Butterball will have its annual Turkey Talk hotline (1-800-Butterball) up and running today; it will remain open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CST. Their online Thanksgiving guide also has a lot of tips, calculators and ideas to help out with your family's meal.
Cooking Light Magazine has an Ultimate Holiday Cookbook online with 73 recipes that cover all the courses you could want for your holidays from now until New Year's (I love Cooking Light because most of their recipes fit into my dietary plan. I made their recipe for Onion Soup Gratinée over the weekend, and it's pretty fabulous.)
Food Network has an entire Thanksgiving page of recipes, tips and ideas to help you celebrate, including a truly cool Turkey calculator that will guide you on what size bird to buy according to the number of guests you'll have and when to start cooking it in time to have it done for dinner.
The VeggieTable.com has a nice collection of recipes here for folks who don't indulge in the bird. I'm going to try their version of French Onion Soup to see how it compares to the classic.
PBW's Turkey Day tips:
If you're having Thanksgiving at someone else's home, offer to make and bring a side dish or a dessert. If your hostess refuses, bring her some flowers or a basket of her favorite fruit.
Invest in a decent turkey roasting pan instead of buying the disposable aluminum variety that sometimes buckle whenever you try to lift them out of the oven. For one thing, it's safer. You can make a lot of stuff besides turkey in the pan, and you'll help the environment a little by not throwing it away every year.
If your desserts will keep overnight or can be refrigerated, make them the night before Thanksgiving. Also have young kids tear up bread while the older kids chop celery, peel carrots, etc. the night before and store the ingredients in ziplock bags in the fridge.
To make extra broth, simmer the turkey neck (the U-shaped thing that is usually tucked away inside the bird) in two quarts of water while the turkey is roasting. If you don't mind the taste, toss in the giblets (liver, heart and gizzards, also tucked inside the bird.)
For an emergency fat separator (I lose or break mine regularly) cool your pan drippings for a few minutes and then pour them into a large ziplock bag. Hold the bag over a big bowl until the fat rises to the top of the bag (should only take a few moments) and then cut off a little corner at the bottom of the bag and let the broth run out. When the fat layer drains down to the bottom of the bag, pinch the hole closed and put in another container or discard.
If you're a little tired of traditional homemade stuffing (generally bread, celery and seasonings) and want to jazz it up a little without making too much of a drastic change, chop and sautee a medium onion in two teaspoons of shortening, margarine or olive oil until soft/semi-transparent and then add the sauteed onion to your usual stuffing mix. It adds a nice flavor without being overpowering.
Commercial turkey basters suck and even the expensive ones lose their seal or break. lousy. I use a brand-new 2" bristle brush (like the kind you buy to paint trim.)
Make a quick, edible centerpiece for your table by piling a dozen red or gold apples in your prettiest bowl.
Do you have any tips or traditions for celebrating Thanksgiving? Let us know in comments.