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

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

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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.

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“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.


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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