Tips for Preparing for Thanksgiving | Jacques Exclusive Catering

Mastering Your Thanksgiving Feast: Tips, Turkey Selection, and Catering Options

As many families are currently in the planning phase for their Thanksgiving holiday, Jacques Exclusive Catering is delighted to offer valuable tips and techniques to ensure a stress-free, delectable feast with your loved ones this holiday season.

Prepare Side Dishes in Advance 

Streamline your Thanksgiving preparations by selecting and preparing some side dishes in advance. This not only saves you precious time on the big day but also eases the stress of last-minute cooking. Numerous make-ahead methods and convenient ingredients are available to simplify side dish preparation. Here are some noteworthy options:

  • Green Beans with Almonds: These can be cooked a day ahead and effortlessly reheated just before serving your Thanksgiving turkey. You can find a wonderful recipe from Better Homes & Gardens that serves up to 8 guests, with the flexibility to double the portion.
  • Blue Cheese and Pine Nut Puffs: Instead of resorting to canned biscuits, craft fluffy, cheese-filled puffs that complement any holiday dinner. This recipe yields around 100 puffs, perfect for larger gatherings, and can be prepared up to a month in advance, then frozen. Follow the instructions to reheat the frozen puffs and serve them warm at dinner.
  • Homemade Stuffing: Homemade stuffing recipes make store-bought options pale in comparison. With just three simple steps, you can create your own homemade breadcrumbs, versatile enough to be used in various stuffing recipes. A plethora of delicious stuffing recipes is available, and we couldn’t decide on just one. Click here to explore these options and choose the one that best complements your dinner.

Selecting the Ideal Turkey

Choosing the perfect turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner requires a few essential considerations. Many consumers may not be aware of the distinctions between fresh and frozen turkeys. Fresh turkeys are labeled based on whether they’ve been chilled below 26°F since turkey meat doesn’t freeze at 32°F but closer to 26°F. Frozen turkeys, on the other hand, are chilled below 0°F and can be defrosted, labeled, and sold as “previously frozen.” Most turkey producers concur that freezing can affect the texture and taste of the meat.

If a turkey isn’t labeled as fresh or frozen, it’s likely “hard-chilled” or “not previously frozen.” This type of turkey has been chilled below 26°F but not below 0°F, which precludes it from being labeled as fresh or frozen. We recommend choosing a turkey with no added ingredients, considering organic, kosher, or premium brands for the finest quality cooked turkey dinner.

The turkey’s size matters, depending on the number of guests at your dinner table. A general rule of thumb is to calculate three-quarters to one pound of turkey per person, sufficient for the main meal. If you desire leftovers or plan to send guests home with some, experts suggest allocating at least one to one-and-a-half pounds per person. Alternatively, you can opt for two smaller turkeys that, when combined, equal the total weight you require. This method can reduce roasting time compared to a single large turkey and generally results in more tender and juicy meat.

For those who are not particularly fond of turkey or desire a unique and flavorful twist on the traditional Thanksgiving meal, there are alternative main course options that are sure to impress your guests:

  • Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
  • Orange Roasted Duck
  • Lasagna
  • Roasted Pheasant
  • Beef Wellington
  • Salmon or Halibut

Exploring Catered Thanksgiving

If you find yourself uncertain about the path to take with your Thanksgiving menu or wish to savor the day with family and friends without the burden of days of preparation and cooking, consider catering your Thanksgiving dinner and turn to the profesisonals. Jacques Exclusive Caterers in New Jersey has been serving holiday dinners for four generations. Our comprehensive holiday menu features all your traditional favorites and a variety of specialty items and cultural cuisines to choose from. Contact us today to learn more about our Thanksgiving catering options.

By Frank Mamola

Frank brings over 25 years of special event and food/beverage experience to the team.

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403 State Route 36
Hazlet, NJ 07730
732.495.2600View map
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500 Palmer Avenue
Middletown, NJ 07748
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