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How long does it take to thaw a turkey?

To properly thaw in a refrigerator, it takes 24 hours per 4 pounds of turkey. So, for a 12-pound turkey, it would need to thaw for 72 hours.

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How big of a turkey do I need to feed all of my guests?

There are a few factors that play a role in this question. One factor is that the bigger the bird, the higher the meat-to-bone ratio is. This essentially means the bigger the bird, the better. An average person will eat anywhere between 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of turkey on Thanksgiving. If you plan on having 5 to 6 guests over, think about one pound per guest, which would be a 5 to 7 pound turkey. If you plan on having 10, 15 or more guests, use 1-1/2 to 2 pounds per person. This means purchasing a 15 to 20 pound turkey.

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What's better: Purchasing a fresh or a frozen turkey?

Fresh turkeys tend to be more moist and flavorful. On average, they are free range, which produces a better flavor and texture. Like most foods, buying the turkey fresh instead of frozen will lead to a more quality result.

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My turkey didn't come with a pop-up timer. How long do I bake it?

Throw the pop-up timer out and use a meat thermometer for a more accurate reading of when the turkey is done. Here are some basic time to cook an unstuffed turkey:
4 to 8 pounds: 1-1/2 to 3 1/4 hours
9 to 12 pounds: 2 3/4 to 3 hours
13 to 14 pounds: 3 to 3 3/4 hours
15 to 18 pounds: 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
19 to 20 pounds: 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours
21 to 25 pounds: 4 1/2 to 5 hours

To cook a stuffed turkey, cook at these times:
6 to 8 pounds: 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours
9 to 12 pounds: 3 to 3 1/2 hours
13 to 14 pounds: 3 1/2 to 4 hours
15 to 18 pounds: 4 to 4 1/4 hours
19 to 20 pounds: 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
21 to 25 pounds: 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours

Remember to baste the bird every 30 minutes and brining also helps keep it moist.

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How long should I cook my turkey?

The most accurate way to cook a turkey is using a thermometer. However, for a bird weighing anywhere from 10 to 22 pounds, it should cook in 3-1/2 to 5 hours. Open the oven periodically to baste the bird, but be careful because every time the oven door is open, the temperature will go down 50 degrees every few seconds.

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How do I know when my turkey is done?

The safest and best method to ensure the turkey is done is using a thermometer. An internal meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh and breast should both register at 165 degrees F or higher. When the leg join is pricked, the juices should run clear. All stuffing inside the turkey should also register at 165 degrees F or higher.

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Why is my turkey burning while it's roasting?

Low and slow is the best way to cook the turkey. Use butcher's twine to tie the bird to cook as evenly as possible. This prevents over-cooking in one area of the turkey and undercooking in others. Stuff seasoned butter under the skin of the breast, legs and cavity of the turkey. Cook the turkey with the oven at 250 to 300 degrees F until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 130 degrees F. Baste the turkey every 30 minutes without an oven turkey bag. After the turkey reaches 130 degrees F, turn the heat up until the turkey reaches 165 degrees F in the fattest part of the turkey thigh.

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Should I stuff the turkey the night before?

Stuff your turkey just before cooking, not the night before. This is safer and will produce a better result. Cook your turkey and stuffing until it reaches 165 degrees F in the center.

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Is it better to slow roast the turkey overnight?

It depends on what time you are planning on serving the meal, so it's not necessarily better to roast the turkey overnight. If the meal will be served at lunchtime, then slow roasting overnight would be the way to go. This will ensure it's done in time for the meal. If the meal is later in the day or at night, then cook the turkey over the course of the day instead of overnight.

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What are some nontraditional ways to cook a turkey?

There are many ways to prepare a turkey. One of the newest food trends that produces moist and flavorful turkey is brining. Brining is simply soaking meats in a saltwater mixture for about 24 hours. A traditional brine is 1 cup of salt to 1 gallon of water. Other flavors can be added to the brine to increase or change the flavor. Some suggestions for flavors to add are:
Chinese Five Spice Brine: Five spice powder, green onions, tamarind sauce, dry sherry, ginger, chili oil and sesame oil.
Sweet and Spicy Brine: Molasses, honey, soy sauce, dried red pepper flakes, dried sage, fresh thyme and garlic.
Cranberry Apple Brine: Cranberry juice, apple juice, applesauce, orange juice, garlic, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary and bay leaves.
Cherry BBQ Brine: Black cherry juice, BBQ spice rub and apple juice.
Maple Bacon Brine: Maple syrup, brown sugar, bacon grease, peppercorn and garlic.
Lemon Herb Brine: Lemon, garlic, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, rosemary, sage and peppercorn.
South of the Border Brine: Chipotle powder, chili powder, cumin, ancho powder, paprika, mustard powder, garlic, green chilis and tomato.
There are also some ways to prepare a unique turkey through the cooking process. Cook your turkey on the grill, with a smoker, by deep-frying or even in the crock pot. Use a beer can like you would to cook a beer-can chicken. Instead of stuffing the inside of the turkey with a traditional bread stuffing, try stuffing it with garlic, herbs and lemons or apples, raisins and cinnamon sticks.

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How do I keep my turkey from drying out?

The best way to keep a turkey moist is by brining is for a day prior to cooking. There are many different flavors of brine, so be sure to choose the one that will satisfy you and your guests.

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How long can you keep a thawed turkey in your refrigerator before you have to bake it?

Once the turkey is thawed, it can be kept in the refrigerator for one to two days.

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How long does the turkey need to rest before I carve into it?

The amount of resting time depends on the size of the bird, but at least 20 minutes is needed. A large bird can wait up to 40 minutes or longer, depending on the temperature of the room. Be sure to loosely cover it with foil.

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How can I make the skin on my turkey extra crispy?

To make the skin crispy, brush clarified butter over the bird before cooking instead of regular butter. To make clarified butter, melt some butter in a pan on low, and scrape off the milk solids that float to the top. Regular butter has a higher water content, which can prevent the bird from turning crisp. Alternatively, milk solids in butter can burn at high temperatures, so clarified butter helps to achieve the desired consistency. Continue to brush clarified butter over the turkey throughout the cooking process. Most turkey recipes also call for brining for 24 hours before cooking, which produces a very moist and tender bird. For extra flavor, use kosher salt, lemon, fresh thyme, rosemary, peppercorns and honey mixed with cold water. Once removed from the brine, place the bird on a dish, uncovered in the refrigerator, for 24 hours. For a 20-pound turkey, bake at 450 degrees F for about 2-1/2 hours.

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Can I roast the turkey the day before, and then reheat it?

Yes, you can roast the turkey the day before and then reheat on Thanksgiving.

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Is it okay to give my dog a bone from the turkey?

Do not give your dog or other animal bones from turkey or poultry. The bones can splinter and severely damage the animal's internal organs.

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How long can a cooked turkey stand at room temperature? How long does turkey keep stored in the refrigerator?

All cooked foods need to follow the 4-hour rule, which means after it has been cooked, it can stay out for 4 hours before being discarded. Keep the turkey and other cooked foods out of the danger zone, which is 41 degrees to 135 degrees F. At that temperature, bacteria can grow rapidly and food borne illnesses can occur.

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What's the best way to brine a turkey?

Remove the giblets from the turkey and place the turkey in an oven bag. Bring 4 cups of water to a simmer. Add 1 cup salt and 1 cup sugar. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Turn off the heat. Stir in 8 cups cold water, 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons sage, 2 tablespoons thyme, 2 tablespoons rosemary, 1 tablespoon pepper and 4 cups ice. Pour this mixture in the turkey bag. Allow the turkey to marinate for 12 hours for a turkey that is 8-10 pounds, or marinate up to a full day for a bigger bird. Rinse the bird thoroughly before roasting. Brining is recommended, but not necessary.

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What's better: one big turkey or two small turkeys? Why?

This depends on the crowd. If you have 15 guests or more, it's often easier to cook two smaller birds, so they cook faster and retain moisture. However, sometimes people enjoy the glory of a giant turkey on Thanksgiving. It's up to the host and guests' personal preference.

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My family only eats dark meat. What do I do with the rest of the bird?

Consider buying only the thighs and legs from the turkey instead of an entire turkey. Roast these in the oven; they will not take as long to cook as a whole turkey. If you already have a whole bird, use the excess meat for soups. Cut the meat from the bones, and boil the bones with celery, onions, carrots and herbs to make a turkey stock. Dice the rest of the meat for the soup. Soup is also a great way to use up any extra gravy or mashed potatoes, which makes more of a stew instead of soup.

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Can Hy-Vee cook my turkey for me? What is the price of this service?

Yes! All you have to do is order it and pick it up. There are sides available as well. The prices vary by store, so stop in or call your local Hy-Vee to check the prices.

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Why is turkey meat sometimes pink close to the bone, even when it is fully cooked?

Use a meat thermometer for poultry. The internal temperature must reach 165 degrees F or more per 15 seconds. The turkey may be fully cooked and still have this pinkish color. This refers to the reaction of the oxygen with the Myoglobin in the turkey's cells. As long as the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, don't be afraid of this pink color.

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I made ham as an entrée this year, and it turned out really salty. How can I fix this?

If you have a few hours before the meal, place the ham in a large container and cover the entire ham with a light-colored soda such as Sprite or 7UP. Let it soak for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. After soaking, remove the ham and rinse it with cold water. Reheat and serve. If you've made the ham a day ahead of time, submerge the ham in a container covered with just water for 12-24 hours. If possible, change the water every 3-4 hours to remove more of the saltiness. After soaking in the water, reheat and serve. If you're serving the ham immediately, unfortunately the only option is to make a sweet glaze. One option for a glaze is butter, brown sugar and orange or pineapple juice. The sweetness from the glaze with help offset the saltiness from the meat.

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What are the best herbs to season a turkey?

For a traditional turkey, use thyme, salt and pepper to season.

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How do I know how long to cook a turkey that is heavier than the maximum weight on the baking chart provided?

Cook the turkey for 20 minutes per each pound over the baking chart.

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What brands treat turkeys humanely?

There are many brands to choose from when choosing a turkey. For white meat, a boneless or regular turkey breast is great. Honeysuckle White turkey has no antibiotics, no added hormones or steroids, farm raised and gluten-free. Hy-Vee's turkeys are perfect year-round, for any occasion.

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How do I thaw the turkey?

Thawing any frozen protein should happen in the refrigerator. The length of time spent in the refrigerator depends on the size of the turkey.

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Is it true that you're not supposed to stuff a turkey?

It is okay to stuff poultry as long as all components of the dish come to a safe eating temperature. Health departments are trying to deter from this practice due to the fact that the average home cook does not understand cross-contamination and safe cooking standards. This is a safe practice as long as you cook the turkey and stuffing to 165 degrees F.

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Can I thaw the turkey by leaving the turkey on the counter overnight?

Refrigeration is the absolute best way to thaw meats. If you do not have time for this, the other safe way is to thaw the meat under cold running water; but be sure the water is cold.

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How can you cook a turkey from a frozen state?

Cook turkey from a frozen state in a roaster, low and slow, until it reaches 165 degrees F.

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What do I do if the turkey will not reach 165 degrees F?

First, make sure your thermometer is calibrated. The best way to do this is boil a small pot of tap water. Once it is boiling, put the stem in the boiling water, not touching the pan, and make sure it reads to 212 degrees F. If it doesn't, there is a hexnut at the base of the thermometer. Turn that until it reads 212 degrees F. You may also need to adjust the temperature of your oven. They often become uncalibrated through years of use and cleaning. Remember that every time you open the oven or roaster, it takes awhile for it to go back to the same temperature. The turkey could have not been thawed all the way through, so the timing may be off and it may just need more time. If you are looking to save time roasting your turkey, break down the turkey into breasts, thighs and legs, and roast them off the carcass.

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How do I inject a turkey, and what do I inject it with?

Injecting a turkey is a very easy process, and it does work. Injecting a turkey helps keep it moist while cooking without having to baste it frequently. The equipment needed for injection is either a hypodermic needle or a baster injector. You can purchase a baster injector in most Hy-Vee stores. The possibilities for what to inject in your turkey are endless. Commonly, you see flavored butters that you can buy, or come up with your own combinations of flavored butters or different liquids like beer, olive oil, salad dressings, fruit juices and pre-made marinades from your local Hy-Vee.

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My turkey is at the right temperature, but the skin is not brown and looks undercooked. What should I do?

Turn the oven up to 500 degrees F and let it brown. Alternatively, rub a thin layer of browning and seasoning sauce (Kitchen Bouquet is a well-known option) to quickly brown the turkey at 450 degrees F.

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Should I elevate the turkey while cooking? How do I do that?

