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Photo: LakeElmoInn.com

As a matter of fact, a traditional Thanksgiving dinner has to consists of roast turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.

1. Thanksgiving Turkey

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Photo: SeriousEats.com
Why in the world do people stress so much over their Thanksgiving Turkey? Ok, I guess it IS the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal. And that usually means you have a table full of people not to disappoint. Ok, I get it. It’s a big deal! - Shared by Tastesoflizzyt.com.

- First, remove the thawed turkey from it’s packaging. Remove the neck (usually found in the large cavity of the bird) and the bag of giblets (sometimes found in the smaller neck cavity of the bird). Discard them, or save them for gravy. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.

- Next, season the cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper. Stuff it with the quartered lemon, onion, apple and herbs.

- Tuck the wings of the turkey underneath the turkey and set the turkey on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan (or on top of a bed of chopped veggies —carrots, onion and celery work well—in a disposable roasting pan). Tucking the wings prevents them from burning, and helps the turkey sit flatter.

- Use your fingers to loosen and lift the skin above the breasts (on the top of the turkey) and smooth a few tablespoons of the herb butter underneath. Use some twine to tie the turkey legs together. Then slather the outside turkey in the rest of the herb butter. That’s it! You are ready to let your oven do the rest of the work!

- You will want to check the turkey about half way through cooking. Use your oven light to see if the skin is golden, and then place a large piece of tinfoil over the breast meat of the turkey to help keep it from overcooking.

2. Mashed Potatoes

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Photo: FoodNetwork.com
Another defining dishes of Thanksgiving is mashed potatoes. They are so simple to make when you have the right techniques and right add-ins. Which I outline in this recipe! This is the ultimate mashed potatoes recipe for any holiday or regular dinner, with just the right balance of tang and creaminess. So, let’s make some taters! - Laurenslatest.com noted.

- Peel potatoes (a great job for kiddos) and rinse them. Cut into even-sized pieces and place them into a large pot.

- Cover with water and add a dash of salt. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook until fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain completely and place potatoes back into the hot pot.

- Mash potatoes with butter, cream cheese, milk, salt, and pepper until desired consistency has been reached.

- Serve warm with gravy.

3. Cranberry sauce

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Photo: SimplyRecipes.com
Cranberries are absolutely perfect with turkey. Sort of like lemons and chicken. Something about the flavors, they’re just made for each other. The sauce is so good to spread over turkey in your leftover turkey sandwiches. This is why cranberry sauce is an indispensable food on Thanksgiving, shared by Simplyrecipes.

- Rinse cranberries: Place the cranberries in a colander and rinse them. Pick out and discard any damaged or bruised cranberries.

- Boil water with sugar: Put the water and sugar in a medium saucepan on high heat and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

- Add cranberries, cook until they burst: Add the cranberries to the pot and return to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until most of the cranberries have burst.

- Stir in mix-ins if using: Once the cranberries have burst you can leave the cranberry sauce as is, or dress it up with other ingredients. We like to mix in a half a cup of chopped pecans a pinch or two of orange zest.

- Some people like adding raisins or currants, or even blueberries for added sweetness. You can also add holiday spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice. If adding spices, start with a pinch of each and add more to your taste.

- Let cool: Remove the pot from heat. Let cool completely at room temperature, then transfer to a bowl to chill in the refrigerator. Note that the cranberry sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

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