It takes 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator to thaw a frozen turkey. If you don't have that much time, fill your kitchen sink with water (cold) and place it there. As the water gets colder from the frozen turkey, keep letting some out and adding more water. When it seems that the outside is unfrozen, unwrap it so the water can reach the inside of the turkey. Many a turkey is still frozen in the center when being cooked.
There is a package of giblets and a neck that are stuck into the breast cavity of turkeys. Make sure you remove them. Sometimes they are put into little plastic bags which makes for a nasty mess. You don't want your beautiful turkey to taste like plastic. If you are fast thawing your turkey, make sure you take these out because they will keep the turkey frozen longer. It's near impossible to get them out until the turkey is thawed some.
I put an onion and a piece of celery inside the turkey while it is baking. It gives the turkey the flavor of stuffing without sucking up all the juices. I make my stuffing and cook it separately. You can put it in with the turkey in the last hour.
I'm sure there are more of these. Please add your own rookie moves to this post to help those that are making their first Thanksgiving dinner.
If you don't feel up to baking a whole turkey, the turkey breasts are a great option. They take much less time to thaw, give you lots of good breast meat and even have a gravy packet inside to help. If it is the day before Thanksgiving, unless you buy a fresh turkey, this may be your only option.
If you have any more tips for rookie cooks, feel free to post them below.
Susan from ThriftyFun