Elevating the turkey while cooking allows for a more evenly cooked bird. It also allows for the skin on the thighs and legs of the turkey to crisp. Use a roasting pan with a rack inserted into the pan, and place the turkey on this rack. If you don't have a rack, make a disposable one with heavy duty aluminum foil. Take a 3-foot section of foil, twisting it into a "rope." Then coil it loosely and place into the bottom of a baking dish, roasting pan or baking sheet.

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How can I repurpose an overcooked or dried out turkey?

To salvage the turkey, dip sliced turkey in chicken stock or put extra gravy on top. Otherwise, check the dark meat, which does not typically dry out as fast as the white meat.

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I forgot to thaw my turkey overnight, and it's Thanksgiving morning. What do I do?

Run it under cool water, and switch the water out every 30 minutes. Do this until it is thawed through.

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What is the typical ratio between white and dark meat in a turkey?

White meat consists of the breast, while dark meat is comprised of the thighs, drumsticks and wings. The entire turkey is about 60% white meat to 40% dark meat.

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What can I use if I don't have a pan big enough to hold a turkey?

There are a couple options. Place the turkey in a large disposable foil pan, and place a cookie sheet underneath the foil pan to support the weight of the turkey as it moves in and out of the oven. You can also use a large baking sheet with a lip and place the turkey on a rack inside the baking sheet. This will keep the turkey elevated to allow air flow and cook evenly.

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What is the differences in quality for a fresh and frozen turkey?

A frozen bird is frozen immediately after it is processed. A fresh bird could take days to get from processor to sales floor, thus not truly being "fresh." If you need a turkey to cook immediately, fresh is the best option compared to unsafely thawing a frozen turkey.

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How can I grill a turkey?

Brine or season a turkey as you normally would for oven cooking, and place it in a disposable turkey pan, breast side up. Then, prepare a grill for two-zone heating. For charcoal, light a full chimney and wait 15 minutes. Then, dump the charcoal in an even layer on just one half of the grill. For gas, light one burner in a two-burner grill or two burners in a three-burner grill. In both cases, put on the lid and allow the grill to warm for 15 minutes. Adjust your burners or air intake for a medium heat or 350 degrees F. Place the turkey pan over the cooler side of the grill and close the lid. Cook 2-3 hours for a 12-pound turkey, or until the thickest part of the breast reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees F. Allow the turkey to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

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What type of knife should I use to carve the turkey?

Several knives can be used to carve a turkey. A straight-edge carving knife works well, but many people prefer a serrated edge. The easiest option is most likely an electric carving knife.

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How long should I let the turkey cool before carving it?

The turkey should be cooled for about 20-30 minutes before carving, depending on the size of the turkey. To let the juices go back into the bird without letting the skin get soggy, wrap it loosely with aluminum foil.

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My family only eats white meat. What do I do with the rest of the bird?

Instead of roasting an entire turkey, just roast the turkey breast. The turkey breast contains only white meat.

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My turkey is too big to fit in my oven. What do I do?

There are several options to solve this problem. You could purchase two smaller turkeys instead of one large one; just make sure that they can fit side-by-side in two roasting pans in the oven. If that doesn't fit, you can cook one turkey the day before and then warm it up in the oven on Thanksgiving. If you have already purchased one large turkey, you could buy a deep fryer that is big enough and choose to fry your turkey.

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What are the differences between natural, kosher, organic and heritage turkeys, and which should I buy?

Natural: The turkey does not contain any artificial flavoring, colors, chemical preservatives or synthetic ingredients. That being said, this is the vaguest of turkey labels. Because there is no government definition for the word, the claim is based on the processor's word alone.
Kosher: These turkeys are grain-fed with no antibiotics and are allowed to roam freely. Kosher turkeys are processed and inspected under rabbinical supervision. This includes soaking in salt brine, which adds a distinctive, savory flavor. The process adds a solution to the meat and increases weight.
Organic: These turkeys have to be prodcued without most conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones, genetic engineering or irradiation. Animals also must have access to the outdoors and eat a diet of organic feed, free of animal byproducts.

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What temperature should my oven be when cooking a turkey?

For a turkey that is 15 pounds or lighter, cook at 435 degrees F for 90 minutes. Season the turkey with salt and pepper. For a turkey that is cooked, juicy and nicely browned, do not stuff the turkey. Put it in a pan on a bed of celery, onions and carrots, breast side down, for the first 30 minutes. Then turn it over, breast side up, and let it roast for an hour. If the wings start to brown too much, cover the tips with aluminum foil.

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How do I smoke a turkey?

Submerge and cover the turkey in a brine mixture. Let the turkey sit overnight in the fridge, and remove it from the brine the next day. Dry the turkey well. If using wood to smoke the turkey, soak the wood for 30-40 minutes. Start the coals when you are draining the wood and spread over the coals. Season the turkey, place it in the roasting pan, and place the roasting pan on the grill rack. Smoke until the internal temperature is 165 degrees F. If using an electric smoker, follow the instructions for smoking times on poultry.

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How many ounces of turkey is one serving?

Three ounces of cooked turkey is one serving.

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What should I put underneath the skin of the turkey, if anything?

Many people place cold butter pats and fresh herbs under the skin before roasting. Another easier method may be using a compound butter, which is simply butter and herbs mixed together and then chilled. This is usually used for flavor and not to increase juiciness.

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Can I marinate a turkey?

Yes, you can marinate a turkey. The best way to marinate a turkey is to place it in a large plastic kitchen bag, and add the marinade on top of the turkey. Make sure the bag is airtight, and then move the turkey around in the marinade so that it is covered all over. I would recommend marinating at least overnight in most cases. The only time you don't want to marinate too long is when using citrus juices in your marinade. After an extended period of time, the acid from the juice may begin to cook the meat, which makes the meat tough.

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What rub or marinade can I use to make my turkey spicy?

Make a simple Cajun rub with 1/2 Tbsp. cayenne pepper, 1 Tbsp. garlic, 1/2 Tbsp. salt and 1 Tbsp. dried thyme. Or, buy an injector at your local Hy-Vee, along with a Cajun or spicy injection liquid to flavor the bird.

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What are the best utensils to use to handle a turkey?

When handling a turkey, the best utensils to use are a combination of tongs and a spatula. Insert one half of the tongs inside the cavity of the turkey with the other half on top of the turkey. Then, slide the spatula under the turkey to help lift and support it. Squeeze and lift with the tongs while lifting the turkey from the bottom with the spatula, and move to the desired serving platter.

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What can I do to fix a burnt turkey?

If the turkey starts to burn while its still roasting, flip the bird and continue to cook until the internal temperature is 165 degrees F. Once finished, let the turkey rest for 30 minutes. With a sharp knife, remove any blackened skin and meat below the burnt area. If the turkey is dry, slice the meat and place it into an oven-proof dish. Pour turkey stock over the meat, cover and bake until tender.

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How do I deep-fry a turkey?

Use an electric fryer. Discard the neck and giblets of the turkey. Add oil to the fryer, but do not exceed the maximum fill line. Preheat oil in the fryer to 400° F. While the oil is heating, pat the turkey dry with paper towels and prepare your turkey with any seasonings, marinades, or injected flavors. Once the oil is heated, slowly lower the turkey into the fryer. The turkey may not be totally immersed in the oil. This may cause the top part of the breast to remain white even though it is cooked to the proper end temperature. Set the timer and cook the turkey about 3 to 4 minutes per pound. Cook all dark meat to an internal temperature of 175° F to 180° F, and all white meat to an internal temperature of 165° F to 170° F. When the turkey is done, slowly lift it from the pot and place it in a pan or on paper towels to drain. Let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before removing it from the rack or basket to carve.

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What does spatchcocking mean, and how do I do it?

Spatchcocking is basically cutting the turkey in half and laying the turkey flat to cook. Popular methods of spatchcocking are grilling, or in some cultures such as Cuban cuisine, they will put it on the cooking element and lay bricks or heavy objects on the meat.

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How do I take care of the clip that holds the turkey legs together?

After the turkey has been cooked, remove the clip using a pair of kitchen shears.

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Where is the wishbone located inside the turkey?

The wishbone in a turkey is the forked bone between the turkey's neck and breast. Its scientific name is the "furcula." This bone braces the bird's shoulders and helps connect muscles.

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How do I keep the turkey warm while it's cooling?

Tent the turkey with foil. It will be warm, but it won't be piping hot. To combat this, be sure that the gravy is warmer than the turkey.

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Should I baste the turkey?

Basting allows the turkey to get more moisture, so yes, it's recommended. Be careful not to open the oven door too many times, otherwise the temperature of the oven will be inconsistent.

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How do I transport a turkey safely?

Purchase an insulated cooler large enough to keep the turkey hot. It should stay warm for 2-3 hours if the cooler is high enough quality.

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Am I supposed to truss the turkey?

Yes—this ensure the turkey stays intact and helps the turkey cook evenly.

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How do I know if the turkey is fully cooked without a meat thermometer?

It's best to purchase a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey is done. You may not be able to tell if the turkey is done simply by the color of the skin or the tenderness of the turkey. Stick a thermometer in the thickest part of the turkey to the bone, and if juices run clear and the temperature is at 165 degrees F, then you can take it out of the oven.

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Should I be worried that my guests will swallow small bones from the turkey?

The only bones that could be a problem are the rib bones. When carving the turkey, run your knife along the bones under the breast to avoid the rib bones, and you don't have to be concerned.

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If I fry my turkey, how do I properly dispose of the grease?

Check with your local public works department and see if they have a recycling program for used cooking oil. Follow its regulations for storing oil before depositing. If they do not have a program for this, it is best to let the oil cool down and pour it into a container such as a used coffee can or milk carton. Then, dispose of it in a trash can. Do not pour it down a drain.

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What is the average price of turkey?

This depends on the size of the turkey, but it's typically about $1.30 per pound.

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Should I use a turkey roaster oven?

The easiest way to cook a turkey would be in a roasting bag while following the package directions. However, a turkey roaster is good to use as well.

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What is a good meatless main dish?

Mushrooms at Thanksgiving are wonderful, especially when paired with a chewy, high-protein grain like farro. Pan-roast mixed mushrooms with butter, fresh thyme and a splash of dry sherry, and use them with farro that has been cooked with mushroom broth instead of water. Top off the dish with shaved ribbons of Parmigiano-Reggiano and a drizzle of good quality, fruity olive oil.

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How do I keep my turkey from drying out?

Salting a turkey and letting it rest before roasting seasons it deeply and helps it retain moisture. Salt on the surface of the meat will draw out some moisture through osmosis. The salt then dissolves in this liquid, creating a very concentrated brine that will eventually will be drawn back inside the meat. Roasting that turkey will help it retain moisture, making for juicier, tastier meat. To dry brine a turkey, gently separate the skin from the breast meat and rub kosher salt in the cavity, on the legs and on the back of the turkey. Place the turkey on a large plate, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator at least one night and up to four nights before roasting.

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Is barbecue-flavored turkey appropriate for Thanksgiving?

If it's turkey, it's appropriate!

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How long should I let the coals on the grill warm up before putting the turkey on?

It will take about fifteen minutes to light a chimney of coals and another fifteen to warm up the grill. For gas, fifteen minutes is plenty of time to warm the grill.

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Can I cook two small turkeys at the same time in the same oven?

Yes, you can cook two turkeys in the same oven. Be sure they are fairly close to the same weights, and rotate them in the oven every 30 minutes to ensure the oven is cooking them evenly.

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Main Dishes
How do I prepare a turducken?

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lay a 3-pound chicken, split in half, skin-side down on a platter, and season liberally with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Lay a 4-pound duck, split in half, skin-side down, on top of the chicken, and season liberally with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Cover and refrigerate. Lay a 16-pound turkey, split in half, skin-side down on a flat surface. If prepared already, put a layer of stuffing on top of the turkey. Lay the prepared chicken and duck on top of the turkey, skin-side down, and cover it with another layer of stuffing. Bring the edges of the chicken together, using a skewer or twine to tie them together. Then, bring the edges of the turkey together, skin-side up, and truss it with butcher twine. Carefully place the turducken, breast-side up, in a large roasting pan. Roast, covered, for 4 hours, or until the turducken is golden brown. Continue to roast, uncovered, for 1 hour, or until a meat thermometer inserted through the thigh registers at 180 degrees F. Check the turducken every few hours to baste and remove excess liquid.

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Main Dishes
What does “deglazing” mean?

