Please Enjoy The Recipe -
This is a simple way with short cuts to make a Full Turkey Dinner.
Notice .. Many people feel Turkey is a tradition for Thanksgiving Day Celebration in the United States. Also, many people often feel the ‘Turkey’ meat is dry. Here is a way to prepare your ‘Stuffed’ Turkey or Whole Chicken (stuffed) and it won’t come out a dry bird!
Follow these simple instructions, and I assure you the ‘Meat’ will be moist and tender.......
Please read everything here before starting!
This meal easily feeds 4 adults:
Turkey Ingredients and Amounts:
Helpful Hint: Young turkey’s are more tender, so buy a small one, the flavor is better and the meat will not be dry and stringy when cooked.
12 to 14 Pound Young Frozen Turkey (brand unimportant). If you have more people and need 20 to 24 pounds of turkey, and have the oven space then prepare two 12 pound turkeys.
Pre-Cooking Turkey Preparations:
Remove the Turkey from Freezer, or if buying close to T-Day, and place in refrigerator 24-48 Hours before attempting to bake (do not remove from rapper). If frozen solid (very hard) this probably will require a full 72-hours.
Start early. When removing the Turkey from the refrigerator and it is still frozen, place in the sink in cold water until thawed. It should be ready in about 1 – 2 hours (try and avoid this). Do not use hot water.
Defrosting in microwave can make the bird very tough.
Never defrost at room temperature.
Caution: Some Turkeys do not come frozen, so put the bird in the refrigerator (ice box) until ready, do not freeze.
Start cooking early in the day. I start my Turkey preparations no later than 9:00am.
Make sure you have all the ingredients before Turkey Day:
2 Fresh Celery Sticks
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Stick of Butter
1 Can of Turkey Gravy (any brand)
Parsley Flakes (dry, found in spice section of grocery store)
2 Boxes of Instant Stuffing Mix (I usually buy the Chicken flavored, if you're bold try the cranberry flavored).
Ground Sage (comes in a small spice container, it’s best to buy this fresh every year, found in spice section of the grocery store)
Optional - One Fresh Ripe Naval Orange.
Necessary Cooking Utensils for Turkey:
Large Roasting Pan (you can buy disposable aluminum pans just for Turkey, they will also be in the grocery store)
Important Safety Tip: If you use a disposable aluminum pan place a large cooking tray underneath and pick the baking tray up not the aluminum tray or it may collapse and burn you!
Roll of Aluminum Foil
Large 2-prong Meat Fork (optional)
2 Large Meat 3-prong Forks (for lifting Turkey out of pan, highly recommended)
A Baking Thermometer (a must, very important, I do not recommend relying on the pop-up device many Turkeys come with)
Basting Brush (a must)
Large Roll of Paper Towels
Small Metal Mesh Strainer
Basting Device (hollow plastic tube with rubber ball you squeeze, use this for basting the turkey, this is absolutely required).
Baking Ties or Baking Nails (don’t use something from the garage, buy these at the cooking dept in Wal-Mart, etc.)
Mash Potato Device.
Recommended Vegetables and Side Dishes for your Thanksgiving Day Diner, I have found most people eat the following:
-Whole Kernel Corn
-String Beans w/bacon
-Baked Beans in the Oven (one of my favorites, my mother’s recipe)
Vegetable Ingredients and Amounts for every 4 people:
One Large Can (16oz) of Whole Kernel Corn
One Large Can (16oz) of Cut Whole String Beans
Two Large Cans (16oz) of Baked Beans - (I like Campbell brand)
1 Fresh White Onion
Golden’s Spicy Brown Mustard
L & P Sauce (original)
Louisiana Hot Sauce
2 Sticks of Butter
4 Large White Rose Potatoes
Fresh Milk (for added richness you can use half-half, instead of milk)
Fresh Bacon (I generally like Oscar Meyer Pork)
One clove of Fresh Chopped Garlic
Turkey Preparation Directions:
Before starting the Turkey, prepare the Instant Stuffing Mix (see below)
Approximately 5 hours before you want to eat prepare the Turkey for cooking...
Remove the covering.
In cold tap water, remove all the innards, clean the Turkey thoroughly inside and out. I throw away the gizzard and other parts that come with the Turkey. Remove from water, damp dry the Turkey (or chicken) with paper towels.
Now Stuff the Neck and Back of the Turkey with the stuffing you have prepared.
