turkey dinner

Have you always brought dessert to the holiday gathering? Maybe you are not used to preparing a full meal, but this year may be different. Enjoy the holidays with a new twist this year. If you are cooking a full meal for the first time – You can do it!

This can be a daunting task. Plan and strategize and pull this dinner off without a fuss. Have fun cooking with members of your household and enjoy the leftovers (or planned overs).

Holiday Meal Planning

  • Decide on the menu.  Make what you and your family like.
  • Share recipes with family members ahead of time so you all can enjoy your favorite dishes.
  • Assign tasks to family members, get everyone involved.
  • Shop ahead.
  • Let's talk turkey!  
    •  You may not need a 30 lb. bird this year.  Is the crowd smaller? Plan for ¾ pound of turkey per person, thaw in the refrigerator: 24 hours per every 5 pounds.
    • Bake a turkey breast rather than a whole turkey (bone-in gives better flavor broth)
    • Think about oven space—you can cook the turkey the day before, slice and refrigerate and heat in the microwave
    • You can purchase an oven-ready or even a pre-cooked turkey
  • Cook ahead and reheat when possible. Bake pies or buy your favorite.  Assemble casseroles and refrigerate uncooked; bake on the holiday.    
  • Cut and prep vegetables, garnishes 2-3 days before.
  • Set the table the day before.
  • Relax the timetable: sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast and enjoy a late afternoon holiday meal.
  • There is no law against a dessert, cranberry sauce or bread product purchased from the store.
  • Check out our video for mashed potatoes; What’s Cooking with Mary Liz Wright
  • Reduce the number of dishes or cut the recipe in half.

To reduce a recipe by one-half the amount, follow these measurements:

Full amount | Use this amount to divide in half
  • ¼ cup | 2 Tablespoons
  • 1/3 cup | 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
  • ½ cup | ¼ cup
  • 2/3 cup | 1/3 cup
  • 1 Tablespoon | 1-1/2 teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon | ½ teaspoon
  • ½ teaspoon | ¼ teaspoon
  • ¼ teaspoon | 1/8 teaspoon
  • 1/8 teaspoon | dash

What about leftovers?

Turkey Nachos

  • 1 cup of chopped turkey
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1/2 of a medium onion (chopped)\
  • Juice of 2 fresh limes.
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2-4 cups Tortilla Chips
  • ½ cup Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese
  • 1-2 Tablespoons fresh jalapeno slices

Directions: Sautee onion add turkey and cook till brown. Add ground cumin and squeeze with fresh lime juice.  Cover and gently simmer. Place tortilla chips on a platter. Add the turkey mixture, cover with cheese and jalapeno slices. Bake in the oven at 450 till cheese is bubbly. Top with cranberry salsa. Eat!

Cranberry Salsa

  • 1 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1-2 Tablespoons jalapeno pepper (depending how spicy you like your food)
  • 1 tsp. chili pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon cilantro. 
  • 1 Tablespoon or stem, green onion
  • Juice of 2 fresh limes

Directions: Place ingredients in blender or food processor. Mix well and enjoy with the Turkey Nachos!