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Looking to add flavor to your bird this year? Try some
of these flavor combinations . . .

Traditional: Sage, celery, onion, garlic, carrots and salt and pepper

Mediterranean: Onion, garlic, rosemary, lemon, salt, pepper and olive oil

French: Herbs de Provence, shallots
and leeks

Creative turkey sides and stuffing:

Stuff your bird with sweet or savory sausage

Serve olives or an olive tapenade

Make a fall salad: oven roast sweet potato cubes and add to a salad of mixed greens and serve with a cranberry viniagarette

For cranberry sauce with kick, buy ready-made cranberry horseradish sauce or add a little horseradish to your favorite recipe

For a different stuffing, make a wild rice pilaf

Noodles also make great sides - try making homemade spaetzles

#1 Relax! Don’t make more out of preparing a turkey than it is.

#2 Avoid common mistakes: check the neck area for the gizzards that come in a plastic bag and the other end of the cavity where there is a plastic tie wrap holding the neck in place

#3 Know what fresh and frozen mean: a truly fresh turkey has never been below 28 degrees. However, many frozen turkeys are called "fresh" because they have only been frozen to 5-10 degrees and the FDA defines frozen as 0 degrees – thus these turkeys can be called ‘fresh.’

#4 Even if your turkey is frozen, it is still very fresh at Thanksgiving time because most holiday turkeys are harvested in October.

#5 Fresh turkeys are great, but if you want one, be sure to order in advance as your merchant or butcher has placed their order in late summer and they only have a set amount of fresh turkeys that will be available.

#6 Know what is available in your area. Many stores and butchers will offer you a variety of turkey options including: boneless turkey breasts for smaller families, smoked breasts and whole birds that can come cured and smoked or fresh smoked (for a milder flavor), and whole pre-roasted and carved turkeys/breasts. (Ask them to save the bones and broth for you to use in sauces, stuffing, etc.

#7 Allow enough time for thawing your frozen turkey. If your bird is up to 14 lbs. allow three days in the refrigerator; larger birds can take up to a week.

#8 Plan ahead for refrigerator and freezer space.

#9 Check your oven’s temperature. One to two weeks out from the holiday, use an oven thermometer to check for accuracy. This allows you time to get repairs, if needed, or know how to adjust your cooking temps and times.

#10 It’s all in the preparation. One to two days before "T-Day" you should wash and season the turkey. If you’re not baking your stuffing in the bird, go ahead and stuff the cavity with ‘aromatics’ – i.e. onions, garlic, herbs, etc.

#11 Don’t be afraid of flavor! Be creative. If you have a favorite marinade or spice blend you like, use it for your turkey. Need some ideas? See the end of these tips.

#12 Do something different. While most of us crave the traditional turkey on Thanksgiving, don’t forget other options such as glazed ham, chicken, and roasts.

#13 If you’re deep frying your turkey, try throwing in some potatoes into the fryer along with the turkey – sweet potatoes are great this way!

#14 Stuffing is ok to cook in the bird. Just remember to take its temperature when you’re checking your bird for doneness. Directions always come on the wrapper of most turkeys.

#15 Plan for space on the day of your meal. Often, holiday meals become potlucks, and make sure you have enough space to keep things cold and warm. Use coolers, electric roasters, crock-pots, etc.

#16 And lastly, have fun and be creative!

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