AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- Holiday dinners are traditionally very large and can easily get away from you while you prepare it.
How do you fix a dry turkey? What can you do to keep completed side dishes warm while others are cooking?
These are just some things people struggle with when cooking that holiday dinner.
If you overcook your turkey, you can just pour some warm chicken stock over it to revive it. And to keep those side dishes warm, use a crockpot or even a cooler.
To save some time experts suggest that you make your desserts and chop your vegetables the day before.
And Chef Brandon Johnson, owner of Plated with Love Catering, has a tip for what to do if you are dealing with a still frozen turkey or ham.
“Cold water is the best way to thaw out anything. That cold water will thaw it out just in time. A lot of people like to throw that hot water on, but again you want to leave that temperature danger zone alone,” he explained. “So, when you’re cooking from frozen, you want to go ahead and remember that time is not as important as temperature.”
Johnson cautions cooks to be sure their turkey is not under or much over 165 degrees. You don’t want it undercooked, but overcooking will dry it out.
When you are cooking a big meal, timing is everything-unless it is temperature.
Johnson advises not to rely on a timer when cooking your turkey. You could end up with it either over cooked or undercooked–so check the temperature instead.
To save time, he suggests chopping all vegetables the day before and storing them in water in the refrigerator.
“You know, gravy is something that we all like to have with our turkey. Well these are things you can prepare before time,” Johnson said. “So, if you’re creating a rue, which is going to be the thickening agent for that gravy, you can actually prepare that the day before. Equal parts flour to equal parts fat.”
One of the most useful tips Johnson gave had to do with pies. Many people struggle with baking pies when the crust always turn out soggy. He said to use a fork to put holes in the bottom and pre-bake your crust before you put the filling in.
To take some pressure off of yourself recruit family members to help with the chopping or stirring. And if guests ask if they can bring anything, take them up on it. People contributing side dishes means a few less dishes for you to deal with.