Deglazing is a process that creates a sauce using the leftover drippings of a meat and a liquid, typically wine. When meat is done cooking or after browning meat, remove the meat from the pan. Put the pan with the drippings on a burner and start to heat. Pour a 1/2 cup to 1 cup of wine into the pan. Use red wine for beef or lamb, or white wine for poultry and pork; dry wine is preferred for all meats. If there isn’t any wine on hand, use beef or chicken broth, depending on what meat you’re cooking. Scrape up all the brown bits that hold all the flavor left at the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon. Season to taste and thicken with a roux or cold butter. Use as a sauce or for added flavor in a prepared sauce.

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Main Dishes
How do I carve a turkey?

Remove the string that is trussing the turkey. Place the turkey on a carving board. Remove the legs and thighs by using a combination of pulling at the legs and cutting the tendons that are visible. Cut through the skin that connects the breast and the drumstick. Remove the drumsticks. Remove the wishbone. Then, remove the turkey breasts by cutting just above the rib bones. Finally, remove the wings. Once all the parts are detached, slice the meat and plate.

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Main Dishes
What is the proper way to dispose of turkey bones?

After your turkey dinner, save the bones and boil them with water for turkey stock. Freeze for a later date. This will eliminate most of the meat that was left on the bones as well. Throw the bones in the garbage when finished, but freeze them until garbage day so it doesn't smell or attract unwanted critters.

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Main Dishes
What are non-traditional main courses to serve at my Friendsgiving?

Friendsgiving is like a "no rules" Thanksgiving, which means there are many more possibilities for food! Hy-Vee has introduced Charcuterie in many of its stores this past year, and these meats and cheeses are a great spin on a non-traditional meal. Create a main course spread of meats, cheeses, condiments and breads instead of a traditional sit-down meal. Or, use Charcuterie as ingredients to make the usual main courses really sing. Roast a turkey breast that has been larded with pancetta, or wrap a pork loin with double-smoked bacon. You could also skip the traditional main meat all together and build a delicious fall pasta around sautéed Guanciale and fresh fall vegetables like Brussels sprouts, carrots and leafy greens.

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Main Dishes
Do turkeys contain any gluten, dairy, corn or tree nuts?

These brands and varieties are gluten free: Hy-Vee Brand All Natural Fresh, All Natural Frozen, Moisture-Enhanced Fresh Turkey, Organic Turkey; Butterball® Fresh/Frozen Li’l Butterball®, Fresh/Frozen Whole Turkey; Jennie-O® All Natural Fresh Whole Turkey, Bone-in and Boneless Breast (gravy packet will have gluten), Fresh/ Frozen Prime Young Turkey (gravy packet will have gluten), Ground Turkey, Oven-Ready Homestyle Turkey (gravy packet will have gluten), Oven-Ready Turkey Breast (gravy packet will have gluten), Premium Basted Fresh Whole Turkey, Roasted Garlic & Herb Turkey Breast Tenderloin, Split Turkey Breast, Turkey Necks, Turkey Drumsticks, Turkey Thighs.
While thought to be correct as of June 9, 2014, this list should not be considered a substitute for independent examination and confirmation of the ingredients used in any identified product. Hy-Vee Inc. makes no representations or warranties whatsoever regarding this list, its accuracy or the fitness of any product for a particular purpose. Always check the label for change of ingredients. If there are questions, call the manufacturer.

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Sides
What is the easiest way to make gravy?

The easiest way to make a gravy is by using all the dripping from the items being cooked. Separate the fat from the roasting juices. Then, take 2 to 3 tablespoons of dripping fat and 2 to 3 tablespoons of flour, and mix to form a roux. Once the roux is mixed, cook it for a few minutes, then add in your roasting juices. If you are making a big batch of gravy, purchase a stock that matches the product being cooked. This will increase the volume of the gravy. If the gravy is too thin, make a slurry, which is equal parts water and cornstarch. Slowly add the slurry to reach your desired thickness. Season the gravy as you would like.

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Sides
What kind of potatoes am I supposed to use for mashed potatoes?

Yukon Gold potatoes or Russet potatoes are both great for making mashed potatoes. Russet potatoes have a higher starch content, yielding a fluffier texture. Yukon Gold potatoes will be a will be a bit denser and more flavorful. Combine the two for an outstanding flavor and texture, and don't forget the cream!

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Sides
Is there a difference between stuffing and dressing?

There is a difference in stuffing and dressing, but it may not be what most people think. "Stuffing" is the bread mixture that you prepare and stuff prior to cooking, so both the turkey and stuffing will cook simultaneously. "Dressing" is the bread mixture prepared and cooked in a separate dish, then stuffed after the turkey is fully cooked. Most of the time, stuffing and dressing have the same end result, so it is just a matter of cooking one with the bird and the other separate from the bird.

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Sides
How can I be sure my gravy has a lot of flavor?

Be sure to use the fat drippings and giblets from the turkey as a base. To thicken the gravy, use milk other than skim milk—whole milk is best. Or, try a dry white wine to extract a different flavor.

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Sides
What is the best way to mash potatoes?

The best way to mash potatoes is the a stand mixer. This way you can get the texture that you want without having to put forth a lot of effort.

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Sides
How can I be sure my stuffing turns out fluffy?

When starting to prepare stuffing, use bread that has been sitting out for awhile. This ensures the outside stays crunchy but the inside will be soft and fluffy. Then, use a can of creamy soup like cream of mushroom soup to create a binding consistency without making it gluey.

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Sides
What are some simple appetizers I can serve before the meal?

Charcuterie trays are trending right now, and Hy-Vee Charcuterie departments can be useful. Put together a gourmet cheese tray with fruits like apples and Charcuterie meats. Put together a quick bruschetta with olive oil, garlic, tomatoes and fresh basil on top of a toasted slice of bread. Slice some fresh vegetables or purchase a vegetable tray at your local Hy-Vee to serve with hummus or yogurt dips.

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Sides
Am I supposed to add meat to my stuffing?

You don't necessarily have to add meat to your stuffing, but if you want to you can. It's a matter of personal preference. If you decide to add meat, a mild Italian sausage adds subtle flavor.

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Sides
What are some other ways I can use cranberries?

You can incorporate cranberries in almost every part of the meal. For the turkey, use them for a sauce, a glaze or a relish. Add dried cranberries into stuffing or dressing for a sweeter element. Use a jam with Thanksgiving rolls instead of butter. Or, add dried cranberries to salads or Brussels sprouts to make those vegetables more appealing.

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Sides
What are some appetizer ideas for Thanksgiving day?

It's best to prepare something different than the meal about to come. Try making an Italian Antipasto Salad with pepperoni, several cheeses and olives.

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Sides
I accidentally drained all of the juices from the turkey. Can I still salvage a gravy?

If you have the giblets, cook those and use in the gravy. Otherwise, use a chicken bouillon cube instead of the turkey juices.

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Sides
I oversalted my vegetables. What should I do?

Depending on the style of the vegetable being served, over-salted vegetables are a pretty quick fix. If the vegetables can be drained, rinsed and reheated, do that with a little milk to combat the saltiness. Sometimes a little sprinkle of sugar will combat the saltiness—just be careful not to overdo it. If you have extra vegetables, add them to the dish to lower the ratio of vegetable-to-salt. Finally, you could serve the vegetables over something starchy and unseasoned, like rice pasta or potatoes. To prevent over-salting, cook with kosher salt instead of table salt. The larger grains of the kosher salt dissolve better and don't have the traditional "salty" flavor, but they instead enhance the flavors already present. Remember to taste as you go instead of just adding salt at the very end.

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Sides
Can I make my mashed potatoes ahead of time?

Only make mashed potatoes ahead of time if you are baking some sort of casserole to be baked later. However, if you are serving the mashed potatoes as they are, make them immediately prior to serving.

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Sides
How do I skim the fat of the off of pan drippings for making gravy?

When you are looking to skim fat from your drippings, use a plain spoon. Have a garbage or container near you to dispose of the fat. The fat taken from drippings can be used in your gravy. Fat will be very noticeable when skimming and will look separated from the other meat juices.

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Sides
Do you recommend canned, frozen or fresh cranberries?

Use fresh or frozen to make your own cranberry sauce. It will turn out with much better flavor and texture.

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Sides
What are the best "extras" to mix in with mashed potatoes?

Add green onions, garlic, sour cream and a sharp, fun cheese for a unique mashed potato dish.

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Sides
How can I spice up boring vegetables?

Roasting vegetables brings out their natural sugars and makes them sweeter. Roast vegetables like carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, peppers or onions with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and dried thyme leaves.

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Sides
What type of bread should I use for the stuffing?

Since there are so many types of stuffing, it depends on what you and your guests' taste preferences are. You can use breads like cornbread, sourdough, sweet breads or traditional savory breads. No matter what type of bread you choose, be sure to dry the bread. Since the bread is going to absorb the moisture, you want to make sure the breadcrumbs are completely dried out before starting.

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Sides
What are some non-traditional Thanksgiving recipes I can prepare?

You could try Snap Peas and Bacon, Southwest Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Tropical Rice with Mango, or an Italian Cauliflower Casserole.

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Sides
Should I put raisins in the stuffing?

Raisins are a great way to cut the heaviness of stuffing by giving it a sweet flavor. Another option would be to use dried blueberries and lemon zest—you would still have that sweetness, but it would come from a different source.

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Sides
How can I keep my gravy from getting lumpy?

There are a few different ways of keeping gravy from becoming lumpy. Once you bring the gravy to the preferred consistency, it's vital that you turn the heat down to just keep the gravy warm. Another way is to constantly whisk once everything is dissolved into the gravy. If the gravy becomes thick, mix in hot stock or hot water to get rid of any lumps. This may require you to adjust your seasoning again, as well as whisk more.

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Sides
Is there an easier way to make homemade rolls than with yeast?

Instead of traditional dinner rolls, try popovers—an easy, five-ingredient substitute without the time and effort of yeast-risen rolls. If your family prefers a traditional roll, but the thought of the extra time and effort is too much, opt for one of Hy-Vee's frozen roll options. Prepare them according to package directions, but add a personal spin by serving the rolls with a quick, homemade honey butter. This is much faster than making the rolls from scratch.

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Sides
I have company coming from the South. How can I prepare a southern-inspired Thanksgiving meal?

Make a Sweet Potato Cake with an Orange Frosting. It tastes very similar to carrot cake, and it's even more moist. Or, take baked sweet potatoes and put a mixture of pomegranate, honey glaze, goat cheese and basil on top. Change traditional stuffing and add sourdough, artichokes, chicken stock, celery and parmesan cheese for a different flavor. To really impress them, just make comfort food with some heart and soul mixed in—and use about a pound of butter.

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Sides
What is the best way to keep stuffing moist?

Make sure the bread is completely dried before you prepare stuffing. The bread will absorb the moisture. Add 4 cups of dried bread crumbs to 1 cup of broth, stir it and let it sit for a couple minutes. Ideally, the bread crumbs will be moist but not soggy and wet. If the breadcrumbs are too dry, add some more broth, and if there is a puddle of liquid, add some breadcrumbs.

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Sides
I have company coming from the West Coast. How can I make a West Coast inspired meal or dish?

Each region has its own specialties that people add to Thanksgiving. Try incorporating fresh produce like sourdough stuffing with apples, kale and dates. Try a mushroom tart or mushroom and squash dish for a seasonal but fresh dish. A nice, fresh salad will be welcome with people from the West Coast because Thanksgiving is typically full of heavy foods. The West Coast is also known for their vineyards, so compliment the guests by pouring a wine from their region. Be sure to acknowledge their traditions while still staying true to your family favorites.

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Sides
What's better: lumpy or smooth mashed potatoes?

Mashed potatoes that are a little lumpy are acceptable. It lets the guests know that the potatoes are real and not instant potato flakes.

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Sides
My family is going to two Thanksgiving meals. What are some unique sides to keep things interesting?

Make an Apple-Fennel Quinoa Salad using quinoa, a bulb of fennel, 3 apples, parsley and walnuts. Serve at room temperature or even chilled. Or, make a Fennel Radicchio Citrus Salad for a simple side. Mix radicchio, fennel, orange slices and cilantro and toss it in a red wine vinaigrette. These light and fresh salads will balance the traditional heavier dishes served at Thanksgiving and allow you to continue with your Thanksgiving celebration.

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Sides
Am I supposed to use bread or rice in my stuffing?

Both are excellent choices. Rice is a great option if you would like a gluten-free stuffing that will please everyone. Bread is the more traditional choice for Thanksgiving, but either is a fine option.

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Sides
How can I keep mashed potatoes from getting gluey?

Continue adding milk or butter to prevent the gluey texture from happening. If you notice that the potatoes are still gluey or stiff, add a 1/4 cup of milk or butter per pound of potatoes until they are at the consistency that you desire.

