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Turkey 101: Everything You Need to Know Before Hosting Thanksgiving

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Hosting Thanksgiving may be a big responsibility, but it can also be one of the most fun ways to celebrate with the whole family. Don't let the stress of cooking the perfect meal bog you down. Use these quick tips to improve your holiday.

Get the Right Turkey
Don't just pick of the turkey that you looks the best. Make sure you find a bird that's large enough for the whole family to enjoy. The typical rule is to add between four and six pounds to the number of dinners you're expecting. For example, if you're expecting 16 guests, you should have a 20- to 22-pound turkey.

Also, if you use a larger turkey remember the cooking time also increases. Larger birds can take 4 to 5 hours to cooks, while a smaller turkey may be done in as few as 3 or 2 hours.

Make sure you pick the best turkey. Make sure you pick the best turkey.

Cook Multiple Dishes at Once
Cooking time isn't just crucial for the turkey. With mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and dozens of other side dishes that need to be cooked at varying temperatures, it can feel like there aren't enough hours in the day.

"A roaster oven lets you cook the perfect turkey."

Avoid this issue by using multiple cooking surfaces. Rather than relying on your range to prepare every single dish, use the roaster oven for anything from the casserole to the turkey. 

This extra cookspace won't just give you more room in the kitchen, it's always an easy way to cook at a precise temperature with a simple clean up at the end. A roaster oven lets you cook the perfect turkey while leaving you the time and space for all of the other culinary needs of Thanksgiving. 

Organize Before the Big Day
Getting everything to go off without a hitch on Thanksgiving requires some planning beforehand.

  • Start off by thinking about your menu. What exactly do you want to serve? Are there dietary restrictions? This will help you do everything from shopping to picking out the serving dishes you need.
  • Check your RSVPs. Make sure you know who is coming to dinner. This will help you plan for portions, table setting and even pre-dinner activities.
  • Set the table and prep some food. The night before Thanksgiving you can help yourself by setting the table. This will save you plenty of time the day of. You also may be able to start getting food ready so when your guests are arriving you just have to pop the dish in your roaster oven.

Plan Some Activities
Whether it's touch football in the yard or a card game with dessert, people of all ages will enjoy the chance to interact with a game or activity.

Ask for help
If you feel like preparing a whole feast is too much on your own, don't be afraid to ask your guests for some help. Whether they bring their own homemade dishes or just pick up a tasty dessert from the neighborhood bakery, when everyone pitches in it can make your holiday a lot more fun.