I love hosting Thanksgiving at our home. It’s actually a lot more convenient than dragging three kids all over the place. I also love to cook and entertain, so having Thanksgiving at our home is a no-brainer. One thing that always throws me for a loop is knowing how much food I’ll need to feed all those people and when to start thawing the turkey. So I did a little research and thought I’d share since you might also have the same questions!
When it comes to organizing and taking shortcuts to cut down on costs and clean-up while entertaining, I have that down. But I am always so worried about having enough food and when to get things going. Here’s some tips:
How Big of a Turkey Should I Buy?
That depends on how many people you have. Plan about 1-1/2 pounds per each adult. This will also Kids will be less, and my little ones (4 and 2), I don’t even count. You might think 1-1/2 pounds sounds like a lot, however it will leave some leftovers and you have to also consider if you’re buying a whole bird that some of the weight is bones and all the yucky stuff you don’t eat.
I’ve Got My Bird, How Do I Thaw It & For How Long?
Now if you have the time, definitely thaw it in the fridge so you know that it will be all ready to go on Thanksgiving morning. Place the turkey (don’t take it out of its packaging!) on a rimmed cookie sheet. That way you don’t have to worry about water/juices ending up all of everything in your fridge.
How Long To Thaw A Turkey in the Refrigerator
10 – 14 pounds: 2 – 3 days
14 – 18 pounds: 3 – 4 days
18-22 pounds: 4 – 5 days
Not all of us have room to have a 20 pound bird sitting in our refrigerator for a week. Some of us wait till the last minute to buy the bird. Not me of course, ahem. But some people do. If your one of those people, you’ll need to thaw the bird in cold water. Take your turkey (still in its packaging) and place it in a cooler full of cold water . . . not hot water. You can place it in the sink if you have room (or overnight when you won’t be using it). You will have to change the water every couple of hours so the water doesn’t get too cold.
How Long To Thaw A Turkey in Cold Water
10 – 14 pounds: 5 – 8 hours
14 – 18 pounds: 8 – 10 hours
18-22 pounds: 10 – 12 hours
How Many Side Dishes Will I Need?
So now you’ve got the bird ready to be cooked. But you still need side dishes. Question is how many? Well I checked out RealSimple.com for the answer – plan on 4 servings of sides per person.
“For 12 people, prepare recipes that add up to a total of 48 servings. (for example, you could make 6 dishes that each serve 8).
Easy right? RealSimple also had some great side dish recipes, too. We just stick to the regular, standard sides: mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, sweet potatoes… you get the idea.
What are your favorite side dish recipes?