Top 5 Thanksgiving cooking classes for first-time hosts

It's officially two weeks until Thanksgiving day, and if you're in the position of hosting but lack the culinary skills to pull it off, you might call this gut-check time. Luckily the Twin Cities have an array of classes that can get any novice up to speed on practically every aspect of the day's meal. Here's a list of classes that can help you get your meal made impressively, from appetizers to dessert.

1. Start-to-finish help Kitchen Window instructor Royal Dahlstrom takes students through demonstrations of unique recipes that have been passed down for generations--enough to create an entire Thanksgiving meal--at Thanksgiving Traditions With a Twist. The class begins with roasted fingerling potatoes with cold smoked salmon and chives as an appetizer, then kicks up to pork pot stickers with sage and ginger served with cranberry chutney. It's not Thanksgiving without the stuffing, and Dahlstrom makes his with chorizo, cranberries, and goat cheese. A morel mushroom and green bean casserole with fried leeks follows, as do twice-baked baby pumpkins with aged Swiss and sweet onions. The crowning glory is a citrus-roasted turkey with sea salt and turkey gravy, and finally a pecan pumpkin pie with hard sauce. We got hungry just typing that. If you feel the same way, sign up for this $70 class that takes place on Nov. 17 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. by visiting the Kitchen Window website.

2. How to cook a legitimate bird Cooks of Crocus Hill comes to the rescue every year with a heap of Thanksgiving-related classes, which is why we're mentioning two of them in this list (page down for the other one). The first is Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey, which costs a measly $10 for loads of bird knowledge. Instructors Karl and Mike will teach students the ins and outs of making a mouthwatering turkey and giblet gravy to boot. This quick and easy class takes place on November 19 from 12 to 1 p.m. in both the St. Paul and Edina locations. Sign up online here.

3. Foregoing the fowl Thanksgiving is not a holiday for vegans and vegetarians...unless you've taken the DIY Seitan Roulade: AKA Vegan Turkey class at the Linden Hills Co-op. Instructor Jen Cortez will show non-meat-eaters how to make a special holiday meal sans bird by creating a hearty seitan roulade instead. Forget the faux turkey--indulge in roasted seitan layered with an herbed breadcrumb stuffing. Yum! This class takes place on November 15 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and costs $23 for members, $25 for nonmembers. Sign up by calling 612.922.1159.

4. Don't forget the sides Sure the turkey is the meal's centerpiece, but where would we be without some seriously delicious sides? Kitchen in the Market at Midtown Global Market knows you shouldn't ignore the extras, which is why they're offering Thanksgiving Sideshow, a class made entirely of Thanksgiving side dishes. Chef Molly Herrmann hits on vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options to make sure everyone's needs are met. Dishes will include wild rice-stuffed apples with pecans, raisins, and cheese; a savory bread pudding; Brussels sprouts slaw with crisped prosciutto; and many more. Best of all, the class begins with a champagne cocktail to get you in the mood to cook, and you get to eat the spoils. The class runs 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on November 13 and costs $55. Book here.

This is apparently easy to do...
This is apparently easy to do...

5. Room for dessert If your guests make it through dinner with room in their stomachs to cram in something sweet, you'd better be ready to deliver. Thankfully Cooks of Crocus Hill once again sweeps in and saves the day with its Thanksgiving Desserts class. In just one hour you will learn how to make these simple and satisfying desserts: fast and easy pumpkin pie, pecan bars, and frozen Grand Marnier soufflé. This class runs from 2 to 3 p.m. at both the Edina and St. Paul locations and costs just $10. Sign up here.

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