Turkey Talk: Answers to 6 Most-Asked Questions

Written by Sherri Allen

The holiday season is upon us. Our minds turn torepparttar delicious Christmas aromas wafting fromrepparttar 113186 kitchens of celebrations-past. The busy cook hosting this years' gathering, however, doesn't always get to enjoyrepparttar 113187 thoughts of gingerbread cookies and buche de noel. Instead, he or she worries aboutrepparttar 113188 turkey... "How long should I cook it? Which method should I use? What'srepparttar 113189 right temperature for cooking it?"

The answers to six ofrepparttar 113190 most-asked turkey-roasting questions are right here.

1. What size turkey do I need to buy? Plan for at least one pound of uncooked turkey per person when purchasing a whole turkey. You'll have enough forrepparttar 113191 feast and for leftovers, too.

2. How should I defrostrepparttar 113192 turkey? Turkey can be thawed inrepparttar 113193 refrigerator, in cold water or inrepparttar 113194 microwave.

Whole turkey takes about 24 hours per four to five pounds to thaw inrepparttar 113195 refrigerator. In cold water, changed every 30 minutes, turkey takes about 30 minutes per pound to thaw. When using a microwave to thaw a turkey, followrepparttar 113196 manufacturer's instructions forrepparttar 113197 size turkey that will fit in your oven,repparttar 113198 minutes per pound andrepparttar 113199 power level to use.

Never defrost turkey onrepparttar 113200 counter.

Once thawed, keep turkey refrigerated at 40 degrees F. or below until it is ready to be cooked. Turkey thawed inrepparttar 113201 microwave should be cooked immediately.

3. How should I stuffrepparttar 113202 turkey? Stuffing should be prepared and stuffed intorepparttar 113203 turkey immediately before it's placed inrepparttar 113204 oven for cooking. If preparingrepparttar 113205 stuffing ahead-of-time, wet and dry ingredients should be refrigerated separately and combined right before stuffingrepparttar 113206 turkey.

Stuffrepparttar 113207 turkey loosely, about 3/4 cup stuffing per pound of turkey.

Testrepparttar 113208 suffing for doneness. Place a meat thermometer inrepparttar 113209 center ofrepparttar 113210 stuffing. Oncerepparttar 113211 stuffing has reached 160 to 165 degrees F.,repparttar 113212 stuffing is done.

Do not removerepparttar 113213 turkey fromrepparttar 113214 oven untilrepparttar 113215 stuffing has reachedrepparttar 113216 required temperature.

For over 100 stuffing recipes, visit http://www/allrecipes.com/.

4. Do I have to stuffrepparttar 113217 turkey? No. If you do not stuff your turkey, add about 2 cups of coarsely chopped celery and onion, with a few sprigs of fresh sage, torepparttar 113218 cavity to enhancerepparttar 113219 fragrance and add torepparttar 113220 flavor ofrepparttar 113221 pan juices.

Baking Christmas Memories: Rolled Gingerbread Cookies

Written by Sherri Allen

Some of my fondest childhood memories of Christmas are those of my brother, sister and me baking Christmas cookies with our mother. We'd all end up covered in flour and frosting,repparttar kitchen would be a mess andrepparttar 113185 cookies never came close to resemblingrepparttar 113186 perfectly-decorated confections featured onrepparttar 113187 pages of Mom's favorite magazines, but we had a great time creating our "masterpieces."

Here is a kid-pleasing Christmas cookie recipe that you can make with your own children, creating memories that will last for years to come.

Rolled Gingerbread Cookies These cookies are mildly spiced, for kids. If you like your gingerbread men a little hotter, use 1 tablespoon each of ground cinnamon and ginger instead of 2 teaspoons. The dough can be cut into gingerbread people, of course, and decorated with raisins, red hots, and chocolate chips before being baked. Or cutrepparttar 113188 dough into any shape and decoraterepparttar 113189 cookies with icing. Makes about 40 medium gingerbread people

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons ground ginger 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 1 large egg 1/2 cup dark (not light or blackstrap) molasses 1 tablespoon water

Whisk togetherrepparttar 113190 flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium mixing bowl.

Creamrepparttar 113191 butter and brown sugar together in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium high speed until fluffy Addrepparttar 113192 egg, molasses, and water and beat until incorporated, scraping downrepparttar 113193 sides ofrepparttar 113194 bowl as necessary Addrepparttar 113195 flour mixture all at once and mix on low speed untilrepparttar 113196 dough comes together in a ball.

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