Thanksgiving Cooking Tips from Food Network Chefs

I had a chance to interview Food Network Chefs Anne Burrell and Geoffrey Zakarian to discuss Thanksgiving cooking tips.

When I conducted this interview a couple of years ago, Geoffrey Zakarian and Anne Burrell were competing in the Fridgidaire Double or Nothing Holiday Challenge. The Food Network stars competed to prepare the BIGGEST holiday meal using the Frigidaire Gallery® Range with Symmetry™ Double Ovens. Prior to their competition, I interviewed Geoffrey Zakarian and Anne Burrell for some Thanksgiving Cooking Tips.

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – What do you think of brining? Is it necessary?

Food Network Chef Anne Burrell – Absolutely! I have to say I’m a briner from way back. The thing about brining is that it helps you get a jump on the whole Thanskgiving story. You get your turkey in the briner a few days ahead of time, you pull it out of the brine, butter it up, get it all ready to roll, all the veggies in the bottom of the pan the night before, leave it in the fridge over night uncovered, and then when you get up the next day, you can just toss your turkey right into the oven and you’re so far ahead of the game. And when your turkey comes out, it has the most beautiful brown skin you’ve ever seen. People will say, “Oh my gosh! It looks just like a Norman Rockwell painting!” And, you can say, “I know. I’m a superstar! I’ve been working on it all morning!”

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – Do you have any recipes for brining?

Food Network Chef Anne Burrell – I do a ratio of twice as much salt as sugar. From there you can take it wherever you want it to go. I have a recipe for an apple cider brined turkey. If you want to go a little bit more on the savory side, I love to always use a little celery, onion, carrots, and even some fennel, fennel seed, coriander seed, bay leaves… The world is your oyster. The world is your brine. And, the brine is the ultimate marinade.

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – What’s the easiest thing regular moms can do to make holiday meals stand out?

Food Network Chef Goeffrey Zakarian – Everybody asks that. I always tell people to never do things you would not do on a regular basis. Meaning, don’t test out the day on your guests on one day. Do stuff you’re really comfortable cooking. I wouldn’t test out new recipes on Thanksgiving because that’s not what Thanksgiving is about. Thanksgiving is about people coming to your house, you being as stress free as possible, and them coming into your kitchen, helping out, opening a bottle of wine, and really enjoying your day you’re giving to them. That’s what’s important. It’s about getting together and coming together as a family. So do what you know how to do, and you’ll do it well.

Food Network Chef Anne Burrell – I’m also about totally making a game plan. Make your menu a few days ahead of time, and then plan out what you are going to do. Make your pie doughs a few days ahead of time and toss it in the fridge, make your stuffing the day ahead and toss it in the oven… Plan ahead. I would say the only thing you really can’t do ahead is the turkey and the mashed potatoes. But, you can peel your potatoes and put them in water the day before. Plan ahead so you’re not stressed out because you never know what’s going to happen. And, you get to enjoy Thanksgiving also.

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – What holiday meals should be retired?

Food Network Chef Goeffrey Zakarian – You want to retire part of the Thanksgiving dinner? I don’t think so!

Food Network Chef Anne Burrell – I’d have to say mine is tried and true. I’ve been making the same Thanksgiving dinner for years and years – because I like it. I cook what I like. I will ask if anybody has something they need to have to make it feel like home, the one thing that makes it Thanksgiving for you while being away from home.

Food Network Chef Goeffrey Zakarian – I also think it’s fun to tell poeple if you’re inviting them, it’s ok to have them bring something. If someone offers to bring something, it’s always good to actually tell them what to bring. It takes the heat off of them and the pressure. Instead of having them bring a bottle of wine, ask them if they would mind bringing something like the Whipped Cream, a side dish… and they’ll feel good about it. They’ll feel like they’ve done something to contribute to the feast. And that tradition is something that you reinvent every year and you make it better. But eliminating stuff, I would never eliminate anything. The stress! I would eliminate some of the stress!

Food Network Chef Anne Burrell – Some of my favorite Thanksgiving dinners would be including the whole family in it. My sister and I would sit there with our little cutting boards making the toast squares, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on the little tiny black and white TV in our kitchen. I just remember those days. They’re so exciting to me and I loved being a part of it. Plan bits and pieces that everybody who’s around can be involved. Because that’s what Thanksgiving is about. It’s about tradition, sharing, and generally being thankful for what we have.

Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – I think I might get my kids more involved this year. They would enjoy it and it will start a great tradition.

Food Network Chef Anne Burrell – And if it stresses you out to have the kids in the kitchen, you can always have kids help set the table. That was always something that was exciting for me – to make a fancy table. You can have them go into the yard and collect pretty leaves, you can have them make place cards or pick up pine cones…Just have them be involved. It makes them more interested. It gets them more curious about food. It gets them vested in the whole family tradition.

See related posts below for more Oakland County Moms celebrity interviews.

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