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Sides
What happens if the stuffing isn't done, but the turkey is?

No need to worry—this is an easy fix. Just remove the stuffing from the turkey and place it in a greased pan. Then, put it back in the oven at 350 degrees F until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

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Sides
My salad turned out really soggy. Is there any way to fix this?

Unfortunately, there is no fix for a soggy salad. Next time, do not dress the salad until just before serving. Also refrain from adding cheese until just before serving because the moisture from the cheese can contribute to the sogginess as well. Alternatively, do not dress the salad at all and let the guests choose from several options of dressings.

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Sides
How do I avoid mushy brussels sprouts?

The key to making tender Brussels sprouts is to make sure they are not overcrowded in the pan. A layer of Brussels sprouts will roast them properly and evenly. If you have a large portion, divide the Brussels sprouts into two pans. Roast them at 425 degrees F for about 20 minutes, just enough so they have a crunch left.

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Sides
What's the best leafy green to use for my salad to complement the main dish?

Mixes of salad greens are best for a textural and visual blend. Use a mix of two or three lettuces, like a spring mix blend and chopped romaine. While Iceberg lettuce is fine, it doesn't have much flavor because of its high water content and is most often seen on sandwiches. The key to a great salad is rinsing the leaves in cold water and spinning them in a salad spinner. The lettuce will be crisper and the dressing will stick to the lettuce better.

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Sides
How do you make homemade dinner rolls?

Rather than starting from scratch, use unbaked rolls from the freezer department. These are much easier to make and produce the same quality result. Bake them according to the directions and brush with melted butter just as they are turning brown on top.

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Sides
Is there any way to keep leftover salad good if it already has dressing on it?

Unfortunately, salad will probably not be good if it already has dressing on it. You could try using a salad spinner to get rid of the dressing, but the lettuce will most likely already be too soft.

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Sides
What are some types of breads that I can serve with the meal?

No Thanksgiving is complete without a fresh bread on the side. Use fresh rolls, cornbread or even buy a French or Italian loaf from Hy-Vee to serve with the meal.

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Sides
Can I make mashed potatoes with sweet potatoes? What can I top them with?

You can certainly make mashed potatoes with sweet potatoes. Add a bit of brown sugar to the mashed mix, along with the standard salt, pepper and butter. Make a streusel topping by combining brown sugar, melted margarine, cinnamon, nutmeg and chopped pecans or walnuts.

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Sides
If I have pumpkin seeds from Halloween, are they okay to eat? How can I prepare these?

If the seeds were roasted during the Halloween season, they would be okay to eat. Otherwise, do not prepare the seeds.

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Sides
What are some in-season fruits and vegetables that I can prepare for my Thanksgiving dinner?

There are plenty of fruits and vegetables that are in season during the winter. Try preparing varieties of squash, potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, apples, pears and grapes.

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Sides
How do I incorporate fruit into the meal when that's considered a "summer food"?

Although a majority of fruits are in season during the summer months, some fruits actually hit their peak season in late fall and even winter. Choosing fruits that are in season will offer both the best price and flavor. Try adding apples, pears or pomegranates to desserts or fresh salads for an added crunch. Instead of gravy, top turkey with a cranberry-orange relish. Make a cranberry waldorf salad with chopped cranberries, an apple, celery, green grapes, raisins, walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and yogurt. Cover and chill 2 hours for the best result.

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Sides
How can I make my side dishes kid-friendly?

Have the kids take an active role in the kitchen. When kids get to help make things, they are much more willing to try new flavors. They will also encourage other guests to try their creations. Prepare side dishes with bright colors using familiar foods. Side dishes such as honey-glazed carrots and asparagus wrapped in puff pastry are sure to please.

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Sides
What's an interesting way to dress up sweet potatoes for the holiday?

Here are a few ideas for an interesting sweet potato dish:
Grill sweet potato wedges and top with sauteed fresh cranberries and toasted nuts.
Parmesan Sweet Potato "Muffins:"
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Slice sweet potatoes into thin medallions, about 1/4-inch thick. Toss sweet potatoes in parmesan, butter, salt, pepper and rosemary. Spray muffin pans with non-stick spray. Stack potatoes in pans to the top. Bake for 45 minutes or until tender in the center. Let cool slightly, then remove from the pan with a spoon for a playful dish.
Hasselback Sweet Potatoes:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a small mixing bowl, combine honey, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Wash the potatoes, and if necessary, remove a little bit of the flesh from the bottom so the potatoes sit flat and steady on the cutting board. Place a wooden chopstick on either side of the potatoes, and slice them across horizontally as thinly as you can without going all the way through. The chopsticks will help to prevent that from happening. Spoon the honey mixture of the potatoes with your fingers. Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Place the potatoes in the baking dish, add a little dab of butter on top of each potato and cover with foil. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes.

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Sides
How many potatoes should I make for one serving of mashed potatoes?

It depends on the size of the potato, but ½ cup of mashed potatoes is a serving.

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Sides
What can I do to make my stuffing stand out?

Everyone is familiar with the traditional sage bread dressing, but replacing a few ingredients can make a big difference. Switch the plain pork sausage to a chorizo sausage, and replace the sage for coriander and fresh cilantro. For even more flair, add some manchego cheese.

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Sides
What's the difference between a yam and a sweet potato?

Sweet potatoes are the orange-colored root vegetables that most shoppers see in the grocery store. Yams are unfortunately harder to find in traditional grocery stores. Yams and sweet potatoes aren't even related and are quite different. Yams have a bark-like skin and usually a white or purple flesh inside. They are usually produced in Africa and Asia.

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Sides
I ran out of gravy for my guests. What do I do?

If you're okay stepping away from the dinner table, make a quick gravy with a few pantry staples. Bring 2 cups of chicken stock, beef stock or broth to simmer. Stir together 3 Tbsp. cornstarch and 2 Tbsp. cold water to make a "slurry," and whisk into the simmering stock until it thickens. To soften the gravy, stir in some milk or heavy cream. If you have Kitchen Basic browning sauce, put a drop or two of it to add some richness to the gravy. Before Thanksgiving day, buy a couple of packets of gravy mix to keep in your pantry just in case something goes awry.

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Sides
How do I know how many side dishes to make?

This depends on the person hosting the meal. You can do 5 to 15 separate dishes if you'd like it that big. Traditional Thanksgiving dishes include cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, a vegetable, rolls and two pies. If you're hosting a "Friendsgiving," it's possible that there are more dishes, depending on how many guests are there and what they bring.

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Sides
What are some snack mixes that I can prepare ahead of time for people to munch on while socializing?

If you don't have oven space, you can do cold items and a nice dip. Toast baguette slices and serve with a warm crab or shrimp dip. Make an elegant antipasto tray with some nice dried meats and sliced cheeses with marinated olives.

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Sides
I have company coming from the East Coast. How can I make an East Coast inspired meal or dish?

The East Coast is a long shore full of flavors. There are plenty of options of dishes to prepare, anywhere from lobster mac n' cheese or lobster risotto to sweet corn breads. Try an herbed oyster stuffing or a pear salad with candied pecans.

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Desserts
How can I keep a pumpkin pie from cracking?

A pumpkin pie will usually crack because it has been overcooked, cooked too quickly, or cooked at too high of a temperature. Follow the cooking directions on your recipe, and remember, if you need a quick fix, you can always get decorative with the whipped cream!

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Desserts
Am I supposed to refrigerate pumpkin pie?

Yes, refrigerate the pie, but cover it tightly and close to the custard part of the pie with plastic wrap. This will make sure a hard skin does not form on top of the pie.

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Desserts
What are some fall-themed desserts I can make?

Desserts shift from cool and refreshing in the summer to warm and comforting in the fall. Focus on the fall fresh fruits like peaches and apples for cobblers, pies and tarts.

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Desserts
What kind of fat is best to use for pie crust?

High quality, unsalted butter usually yields a better result than shortening. Butter gives a better flavor, and the texture turns out full and flaky.

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Desserts
What are some non-traditional thanksgiving desserts?

Try a pumpkin cheesecake with a caramel sauce or a baked apple cheesecake with sautéed apples, brown sugar and cinnamon on the bottom and cheesecake batter on top. Top this with streusel and caramel. Alternatively, rather than a sweet potato pie, try a sweet potato cake with orange glaze frosting.

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Desserts
What can I serve for dessert that isn't pie?

Try a gingerbread and pumpkin cheesecake with a graham cracker crust and a Crème Fraiche topping. Chop candied English walnuts and crumble those on top.

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Desserts
I forgot dessert! What do I do?

Take one can of pumpkin pie filling, add 1 tsp. ground cloves, 2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. allspice. Mix that up well. Next, fold in one container of cool whip. In a glass or dessert dish, place enough graham crackers in the bottom to make a 1/4-inch layer. Fill the rest of the dish with pumpkin mousse, and top if off with caramel and more whipped topping. Alternatively, stop by your local Hy-Vee and pick up a pie or cake from the bakery.

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Desserts
What is the best temperature to serve pie at? Room temperature or refrigerated?

There are certain types of pie that need to be cold, such as lemon meringue pie, key lime pie or Boston cream. Pecan pies should be served at room temperature. If they're too warm, they get runny, and if they're too cold, they get hard and brittle. Traditional Thanksgiving pies are up to personal preference, but often times during the winter months it's nice to have pies like pumpkin, apple and cherry served warm.

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Desserts
How can I spice up store-bought pie?

Make a flavored whipped cream using butterscotch, chocolate or lemon zest. Remove the pie from the aluminum pan, and place it on a plate with drizzled chocolate, caramel toping or whipped cream.

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Desserts
What are some traditional Thanksgiving day desserts?

Apple or pumpkin pie are traditional Thanksgiving day dishes. If you're craving more chocolate, French Silk Pie is popular during Thanksgiving.

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Desserts
Can any pie be turned into a tart?

Yes, simply reduce filling amounts to appropriately fill the crust. Depending upon the type of filling, crusts may need to be partially baked or completely baked before being filled.

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Desserts
What's the best way to get a flaky pie crust?

The key to a flaky pie crust is to use chilled butter and chill the pie crust before baking.

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Desserts
How can I fix a burnt pie crust?

There are two ways to fix a burnt crust. If it's just the edge that's burnt, cut it off and cover the cut by piping whipped cream along the edge for a nice garnish. If the entire crust is ruined, scoop the filling that's still good into cups and top with whipped cream, fresh fruit and/or nuts to make a pie parfait.

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Desserts
What is an easy go-to dessert to make?

Pumpkin pie filling is relatively easy to make, but if you're short on time, then use mini-Phyllo shells for a crust.

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Desserts
Is there pumpkin-flavored ice cream? How can I make it, or where can I buy it?

Yes! There are many options. Hy-Vee has a recipe for Pumpkin Spiced Ice Cream on its website here: Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream. You can also check your local Hy-Vee to buy pumpkin ice cream!

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Desserts
Do I have to serve pumpkin pie? What are some other fall-inspired desserts I can serve?

You do not have to serve pumpkin pie at your gathering. There are so many options with fall desserts. Use apples during the autumn season in an apple cobbler or apple pie; these are great desserts for Thanksgiving. If you wanted to still use pumpkin, a pumpkin mousse is a great alternative that can be a bit healthier as well.

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Desserts
How can I fix a pie crust with a soggy bottom?

There are a couple options to prevent a soggy pie crust. Par-bake your crust before baking by covering the raw crust with foil or parchment, then fill the pie pan with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 10 minutes until the edge of the crust is golden brown. Or, brush the pie crust with a beaten egg to provide a barrier between the crust and filling, so the crust stays flaky even with filling in it.

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Desserts
I have run out of pumpkin pie spice. What can I substitute?

To make 1 tablespoon of your own pumpkin pie spice, combine 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, 1/8 tsp. ground cloves and 1/8 tsp. nutmeg.

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Desserts
My apple pie isn't very thick. How can I fix this?

To thicken up apple pie filling, mix in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch when mixing the butter, brown sugar and apples before you bake it. That will thicken it up.

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Desserts
What are some non-traditional pie crust recipes?

Mix 1-1/2 cups AP flour, 1/2 cup oil, 1/4 cup whole milk, 1/8 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. sugar into a dough. Roll into a ball and press into a 9-inch greased pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes to set.

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Desserts
What can I serve with pumpkin pie that isn't whipped cream?

Serve ice cream and some sort of sauce, like a complementary fruit compote or caramel. Warm cherry pie with a slow churned or New York Style vanilla ice cream and dark chocolate sauce is excellent. For pumpkin pie, try a caramel chunk ice cream and a beer caramel sauce. To make a beer caramel sauce, mix 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/3 cup dark beer in a saucepan. Bring to a boil for 5 to 7 minutes. Temper in the cream, and slowly add the butter while mixing. Let the caramel cool for 10 minutes before serving. The sauce will separate slightly while cooling, but just mix back together and enjoy.

