Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipes

This year was a milestone year for me... not only did I make my first turkey, but I also cooked my first pumpkin pie. Sure I've helped mom in the kitchen throughout the years, but for the first time, I made one by myself in my own kitchen. Surprisingly, both the turkey and the pie turned out great, so I thought I would share the recipes and cooking tips:

Turkey Cooking Tips:
  • Buy the turkey several days in advance to allow time to thaw in the refrigerator (Plan B (for people who don't think far enough ahead a.k.a. me) is to let the turkey sit submerged in room temperature water to allow it to thaw)
  • Tie the legs together with cooking string so the turkey looks nice and keeps its shape
  • Check your pan/ roasting rack and oven to make sure the turkey and pans fit in the oven properly (I found out the hard way that older and smaller ovens don't have room for 23 lb. turkeys)
  • Everything you read says plan on 2 lbs. per person, but really when buying a turkey, 1 lb. per person is plenty unless your guests haven't eaten in a week.
  1. Pull out the turkey neck, and bag of innards (usually this is already detached, you just need to remove it) 
  2. Place turkey on cooking tray or in roasting pan, breast side up.  
  3. Season turkey with butter, salt, pepper, rosemary, and sage (you can really add/substitute any spices you like and can also sub olive oil for butter. The secret is to separate the skin from the breast meat (this should be fairly easy) and rub the butter and dry seasoning mix directly on the meat. Also rub/ pour on the outside of the skin as well. Be sure to cover the whole turkey with seasoning - breasts, legs, wings, etc. For large turkeys, don't underestimate how much seasoning it takes to get a good flavor.
  4. Stuff the turkey - I didn't stuff the turkey with a stuffing; however, this is a great option. If you are not making stuffing, stuff the cavity with an apple, lemon, celery, and onion (whole and not sliced). This gives the turkey a slight citrus and richer flavor without being overpowering.
  5. Tie the legs together and tuck the wings under the breast (technique called "akimbo") for more even cooking.
  6. Cover turkey with foil tent.
  7. Cook bird on 475 degrees for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 325 degrees for the remaining of the cook time. Usually you cook the bird 20-25 minutes per pound. Every hour or so, using a spoon or baster, pour the drippings from the pan on top of the turkey to keep it moist. Remove foil for last 15 minutes to brown top of turkey.
  8. Enjoy with some yummy green bean casserole, mashed and sweet potatoes, and all the other great holiday fixings and desserts!
Speaking of desserts... PUMPKIN PIE

Because I was trying to come up with a pumpkin pie recipe on Wednesday morning, I thought I would try to classic one on the back of a can of "Libby's Pumpkin" and it turned out great! Here's the recipe:


  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz) Libby pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 1 unbaked pie shell
  1. Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and cloves in bowl. In mixer, beat eggs, add pumpkin, and sugar mixture. Gradually add in evaporated milk. The mixture will be soupy and thin, but it will firm as it cooks.
  2. Pour into pie shell
  3. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn temperature down to 350 degrees and cook for 40-50 minutes or until knife comes out clean.
  4. Cool completely - serve with whipped cream
Happy Holidays and Happy Eating!!!

1 comment:

  1. You are so adorable with your turkey recipe! I am so glad it turned out good. We went out of town this year, so I bought one yesterday. (20lbs for $9!) I made a brine and it is currently in a salt bath in the fridge. I will let you know how it goes for future turkey tips! Happy Thanksgiving.