Prepping for Thanksgiving Day Dinner

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thanksgiving meal

 Must-have kitchen gadgets for a Thanksgiving feast

Ready or not, here comes Turkey Day — AND your hungry family. If you have been honored with the task of hosting Thanksgiving, make it easy on yourself by investing in the proper tools.

  • Electric knife: I know it seems goofy, but this Electric Knife from Cuisinart will make it super simple to cleanly slice up your bird or ham come the big day. Carving a turkey can be a real chore, but this handy blade takes the guess work and grunt work out. It comes with a solid hardwood stand and handle storage so you can keep it properly stored and it will be like-new every year. Switch between the two stainless steel blades, designed for carving meat and bread respectively. A safety button and a four foot cord makes this electric knife user-friendly and safe for everyone.
  • Meat thermometer: You won’t overcook the turkey when you check it with this digital thermometer. This speed-read models gives you accurate readings in 8 seconds or less in both Celsius and Fahrenheit. Pre-programmed settings for veal, beef, pork, chicken and fish give you at-a-glance readings for rare, well-done, and other degrees of cooking. It’s great for the grill or the oven.
  • Food chopper: Chop veggies for your stuffing, pecans for pie, garlic to spice up your potatoes and much more with this easy hand chopper by Cuisinart. The plastic base allows you to chop without the addition of a cutting board. The covered design also keeps you hands out of the way, so you can cut and dice without worrying about slicing your fingers. This safe, easy to clean (throw it in the dishwasher!) and user-friendly chopper is a great addition year-round. Plus it’s on sale at a super-affordable price.
  • Food processorBlendtec: Cut your prep time in half with a Blendtec. Blendtec’s have the most powerful motors on the consumer market, plus they replace most of your other kitchen appliances. Chop and puree’ foods plus make nut butters, smoothies, and other foods (hot or cold). An early holiday gift is sure to make preparing food for all those winter holidays easier.


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Thanksgiving recipes: Use a ricer for the best mashed potatoes

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Yes, the turkey is the star of the Thanksgiving Day dinner, but there are many key players. My favorite every year is the creamy, buttery mashed potatoes — no one can make them like my mother. This year, I finally asked: what’s the secret?

Using a ricer instead of whipping or hand mashing potatoes creates smooth, lump-free spuds fit for melted butter, gravy or both. Cook’s Illustrated recently put a few model to the test and picked two models on our site as their top two favorites.

  • RSVP International Potato Ricer: This food press features a sturdy handle and pot hook so it stays in place while you process your potatoes. The rectangular shape makes it easy to fit spuds of all sizes, plus the interchangeable disks allow you to master a range of different textures. It’s also a great model for making your own baby food or removing extra moisture from cooked greens. Plus, it’s dis-mountable and dishwasher safe!
    Cleaning: ∗∗∗  Ease of Use: ∗∗∗  Performance: ∗∗∗
  • OXO Three in One Adjustable Potato Ricer: This ricer from OXO is made for more than one job. The adjustable grates are great for ricing potatoes, but can also be used to cube veggies for soups and other recipes. This model also features a pot hook so it can be rested on the side of your pan while you process potatoes. Made from stainless steel and BPA-free plastic, plus it is safe to use in the dishwasher.
    Cleaning: ∗∗∗  Ease of Use: ∗∗1/2  Performance: ∗∗∗

Tips for the best mashed potatoes:

  • Season the cooking water: potatoes can be bland and the best way to season them is to salt the water you cook them in.
  • Get butter and cream warm before adding: Using cold cream or butter can cause potatoes to get gummy. Heat up the butter and cream beforehand.
  • Infuse: Steep crushed garlic and your favorite herbs in your warm butter before adding to your potatoes. This way you get flavor without lumps or chunks.
  • Use a ricer: Obviously, using a ricer will give you the smoothest potatoes, but make sure you do it while the spuds are still hot.
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