minute only to discover that everyone else did too and your favorite AIP ingredients are nowhere to be found! Mashed Japanese White Sweet Potatoes are one of those dishes that you can make ahead and freeze. Cranberry Sauce and casserole type dishes will freeze well also. The Thanksgivings where I planned and prepared ahead of time were the most successful and stress free. For turkey day save only menu items that need to be prepared day of like crudite and salads. Once your bird is in the oven you have time to do last minute cleaning.
Don’t be afraid to ask people on your guest list to handle some of the cooking. Once your menu is set and your guest list finalized take a look at who the cooks are on your list and assign them a dish to bring. It’s totally ok to do, plus it helps to make people feel involved and will make your day easier and less stressful.
We have many options these days when considering the purchase of the turkey. You can pick a frozen one up ahead of time and keep it in your freezer until it’s time to start thawing. My favorite is to order a turkey fresh that you pick up from your favorite store or butcher just before Thanksgiving. That way you avoid having a big frozen turkey in your refrigerator thawing for days. A frozen turkey will need one day thawing in the refrigerator for every four pounds. If you are planning on brining your bird, start the thawing process a day earlier. You want the turkey completely thawed so that all the deliciousness you have prepared in your brine can soak through.
A good rule of thumb to follow when deciding on how much turkey you will need is;
- If roasting a whole turkey plan on 1 – 1.5 pounds per person.
- If you are buying a bone-on turkey breast, plan for ¾ of a pound per person
You can always buy bigger than you need so that you have leftovers to freeze!
Cooking the turkey
A good rule of thumb to begin planning your day on Thanksgiving is to roast your bird for 15 minutes per pound. Of course the actual time will vary based on your oven, if the bird is stuffed and how thawed it is. Your turkey will be perfectly roasted when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Once your turkey is finished roasting, remove from the oven and cover with foil to rest. You want your turkey to rest for an hour before carving. This allows it to cool slightly and for the juices to redistribute throughout the bird. Remove the turkey from the roasting pan and cover with foil to rest. Now it’s time to get busy finishing up your feast. Make your gravy in the roasting pan, be sure to scrape all the tasty bits and simmer. Pour the juices through a strainer and put them in a stock pot to finish your gravy.
Relax and Enjoy Your Thanksgiving
Have you ever heard of the Six P’s? I belive it is a military thing but it goes like this; Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. May be a bit strong but it really is true when it comes to entertaining, especially on holidays. A well thought out and planned menu and prep schedule can make your Thanksgiving a day of relaxing and enjoying the feast with your guests.