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Desserts
What fruits are in-season during Thanksgiving that I could use to make a homemade pie? What's your favorite fruit pie?

It's late in the season, but apples are still good at this time. Granny Smith apples are great for a crisp, tart pie.

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Drinks
Which wine pairs best with turkey?

Pinot Noir (either Oregon or California) would be perfect. French Burgundy or Beaujolais Wine would pair really well also. If you're feeling adventurous, go with a New World Pinot Noir from New Zealand, Australia or Chile.

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Drinks
What is an aperitif and is it important?

Aperitif from the Latin "aperire" meaning "to open" is traditionally the opening item consumed on an empty stomach before dinner. They are usually dry, not sweet, and stimulate the appetite. This allows the body to prepare for a meal by awaking digestive enzymes and readying the stomach for the meal to come. Popular aperitifs include Campari, Dubonnet, Lillet, Vermouth and Pimm's.

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Drinks
What are some low-calorie cocktails or drinks I can serve my guests?

Cocktails often come with a lot of unnecessary calories. The real key here is moderation. Sticking to a glass of wine or light beer may be the easiest way to curb calories. Some other options would be to swap out regular mixers for light or diet. You can make a fun non-alcoholic drink with sparkling water and slices of fresh fruit or fruit juice. Unsweetened tea and coffee both have zero calories.

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Drinks
Why should you brine your turkey with beer?

Using a malty brown ale, this beer brine does two things: First, alcohol is a natural meat tenderizer. Second, the brown ale gives a beautiful, faint flavor of malt. Turkey cooking is tricky, the beer brine infuses the meat, making it possible to get that dark meat up to the temperature it needs to be without drying the white meat out. This gives you the coveted juicy bird.

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Drinks
Is there a way to speed up the bottle cooling process?

The best way to quickly chill beverages, whether in a can or a bottle, is to put them in a cooler of ice water. This works much quicker than using ice only.

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Drinks
We lost the bottle opener—are there any hacks to opening beer or wine?

There are a few tricks to opening a bottle of wine without the benefit of a wine opener—they involve a screwdriver, a screw and a pair of pliers, along with a lot of swearing. Since these can be dangerous, please go to the nearest convenience store and pick up a wine opener.

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Drinks
The gravy is made, and it's perfect… except it's flavorless. How do I fix it?

A splash of fortified wine (Madeira, Sherry or Port) will lend a richness to your gravy. Emphasize whatever flavor lingers with plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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Drinks
What drink can I pair with dessert?

The wine you pair with dessert should always be sweeter and lighter than the dessert. While it may be misleading to pair sweet with sweet, the dessert actually complements the wine. If the wine is drier than the dessert, it makes the dessert less sweet and the wine appear extremely tart. Try pairing Sauternes, Ports or even sparkling wine, as it cleanses the palate.

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Drinks
What are some fall-themed cocktails I can serve?

Stone Wall is a combination of Hard Cider and Ginger Beer, or prepare a Kentucky Mule, which is bourbon and ginger beer. A Gingered Apple Sparkler is a lighter cocktail with citrus vodka, apple liqueur and a healthy splash of ginger beer.

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Drinks
Am I supposed to serve different wines with different parts of the meal? How do I know what wine to serve?

This all depends on personal preference. Some people serve multiple wines, but others may only serve one wine or no wine at all. If you don't know what wine to serve, stop in at your local Hy-Vee wine and spirits section and employees will help pick wine that will be perfect for the occasion.

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Drinks
My family doesn't drink. What's a good Thanksgiving mocktail?

Try a Cinnamon Candy Apple Cider. All you have to do is heat 2 cups of apple cider and add 2 tsp. of cinnamon candies. Stir until dissolved and serve in a mug. You can garnish the drink with a cinnamon stick, fresh apple slices, or both.

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Drinks
How do I make homemade apple cider?

To make homemade apple cider, put 8-10 chopped sweet apples in a large stock pot and fill with water. Add 1 cup sugar, cinnamon sticks and 4 Tbsp. allspice. Boil on high for 1 hour, simmer for 2 more hours and let it cool. Remove the spices and mash it up to a pulp-like consistency. Pour into a strainer over a large bowl and serve.

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Drinks
What are some big batch cocktail recipes so not every drink has to be made individually?

Selecting a large batch of beverages for a group can be tricky. But, try selecting a beverage that will complement the food or theme of the event. Sangrias, margaritas, Moscow Mules and lemonade mixed drinks work well if held on ice. Carbonated beverages do not hold well in large batches, so avoid those. Large containers of wine or pre-mixed canned or bottled items work well in group situations.

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Drinks
What are some warm drinks that I can serve before and after dinner?

A fun, warm, pre-holiday dinner drink would be Wassail, which is generally a hot cider with a mull bag of cloves, cinnamon and other spices. You can also create a Wassail using a light red wine and adding the mulled spice bag and navel orange slices. After dinner, a mug of either Irish coffee, Bailey's-scented hot chocolate, or a mug of warm eggnog with or without a splash of brandy are all great options.

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Drinks
What types of beer pairs best with turkey?

A nice, smooth-drinking pale ale would accompany the richness of roasted turkey nicely. Try a Fat Tire or the Glutiny Pale Ale. If you're using a stuffing that is full of rich flavors like oyster, pork sausage or bacon, then I would venture into sour beer to achieve a nice flavor contrast. La Folie by New Belgium would be a fantastic choice.

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Drinks
What is a good alcohol to cook with to add different flavors to Thanksgiving dinner?

If you want to be on the cutting edge of cranberries—fresh ones, not canned—add some whiskey to them as they're cooling. Cranberries are extremely tart, and whiskey isn't sweet, so you'll need to use plenty of sugar. For an added kick, use one of the new cinnamon-infused whiskeys. Whiskey can also transform Brussels sprouts from ho-hum to spectacular. Combine butter, sugar and whiskey in a frying pan and let that melt over high heat. Put your steamed or boiled Brussels sprouts in the pan and stir until coated, about one minute. You can even put in some maple sugar and cooked, chopped bacon.

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Drinks
I see so many Pumpkin Beers in the stores. How can I use these to make my Thanksgiving meal unique?

Pumpkin beers can be used in a variety of ways to bring flavors like ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice in different proportions to your holiday meal. There are many recipes including Pumpkin Ale brined Turkey, Pumpkin Ale gravy, Pumpkin Ale Pie, or even start off your Thanksgiving day with Pumpkin Ale pancakes.

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Drinks
What coffee cocktail would you recommend after Thanksgiving dinner?

Try a Butterscotch Coffee Cocktail—get a full, hot cup of coffee, plus Butterscotch Schnapps and Irish cream. This drink has a nice, rich sweetness that makes it a tasty dessert drink.

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Drinks
To digestif, or to not digestif?

Easy to sip and even easier to prepare, most pour and sip digestifs are Italian made liqueurs that will lend your stomach the digestive support it needs to tackle a Thanksgiving feast. Unlike aperitifs, which are consumed on an empty stomach and are dry and lower in alcohol, digestifs are consumed after a meal and tend to be sweeter and higher in alcohol. Try Averna Amaro, Cynar, Fernet-Branca, Sambuca, or Amaretto.

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Drinks
Can you use beer to make tom turkey tender?

Do bears hibernate? Um, yeah. Plus the brine adds a toasty, nutty flavor to the bird and helps evenly brown the skin.

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Drinks
Does cider pair well with turkey and all the side dishes?

It pairs fantastically well! All of the side dishes on the Thanksgiving table offer unique and vastly different flavor profiles. Carbonation naturally cleanses the pallet and prepares your taste buds for the next bite. Cider is perfect because it is crisp, fruity and carbonated. Dry ciders can accentuate spicy foods. So, opt for ciders with more minerality and fruit character, and skip those with pronounced yeast character. There is a time and place for funk, but the Thanksgiving table is neither the time nor the place.

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Drinks
What drinks should I have available for my guests that bring their children?

Mulled Cranberry Cider is a crowd-pleaser, and it makes the whole house smell great. Kids and adults love this non-alcoholic drink.

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Drinks
What Bourbon would you recommend for Thanksgiving dinner?

There are a few bourbon choices for the turkey based on what part of the bird you're eating. If you prefer the dark meat, then pour yourself a glass of Buffalo Trace. If you enjoy the white meat, then pour yourself a glass of Four Roses Single barrel. Finally, if your Thanksgiving turkey includes an alternative preparation method like smoking or frying, you'll want your bourbon choice to take advantage of this, and drink a glass of High West Campfire.

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Hosts & Guests
Is it okay to have my Thanksgiving meal catered, or purchase a few pre-made dishes?

Yes! Catch up with your family and friends while Hy-Vee does the work. As caterers, our job is to make the holiday season as easy and simple as possible.

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Hosts & Guests
Should there be a kids table? Why or why not?

If you have enough room at the table and the children are old enough, they should be at the "adult table." They are also more likely to act similar to the adults if they are directly next to them.

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Hosts & Guests
What is a roux, and how do I make one?

Roux is the strongest thickening agent used in a kitchen. It is equal parts fat and flour, cooked in a pan. The fat could be butter, melted fat from meats, bacon fat, lard or any other type of fat. For example, put 2 oz. of fat in the bottom of a pot to melt. Add 2 oz. of flour and stir until the roux starts to smell nutty and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Add the stock to the roux, 1 cup at a time, and stir well with a whisk. Keep adding 1 cup of stock until everything is incorporated. To thicken to its fullest, bring to a boil and make sure all ingredients are combined. This is enough to thicken 1 quart of stock or milk.

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Hosts & Guests
How do I organize a pot luck for Thanksgiving?

If you're hosting a pot luck for Thanksgiving, the best way to do it is provide the entrée as the host, and then assign the remaining categories of the meal to your guests. Ask each individual guest to bring something specific like dessert, vegetable, side dish, starch side dish or appetizer. This prevents you from having duplicate dishes at your gathering. You could even go as far to ask them to bring more detailed items such as the mashed potatoes, green bean casserole or pumpkin pie, but sometimes it makes a meal more interesting to try new foods. For beverages, keep it simple by providing a few bottles of wine and non-alcoholic beverages for kids, but let guests know that they are welcome to bring other drinks of their choice.

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Hosts & Guests
If I make a pie or other dish ahead of time, does it go straight from the freezer to the oven, or am I supposed to defrost it?

Almost anything without raw eggs can be put directly into the oven from the freezer. Pumpkin pie can be pre-baked and then thawed overnight for service.

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Hosts & Guests
If I'm hosting, how do I know how much of each dish to prepare?

You probably know your guests as well as anyone, so plan around this. What do they like? If you're not sure, here are some rules of thumb that work well with traditional Thanksgiving items: Most everyone likes mashed potatoes, so plan on 1-1/2 servings per guest. Another favorite is green bean casserole, and most everyone will take a serving of this. Stuffing is popular with an average of 2/3 of the guests. Cranberry relish goes a long way, and is only popular with 1/3 of the guests. When purchasing a whole turkey, figure on a 1-1/2 pounds to 2 pounds per person. When cooking gravy, plan on 4 ounces per person. Make two dinner rolls for each guest, or three if they're homemade. Remember, if you like having leftovers, you may want to increase these portions.

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Hosts & Guests
How do I prepare all the food if I have a small oven?

Cook some items ahead of time and hold them in a slow cooker to keep warm, or even prepare them in a slow cooker or roaster. If you have a glass dish with the warming bag, you can warm potatoes and casserole dishes in the warming bag in the microwave. Be sure that they are already cooked thoroughly before warming them. Make side dishes that don't need the oven, like mashed potatoes using the stove.

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Hosts & Guests
What are some simple and elegant table decorations or arrangements for the season?

Hy-Vee Floral always has a holiday Thanksgiving centerpiece special available for our customers. This year's fresh arrangements are called "Thankful" and "Harvest Blessing." Each are a suitable table centerpiece and may be ordered by phone or online at hy-vee.com. Hy-Vee can also customize any arrangement that you would prefer, including if you want to bring in containers to make the perfect centerpiece.

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Hosts & Guests
What are some ideas for using turkey in breakfast?

Make an Eggs Benedict with roasted turkey instead of Canadian bacon. Add a slice of tomato and fresh avocado to make the dish really shine.

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Hosts & Guests
What is herb powder? Should I be using it in any dishes?

