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Published November 27, 2013, 06:40 PM

Tips for preparing a great Thanksgiving meal

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - If you're a novice chef making Thanksgiving dinner for a horde of family and friends tomorrow, every tick of the clock may be feeling like a countdown to disaster.

By: Drew Trafton, WDAY

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - If you're a novice chef making Thanksgiving dinner for a horde of family and friends tomorrow, every tick of the clock may be feeling like a countdown to disaster.

But we're here to help!

"I usually get covered with starch."

Filled with more than 400 pounds of potatoes and nearly 150 combined years of Thanksgiving meal preparation experience, our spotlight fell on the kitchen in the parish hall of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Moorhead.

"They like, they like the action. Ok. That's it? Ok."

The goal: feeding between seven to eight hundred people as part of the 19th annual fellowship project between the parish and Trinity Lutheran.

Marlene Bekkerus/Member of Trinity Lutheran Church: "I can't chop like they do on TV. They go, and I think, 'How do they not chop their fingers?'”

And while they may not normally have their own cooking show, these ladies were more than willing to dish on how to prepare a good turkey.

Bekkerus: "Plan ahead. Make sure you get it thawed out. Make sure you get the innards out of the center of the turkey."

Anna Schellack/Parishioner of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church: "I put butter over all the skin, and we rub the outside and the inside with salt and pepper and help the flavor a lot."

Flavor is also key when it comes to the dressing, the ladies suggest Stove Top, with a slight twist.

Schellack: "Add to it chicken broth instead of water in the recipe. And put in butter and then celery and onions."

Speaking of broth,

Schellack: "Any juices you get from cooking your turkey-- use it. Don't let it go to waste."

And if you're beginning to detect a pattern, these ladies like butter.

In fact, when it comes to mashed potatoes, make sure to go heavy with some warm milk for the best results.

Of course, some of their best tips have nothing to do with food, such as being strategic with your guest list.

Schellack: "Hopefully, they'll all pitch in and help. That's the best secret."

And the ladies offer up one final tip: if all else fails, just bring your brood here, to the Christian Life Center at Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead where everyone is welcome to a free meal from 12 to 2 p.m. Thursday.

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