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Thanksgiving Recipes for Dummies

Avoid panic, plan Thanksgiving meal in advance

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turducken, recipe, thanksgiving, turkey, chicken, duck, hen, receipt

Turducken: A chicken inside a duck inside a turkey

© 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Are you panicking about making your first Thanksgiving feast? Calm down, take a deep breath, and find out all you need to know about how to cook classic Thanksgiving favorite dishes. Get your recipes lined up, make your shopping list, and plan ahead. Be prepared to impress your friends and loved ones with the perfect Thanksgiving meal. Read on for help in preparing a classic Thanksgiving meal.

How to cook a turkey

The turkey is the star of the show, but where do you start? Select the turkey first by deciding if you want a fresh unfrozen turkey or a frozen one. Free-range and large turkeys will be a bit tougher and stronger in flavor. If you purchase a frozen turkey, you'll need to plan ahead to thaw it properly. Then decide whether you want to stuff it or not. Food safety experts are now recommending that the stuffing be cooked outside the bird. The choice is yours, but always use a meat thermometer to be certain the turkey is fully cooked. Consider making slicing easier at the table by learning how to debone a turkey. Once you get the hang of it, you will want to use this method also on a chicken. Visually, you will not be able to tell it is deboned if you stuff it.

Roast turkey is traditional, but many are turning to deep-fried turkey these days. And some folks prefer to downsize with a turkey breast or ham.

If you are feeling adventurous and really want to impress, try your hand at making a turducken (pictured), which is a chicken stuffed inside a duck, then both stuffed inside a turkey. It is not as difficult as you might think. An added bonus, aside from the flavors of three different types of poultry and two stuffings, is that it is almost boneless.

Use these help files to cook the ultimate Thanksgiving turkey:

Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes and Help Files
Stuffed or Unstuffed Roast Turkey Recipe
How to Make Turducken (step-by-step photos)
How to Debone a Turkey (step-by-step photos)
Turducken Recipe
Roast Turkey Breast Recipe
Deep-Fried Turkey Recipes
How to thaw and store a frozen turkey
Turkey Roasting Times Chart
Turkey Hotlines
Turkey Leftovers Recipes
More Turkey Recipes
More Thanksgiving Resources

Cookbooks

Betty Crocker Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook
Thanksgiving 101
How to Cook a Turkey: And All the Other Trimmings
Thanksgiving - Williams-Sonoma
More Cookbooks
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