Herb powder is the drying out of herbs like basil, cilantro, parsley, or any other herb. Dry these in an oven at 150 degrees F until dry, and grind them in a coffee or spice grinder. Herb powder is good for rubs on chicken or in butter, but you don't necessarily have to use it in your Thanksgiving dishes.

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Hosts & Guests
What is a fun way to get my kids involved in the cooking or set-up process?

Kids love to help! Get them into an apron and a chef hat, and they will already be having fun. Give them easy jobs to do in the kitchen like washing potatoes, tearing up bread for stuffing or helping mix if they are younger. If they are older, let them trim green beans, peel sweet potatoes or actually follow a recipe alone and create their own dish. Kids also enjoy setting the table and filling dishes with candy and nuts for people to nibble on. Anything simple they can do to help will make them feel like they were a part of making the Thanksgiving dinner a success.

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Hosts & Guests
How can I get my kids to try new Thanksgiving dishes?

Get them involved in the cooking process. Anything they can do to prepare a dish will get them excited to try it once it's done. Have them wash produce, mash potatoes, add the finishing ingredients or stir the gravy.

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Hosts & Guests
Can I make my sides the day before?

It shouldn't hurt too much to prepare a casserole or dessert the day before, but typically dishes are better the fresher they are.

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Hosts & Guests
What time should I tell guests to come over relative to when the main dish is done?

There should be enough time to have guests visit, but not too much time to wait—one hour should the right amount of time.

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Hosts & Guests
Can I use my slow cooker for any Thanksgiving dishes?

Instead of cooking a dish in the slow cooker, use it to keep dishes warm before the meal. Make gravy and place it in the slow cooker to hold, or make mashed potatoes and keep the texture correct in the slow cooker. If you do want to use the slow cooker to actually cook, try cooking green beans with bacon, mushrooms and onions.

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Hosts & Guests
How can I plan a meal so that all the dishes go well together?

First, find a theme that you want to celebrate. Once you have a theme, everything starts to fall together. Use seasonal foods, but only have one starch, one vegetable, one protein and one fruit, so the foods don't clash with each other.

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Hosts & Guests
I don't have enough pots, pans and dishes to make enough of everything and still keep my foot hot. What do I do?

Buy some foil pans, sold at Hy-Vee stores, that are big enough for the task at hand. Try to cook things in these that you will be transferring to bowls or serving platters, that way you won't have to present the dish in a foil pan.

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Hosts & Guests
Dinner is ready and the guests are late. How do I keep everything warm without burning it?

If the food is ready and still in the original pans, simply keep everything at the lowest temperature setting. Stove tops will be at a "low" setting. The oven's lowest temperature is 170 degrees F. Most stove tops have a fifth burner specifically to warm dishes. It's important to keep everything covered, either with lids or foil. If a pot does not have a lid, cover it with foil, both to retain heat and keep moist.

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Hosts & Guests
What are the best organization hacks to stay on track and have everything ready when it's hot?

Thanksgiving is a stressful time, especially the couple days leading up to the day. Don’t wait until the day before Thanksgiving to go to the grocery store if you don't have to. Have your shopping done at least two days in advance. That way, you can be at home prepping for the event rather than shopping. Make a list of what you are going to serve ahead of time, and make a timeline to go along with it. Be realistic when you plan your menu. Making everything from scratch is a luxury not everyone has, so don't feel obligated to make homemade stuffing when you are only comfortable with boxed stuffing. If you are limited on oven space, don't be afraid to ask your guests to bring a dish. Always prepare as much as possible beforehand, and don't wait until Thanksgiving morning to cook your entire menu. Always remember, if you get behind, ask family members for help—and don't stress.

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Hosts & Guests
How do I keep the food hot if there isn't any room in my oven?

Insulated containers or coolers can help a lot. Or, use the warming option on your microwave.

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Hosts & Guests
How far in advance should I buy my groceries?

Buying groceries a few days ahead would help beat the crowds and possibly give you a better selection when shopping. The main thing to think about is your entrée—if you're buying a frozen turkey, you must buy it at least 3 to 4 days ahead so it can thaw in your refrigerator.

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Hosts & Guests
What's better: family style, plating everyone's plate, or buffet-style?

It depends on the guest list and preference for your dinner, but the most common is family style. Having the dishes all around the table seems to open up more conversations, especially since you're sitting all in one area. This also allows each guest to portion out their own plate.

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Hosts & Guests
What is the best way to set up a buffet line?

Start with table service, then follows with salad, meat entrée selections, potato and vegetables, then finally rolls with butter. This lineup helps with portion sizes because people will start with the main entrée and then put the right amount of sides on their plate.

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Hosts & Guests
How long should I wait to serve dessert?

Who can withhold pumpkin pie from their loved ones? Put these out at the same time the rest of the food is—that way, everyone has the option to take it when they get their main course, or come back later at their leisure.

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Hosts & Guests
How can I incorporate small pumpkins and gourds into my floral centerpiece?

Small pumpkins and gourds look great in a large bowl or long tray on the table. They also look fantastic incorporated into a long strand of fall foliage the entire length of your table. Try wiring them into your fresh arrangements with a variety of other vegetables for a more natural and organic look.

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Hosts & Guests
Am I supposed to make a toast if I'm hosting the Thanksgiving dinner?

It's not something that has to be done, but it's always nice to welcome every and thank them for coming to dinner as everyone gets settled in to eat. It's also a good segue into talking about what everyone is grateful for.

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Hosts & Guests
When is it okay to begin drinking and eating?

Unless the occasion has a more traditional, formal feel, it is fine to start drinking and eating right away. You should be able to get a feeling for what kind of environment you're a part of within the first few moments of the get-together. Most hosts want to create a relaxed environment, which means the guests should be able to drink and eat whenever they please.

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Hosts & Guests
Am I allowed to get up from the table once I am done eating?

This will depend on the type of environment the host is creating. If it's a more formal venue, it's best to sit tight until you see others leaving the table. But, if it's a more casual, relaxed meal, it shouldn't be an issue to get up after eating. If you're unsure, wait to feel it out before acting.

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Hosts & Guests
What is the proper way to set utensils at a table?

It depends on the menu. The traditional way to set up dishware is with the first course dishware on the top and outer edges, then each course moving further inward. The forks should be on the left, and the knives and spoons should be on the right. Put dessert silverware at the top of the plate. Put the napkin either under the forks or on the far left. Stack dishes with a decorative plate on the bottom, then dinner plate, then a salad plate on the top. Put a water and wine glass at the top-right of the setup.

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Hosts & Guests
Do you have any ideas for centerpieces?

Centerpieces really depend on the occasion, theme and time of year. Now, almost anything can become a centerpiece. Taller vases and tins with sticks can be seasonal for fall. Wood boxes filled with something delicate like flowers and a trail of greenery outside of the box creates contrast on the table. Try filling a cluster of clear vases with different heights and sizes with seasonal ornaments, pine cones, stones, coffee beans or candles can all make an elegant centerpiece that tie into the occasion.

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Hosts & Guests
How can I make plated food look prettier and avoid a big, sloppy plate?

Have a towel to wipe drips off the sides of the plate, and be sure to avoid plating food on the outside rim. If guests are building their own plate, serving utensils like a portion scoop instead of a large serving scoop can help. Choose the menu so that it will taste great, flow together and create a nice presentation on the plate.

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Hosts & Guests
Since I have so many guests coming, I don't have matching plates and silverware. Is that okay? What do I do?

Not everything always has to match. Try finding a centerpiece that matches all of the plates you have to tie everything together. Switch every other design or color, so that it creates a pattern. For silverware, get matching cloth napkins and roll them. By the time everyone opens the silverware rolls, they will not be looking to see if the silverware matches.

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Hosts & Guests
Am I supposed to let the older guests be seated and served first?

To be polite, always seat and serve the eldest first. If there are a few similar in age, serve the woman first. Seat them at the head of the table if possible.

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Hosts & Guests
What can I bring to a Thanksgiving party?

The options are truly limitless when deciding what to bring to a Thanksgiving gathering. If the host requests that you bring something specific, stick to that request. If the host didn't specify anything, then bring a dessert or an appetizer. More than likely, the host already has the main parts of the meal done, but sometimes the appetizers and desserts get overlooked.

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Hosts & Guests
What is an appropriate way to explain a food allergy, or what is the best way to ask guests if they have any before cooking?

When inviting guests to any food related event or activity, ask if anyone attending has any food allergies before. During the holidays, potluck style meals are helpful because individuals with allergies are able to prepare foods that are safe for them. It can also be helpful to put place cards out to notify guests what each item is. There is no need to be afraid to ask about food allergies, as many people with them are straight-forward about them.

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Hosts & Guests
What is a healthy option I can bring to a Thanksgiving dinner?

Your Hy-Vee dietitian is the best resource for healthy recipes, along with hy-vee.com. Try Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon and Pecans, Green Beans with Silvered Almonds, a Fresh Fruit Mixture or a Relish Tray.

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Hosts & Guests
Is it rude to ask my guests to bring a dish if I'm hosting the dinner?

It depends on who your guests are and the relationship you have with them. Instead of asking them to bring an entire dish, ask them to bring a particular drink they enjoy. This gives you one less thing to worry about.

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Hosts & Guests
Is it rude to have guests help clean up after the meal?

If a guest would like to help, I would accept the offer. Most times, if the guest does not want to help, they won't say anything. If you're drowning in clean up, try asking one of your closest friends to help with the mess, instead of asking all the guests.

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Hosts & Guests
Should I plate dessert for guests or have guests get their own?

Every family is different. Some people take pride and joy in serving their guests on Thanksgiving. With less formal gatherings, there's often a variety of dessert offerings, so it's easier to have everyone serve themselves. This takes some pressure off the host, and it allows each guest to get exactly what they want. It's important to know your crowd and do what works best for your family. Do what feels comfortable to you and what works well with your space. If there are children present, it's often easier to plate their desserts, which can eliminate extra messes.

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Hosts & Guests
Do I have to ask the host for seconds, or can I just grab some?

Thanksgiving meals are meant to be spent with friends and family, and you should feel comfortable with your surroundings. If you are at a formal gathering and are new to the group, it's always best to mind your manners. If the host made a wonderful dish, go ahead and let them know how much you liked it, and ask them if it's okay to get seconds. If the meal is not set out on the table, it is always polite to let the host know you are getting up.

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Hosts & Guests
Is it rude to have guests bring their own drinks?

The only way that this is rude is if you expect guests to bring their own drinks to a holiday dinner. A better way to get the same results is to let guests know what you will be providing, and then welcome them to bring something along. Something like, "We will be providing beer and soft drinks, feel free to add to the merriment!" is sufficient.

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Hosts & Guests
What is the oldest age I should place at the kids table?

If you are still cutting up their food, they belong at the kids' table.

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Hosts & Guests
Is it okay to use paper napkins? What would you reccommend that won't look cheap?

Use paper napkins for appetizers, not dinner. Cloth napkins can be rented for $1 each at most rental businesses.

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Hosts & Guests
What are kid-friendly versions of typical Thanksgiving dishes I can serve?

If your kids are more involved, they will want to devour the rewards of cooking. Embrace what they like to eat and make it into a dish that all will love. If your kids love broccoli, make a broccoli au gratin for a side dish. A homemade white cheddar mac and cheese is a great addition to any Thanksgiving dinner, and both kids and adults love this dish.

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Hosts & Guests
Can you wash silver flatware and fine dinnerware in the dishwasher?

If it's real silver and fine china, it should be hand-washed. Everything else is fine in the dishwasher.

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Hosts & Guests
Is it rude to give my guests leftovers?

There is nothing wrong with offering leftovers, but don't be pushy. Ultimately, your guests should have the last say in what they want to bring home with them.

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Hosts & Guests
How do I keep my guests entertained during dinner?

If you have guests that may not know each other as well, mix up the seating arrangement. This allows for a more natural conversation and will keep the atmosphere casual after dinner as well. If there are kids at your party, think of games or activities ahead of time to keep them entertained throughout the day. Coloring books, turkey crafts and the history of Thanksgiving are all ideas to incorporate.

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Hosts & Guests
If I don't like everything that is being served, can I just take what I like or do I need to take a little bit of everything?

Always try to take just a little of all dishes offered; sometimes that little portion stays on your plate after a single bite, but at least the host will not be offended by passing on a dish.

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Hosts & Guests
I'm usually really late with everything, and people get mad. How can I avoid having a late Thanksgiving dinner this year?

Don't be afraid to accept help! Let family and friends bring things and don't be afraid to have people help you out in the kitchen. Make as much ahead as possible. Prep items a day or two ahead of time, like casseroles and pies, so all you have to do is put them in the oven the day of Thanksgiving. Also, don't experiment with new recipes on Thanksgiving day. Stick to the recipes or methods of cooking you are familiar with, which will eliminate any chance of something taking more time than expected. Set the table the night before. This allows you to take time preparing a fun and decorative table for everyone to gather around.

