Turkey is one of the easiest things to cook, the main problem is taking it out on time so that it stays moist and tender. To that end, pay attention to roasting times and pop up thermometers. Get a meat thermometer and make sure you check the temp with that after the pop up – pops to be sure. Follow these suggestions for a wonderful tasting roasted turkey for your Thanksgiving (or even not Thanksgiving) bird.
- Defrost your turkey. You’ll need to keep it in the fridge for a few days in order for it to defrost. It takes longer with the giblet packet inside, so as soon as you can, take it out. If you didn’t leave enough time to defrost it totally, you will need to submerge your sealed Turkey in a big pot or sink full of cold water. Change the water every 1/2 hour. Whatever you do, put your arm all the way through from one end of the turkey to the other and make sure you get every single one of those giblet parts out.
- Turkey Brining – I talked about it here . Martha Stewart has a brining recipe if you want to make it yourself. Rinse turkey well and pat dry.
- Stuff the turkey – I like to cook my stuffing in a baking dish in the oven. If you like it in your turkey, then by all means stuff it. Add some cooking time in for the stuffing.
- Season the turkey – If you don’t have stuffing inside, throw in some garlic and herbs. Rub butter or olive oil over the skin of the turkey and throw some of your favorite herbs on top. Salt, pepper, sage, thyme. I throw onions and a little garlic in the side of the pan too.
- Cooking - My mom roasted the turkey in a Roasting Pan with an aluminum foil tent. My husband’s mom used a roasting bag and then in a pan. I use an electric Roasting Pan. My husband under the familiar protest that you don’t get your wife cooking gear for Christmas bought me one because I asked. I love it because I can keep the oven free for other things. I have tried with success cooking the turkey upside down for some of the time to let the juices travel better to the breast. Put the turkey in and leave it. Every time you open the oven it makes the oven heat up all over again.
- Timetable – From the Good Housekeeping Cookbook that I got as a wedding gift over 21 years ago.
Suggested temp 325 degrees.
8 – 12 lbs 3 1/2 – 4 hours
12 – 16lbs 4 – 4 1/2 hours
16 – 20 lbs 4 1/2 – 5 hours
20 – 24 lbs 5 – 6 hours
Subtract a half hour if it is unstuffed.
- Remove foil or bag for the last half hour of cooking to let the turkey brown.
- Let the turkey rest for a half hour before serving so that the juices settle.
- Make giblet gravy or any other gravy that you prefer.
- Carve and eat.
Another method of cooking a turkey is deep frying. However, any type cooking directions that includes keeping a fire extinguisher nearby makes me shake my head. I’ve heard it’s really good that way though and very moist.
For Big Green Egg lovers, here are directions to cooking a turkey on the BGE.
Of course, if you wait too long and you’re too tired, or you have to work, or you just don’t want to spend all day cooking or working on a turkey.. there’s always the supermarket pre-ordered, pre-cooked ready for pick up.
This is an updated repost from 2008.
My husband picked up a Dry Aged Beef Tenderloin from Bluescreek Farm Meats this week and I knew it was the beef we could use for a special dinner. I was looking forward to trying out the tenderloin – which I’ve never cooked before. I love an opportunity to try out something new, but it can be a little scary trying out something new when you know if you mess up. That’s it, we’re eating it anyway because we spent the money already. This one though, this was a big winner.
I researched the best cooking methods, and there was a consensus that high heat quickly was the way to go. I couldn’t use salt, because my husband is on a low sodium diet and meat carries its own sodium, so I wanted a way to keep it moist and flavorful but without added sodium. I decided to try out my dehydrated mushroom powder on the tenderloin. Last year I took mushrooms, dehydrated them, and then pulverized them to make it into a powder. I think mushrooms in gravy compliment steak. I mixed up some garlic powder, paprika and the mushroom powder, and then smooshed it up with some softened butter. My steak had been sitting out coming to room temperature, which helps it to become soft and pliable. I took the butter paste and rubbed it all over the steak.
The biggest hurdle to this perfect meal – was my husband didn’t know exactly what time he would be leaving work since he had to work on a project later than usual. His task was to call when he was leaving work. In the mean time, I put my cast iron grill pan into the oven and let it heat up at 450 degrees. As soon as he called, I put a few pats of butter in the pan and placed the tenderloin on top and put it into the oven. I set the timer for 17 minutes because I was going to check the internal temperature at that time to see what the internal temperature was. My creamed kale was ready in a glass dish so that it would be tossed into the oven while the beef was resting. I sliced shallots, mushrooms and a couple of green onions and set it aside.
