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Michelin-starred Scottsdale chef shares his Thanksgiving cooking tips and recipes | Recipes Seen on GMAZ

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS ) — From the turkey to all the trimmings, the countdown to Thanksgiving is on! If you’re making dinner this year, you better start prepping now. I hit Bashas’ Supermarket near Indian School and Hayden roads with Chef Alex Stratta of Campo Italian Bistro and Bar to shop for our meal.

Getting the ingredients

We start in the produce section, where Stratta shops for apples. “What we’re looking for is a really crisp apple that roasts well, holds up, and doesn’t get mushy,” he explained. When it comes to baking, he recommends Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Gala apples.

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We also grabbed garlic, fennel, Brussels sprouts, and green beans.

When you’re buying a turkey, Stratta says he usually gets two pounds per person. That should give you plenty for leftovers. If you have eight people, grab a 16-pound bird.

Grocery shopping

Kylee said she and Chef Alex Stratta spent about $80 on ingredients to whip up a meal for eight people. That’s around $10 per person!

“Get it a few days in advance,” Stratta suggested. “You don’t want to run it under water and defrost it. You want it to defrost nice and slowly.”

The one thing not in stock was buttermilk for marinating the turkey.

We pivoted to grab herbs instead to give our turkey a Mediterranean-style taste.

We also got some bacon to go into our Brussels sprouts dish. Stratta has a certain type he uses when cooking. “I like the thick-cut bacon,” he said. “It gives you nice big chunks in there. I don’t like it too smoked. This is a naturally light smoked bacon, so it doesn’t take over the flavors.”

We spent about $80 for a turkey plus ingredients for three sides and dessert for eight people.

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Time to cook!

Download: Chef Alex Stratta’s Thankgving recipes (PDF file)

Next, we headed to Campo Italian to whip up the Thanksgiving feast. We start with the star of the show, the turkey!

We brush the turkey with olive oil and add garlic inside and out, plus lots of salt, along with pepper, sage, rosemary, and thyme. “We’re going to leave them in the roasting pan, so as the bird cooks all the juices come off of it. It’s a very simple, delicious way to do it,” Stratta said.

The expert chef says the key to cooking a juicy bird is to cook it slowly and use a meat thermometer. “What I generally do is stick the thermometer to the thickest part of the turkey, which is really right in the middle of the thigh,” he said.

The dishes

While the turkey was cooking, we started on the creamy horseradish potatoes. Stratta likes using russet potatoes. “For baking, or any kind of gratin dishes, anything baked, these are really the best kind,” he said.

Stratta recommends peeling the potatoes the night before and leaving them in water overnight. He also uses a mandolin to cut all the potatoes the same size. It’s his favorite kitchen gadget.

Once all the potatoes were cut, he added heavy cream, creamy horseradish, and parmesan cheese, and then sent it to the oven.

Now it’s time for Stratta’s signature side, Brussels sprouts with bacon and roasted apples. After some chopping, he tossed the Brussels, bacon, and apples in a skillet to roast, then sprinkled over brown sugar and let it caramelize.

Stratta also makes an easy and delicious dish with green beans, fennel, and garlic.

Now, it’s time for dessert!

Stratta made a caramel pecan pie, a perfect way to end a tasty meal.

He started off making the batter, which consists of corn syrup, butter, sugars, vanilla, eggs, and, of course, pecans. It’s a relatively simple dish that doesn’t require much prep. One the batter is ready, you pour it into a pie crust and bake.

Ready to give it a try yourself?

Hopefully, by now, Stratta has inspired you to make a few new dishes for your holiday meal.

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We asked him for his best piece of advice for cooking Thanksgiving dinner. “First of all, you’ve got to plan ahead and be organized,” he said. “Remember, it’s about the food, but more importantly about the company.”

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