Whether you are cooking the entire Thanksgiving meal or simply fixing a side dish, we have you covered. Studio 5 Contributor, Kathleen Alder, offers a few quick fixes for last minute Thanksgiving Day disasters.
1. Problem: Wake up too late and need the turkey cooked quickly.
Try cooking the turkey using the high heat method. You can cook a 16-18 lb. turkey in two hours. The slow method, will take 3 1/2 hours or more.
Wash the turkey well and pat it dry.
Preheat oven to 475 °
Place turkey in a large heavy roasting pan on a roasting rack.
Position the oven rack in the lowest position to allow room for the turkey.
Pour ¾ ” water in the bottom of the pan.
Put the turkey in the oven to roast and do not open oven again for at least 1 hour and 30 min., then, lay an oiled sheet of aluminum foil over turkey. Do not crimp it down, it should be loose.
Close the oven and continue roasting for another 30 min. to an hour. The meat thermometer should read 165 degrees.
When the turkey is done, place it on a warm platter, leaving the foil over the top to keep the heat in.
Let stand for at least 20 min before carving.
2. Problem: Turkey is still frozen.
Use the quick defrost method by submerging the turkey in cool water in the sink and change the water every 30 minutes. Or stand the bird on the neck end in a deep stock pot and run cool water into the body cavity. Change the water every 30 minutes. Then use the high heat method to cook.
3. Problem: The turkey is burned.
Most likely the bird is not totally burned, the skin is scorched, so peel off the skin and rub butter over the breast to moisten the meat. Slice in the kitchen and serve on a beautiful platter. No one will know.
4. Problem: Turkey is under cooked.
If you cut into the turkey and find out it is not all the way done, a quick solution would be to carve away large pieces of the turkey breast, place on a cookie sheet, cover with foil and return to the oven to finish cooking.
5. Don’t know how to make gravy.
In a 5 c. saucepan, melt 1/Ž4 c. turkey fat or butter, stir in 1/Ž4 c. flour. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in 4 c. broth a little at a time. Return to heat and whisk until it boils and thickens. Season and like magic you have gravy. The broth can be made from giblets, purchased or deglazed from the pan the turkey came out of.
The easiest way to make gravy with a smooth texture is to mix 4 T. cornstarch in 3/4 c. cold water. Stir into turkey drippings plus 4 c. broth a little at a time until gravy is the right consistency. If it is still not thick enough, mix up another batch and continue to add until the right consistency is reached.
6. Problem: Made the gravy and it is lumpy.
Pour lumpy gravy a few cups at a time into a blender or food processor to smooth out lumps. Or strain through a sieve to catch the lumps.
7. Problem: Went to all the trouble to make mashed potatoes and they are gluey.
Just pack them into a greased casserole dish, season with chopped herbs, top with tons of breadcrumbs and knobs of butter. No one will notice, they will be distracted by the crunchiness of the crumbs.
8. Problem: Everyone is bored with the same old green bean casserole.
Rough chop some vegetables like carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, cauliflower, and squash (either summer or winter). Coat with olive oil and salt. Roast at 400 degrees for 30 min. Everyone will think you are a genius gourmet cook.
9. Problem: You bought the rolls a couple of days early but now they are not fresh.
Freshen up rolls by wetting them either with a spray bottle or quickly running them under a tap to dampen them. Bake in a 400° for 10 minutes on greased parchment or a greased cookie sheet. They will taste like you just baked them fresh today. Moist on the inside and crusty on the outside. This works for any kind of bread or rolls.
10. Problem: You tried a new recipe and it failed miserably.
Throw it out and don’t tell anyone!!