How to Fix Every Kind of Messed Up Thanksgiving Food

Forgot to defrost your turkey? Turkey too dry? If you've got Thanksgiving woes, from mushy vegetables to stale bread, we've got some tips for how to fix them.

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
3-minute read
The Quick And Dirty
  • If you forgot to defrost your tukey, thaw it in the fridge. If you're short on time, throw it in some cold water.
  • Turkey too dry? Fill the dish halfway with chicken stock and stick it back in the oven.
  • Get rid of excess moisture in your stuffing by laying croutons on top of it and putting it back in the oven.
  • Mushy veggies? Add herbs and tomato sauce or cream and bake to tranform the dish into a "vegetable gratin."
  • Tone down the salt by adding equal parts vinegar and sugar. 

What to Do If You Forgot to Defrost Your Turkey

The best way to thaw turkey is on a shallow baking sheet in the refrigerator, in its original packaging, allowing 24 hours for every five pounds of bird. But if it’s Thanksgiving morning and you’ve forgotten to stick the bird in the fridge, the fastest, safest method of thawing frozen poultry fast is to place it—still wrapped in plastic—in a bowl (or bucket) of cold water. Check the water regularly and change it as the water warms up—you should never use hot water for large pieces of meat, as it will promote bacterial growth.  

How to Fix Turkey That’s Too Dry

Did the star of your Thanksgiving dinner come out too dry? Don’t panic! You can re-hydrate your meat with an easy braise: Slice up the turkey and stick it in a baking dish. Fill the dish halfway with chicken stock, top with foil, and place it back in the oven for 10 minutes at 350º. The turkey will be juicy and delicious.

Save Soupy Stuffing

Without question, stuffing is one of the main attractions at our Thanksgiving table. But we’ve had our share of stuffing mishaps; sometimes it’s too goopy and wet to eat. To bring soupy stuffing back to life, first spread it onto a baking sheet. Layer cubes of stale bread or unseasoned croutons on top of the stuffing. Pop it back into the oven for about 15 minutes at 375º; when finished, stir it all together and spoon into a serving dish. The bread will sop up excess liquid, leaving your stuffing in its intended scrumptious form.

Fix Mushy Vegetables

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner and your vegetables turned to mush? Simply add some herbs along with tomato sauce or cream. Then top with cheese and/or bread crumbs and stick in the oven for 30 minutes. Your family is sure to be impressed with your new recipe for “vegetables gratin”! 

How to Fix Stale Bread

Took out bread and it’s too hard to eat? Here’s how to fix stale bread and other foods.

What to Do if You Added Too Much Salt

It’s been said that you can always add more salt to a dish, but you can never take it away. While that’s true, you can tame down an over-salted dish by adding ¼ teaspoon vinegar and ¼ teaspoon sugar to the food. Mix well, and taste. If it’s still too salty, keep adding this combination in small increments until you’ve balanced out the flavors. Or, if it’s a soup or sauce, you can use a potato. Potatoes contain starch, which absorbs salt, so all you need to do is peel a raw potato or two and toss it into the pot. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes before removing the potato, and your soup will be almost as good as new.

See Also: Infographic: Holiday Hacks You Need This Thanksgiving

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.