When the timer dinged, I checked the beef tenderloin and it was 135 degrees. I have seen suggestions for 120, but my husband won’t eat rare meat or medium rare, medium is the lowest he would be happy with. I took the tenderloin out and stuck it on a separate plate with an aluminum tent over top. Then I added the chopped mushrooms and shallots and a couple of tablespoons of butter into the pan the beef was cooked in, on top of the stove over a low temp. The mushrooms and shallots were sauteed until soft, removed from pan and set aside. A cup of wine was added to the pan and simmered until reduced by half. When it was reduced by half, the mushrooms and shallots were added back in and sauteed for about a minute.
Place the Creamed Kale on the plate, slice the beef tenderloin on an angle, place on top, and spoon the mushroom wine reduction over top. My goodness this is good stuff. The beef was pink, soft, tender and delicious. Wow, that was good.
- 2 to 3 lb beef tenderloin
- 2 tsp dehydrated mushroom powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- Pre-heat oven to 400.
- Let Beef tenderloin sit out to come to room temperature.
- A couple of softened pats of butter should be mixed in a small bowl with mushroom powder, paprika and garlic powder.
- Smoosh and mix the butter with the mushroom powder and spices until it is all mixed in as well as it can be.
- Take cast iron pan and melt 1 tsp butter and 1 tsp olive oil in the bottom of the pan.
- Rub the smooshed butter all over the tenderloin – massaging it well.
- Grind fresh black powder over top.
- Place the tenderloin in the cast iron pan and place into the oven uncovered.
- Set the timer for 15 minutes and use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. If you like your beef rare – take it out when the internal temperature reaches 125.
- My husband likes it medium so, I took it out at 135.
- Remove the tenderloin to a plate and tent with foil.
- Slice mushrooms and shallots.
- Place the cast iron pan back on the stovetop and melt 2 tsp butter in the pan.
- Saute the mushrooms and shallots in the pan until soft and remove them from pan and set aside.
- Add 1 cup red wine, scrape the bits off the bottom and reduce the wine by half.
- Add the mushrooms and shallots to the wine and saute for a minute.
- Place the tenderloin over top of the creamed kale (or spinach, or polenta, or mashed potatoes) spoon the mushrooms, shallots and sauce over top.
- Grind a little more pepper over top.
This is my way of dealing with my husband’s new low sodium diet – by coming up with new ways to eat without using salt or high sodium ingredients. Macaroni and cheese was out, because cheese has too much sodium unless it’s something a little on the bland side like lower sodium Swiss. So, I kicked it up with a Hot Sweet Pepper Relish and Kapow it was tasty without much sodium. This casserole had plenty of veggies, the creaminess of a good mac n cheese, and a nice kick to it. My husband had trouble backing away from the bowl even after eating two plates of it.
This is a much lower calorie version since we can’t use a lot of cheese, and it’s not as thick as a lot of other macaroni and cheese recipes. I like to add a veggie to my mac and cheese too, so this one had sauteed cabbage and leeks. I found a low sodium brown rice bread. The bread was too dry and bland for a sandwich, but toasted, ground up and sauteed in a little butter and sprinkled on top of the macaroni and cheese, it added a nice texture and bit of crunch to the top. Believe me, bread crumbs was a much better use of the bread than in a sandwich. The photo doesn’t show the bread crumbs, but the next time I did this – I used the bread crumbs and liked it better. So that’s how I do it now.
- Cheese Sauce:
- 2 tbs unsalted butter
- 2 tbs flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2 ounces chevre
- 4-6 ounces low sodium Swiss Cheese
- 2 tbs zesty pepper relish
- 1 tsp stoneground mustard
- Casserole ingredients:
- ½ lb macaroni prepared according to box directions
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 leek
- ¼ cabbage
- 1 medium red pepper
- 1lb ground lamb
- Crumb Topping:
- ¼ cup bread crumbs
- 2 tbs butter
- Cook ground lamb, pour off grease and let drain on paper towel.
- Cut the cabbage into 1 in X 1 in pieces.
- Dice red pepper.
- Dice the white part of the leek, removing the green stem and root.
- Saute the leek, red pepper and cabbage in olive oil, in a non-stick pan.
- When soft and translucent, remove to a bowl, wipe out pan and use for cheese sauce.
- In non-stick pan melt butter, add in the flour and combine.
- Add in milk and chevre whisking as it thickens.
- Chop swiss cheese and add to the sauce mixture, stir in zesty pepper relish, mustard, cumin and paprika.
- Whisk it all together.
- Add together the lamb/cabbage mixture, the drained pasta and the sauce and toss.
- Pour into a casserole dish.
- Melt butter and stir in bread crumbs.
- Sprinkle over top of the mac and cheese.
