This past weekend consisted of two things: Turkey and Football!
Michael and I decided to cook a turkey dinner the weekend before Thanksgiving! Why?
We don’t know – but it sure was delicious!
I think back to the memories I have of the holidays and I always seem to remember my mom spending the whole day in the kitchen prepping the turkey feast. Turkey doesn’t have to be a daunting task. All you need are a few simple recipes and you can have a great meal in a few hours.
I wanted to share these recipes with you just in time for Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays aren’t far behind.
I will share:
- Best Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe Ever
- Preparing the Turkey
- Baking Instructions
- Quick Easy Turkey Gravy
- Great Mashed Potatoes Recipe
Best Thanksgiving Stuffing Ever
- 1 loaf white bread (cubed or ripped in to chunks)
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 4 celery stocks (chopped)
- 1-2 carrots (grated finely)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3 tsp poultry seasoning
- 2 tsp dried ground sage
- Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Ground Sausage Meat
If you are not using day old bread – let it air dry on counter for 2 hours or in low oven for 1 hour
In large pan melt butter and add onion, celery, and carrot
Season with spices
Cook until onion is translucent
Stir in bread pieces in small batches to ensure evenly coated with spice mixture
Add chicken broth to moisten and mix well
Remove from heat and let cool
This recipe can be baked alone in a 350F degree oven for 45 minutes or stuffed inside your bird and baked with it.
Preparing the Turkey
If you get a frozen turkey you are going to need to thaw it. There are two ways to thaw out that bird: the refrigerator method, and the cold water method.
the refrigerator method is more widely recommended because it is more food safe, but if you are on a crunch for time than the cold water method it is!
Refrigerator Thawing Method
Keep the turkey in it original packaging and place on a sturdy plate or dish in the fridge. Depending on the size of your turkey this can take up to a week to fully thaw.
Cold Water Thawing Method
This method is to be only used when on a time crunch and the turkey will be cooked as soon as it is thawed out. Keep the turkey in its original packaging and ensure there are no tears or punctures in it. If not sealed properly, place turkey in another bag and seal. Submerge in COLD water breast side down. Make sure to change the water every 30 minutes. This is definitely not a dunk it and walk away method, you need to keep changing that water, and depending on the size of your turkey can take up to 12 hours.
**Never thaw your turkey in the microwave!
After your turkey is thawed you need to clean it properly.
Cleaning your turkey
- Remove packaging from turkey
- Remove the giblets and neck from body cavity
- I throw them out because they gross me out. If you plan to use them give them a rinse and place them in the fridge until they are needed
- Give your turkey a wash inside and out with very cold water
- Pat dry with paper towels
This may sound like a lot of work to not even have your bird in the oven yet, but it really isn’t. Once that turkey is thawed the rest is a breeze!
Preparing for baking
- Salt and pepper the inside and outside of your bird
- Place in roasting pan lined with chopped carrot, celery, and onion
- If you are stuffing your turkey, fill the cavity with your stuffing now
- If you are not stuffing your turkey, place quartered onion, and lemon inside the cavity
- Mix room temperature butter (A LOT of it) with poultry seasoning and extra ground sage
- Rub on the turkey skin, and under it
Your turkey is now ready for the oven!
Make sure your oven is preheated to 350F. Once you add your stuffing to the bird it needs to be put in the oven as soon as possible to prevent bacteria growth.
A rule I go by is 15 minutes per pound if it is stuffed. Decrease this to 12-13 minutes if unstuffed.
11lb turkey would bake for around 2 hours 45 minutes
15lb turkey would bake for around 3 hours 45 minutes
and so on…
This is the one time in the kitchen that I actually use a meat thermometer to check the temperature when cooking. I mostly do this because I really don’t trust our oven these days. Turkey needs to reach a temperature of 165F to be considered done. Test at the area where the thigh meets the body as this takes the longest to reach temperature.
If you are planning on basting your turkey you can do so every 30 minutes or so. All that sage butter will be melted and mixing with the turkey juices at the bottom of the pan! Yum!
You can also wrap the turkey in bacon to add a different flavour profile if you like.
After your turkey has reached a temperature of 165F you can remove it from the oven.
We remove it from the pan, place it on a board, cover it with foil and then a towel and let it rest.
Why the towel?
Michael does that, and I asked him why. He said because his dad does that.
We aren’t exactly sure why, its just one of those things.
Are We Done Yet?
You are almost there!
While that turkey is resting you can get started on a quick, easy turkey gravy!
Quick Easy Turkey Gravy
- Remove vegetables from roasting pan
- Pour drippings in to bowl or large measuring cup
- Let drippings settle and spoon off fat from top layer.
- Pour a little fat in to the bottom of the roasting pan and heat to medium heat
- Whisk in flour (a few tablespoons)
- Continue to cook until browned and has picked up all the bits from bottom of roasting pan
- Slowly add turkey drippings and stock
- Cook for a few minutes until well combined stirring constantly
- Season with salt and pepper
The Grand Finale
There you have it! Seems pretty straightforward hey?
We couldn’t be bothered with many veggies this time around so we just had super rich yummy mashed potatoes alongside the turkey and stuffing topped with gravy!
Great Mashed Potatoes Recipe
- Peel and cube russet potatoes
- Place in large pot and cover with chicken stock
- Bring to a boil
- Cook until fork tender
- Drain and place back in warm pot
- Add spoonfuls of butter and sour cream, a touch of milk and season with salt and pepper
- Mash until smooth and creamy
I hope this helps alleviate some of that holiday stress in the kitchen!
If you have any great recipes you would like to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to feature them as part of the Seasonal Recipes for Fall Collection!