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Hosts & Guests
Do you announce to the table if you need to be excused? What is the appropriate way?

The appropriate way to excuse yourself from the table depends on the reason you are needing to be excused. For using the restroom, you only need to say "excuse me" to the people adjacent to you. It is up to you to decide if you want to add a brief reason for being excused, such as, "Excuse me while I use the restroom." If you are needing to excuse yourself from the table early because you have to be at another get together, it is polite to let the host or hostess know about this a few days before the meal. When you get up from the table, make sure to tell your hosts thank you and apologize again for having to leave early.

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Hosts & Guests
People keep crowding in the kitchen. How can I stop them from eating the food while it's being prepared without being rude?

Let the guests know beforehand and throughout preparation when the meal is going to be ready. You can also serve appetizers or hors d'oeuvres before the meal to try to get guests to stop snacking on the meal that will happen later. You could also politely ask them to do a small favor, which would keep them occupied.

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Hosts & Guests
How do I keep guests busy while I'm busy prepping the meal in the kitchen? TV, music, games, drinks and apps?

Because Thanksgiving is such a big holiday, there's often other ways to entertain guests. Turn on a football game or the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. If you're hosting kids, get out coloring books and markers and have them color or create Thanksgiving-themed crafts. Music is a necessity -- try not to do the typical Norah Jones dinner music. This will be a conversation-starter as well. There are several board games that are family-friendly as well, like Apples to Apples, card games, or Pictionary.

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Hosts & Guests
What day is Thanksgiving on?

This year Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, November 24th.

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Hosts & Guests
What are some budget-saving tips when shopping?

When you can, shop for canned goods instead of fresh produce, like for green bean casserole. Use Hy-Vee's That's Smart brand to save around the store.

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Hosts & Guests
I don't have a high chair, what else could I use for my guest's baby?

It's best to ask guests with small children to bring necessities beforehand to avoid this situation. However, it's important to think of safety first when thinking about high chairs. I would suggest going out and purchasing a small high chair if you do not already have one. It's more work, but it will be much easier to have a child in a chair rather than in a lap. You can purchase high chairs for as little as $20, depending on the chair. Alternatively, the child can sit safely on someone's lap.

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Hosts & Guests
Where can I volunteer to serve a thanksgving meal to the homeless?

It depends on where you live, but most states have a homeless shelter directory, like the one listed here: Homeless Shelter Directory - Minnesota. Most metro cities have at least one homeless shelter and gladly take volunteers.

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Hosts & Guests
Where can I donate food I didnt use? (cans of crandberries, frozen turkey that didn't get cooked, boxes of stuffing)

There are plenty of food banks across the nation that accept food donations. The food bank of Iowa or Food Bank for the Heartland are just two organizations that accept donations. Many churches also coordinate these kinds of donations, so you may have luck contacting a local church as well.

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Hosts & Guests
I have family staying at my house. What can I serve for breakfast the next day?

If you have family staying at your house, try to repurpose leftover food that you had the day before. If you served turkey the day before, you can make simple breakfast burritos using eggs, potatoes, veggies of your choice, and the leftover turkey meat.

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Hosts & Guests
What should I cook for Thanksgiving brunch?

You can get very creative with brunch, which makes it fun. Try Turkey Tenderloin Eggs Benedict, Cranberry and Cream Cheese Stuffed Crepes, Ham or Turkey Hash, or Pumpkin French Toast. Whether savory or sweet, using leftovers from the day before is a great way to keep the Thanksgiving theme going.

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Hosts & Guests
What should I have on hand in case something goes wrong with some of the meal?

Have a backup plan with the main dish in case there's an emergency. The side dishes can always be replaced by items that you would have on hand, but it might be more of a challenge to come up with a new main dish. Think of easy meals you could use a different night, like a chicken or lasagna.

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Hosts & Guests
What is the best time to serve the Thanksgiving meal?

There is no "best time." Every family has a different schedule and different living situations. It's possible you're waiting on distant travelers and the meal time will depend on their arrival. Other families may have other places to visit and opt for an early meal. Meal times simply vary according to each home situation. Any time is a good time to have Thanksgiving.

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Hosts & Guests
I don't want to spend hours cleaning dishes, but I don't want the cheap look of disposable. What should I use?

Hy-Vee carries several special occasion disposable options. These are all strong, sturdy, most are microwavable, and they all look nice as plates. There are also plastic cups that have nice designs sold at Hy-Vee. If you'd like to rent dinnerware, most Hy-Vee stores have this service available. While it's normally used for larger occasions like weddings and large parties, the catering department will be able to fit your needs.

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Hosts & Guests
What can I bring to a Thanksgiving party?

Flowers make the perfect host gift. Hy-Vee stores carry grab-and-go "Just Because" bouquets, specialty holiday wrapped bouquets and many fresh arrangements in a wide variety of pricing. There is always something for every occasion!

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Hosts & Guests
I'm hosting Thanksgiving for the first time. Are there any unspoken rules I need to know?

There are few rules if you're hosting Thanksgiving—often times, you are the rule maker. Plan your work, then work your plan. The idea is to enjoy your guests and the occasion.

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Hosts & Guests
What are my guests supposed to do while I'm cooking?

Know your guests' interests, and accommodate them the best and easiest way you can. Have video and board games available, TV and/or movies on, or have small projects out to keep them busy and involved. Make your holiday more enjoyable by having people to converse with while you're cooking.

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Hosts & Guests
Do I volunteer to help the host/hostess cleanup after the meal?

As always, it's best to offer your help, especially if the host has prepared your meal. If the host is adamant that you relax after dinnertime, go with what the host says. Also, check around to see if other guests are helping clean up; you shouldn't be the only one relaxing after dinner.

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Hosts & Guests
I'm nervous that the dinner conversation is going to be awkward or quiet - are there 4any thanksgiving topics that everyone could contribute to?

A very common thing to share about at the dinner table is what you are most thankful for this year. There are plenty of other ways to get conversations going as well. Asking an open-ended question and having everyone take turns answering it is a great way to get everyone at the table actively listening and creating chances for tangent conversations to be started from individual's answers.

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Hosts & Guests
What are some ways I can plan ahead?

The more you plan, the better it will go on Thanksgiving day. There are a lot of items you can make ahead or even freeze to make the day less stressful. Plan the menu three to four weeks in advance, so you can plan your grocery list. Ask your family to bring specific dishes to relieve stress and oven space, or if they're traveling, ask them to bring a bottle of wine. Try to go grocery shopping two weeks in advance for non-perishable items, and save the last-minute shopping for fresh produce, dairy and fresh meats. Try to save Thanksgiving day for actual cooking, not necessarily prepping or preparing.
A timeline for Thanksgiving would be:
1 month ahead: Make menu, invite guests
2 weeks ahead: Grocery shop, make rolls or bread if from scratch and freeze, order flowers for the centerpiece.
1 week ahead: Make a cooking plan for Thanksgiving day.
4 to 7 days ahead: Put the turkey in the fridge to thaw.
2 days ahead: Make pies, grocery shop for last minute items, chill wine, make cranberry relish.
1 day ahead: Thaw bread from the freezer, put together green bean casserole, put together stuffing, put a green salad together, cut fruit and make drinks.
Day of Thanksgiving: Put the turkey in the oven first, then follow your timeline for the day.

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Cleanup & Leftovers
How long do leftovers typically last?

Potatoes, gravy, turkey, stuffing all last about a week before you should throw it out.

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Cleanup & Leftovers
What's the best and most durable brand of container for storing leftovers?

Tupperware is the best because of its warranty and revised products, but it's also the most expensive. Rubbermaid is very good overall and more reasonable in price. These can also be used both for storage, reheating and cooking. For straight storage, Hy-Vee's Kitchen Helper brand containers are very good. Next is Glad Brand, followed by Ziploc and any other brands of containers. Specified freezer containers are good for freezing for up to a six-month time period, but any brand of containers work well for regular storage.

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Cleanup & Leftovers
What types of containers do you recommend for sending home leftovers with guests?

The easiest way is to put leftovers on a paper plate covered with foil. This way, they can put in the fridge until ready, remove the foil and reheat.

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Cleanup & Leftovers
What can I make with all of this extra turkey?

Make hot turkey sandwiches with just a slice of bread, mashed potatoes, turkey and gravy, or make a cold turkey salad. Or, make pot pies. Try this recipe from Hy-Vee: Turkey Pot Pie.

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Cleanup & Leftovers
What ways can you revise Thanksgiving leftovers?

Be as creative as possible when using leftovers. Use items in different ways than you did the day before. If you have turkey to use, try a new turkey casserole instead of plain sliced turkey. If you have leftover stuffing, consider making stuffing waffles with a waffle iron.

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Cleanup & Leftovers
There isn't any more room in my fridge to store dishes. Where do I store everything?

If you have coolers, use those to store food before and after the meal. Plastic baggies take up less space, so have things like lettuce salad in a bag and put it in a bowl right before serving. Do the same with relish or cheese trays. This will increase the space in your refrigerator.

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Cleanup & Leftovers
Is it better to let my pots and pans soak for awhile before cleaning or just clean them right away?

It depends on personal preference, but most of the time it's best to start the cleaning process right away. Some people let the dishes soak, depending on how bad they are.

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Cleanup & Leftovers
How can I cut back on the cleanup after the meal?

To cut back on cleanup, only cook what you think you will eat in one or two meals. If you like the thought of leftovers, contact your local Hy-Vee, and employees will cook everything for you and your guests. This way, you don't have any cleanup.

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Cleanup & Leftovers
Is there anything I can do with the parts of the ingredients that aren't normally used?

The bones of the turkey have a ton of flavor and can be used for turkey stock. Put the bones in a large pot, and add vegetables such as onions, carrots and bay leaves. Cover the bones in a stock pot with cold water. Cook this over low heat for a few hours to make a turkey stock. Remove the vegetables and bones, and run the liquid through a fine strainer. Place the liquid back in a clean pot and simmer down until it has been reduced by half. Add this turkey stock to soups, sauces and vegetables in the future. To store it, pour the stock over an ice cube tray, freeze them and then store them in a plastic bag in the freezer until needed.

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Cleanup & Leftovers
What soups can I make with Thanksgiving leftovers?

Make a great and unique Green Bean Casserole Soup using leftover green bean casserole. Place the casserole, heavy cream and any leftover yams in a blend and blend until smooth. Then, put the mixture in a pot and heat it up to 165 degrees F. Season to taste. Alternatively, make a Baked Potato Soup with leftover mashed potatoes. Take the leftover potatoes and place them in a blender with half and half. Blend them until smooth. Pour the mixture into a pot and heat to a 165 degrees F. Adjust the seasonings. Before serving, top each bowl of soup with cooked, crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar and dried chives. Finally, try a Turkey Ginger Soup with Basmati Rice. Cook the basmati rice using the directions on the package. In a large pot, cook finely diced yellow onion and finely diced celery in some unsalted butter until tender. In the same pot, add leftover turkey gravy and additional turkey stock if needed. Using the fresh ginger Hy-Vee sells in tubes in the produce department, add ginger until the ginger flavor is present. Chop leftover turkey in small scraps and add it to the broth. Let that mixture cook for 10 to 15 minutes and then add the cooked rice. Taste once again for seasoning adjustments and enjoy!

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Cleanup & Leftovers
Are there any tips on scraping, soaking or cleaning up burnt food from pans?

Soaking pans is the easiest way to clean burnt food. Just use the hottest water you have and add soap to it, then let it soak for at least 1 hour, and it should come right off. The other options is to add hot water and kosher salt into the burnt pot and put it on the stove on medium heat. Once the water is steaming (not boiling), use a pair of tongs to run a scratch pad over the burnt areas to get them loose. Dump the water and clean the pot with hot water and soap.

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Cleanup & Leftovers
How do I discard of grease?

One option is to allow the grease or oil to cool, and then slowly mix it with cat litter until the liquid is absorbed. The cat litter mixture can then be put in the garbage. The second option is to make a turkey gravy with the drippings from your roasting pan. Pour turkey drippings from the turkey into a large container and let them cool slightly. Skim the fat from drippings and reserve. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine 2 Tbsp. of the skimmed fat and 2 Tbsp. of flour. Cook until the mixture is a beige color. Slowly whisk in 2 cups of turkey drippings. Stir in 1 tsp. of poultry seasoning. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly until gravy is the desired consistency. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

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Cleanup & Leftovers
How do I get a stain out of my tablecloth?