- Bake at 400 for 20 min or until crust is browned nicely.
When I walk in the door, my track star son hits me up right away and asks what’s for dinner. I once told him he had to give me 15 minutes before he asked, but when track season starts, he’s full on hungry. I’m not great at planning, I’m more of a fridge decider. Hmm, I have chicken, oh and those leeks will go bad if I don’t use them soon. I’ve got potatoes too, or should I do noodles. No, did noodles yesterday, go with the taters. That is how I decide a lot of my meals. It’s a lets see what I can do with what I’ve got type thing. So tonight was Chicken, Potatoes and Leeks, because I had it ready to use. It was also delicious. I cut the chicken on a bias, kind of in the same shape as the potato slices. I sliced the leeks into long strips, because I knew they would melt down into leeky smooshiness, so I wanted them in bigger tastier pieces. This turned into an easy fast one pan meal, with just a few ingredients, and not a lot of prep.
- Olive Oil
- 2 chicken breasts sliced
- 3 potatoes sliced width wise
- 3 leeks – white parts sliced long
- 1 large shallot sliced thin
- 2 cups chicken broth
Heat oil, then drop in the chicken, shallots and leeks in a deep sauté pan. Cook the chicken a couple of minutes on each side. Layer potatoes in with chicken, leeks and shallots. Add broth, herbs, salt and pepper and cover with lid until potatoes are soft.Diana
My husband snarfed the leftover broccoli from the band competition and asked if we should take it. I said sure, I can freeze some and use some to make dinner. He did a little happy wiggle (he does that) and asked if we could have the chicken and broccoli casserole that we love to eat. I told him sure, especially since it’s an easy meal to prepare and really delicious. There are never leftovers of this.
I have a small kitchen, so when I pull out my rice cooker I make extra rice and put it in the freezer. If you have frozen broccoli, and rice, you can defrost them in the fridge during the day to make this a quick and easy dinner to pull together. This casserole is very customizable, use your favorite ingredients to make it taste the way you like it best.
1 full size chicken breast
1 cup cooked rice ( I love a wild rice mixture)
1 cup broccoli
1 can of cream soup (use your favorite – cream of broccoli, cream of chicken, cream of celery, cream of mushroom, etc)
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, colby, colby jack, etc)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray casserole dish with oil spray. Throw some herbs and spices that you enjoy onto your chicken. I used thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Slice onion, place onion and chicken onto heated oiled grill pan, or frying pan and cook through. If your broccoli is fresh, blanch it and pat it dry. If the broccoli is frozen, rinse with warm water and pat dry. Layer your rice on the bottom of the casserole dish, then place broccoli on top, spread out. When chicken is cool enough to handle, pull apart into shredded chunks and layer in and around the broccoli. Whisk together the cream soup and milk in a separate bowl, then pour evenly over the top of the chicken and broccoli. Top with shredded cheese in an even layer. Place into oven for 20 – 30 minutes until top is melted, and the soup is bubbly around the edges.Diana
Right now we are noshing on the bounty of our garden. It’s difficult at times to hold back and only put in some of what we have, and not overload the pot. This has been our best year in the garden since we moved in 18 years ago. I’m also trying to cut back on the amount of food I cook up for a meal. There are only 3 of us her, but we do have a tendency to keep eating until the pot is empty. Maybe by cutting down on what I cook, and adding more vegetables to eat, we’ll be eating a little healthier. My Lamb & Veggie dinner was delicious with lots of tasty morsels and no leftovers. The potatoes were baby potatoes – not new potatoes, real live baby potatoes, so cute.
1/2 medium onion
1 garlic clove
1/2 lb of ground lamb
Handful of baby potatoes, or a couple of potatoes cut up to bite size
1 handful of Swiss chard leaves torn and stem chopped
2 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fennel and leaves
1 patty pan squash – peeled and chopped
Cook up the ground lamb, garlic and onions, draining the grease, set aside. Boil the potatoes, and the Swiss chard stems until potatoes are soft, drain. In a frying pan, heat up oil, Throw in chard, fennel and squash. When chard is wilted, add the rest of the ingredients, pour in chicken broth and simmer until absorbed. Salt, and pepper.Diana
I like quiches a lot, but more without the pie shell. I’m that way with pies too, I like the insides the most. This was our breakfast this morning. I used some herb garden chevre in it that we got from the cheese guy at the farmer’s market and some gouda (because it’s good-er that way). Quiches are fun because you can change it up a little – put in a different meat, or a different cheese, use some other veggies and it changes the taste for a whole new type of quiche.
