MONTCLAIR, N.J. (CBSNewYork)Thanksgiving will look a lot different this year.

Some will be celebrating by Zoom, others in very small groups.

If you’re preparing the meal on your own for the first time, don’t worry. CBS2’s Cindy Hsu has tips from Chef Karan Fischer, owner of the Montclair Culinary Academy.

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“My advice to everybody is don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be,” Fischer said. “Always think about the time, the taste and the technique.”

She calls them the 3 Ts of Thanksgiving:

  • Timing — cook your turkey 20 minutes per pound.
  • Taste — always season ahead, instead of afterwards.
  • Technique — don’t over mash potatoes; they’ll become gummy instead of light and fluffy.

Fischer likes russet potatoes; add warm milk and cold butter.

Chef Karan Fischer says if you’re cooking for a group of four people or under, go for a turkey breast. (Credit: Cindy Hsu)

“Whatever you do, don’t put it in a blender, don’t put it in a Cuisinart. You want it more rustic and you want it more rough,” she said.

When it comes to turkey, if you’re cooking for yourself or a group of four or under, you don’t need a whole bird. Fischer says go for a turkey breast.

“So this turkey breast was just a simple breast from Whole Foods and it was done in an hour,” she said.

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Experts say most people eat about a quarter to a half pound of turkey on Thanksgiving.

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For dessert, instead of a whole pie, Fischer likes to make individual apple cups in a muffin pan using puff pastry.

Chef Karan Fischer likes to make individual apple cups instead of a whole pie. (Credit: Cindy Hsu)

“You fill it with apple and you season that and you close it up and you bake it for about 20 minutes,” she said.

A few more tips — use a digital thermometer to monitor the turkey, and when you bake most items, set the oven at 350 degrees. When you roast, set it to 450.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

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