Holiday cooking mistakes tend to revolve largely around the turkey. It’s a big bird, so it will take a lot more planning and time than a roasted chicken. So, before the first turkey day arrives, let’s go over common holiday cooking mistakes in hopes that this year is the year that everything makes it to the table.
Miscalculating the amount of food
The holidays are about family and friends. Another way to put it: your dinner table is going to be full. You may even need to bring in a few folding tables from the basement to accommodate all the people that you have coming over for dinner. While you’re counting place settings and borrowing chairs from the neighbors, make sure you also remember to buy a big enough bird.
Not buying a big enough turkey to feed all of your guests is a mistake. Yes, everyone is thankful for being surrounded by people they love, and that is the most important, but do you know what your guests will also be thankful for? Getting something to eat! Only having wine and cookies is fun for a couple of hours, but if you don’t get some real food in your stomachs, Aunt Doris and Uncle Ed are going to start to get a little rowdy.
When you buy your turkey, allow about a pound and a half of turkey per person. Make sure you account for leftovers because the best part of a holiday meal is tomorrow’s turkey sandwich.
Thawing the turkey properly
The bigger the bird, the longer it will need to thaw. If you were ahead of the game and had been keeping your turkey in the freezer, make sure you take it out several days before to make sure it thaws.
Thawing the turkey in the refrigerator takes longer, but it is the safest way to thaw a turkey. Calculate 24 hours per 4 pounds of turkey. So, a 15 lbs. turkey would need to be thawing about four days before being cooked.
Using a meat thermometer
When it comes to the cooking, especially the turkey, you want everything to be properly cooked at the right temperature. Using a reliable meat thermometer will ensure that your bird has cooked all the way through and that it’s safe (and delicious) to serve your guests.
Everything else needs to be properly cooked as well. Cooking the stuffing outside of the turkey will make it easier to ensure that it is cooked properly.
The thigh of the turkey and the stuffing (if you stuff the turkey) should be 165 F, and the breast should be 185 F before serving. You can just wait for the thermometer to point to the turkey symbol if you have a picture thermometer
Timing your food preparations
Even if you have everything cooked at the right temperature, timing your food prep is essential to a successful holiday meal. What good is it to have rolls fresh from the oven if it means everything else has gotten cold in the process?
Cater your holiday meals in Philadelphia and Buck's County
Avoid cooking mistakes and serving mistakes on the holidays or at your holiday party or event. Spend more time with your family and leave the cooking to DiAntonio’s. We’ll make sure that everything is cooked right and served hot and on time.