Want to have the best Thanksgiving Day? Wondering why we break a wishbone? Do you know the proper time for a Thanksgiving Day meal? Find out here!


Ever wished you had a comprehensive guide that covered everything Thanksgiving? You’re in luck! We’ve put together tips, recipes, decoration ideas, and more to help you make this Thanksgiving the best one yet.

🍲 How do I thaw a turkey? [Video]

It’s best to thaw a Thanksgiving turkey in your refrigerator for 24 – 48 hours, depending on the size of the turkey. Figure about 24 hours of thaw time for each 5-pounds of turkey.

The refrigerator should be 40 degrees or below so that bacteria growth is discouraged.

PRO TIP: If you have a deep enough sink, you can thaw your turkey by filling the sink with cold water and placing the wrapped turkey breast side down in the water. Keep an eye on the water temperature and change the water every 30 minutes as it warms.

πŸ¦ƒ How do I brine a turkey? [Video]

Brining a turkey keeps it from drying out and adds flavor by helping the meat absorb water while it soaks. Keep in mind that brining takes a lot of room, so you’ll want to have a large stockpot.

Place the unwrapped, raw turkey in the stockpot. Add 8-ounces of Kosher salt and white sugar for every gallon of water.Β 

PRO TIP: Make the brining solution one gallon at a time, adding to the pot as you go along. This extra care helps keep the ratio right. For additional flavor, add 1/4 cup whole cloves and ground nutmeg to each gallon mixture. Adding rosemary can also add flavor.

πŸŽ’ Is there school the day after Thanksgiving?

If your student attends a Sioux Falls School District school, you’ll find that they are out of school on November 27, 28, and 29 in 2019. Check the official calendar here!

Pro Tip
Act quickly if you need a sitter during the Thanksgiving break from school. Even if you have a usual sitter, they may be visiting family out of town or have other plans.

πŸ’Έ When should I buy my Thanksgiving turkey? [Video]

The answer to this question depends on your intent to purchase a fresh or frozen turkey. Frozen turkeys last up to a year when stored properly, which means they can be purchased well ahead of time. Fresh turkeys should be purchased no more than 2 days before planned cooking.

You’ll want about 1 pound of turkey for every person coming to dinner. Keep in mind that you should take bone weight into account when calculating.

PRO TIP: Many grocery stores run specials around this time of year that includes a free turkey if you spend a certain amount on groceries or if you buy a ham. Take advantage of these sales and store your turkey in the freezer until needed. Sometimes it pays to shop early and stock up on pantry staples in case you have surprise guests.

πŸ— What’s the difference – fresh or frozen turkey? [Video]

Fresh Turkey Talk

A fresh turkey is one that has never been frozen, but that doesn’t always mean that it’s absolutely fresh. Unless you live close to a turkey farm that allows you to go there, pick your turkey, have it butchered, and then drive home, you’re probably better off sticking to a frozen turkey.

Frozen Turkey Talk

Most frozen turkeys are flash-frozen at temperatures below zero, packed, and then shipped to a store near you. The process keeps the turkey fresher and prevents ice crystals from forming on the meat. A frozen turkey can taste just as delicious as a fresh turkey if prepared properly.


πŸ“² Contact RL Real Estate Group

We can help!
Looking to buy or sell a home in Sioux Falls? We look forward to helping you reach your real estate goals. ☎️ Call us at 605-212-8431. πŸ“± You can also text us!

⏰ How long do I cook a turkey? [Video]

Expect to have 20 minutes of cooking time for each pound of turkey if you cook at an oven temperature of 325 degrees. The turkey’s internal temperature should be at least 165 degrees. If your turkey does not come with an internal popper that lets you know the cooking time is complete, purchase a meat thermometer and use this guide.

Keep in mind that cooking time increases if you are cooking a stuffed turkey. The stuffing should also be at 165 degrees in order to be safe for eating.