Pack the stuffing in tight. Use the baking ties or nails to close-up the neck and bottom holes you stuffed (this is so the stuffing doesn’t fall out when in the oven cooking).
Optional: In the Turkey neck add Naval Orange (cut in half and place the orange halves in the neck without any stuffing), this adds a unique taste. Don bot squeeze. I generally do this with my Turkey for Christmas.
Get your pan and alum foil out and ready.
Using the Large 2-prong Meat Fork, stab the Turkey thoroughly all over including the bottom, sides, breast, wings, and legs. Stab deeply to you hit the bone.
Using the string, tie the legs, and wings around the turkey body tightly, but not as to cut into the turkey breast meat.
Pre Heat Oven to 325 Degrees.
Next lay the Turkey in the Pan on its backside (breast down).
Cover thoroughly with Olive Oil (do not use Virgin Olive Oil) using the basting brush (I usually pour lightly from the bottle then spread around with the brush).
Sprinkle lightly with table salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Sprinkle lightly with Dry Parsley Flakes.
Flip the Turkey over and repeat on the breast side, legs, wings, etc.
Now add the Ground Sage, sprinkle heavily all over the Turkey.
Cut the 2 Celery Stalks into 4 to 6 equal pieces and lay in bottom of pan around the sides of turkey.
Add about 1 inch of water covering the bottom of pan.
Slide the cooking thermometer into the thickest part of ‘Breast of the Turkey’ on an angle so it is in flat, near the bone, but slightly elevated position so you can read it.
Important Note: Do NOT trust the cooking pop out device on the turkey. Don't remove this though until the turkey is cooked.
Cover the Turkey with the cooking pan lid or alum foil. I always use foil do the lid doesn't stick to the turkey skin.
Very Important: Cook the Turkey until thermometer reaches 185 degrees no matter what the size or pound of the Turkey.
Note: Make sure you cook ‘Breast Side Up.’
Health Warning: Never under cook any type of foul.
Place in oven for 45-minutes, remove and bast. Then approximately every 30 - 45 minutes, remove Turkey from oven, close oven door, remove cover and ‘Baste’ thoroughly. Replace cover and place back in oven, continue to bake. The more often you baste the more moist it becomes.
I personally prefer every 30 minutes after the initial 45-minute period.
Safety Tip: When using the basting tool make sure you do not suck up the hot juices into the ribber ball or it may ruin the basting instrument and burn you.
Melt about 1/2 stick of butter. When the turkey reaches 180 degrees, remove cover, baste top with melted butter using brush (breast, wings, and legs, this allows outer skin to get golden brown), place back in oven until done without cover. When turkey reaches 185 degrees, remove place on rack or top of stove.
Open the can of Turkey Gravy and lightly add some black ground pepper (no salt) and parsley flakes. Heat in a pan, stirring making sure it doesn’t burn.
Once bird reaches 185 degrees, remove, allow the bird to sit for 5-minutes.
Remove turkey from the pan and place on large serving tray (use 3-prong serving forks to lift).
Remove the string, pop-up device, and cooking nails.
Remove stuffing and place in with any remaining stuffing not used, mix, reheat in microwave for about 2 minutes. It's ready to serve.
Before carving, using a knife cut meat around the wings, and legs and remove placing on a serving platter.
Carving the Turkey -
Slice the turkey on a diagonal cut, following the breast from top down starting on the outside of the breast downward in slices. Repeat until you reach the backbone. Then flip to opposite side and repeat. Placing all the carved meat on a serving tray.
Do not remove the skin, some people like this, it also helps keep the moisture in until eating.
Now using the strainer and a large spoon, dip up about a coffee cup amount of the Turkey Drippings from the bottom of the pan, strain it, and add it to the can gravy. Reheat, place in a bowl and serve.
Strain and save the remaining gravy for other uses.
Turkey Cooking Notes:
(1) The turkey will have approximate cooking time on package when you buy it, but a guideline is about 20 Minutes (cooking time in oven) equals One Pound of Turkey.
(2) This recipe works for all turkey sizes, so if you are buying a large bird, over 18 pounds, I would baste it ever 20 minutes after the initial 45 minute period.
Important Note - I take the turkey out of the oven completely, closing the oven door as not to lose any heat, place on an elevated rack, or on top of the stove (burners off), Basting should be done quickly and turkey put back in oven to continue cooking.