This depends on the type of stain, but most of the time it's best to treat the stain right away. There are several stain-removing products that can be found in Hy-Vee grocery stores. For butter or grease stains, put salt on the tablecloth so it absorbs the grease. For wine stains, soak the entire tablecloth for at least 2 hours in warm water and a small amount of bleach.

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Health & Safety
What are some vegan options that will satisfy meat-eaters as well?

Cooking vegan Thanksgiving dishes is very achievable. Many side dishes that contain chicken or turkey stock can be replaced with vegetable stock. Try making a Butternut Squash Dressing with Cranberries, Pumpkin Seeds and Sage; or, try a Vegetable Bread Pudding or a Sweet Corn Pudding.

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Health & Safety
What is the general rule for dessert portion sizes?

Portion control is the key, especially during the holidays. Enjoy a small piece of pie for dessert, and make sure to emphasize lighter fare and fresh vegetables throughout the day! Don’t skip any meals and drink plenty of water. It may help to moderate your intake and control cravings.

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Health & Safety
What are the proper serving sizes so that I don't overeat?

A deck of cards' worth of turkey is around 3 ounces, a golf ball size of gravy is about 1/4 cup, a golf ball size of cranberry sauce is about 1/4 cup. A 1/2 baseball wroth of stuffing is about 1/2 cup. A shot glass worth of salad dressing is around 2 tablespoons. It's okay to enjoy an unlimited portion of non-starchy vegetables, and be sure to drink plenty of water.

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Health & Safety
What is an alternative gluten-free stuffing recipe?

For a traditional stuffing, defrost a loaf of gluten-free bread. Spray with cooking spray and season with gluten-free spices like sage, poultry seasoning and parsley. Cut the bread into cubes and toast in the oven at 350 degrees F. Use these gluten-free bread crumbs as you would with a regular stuffing mix. Another option is to offer a less traditional style of stuffing using gluten-free whole grains of your choice, like the Minute Multi-Grain Medley available at Hy-Vee. These packages are a blend of brown rice, red rice, wild rice and quinoa, which cook quickly on the stovetop or in the microwave. Cook according to the package directions, then add cranberries and seasonings to flavor the stuffing.

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Health & Safety
I'm trying to avoid casseroles. What can I eat instead?

Casseroles are a staple at many Thanksgiving get-togethers. If you must have them, indulge in moderation. Green bean casserole is saturated with butter, cream and salt. To make it healthier, make a green bean almondine and add some charred lemon to it—the acid will brighten up the green beans. Make a healthier sweet potato casserole by roasting the potatoes and top it with pumpkin seeds and cranberries. Even add orange zest to add some fun to the flavors.

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Health & Safety
I don't like turkey. What else can I cook?

Turkey doesn't have to be the main dish at every Thanksgiving. Try making prime rib, pit ham, a pork loin roast, or a whole salmon fillet. Make sure your guests are aware of this ahead of time, just because most guests expect a turkey at Thanksgiving.

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Health & Safety
Are there any tricks I can use so I don't overeat?

Slow down the eating process, chew food thoroughly and drink water with your meal. Be sure to control both portions of food and alcohol consumption. If you're bringing a dish to a pot luck event, bring something healthy to eat. Don't waste your calories on foods you can have every day, but instead savor the special foods like stuffing or pumpkin pie.

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Health & Safety
What other ingredients can you substitute for mashed potatoes to make it healthier?

Mashed potatoes tend to be made with buttermilk, whole fat butter, sour cream and other dense dairy products because these items add a lot of richness and flavor. However, it is possible to swap these items for healthier ones and still have a delicious dish. Replace the full-fat products with reduced-fat versions. Another option is to increase the flavor by adding garlic cloves and fresh herbs like thyme or parsley to keep the flavor but reduce the fat. Try a combination of lower fat products and decadent seasonings to make these a healthy and tasty choice this holiday season.

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Health & Safety
Do I have to cool my leftovers before putting them in the fridge?

A good rule is to make sure you put items away within 90 minutes to 2 hours of it setting out. Leftovers should be cooled down as quickly as possible, and this can be achieved by packing them in multiple shallow containers. Don't stack containers, otherwise the heat will get trapped.

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Health & Safety
How long can a cooked turkey be frozen?

A good rule of thumb is that cooked turkey can be frozen for six months before you must throw it out.

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Health & Safety
How long can the food sit out in the kitchen before it hits the danger zone and needs to be thrown away?

The general rule is food that is left out for 2 or more hours needs to be thrown away. However, always be safe, and when in doubt, throw it out!

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Health & Safety
My turkey fell on the floor as I was taking it out of the oven. Is it still okay to serve?

While it's best to throw it out, if you have a home full of guests, it can be difficult to tell them you don't have a turkey to serve. As an alternative, lightly rinse the bird with warm water and let it rest 20 minutes. Remove its skin and carve it, placing it on a platter separating the white and dark meat. Garnish it with cranberries and rosemary, and enjoy your holiday.

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Health & Safety
What are some fun activities to do outside after our Thanksgiving meal?

While the most popular choice after the meal is to watch football or take a nap, families can have a lot more fun and burn off some of those Thanksgiving calories by playing football or soccer in the yard. Families can enjoy board or card games after dinner. Other fun ideas include leaf hunts, outdoor Thanksgiving-themed scavenger hunts, making scrapbooks or decorating for Christmas. Families can find their most creative family member and put them in charge of making a video diary for the day, and after it's complete, everyone can gather to watch.

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Health & Safety
What are some activities my family can do after dinner?

Consider going for a walk or holding the annual family flag football game. The holidays are a great time to be active with your family. It is also a great time to reminisce and share favorite family stories and memories. However, remember to consult a doctor before beginning an exercise plan.

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Health & Safety
How can I make my Thanksgiving meal healthier?

Make gravy from scratch instead of buying a mix. Or, just don't use gravy at all. When making your mashed potatoes, first of all use real potatoes and then mix half and half with sweet potatoes, or use 75% regular potatoes and 25% sweet potatoes.

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Health & Safety
Should I use white or wheat bread for dinner rolls? How can I make these healthier?

Wheat is always healthier than white bread, even if you get enriched wheat and not a whole grain wheat. Wheat always has a higher fiber content. You could always make rolls from scratch and put in buckwheat or flax seeds to make them healthier.

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Health & Safety
Is there any way to make gravy healthier?

This healthier recipe of gravy happens to be paleo and gluten-free as well. The stealthy ingredient here is the cauliflower. Heat 2 Tbsp. turkey fat from the pan drippings over medium heat in a saucepan. Add 1/2 cup chopped onions and cook until the onions start to brown. Stir in 2 cups of chopped cauliflower and several sprigs of thyme. Add about 2 more cups of pan drippings combined with stock. Simmer this until the cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the herb stems. Carefully transfer the mixture into a blender, and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Return the gravy to the pan, and reheat. Add more stock to thin to desired consistency, if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Health & Safety
Can I make "mashed potatoes" without potatoes? What can I use?

You can make "mashed potatoes" without potatoes, and your best option is undoubtedly cauliflower. Bring a couple of quarts of water to boil in a large pan, and add 1 to 2 heads of fresh, chopped cauliflower. Cook until tender. When tender, put into a large bowl, and add 4 Tbsp. butter, 2 Tbsp. cream cheese or sour cream, 2 Tbsp. or more Parmesan, salt, pepper and garlic. Use an immersion blender or a hand mixer to blend until smooth and creamy. Make sure the cauliflower is fully blended and sprinkle extra cheese if desired.

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Health & Safety
What can I cook that's paleo?

The basic guidelines for the Paleo diet are as follows: Grass-fed meat, fish and seafood; fruits and vegetables; eggs; nuts and seeds; and healthful oils. If you have a guest coming that is following a paleo lifestyle, cook a main dish using one of the proteins above, a side dish using fresh vegetables and prepared in a healthful oil, and have fresh fruit available. If you're having several people over, try to make these dishes so that everyone can enjoy them and you're not making two separate meals.

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Health & Safety
How can I thicken gravy, but still make it gluten-free?

Cornstarch is gluten-free, and it's a great substitute for flour when thickening gravy. All-purpose gluten-free flour mixes also work well.

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Health & Safety
What are some desserts I can make that are already gluten-free?

For a simple gluten-free dessert, make the usual pumpkin pie filling and pour it into a gluten-free pie crust. To replace apple pie, baked apples offer the same apple pie flavor without the flour. Serve ice cream with the baked apples for a warm, delicious dessert that everyone will love. Or, make fruit parfaits with yogurt, fruit and granola in a parfait dish or clear dish.

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Health & Safety
What are some vegetarian options for a main dish that aren't Tofurkey?

Falafels are a simple way to also incorporate a dressing. Use a mix off the shelf or make falafels from scratch. Try Stuffed Butternut Squash with Wild Rice and Shallot, or use seasonal mushrooms for a Mixed Mushroom Ragout.

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Health & Safety
Is green bean casserole considered a healthy dish?

Everything is okay in moderation, so if green bean casserole is one of your favorites, enjoy a small portion. That being said, it isn't the healthiest dish at the table. The cream of mushroom soup and fried onions add a large amount of sodium and fat. Make it healthier by replacing the regular cream of mushroom soup with a reduced fat, reduced sodium version. Make your own baked onions to top the casserole instead of the fried onions. Lastly, use 1% or skim milk instead of whole milk or cream. These swaps will reduce the fat, sodium and calorie content, making it a much healthier choice.

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Health & Safety
I have two Thanksgiving meals today. What are some tips and tricks to keep myself from over-eating?

Thanksgiving Day only comes once a year, so it's perfectly okay to indulge a bit. However, don't eat so much that you make yourself miserably full all day. Try indulging in conversation rather than indulging in food. Really take advantage of these celebrations to catch up with those you maybe don't get to see every day. When you're filling your plate, serve yourself small portions of foods you truly enjoy and savor each bite. Know when you're satisfied enough for now, and that you can have more when you're hungry again. This is especially helpful if you have another meal or two coming later in the day. Be sure to get plenty of vegetables along with your favorite foods. This will nourish your body and fill you up, keeping you satisfied until the next meal.

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Health & Safety
What is a recipe for a gluten-free pie crust?

Look online for a homemade gluten-free pie crust. Hy-Vee has one for you here: The Best Gluten-Free Pie Crust.

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Health & Safety
What are some healthy side dishes I can make?

Try making creamy onions, Sweet Potato Mash, Winter Squash Risotto, or a Gluten-Free Classic Stuffing.

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Health & Safety
Is it safe to cook the stuffing inside the turkey?

If you stuff a turkey, you must make sure it reaches 165 degrees F inside both the turkey and stuffing. Most food-borne illness is due to the fact the stuffing didn't cook to the proper temperature. Alternatively, you can cook the stuffing in a separate dish to make it a highlight around the table.

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Health & Safety
How can I keep or re-use my leftover desserts?

To make desserts last longer, freeze them after they are baked. Custard fillings and dairy-based desserts don't always freeze well, but desserts like brownies, cookies and cakes keep in the freezer for a long time.

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Health & Safety
I'm traveling and bringing food with me. What's the best way to keep it safe to eat?

Many coolers have the ability to keep food hot (above 140 degrees F) or cold (below 40 degrees F). Plan ahead by picking out the containers you wish to use, then try putting them into any coolers or insulated containers you want to use to make certain that they fit.

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Health & Safety
What can and cannot be microwaved?

Most ingredients and dishes can be microwaved; however, the touchiest items are meats and breads, rolls and pastries. Meats can get tough, and bread-based products come out great for about 10 to 20 seconds, and then get extremely chewy.

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Health & Safety
I'm trying to cut back on carbs. What can I eat instead of the normal Thanksgiving dishes?

You can definitely eat a typical Thanksgiving meal, you just need to be conscious about your serving sizes and portions. A 1/2 cup of potatoes is equal to 1 carb choice. To avoid filling up on calorie-dense sides, put more turkey, fruits and vegetables on your plate.

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Health & Safety
Does eating turkey really make you tired? Are there things I can do to combat this?

It's a common misconception that turkey is the reason we get so sleepy after a big Thanksgiving meal. Turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan, which can make you tired by forming serotonin and eventually melatonin, but it's not the main culprit. What is really happening is that we tend to eat a big meal full of carbohydrates from all the Thanksgiving dishes, and this sets our bodies up for prime napping conditions. The high amounts of carbohydrates, along with large amounts of fat and alcohol also consumed, all add up to us becoming tired. In order to combat this drowsiness, try treating Thanksgiving like a regular meal rather than loading up on all the dishes. Stop when you are full, keep drinking water, and stay active to keep alert throughout the day.

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