Thanksgiving – a holiday where we gather with our families and friends and give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. A traditional feast usually consists of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and dessert. Lots of dessert. As you prepare to celebrate, here are some tips to help you get ready:

The food:


  • Plan about 1 pound of meat per person when buying your turkey. This number includes the bones, so don’t expect each person to actually eat a pound of meat, but some do eat more than others.
  • Then thawing the turkey, the refrigerator is the best place and plan about 24 hours for every 5 pounds. You can also put the turkey in the sink with cold water. You should change the water every 30 minutes and plan on 30 minutes per pound.
  • If you use brine, never brine for more than 10 hours. Always keep the turkey refrigerated during the brining process.
  • The CDC recommends that you wash your hands before and after touching the turkey, as well as any surface the turkey touches to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.
  • Wash the turkey before stuffing it with salt and cold water.
  • Don’t forget the giblets are usually placed inside the turkey for packaging and transport.
  • Stuff the turkey just before placing it in the oven. Letting it sit for any length of time risks contamination, but wait about 20 minutes after roasting before removing the stuffing so it can cook a little longer and soak up some more flavor.
  • There are as many tips for roasting as there are counties in the country, here are a few we came across for you:
    • Try roasting breast-side-down, so the white meat can soak up the juices.
    • Bake at least at 325 degrees
    • Use an instant thermometer inserted to the thickest part of the thigh, but not to the bone. The meat should be at least 165 degrees, but many experts say to wait until the thigh meat reaches 170 degrees as it tastes better.
    • Make sure to reduce cooking times by 20 to 40 minutes if you do not stuff your turkey
    • Allow your bird to rest after it comes out of the oven for at least 20 minutes before you carve it.

Side dishes:

  • A full Thanksgiving dinner with dessert typically lands at more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat
  • A 1-pound bag of carrots will make between 4 and 5 servings
  • A 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries makes about 2-1/4 cups of cranberry sauce; a 16-ounce can has 6 servings
  • Plan for 1/3 cup of gravy per person
  • 1-1/2 pounds of beans makes 8 to 8 servings of green beans.
  • A 5-pound bag of potatoes will feed between 10 to 12 servings
  • A 14-ounce bag of stuffing makes about 11 servings
  • Try some alternative vegetables to make your dinner more healthy:
    • Brussel Sprouts
    • Butternut Squash
    • Artichokes
    • Bake potatoes instead of mashing them


  • Unless you are adventurous and boil down your Halloween pumpkins, you will most likely use canned pumpkin to create one of the stars of a Thanksgiving feast: pumpkin pie.
    • Did you know that the orange pumpkin you decorate and carve for Halloween is probably not what you scoop out of the can for your pie?
    • The gourd that Libby’s uses is the Dickinson variety of squash and looks more like a butternut squash than the typical jack-o-lantern
    • A slice of pumpkin pie is about 316 calories, but is a healthier choice than some other pies such as apple which has about 411 calories.
  • Other desserts are usually loaded with sugars and calories, choose wisely.

Safety in general:

  • Choking, especially at social gatherings is a very real possibility.
  • Store leftovers properly and promptly to reduce the chance of food poisoning
  • Thanksgiving Day has the highest number of home cooking fires.
  • Unattended cooking is the largest reason for those fires and deaths attributed to them
  • Be sure to stay with your food. When items are on the stovetop, stay in the kitchen; when you have items in the oven, check on them frequently; and don’t leave the house when you are cooking anything.
  • Be careful when around hot items as you can be burned and scalded easily
  • Test your smoke detectors before you begin cooking, don’t let the dinner test them for you. Remember, the smoke alarm is not the timer.
  • If you use a turkey fryer:
    • Set up the fryer at least 10 feet away from your home
    • Keep pets and children away from the fryer
    • Do not leave the fryer unattended
    • Make sure the fryer is set up on a flat, even surface
    • Do not over-fill the oil
    • Use a fully thawed and dried turkey
    • Monitor the temperature
    • Have a multipurpose, dry-powder fire extinguisher ready and within reach while cooking

Remember to keep the fur-babies safe!

  • If you decide to give your pet some turkey, make sure there are no bones and that the turkey is fully cooked
  • Keep the pets away from raw bread dough as the yeast can be life-threatening
  • Items with a lot of fat, such as turkey skin, buttery items, and gravy can cause pancreatitis
  • Some typical Thanksgiving items considered poisonous to dogs include: grapes and raisins, avocados, alcohol, onions, garlic, caffeinated drinks, macadamia nuts, dairy products, and chocolate (white chocolate is okay though).
  • Some typical Thanksgiving Items considered poisonous to cats include: alcohol, chocolate, caffeinated drinks, dairy products, grapes and raisins, onions, and garlic

Most of all – have a great Thanksgiving from all of us at 10News!

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