With Thanksgiving approaching, you've still got a tad of time on your side. Use it to wrangle your guest list into place (leaving room for a few day-of tag-alongs), stock up, and keep from getting your feathers all ruffled in a last-second scramble for plates, drinks, turkey and places to sit.
If you've got a rough idea of how many meat-eating guests will be on hand, go with around one pound per person - one and a half if you'd like to ensure a stash of leftovers. A huge bird can be comically unwieldy, so consider sacrificing the Big Platter Presentation for the sake of sanity and back strain. Opt for two (or three or more if you have the oven space) smaller birds - and just remember to make sure you've got enough roasting pans, foil and other poultry paraphernalia on hand.
No matter if you're serving a mega-bird, a couple of capons or even a tiny Tofurky, we cannot possibly overstate the importance of having stock on hand. Whether you opt for chicken or vegetable, it cannot hurt to have some around to saute sides, stir into stuffing, smooth out gravy or tater lumps and add flavor to just about any dish. It comes in cans or, even better, shelf-stable boxes, and what you don't use for T-Day, you'll burn through before the year is out.
Some Buying Guidelines:
Turkey: 1 lb per person, 1 1/2 lbs if you'd like leftovers (this takes the skin, bones and giblets of a whole bird into account)
Roasting / baking dishes
*Butter tubs, plastic take-out containers, baggies, Tupperware and all manner of resealable food-safe containers are a MUST if you don't care to end up swimming in gravy and green bean casserole on into '12. Some leftovers are dandy - perhaps even more appealing than the day-of meal - but if guests are bringing dishes as well, you just might not have the storage space.
Take a tip from the best Thanksgiving hostess we've ever know, the very dear, departed Miss Ellen Robinson (we called her Mama Diva) and assign at least one or more people to container duty. Then do NOT allow guests to leave without taking something delicious with them. It's equal parts generosity and strategy.
Got a Thanksgiving query or dilemma? Need techniques for roasting turkey or just looking for recipes to bust up your holiday rut? Wanna know what one of our anchors eats for T-Day? We're here to help. Post your question in the comments below and we'll do our best to assist.
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