- turkey sausage – 6 breakfast links, cooked and crumbled
- handful of chard, stems removed
- shallot – diced
- 6 eggs
- 2 tbs evaporated milk
- 2 tbs herb garden chevre (you can substitute another herby chevre)
- 1 tbs gouda
- salt, pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Instead of butter, I used an olive oil spray and sprayed a glass pan. Spray a frying pan with olive oil, tear up chard and sauté the chard and shallots together until wilted. Take off the heat. Throw in the crumbled turkey sausage and the chevre. In a bowl, beat the eggs and the evaporated milk together. Stir in the sausage chard mixture, add in the gouda, salt and pepper. Pour into the glass pan and bake in the oven until the egg is cooked through. I think it took 20 – 30 minutes, but my pan was oval and not round, so the mixture spread out more. If you are using a glass pie pan, you might need to cook it a little longer.Diana
I tried out this recipe from the Vegan Cook’s Bible by Pat Crocker. We’re not Vegans, but we do enjoy all different types of dishes. While my kids and husband are good about trying all different types of meals unlike their friends, they are really great about eating meatless meals. The Shredded Vegetable Bake was delicious and used vegetables from my garden. We served it with a tomato, cucumber salad on the side.
- 3 potatoes shredded
- 1 onion shredded
- 1 carrot shredded
- 1/2 rutabaga shredded (I used two turnips)
- 1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
- 2 tbs nuts
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tbs olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly oil 2 9X13 in baking pans.
In large bowl toss together potatoes, onion, carrot, rutabaga(turnip), bread crumbs, nuts, garlic and oil. Divide in two and spread in a thin layer on prepared pans. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Bake in preheated oven for 20 min.
Stir and spread in a thin layer again and grind more salt and pepper over vegetables and bake for another 20 minutes.
Divide chickpeas in half and stir into vegetables in pans spreading out. bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are crisp and lightly browned.
We’ll definitely have this again sometimes. It was delicious.Diana
Plenty of cabbage growing in the garden this year, so I’m trying it out in lots of different ways. Ground Lamb from the Farmer’s Market, cabbage from the garden, wild rice from the freezer, and this dinner makes itself in very little time. Top it off with a little sour cream for a little extra flavor, and the family loved it.
- 1 lb Ground Lamb
- 1 Medium Onion – diced
- 2 cups Cooked Rice
- 1/2 head of cabbage – outer leaves removed
- Caraway seeds
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- Sour Cream
Sauté the onions and the ground lamb – drain the grease away. There was a little grease in my ground lamb, but not a lot. Spray a little oil around the bottom of a deep dish baker’s pan or casserole dish. Dice the cabbage up and line the bottom of the pan. Mix the ground lamb, onions and the wild rice together, along with the salt, pepper, and a generous sprinkling of caraway seeds. Layer on top of the cabbage. Pour the wine and the stock over the top of the lamb mixture, and use a spoon to slightly stir, trying not to disturb the cabbage too much. Place in the oven at 300 for 20 minutes – half hour. You could do it longer if you like the cabbage really wilty, but I like a little crunch so we don’t heat it up too long. Just before serving, top with dollops of sour cream. MMMM – good stuff.Diana
My friend Linette had a Black Bean n’ Corn Chicken Salad Sandwich that she posted the other day. I loved the idea, but wanted something a little lighter instead of a sandwich. She used Dei Fratelli’s Black Bean and Corn Salsa, which I happened to love and have on hand, and I also added some rice to absorb some of the liquid in the salsa. The chicken was leftover from our Father’s Day cookout. The barbecue rub added a nice extra bit of flavor to the mix. I freeze my rice when I have extras, so this meal can be a very quick throw together dinner using mostly leftovers. I need to use different lettuce next time though, because this one fell apart easily. You can have this as a free form salad also – instead of wrapping the lettuce just layer it on the plate.
- Precooked chicken (like leftover barbecue)
- Dei Fratelli’s Black Bean and Corn Salsa
- Cooked Rice
- Cheese (we used Colby Jack)
Peel Chicken from the bone into bite size pieces. Mix together with a jar of Salsa in a bowl. Place inside a lettuce leaf, a small spoonful of rice, the salsa and cheese. Roll it up together. That’s the whole recipe. If you don’t have a thick enough lettuce leaf it can be messy (we used some garden lettuce – it was a little on the small size) and you might just want to assemble a salad by layering the ingredients. This is a great work night, or busy night dinner. When everyone was done, my husband went back and threw the remnants into one last final salad for himself because it was too good to leave anything behind.
What about you, are you inspired by reading other people’s post? Do you happen upon something and think – I could do that? I hope that you try out our Cookerati recipes and ideas and I hope they work out well for you too!