Cooking your first Thanksgiving dinner? If you are, there are some essential tools that will help make the job easier. Investing in high quality cookware and accessories will go a long way. Cheap alternatives may seem like a bargain but in the long run, they will not hold up and you will need to replace them. Buying quality, the first time will not only save you money, your food will taste better because it will cook more evenly, letting you serve perfection to your guests.
The first thing you need is a roasting pan for your turkey. Make sure you choose one that is large enough for the size turkey you are cooking. Using a pan that is too small can be downright dangerous because the hot turkey or juices can fall on you when you are carrying it or during basting.
Two pans that I think have the best size, design and quality are the Calphalon Contemporary Stainless Roasting Pan with Rack or the Calphalon Commercial Hard-Anodized Roasting Pan with Nonstick Rack.
I like the stainless pan best because it is not nonstick and I prefer not to use nonstick cookware. If you like nonstick options, the second pan has a lower price and still has nice features. You can check them out and compare both on Amazon.com.
Once the turkey is cooked to perfection and it has been allowed to rest, you need to carve it. You will want to have a high quality carving set to easily and neatly cut and serve that juicy turkey to your guests. I recommend the Wüsthof Classic Two-Piece Hollow Ground Carving Set because the long, narrow knife makes it easy to cut thin slices. The hollow edged blade creates air pockets as you carve and that means the meat does not stick to the sides of the knife. The two prong meat fork is very helpful to transfer and serve. You can find this set at Macy’s.
Basting is something that is essential when roasting your turkey. Nothing is more aggravating than finding out your inexpensive plastic turkey baster has a crack or does not work Thanksgiving day. This is one great reason that I recommend the Norpro Stainless Steel Bulb Baster Set. The seal on this baster is tight so the hot juices don’t leak out and burn you or make a mess of your oven. It includes a brush so you can make sure your baster is clean when you put it away. If you like this baster it is available at Walmart.com.
While you may have purchased a turkey with one of those little buttons that is supposed to pop out when perfectly cooked, it is always a good idea to use a meat thermometer as well. There are many good thermometers on the market. I like the classic design and easy to read gauge of the Cuisinart Stainless Steel Meat Thermometer available at Lowes.
You will need a good cutting board like this Boos Edge-Grain Carving Board. Made of maple this is the ultimate carving board for roast meats and poultry. Board features an extra-deep well to catch flavorful juices. Use the opposite side to cut up vegetables. This board and many others are available at Williams-Sonoma.
For stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes, vegetables and more you will need a few covered casserole dishes. I really like the Le Creuset Heritage 4-Quart Oval Covered Casserole. This versatile dish goes from freezer to oven to table and features a tight fitting lid with traditional loop handle and easy-to-grip grooved side handles. Best of all this dish is dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
For pies that bake evenly to perfection the proper pie dish is very important. Made of oven-safe ceramic that is also dishwasher freezer and microwave safe, the Emile & Henry 9-inch Ceramic Pie Dish has a scalloped edge that mimics a fluted crust.
Other baking essentials that you need to have for rolling out pie crust, cookies and more is a rolling pin and at least 2 cookie sheets are in order for baking rolls, appetizers and of course, cookies. You can pick up all these baking essentials from Bed Bath and Beyond.
Let me know what other essentials you would recommend to someone hosting their first Thanksgiving dinner. They can use all the help they can get.