Turkey Cooking Times

Turkey WeightUnstuffed RoastingStuffed Roasting
10 to 18 pounds3 to 3.5 hours3.75 to 4.5 hours
18 to 22 pounds3.5 to 4 hours4.5 to 5 hours
22 to 24 pounds4 to 4.5 hours5 to 5.5 hours
24 to 29 pounds4.5 to 5 hours5.5 to 6.25 hours

🌽 What do I make for Thanksgiving meal? [Recipes]

You’ve got the turkey in the freezer, but what else do you serve with the Thanksgiving meal? It’s not unusual to have another meat served alongside the turkey, such as ham, beef roast, or shellfish.

We’re including a list of popular side items and desserts. Check out the video with 7 easy recipes for the best Thanksgiving ever!

Thanksgiving Meal Additions

  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Potatoes Au Gratin
  • Stuffing or Dressing
  • Sweet Potatoes or Yams
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Pumpkin Pie

πŸ– What if my turkey is still frozen? [Video]

Even with the best intentions, there are times when your turkey may still be partially frozen when it’s time to put it in the oven. Don’t panic! There are a couple of things you can do to save the day.

If you haven’t unwrapped the turkey, place it in a sink of cold water for 30 minutes. Check to see if it’s thawed. If not, water with more cold water and check again in another 30 minutes. Repeat until thawed.

PRO TIP: Never place a frozen turkey in a fryer filled with oil!

If the turkey is unwrapped, you can still cook it but should allow for additional cooking time. Add 25% more time for a partially frozen turkey and be sure to check the internal temperature to make sure it’s safe to eat before serving.


🍽 Most Popular Thanksgiving Foods

Everyone has something they look forward to eating each Thanksgiving. It might be your grandma’s famous pumpkin pie or your best friend’s green bean casserole, but it keeps you coming back for more. Here is a list of the top 10 Thanksgiving favorites. You may be surprised to see that turkey is not #1!

10. Turkey
9. Corn Bread
8. Green Bean Casserole
7. Macaroni and Cheese
6. Mashed Potatoes

5. Ham
4. Sweet Potato Casserole
3. Gravy
2. Stuffing
1. Pie

“America has developed a pie tradition unequivocally and unapologetically at the sweet end of the scale, and at no time is this better demonstrated than at Thanksgiving.”

Janet Clarkson, Pie: A Global History

πŸ•‘ What is traditional Thanksgiving meal time?

Whether you have your Thanksgiving meal at noon, mid-afternoon, or in the evening may depend on tradition and the schedules of those attending. If this is your first Thanksgiving, you may be wondering what time is considered traditional for the meal.

One of the most popular pre-meal traditions is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade begins around 8:00 AM and ends around 12:00 PM, making it the perfect beginning to Thanksgiving festivities and the meal.

Some households would rather spend their day relaxing and make plans to eat their Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant. Make reservations well in advance. It’s also the perfect idea for large groups.

Some households like to eat throughout the day. It’s not unusual to find people eating a meal at 12:00 PM, taking a nap, and then coming back to the table for dinner. Great for football watching!

🎈 NEW Macy’s Parade Balloons – 2019


πŸ₯˜ Sioux Falls Restaurants Open Thanksgiving

πŸ₯— Most Popular Thanksgiving Side Dishes

  • Glazed Carrots
  • Candied Yams
  • Creamed Spinach
  • Creamed Corn
  • Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Rolls
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Stuffing
  • Mashed Potatoes

πŸ₯£ 11 Instant Pot Thanksgiving Recipes [Recipes]

With the popularity of the Instant Pot, we thought it was a good idea to include some side item recipes that will taste delicious and save you some time!


πŸ€” Why do we eat turkey on Thanksgiving?

Turkey goes hand-in-hand with Thanksgiving, but have you ever wondered why? Wildfowl was served at the first Thanksgiving in the new world and has remained part of the tradition. We recognize the wildfowl as a turkey but it could have been ducks or geese just as easily.