Instant Stuffing Mix Cooking Directions:
Prepare BEFORE Starting the ‘Turkey.’
Follow instructions on package.
I have learned to add into the water / pre mix package the following:
About 1 Teaspoon of dry parsley flakes.
Light Ground Black Pepper (Do Not Add SALT).
Half Stick of Butter.
Bring to a boil. Simmer, cover as instructed, add stuffing in Turkey as instructed.
Oven Baked Beans Preparation and Cooking Directions:
Prepare this the day before Thanksgiving -
Place 2-large cans of Campbell’s Baked Beans in a glass or coring ware Oven Dish with lid.
Add 1 Tablespoon of Golden Spicy Brown Mustard.
Add 4 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar.
Add 5 Tablespoons of Dark Molasses.
Add 1 Tablespoon of Ketchup.
Add 1/4 finely chopped fresh White Onion.
Add 1 Clove of finely chopped Garlic.
Lightly add some table salt.
1 Teaspoon of Fresh Ground Black Pepper.
Bake in Oven at 350 Degrees for one hour.
Remove, stir, cool.
Place in refrigerator.
Just before serving the Turkey, remove the oven baked beans, heat in microwave oven for about 5 minutes. Place in bowl and serve.
You may want to cooked these one day before if you have limited oven space then just reheat the beans.
Mash Potato Cooking Directions:
Start about 45 minutes before you're ready to serve the Turkey.
Place Potatoes in cold water, bring to a boil, with a small amount of salt added.
When done (fork tender), remove, cool for about 5 minutes, and remove skins.
In a large bowl, cut potatoes into cubes, then mash.
Add 1/2 stick of butter.
Add 1/2 cup of milk; or half-and-half.
Mash until creamy.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add more milk or butter as needed, and to taste.
Place in bowl and serve.
Remaining Vegetable Cooking Directions:
Dish # 1 - Cut Whole String Beans.......
Using 4 strips of Bacon, place on a plate, cover with paper towel, and microwave until very crisp.
Open Can of String Beans, place in pan on top of stove.
Crush Bacon into beans.
Add 1/4 stick of butter.
1 Teaspoon of L & P Sauce.
Very light amount of Table Salt.
Light amount of fresh ground black pepper.
Stir, until light boil or bubbles, remove, place in bowl and serve.
Dish # 2 - Whole Kernel Corn......
Remove from can.
Add 1/2 stick of butter.
Add lightly some fresh Ground Black Pepper.
Add about 1 Teaspoon of Louisiana Hot Sauce.
Place in microwave bowl such as corning ware, cover with lid or heat on top of stove until light boil and Serve.
Optional Healthy Side Dishes:
---Fresh Garden Salad: Make things easy on yourself today, buy a fresh garden salad bag pre-made from the grocery store, also buy some croutons. Don’t forget your favorite salad dressing.
---Baby Carrots: Buy a small bag of Baby Carrots (these are sweeter than the large garden carrots). Place in a bowl of water (do not cut), heat in microwave until fork tender (do NOT over cook). Remove, drain water and add the following:
1/2 stick of Butter
1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar
Table Salt to taste
Light Ground Pepper
Mix and serve.
From the grocery store buy a large already baked Apple Pie
Get some French Vanilla Ice Cream
Cut pie into slices, place in soup bowl, heat in microwave for about 1 minutes, add one large dip of ice cream, serve with spoon.
From the grocery store buy a pumpkin pie with a can of whipped cream (I usually buy the original 'Ready Whip' brand in a can, you find this in the refrigerated section near the milk).
Cut pie into slices, heat for 10 seconds, add whipped cream, and serve.
Making Turkey Stock:
Now de-bone the remaining parts of the Turkey.
In a 5-quart pot with lid, place about 2-quarts of water.
Place the bones from the body of the turkey and any items not handled or eaten by the diner guest in the water.
Add in the celery stocks that was in pan.
Bring to a boil.
Turn down to simmer, and rotate the bones.
Cook another 20-minutes.
Remove the bones and celery.
Use a Tupperware 2-quart container and freeze for future use.
Allow meat to cool. You can Freeze what portion of the ‘Turkey Meat’ you don’t eat. Simply put in a freezer bag; or wrap with freezer wrap and aluminum foil. Will stay good for about 3-months.
Or, you can serve it as leftovers or use in a Turkey Stew or Turkey Soup (other recipes available from Jack).
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Happy Turkey Day!
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