Around the time our country was founded, Alexander Hamilton declared, “No citizen of the U.S. shall refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day.”Β 

Thanksgiving was established as an official national United States holiday by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. The turkey gained popularity because it was large enough to feed a large group of people and was not as common as chicken or pork. Because of the preparation time, it was not meat that most families had often, so it made a great holiday meal addition.
thanksgiving dinner with decor

πŸ‘©β€πŸ³ How do I make a Thanksgiving ham? [Recipe]

After turkey, you’ll find that ham is one of the favorite main dishes at a Thanksgiving meal. Buying a pre-cooked ham is a good choice for saving time on Thanksgiving morning. With a pre-cooked ham, you just heat and serve. You can even get it pre-sliced for super easy serving.

Flavoring the ham is the fun part! Stud the ham with cloves and pack brown sugar around the outside. Alternately, you can use a honey and pineapple glaze. Remember to baste the ham while cooking.

🍲 How do I make Thanksgiving stuffing? [Recipe]

There are several camps when it comes to making the stuffing. You can make it in the turkey while it bakes, make it in a different pan from scratch, or use a pre-packaged stuffing mix. Whatever method you choose, you can make it your own by adding chopping walnuts, pecans, dried cranberries, or diced apples.

PRO TIP: Save bread to have that day-old bread on hand that makes stuffing easier to make. You can pick up a bag of bread ends from a bakery or local grocery store. Many sell bags that are perfect for this use.

πŸ’ Making Thanksgiving Centerpieces & Crafts [Video]

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make an impressive and decorative centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table. Visit the pumpkin patch and choose several small gourds and pumpkins to place in the middle of the table.

Add a few wheat stalks and multicolored ears of maize to the centerpiece to represent the bounty of the season. Cornucopias are easy to find in craft stores and can be filled with fruits and nuts.

Wreaths are popular around this time of year and can be festive. Use a floral foam wreath wrapped in a dark brown ribbon to make a turkey wreath. Use a hot glue gun to attach a beak, eyes, feet, and decorative feathers.

Check out the video below to get more craft ideas. It’s a good idea to check Pinterest for Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas, too!


πŸ“‹ What can I prepare ahead of time for Thanksgiving?

Potatoes can be washed and cut ahead of time. Store them in a plastic, air-tight container.

Pies can be made ahead of time with the exception of meringues. Store in a covered pie plate or cake pan.

Gravy can be cooked ahead of time, cooled, and stored in a large freezer bag. Freeze it and thaw the night before needed. Slowly reheat in small pan or microwave.

Cranberry Sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator in a container with a tight lid. If you make your own, letting it sit overnight may actually result in a better flavor.

Green Salads can be prepped ahead by cutting the ingredients and storing them in separate containers. At mealtime, add to lettuce and serve.

Casseroles can be frozen and popped in the over to reheat before serving.

πŸ₯— Thanksgiving Tips for Healthy Eating [Recipes]

Turkey and ham both are fairly nutritious – the turkey especially. With plenty of protein, no carbs, and little fat, there’s nothing wrong with loading up your plate with these. However – skip the gravy, or just use a bit.

Any roasted vegetable will be great – plenty of minerals are found in potatoes, yams, beets, carrots, and other root vegetables. While they may have been tossed with olive oil or butter to cook, this is good dietary fat and good for you.

Fresh fruit tossed with a bit of balsamic demi-glace is a delicious dessert, but sometimes you just need pie on Thanksgiving. Go ahead, and indulge – just watch your portion size. A slice is about 1/8 of the pie, not a big chunk.


πŸ‘¨β€πŸ³ What do you cook first for Thanksgiving?

It’s a good idea to prepare as much as possible ahead of time so that all you need to do is put everything together or reheat dishes. The turkey takes the longest and should be your top priority. If you are making a ham, that should be next on the list of things to prepare.

PRO TIP: the night before, write out what needs to be prepared. Arrange it on an appointment calendar like you would for a project. Delegate jobs that don’t need your attention. Set reminders to help you stay on track.

🍽️ Proper Thanksgiving Table Setting

Most Thanksgiving meals are served buffet style or in a family-style setting. It’s rare to find a Thanksgiving dinner served in courses or plated.

When setting the table, place knives, forks, and spoons beside plates or have them in baskets on the buffet table.

Glassware goes on the right of the plate between 1 and 4 o’clock. Water glass goes in back and wine glass to the front.

🐢 Thanksgiving Pet Safety [Video]

Keep your pet safe when people are in and out of your home during Thanksgiving festivities. Consider keeping your pet in another room that is not used during the day or won’t be frequented by guests. Even the most well-behaved pet can act out when stressed.

Make it clear that your pet is not allowed to eat from the Thanksgiving table. This is especially important when it comes to turkey bones. If you want to give them a ham bone, consult your vet first.


πŸ› How long can you keep Thanksgiving leftovers?

STORAGE TIME
Item Pantry Fridge Freezer* Tips
Turkey – whole, cooked 3-4 days 2-3 months Cut whole bird into smaller pieces before refrigerating.
Gravy – homemade 1-2 days 2-3 months Bring leftover gravy to a full boil before using.
Cranberry sauce 10-14 days 1-2 months Store leftovers in covered plastic or glass container.
Stuffing – cooked 3-4 days 1 month Remove stuffing from turkey before refrigerating.
Mashed potatoes or yams; green bean casserole 3-5 days 10-12 months Mashed potatoes freeze well; whole baked potatoes don’t.
Pumpkin pie – baked 3-4 days 1-2 months Keep refrigerated. Texture may change after freezing, but taste shouldn’t be affected.
Apple pie – baked 2 days 2-3 days after pantry storage 1-2 months To freeze, wrap pie tightly with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place in heavy-duty freezer bag.

πŸ§’ Wishbone Tradition & Poem

Wishing on the furcular dates back thousands of years before the Mayflower sailed, to the time of the Etruscans, an Italian civilization predating Rome. The Etruscans used chickens for divination and would dry the furcular in the sun, then break it and wish. The tradition was passed down through different civilizations and changed over time. Eventually, this tradition traveled to the New World. In fact, the custom attributes to the idiom β€œget a lucky break.”

A fun activity for your kids to prepare for Thanksgiving is to learn, or write down on paper and decorate, the Wishbone PoemΒ by Jack Prelutsky:

Wishbone, wishbone,
On a dish
Pick it up and make a wish.
If I pull the wishbone right
I will get my wish tonight.
Wishbone, wishbone,
Will I win?
Will I laugh and clap and grin?
When the wishbone snaps in two,
Will my wishbone wish come true?
Wishbone, wishbone,
Now it snaps,
My sister grins and laughs and claps.
Wishbone, wishbone,
I don’t laugh,
My sister got the bigger half.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Thanksgiving Traditions in America [Video]

Cracking the wishboneΒ is an ancient tradition – and each family does it a little differently. Some let the youngest two wish, some rotate between children, while others, the host and hostess crack the wishbone. The only commonality is – don’t tell your wish out loud or it won’t come true!

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is almost 100 years old – the first one was in 1924. It began first as a parade by Macy’s employees. Additionally, the parade occurred throughout Central Park to include some of the zoo animals. A few years later, the floats replace the zoo animals, and later, the iconic balloons.

Football is another tradition – one where the men turnΒ on the TV and take naps. All kidding aside, the NFL has scheduled Thanksgiving day games since 1934. Fun fact: The Detroit Lions played in a Thanksgiving Day game every year since then. They took only a brief hiatus from 1939-1944 (WWII.)

The Turkey Pardon happens every year when the sitting U.S. President receives a gift of a live turkey. The President pardons this special turkey and any alternates. Additionally, this aspect remains an exciting tradition but remains separate from the White House Feast. The turkeys are sent to an animal rescue park.

GratitudeΒ Whether it’s going around the table and saying one thing that you are grateful for that year. Maybe a family prayer, giving thanks is the purpose for this holiday. Whatever you are grateful for this year, practice gratitude. Whomever you love, make sure that you tell them that you appreciate them.


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10+ Tips for Having the Best Thanksgiving [2019]
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10+ Tips for Having the Best Thanksgiving [2019]
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Want to have the best Thanksgiving Day? Wondering why we break a wishbone? Do you know the proper time for a Thanksgiving Day meal? Find out here!
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RL Real Estate Group
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