Our Perfect Turkey, Fabulous Sweet Potatoes & Some Thanksgiving Reads

November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Week!  Yay for Thanksgiving!  I admit I’ve done absolutely nothing that I wanted to do in preparation for this holiday!  Oh well, this just isn’t the year for it.  At the end of this post I’ve listed two articles with ideas that I can’t wait to implement next year and I hope will be helpful to you in cultivating a thankful Thanksgiving.

Our Perfect Turkey

I have never been a big fan of turkey.  It’s always been dry and chewy to me.  This includes when people say, “Oh, here, this is the best turkey you’ll ever taste.”  I just very rarely like it.  A few years ago my dad began frying our Thanksgiving turkeys and while it was much better than the traditional roasted type of bird, we used a lot of oil to get that thing cooked.  This year he’s trying a no-oil frying method.  I don’t know what that means, but I’m excited to taste it.

H-E-B has had a deal for a few weeks (it ends on the 24th!) where if you buy a spiral sliced ham, you get a 12 lb. turkey for free!  As soon as we heard about it we ran to H-E-B, bought the best ham ever, and got our turkey for free.  I found what promises to be the best way to cook a turkey here, and I must say: it turned out mighty yummy!  And so here are the instructions, for you, if you’d like to try Our Perfect Turkey. :)

The main difference between this recipe and all others is that with this recipe, when you cook the bird, you put it breast side down.

You will need:

  • 1 turkey
  • juice of a lemon
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil or butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • tops and bottoms of a bunch of celery
  • 2 carrots
  • parsley
  • sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme (optional)
  1. Bring turkey to room temperature.  Let it sit out in a pan (in the original plastic) so that any juices will fall into the pan and not onto your counter.
  2. Remove plastic wrapping.  Remove the neck and giblets (I know . . . ).  The original recipe has a link on how to use the heart and gizzard to make stock for stuffing and links on how to use all the gizzards to make gravy or a turkey soup.
  3. If the turkey has plastic ties holding the legs together, you probably don’t need to remove them to cook (check the package instructions).  If you take the ties off, you should tie the legs back up before cooking with kitchen string.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400  degrees F.
  5.  Wash turkey and pat dry with paper towels.
  6. Lather the inside with the juice from half a lemon.   Rub a small handful of salt all over inside.
  7. Also inside the cavity, put half a yellow onion, peeled and quartered, a bunch of parsley, a couple of carrots, and some tops and bottoms of celery.  You may need to lay a piece of aluminum foil in there to keep everything inside.  Make sure the legs are tied tight, the wings are tied up close to the body, and the neck cavity is tied closed.
  8. Rub olive oil or butter all over the outside of the turkey.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on the outside as well.
  9. Put the turkey breast down on the bottom rack of your oven in a roasting pan.  Cooking it this way makes all the juices fall down into the breasts.  Add a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme if you have them to the outside of the turkey.
  10. Check the cooking directions on the original packaging.  This is the tricky part.  For our 12 pound turkey we cooked it for 3 hours. (That’s 15 minutes for every pound.) For the first half an hour it baked at 400 degrees.  Then for the next hour and a half, we lowered the temperature to 350 degrees.  Then, for the final hour, we lowered it even more to 225 degrees.
  11. Start taking the temperature (using a meat thermometer) every once in a while from about an hour before the turkey should be done.  Check the dark meat (the thighs) and the white meat (the breasts.)  The dark meat needs to reach 175 degrees F eventually, while the white should be 165 degrees F in the end.  Because the turkey will continue to get hotter after you remove it from the oven, you can take it out of the oven when the dark meat is 170 degrees F and the white 160 degrees F.  If you don’t have a meat thermometer, cut deep into the breast–the juices should be clear, not pink.
  12. Once you take the turkey from the oven, let it sit 15-20 minutes, turn it breast side up, carve, serve, and enjoy!

Fabulous Sweet Potatoes

I love sweet potatoes.  I really do.  They’re such a wonderful treat and so good for you, too!  The following isn’t really a recipe as much as it is the easiest thing you’ve ever done to make the best sweet potatoes of your life–sans marshmallows!

  • about 1 1/2 sweet potatoes for each person eating (for instance, if you’re serving 6 people, you need 9 sweet potatoes–you’ll have left-overs, but that’s the point of Thanksgiving dinner, right ;)
  • butter
  • cinnamon
  1. Boil sweet potatoes.  (You can either peel them, leave the skins on because they’re good for you, or wait and peel them after they’ve been boiled)
  2. Place quartered or sliced sweet potatoes in enough water to cover them.  Bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Drain right away.
  3. If you left the skins on and want to remove them now, submerge them under cold water and they should come off easily.
  4. Mash the potatoes all up in a bowl or right in whatever you’re going to serve them in.
  5. Add butter–I don’t know how much–they taste wonderful without butter, too, so it doesn’t really matter.  Just put a little in, taste it, and do whatever you want!
  6. Sprinkle and mix in some cinnamon to taste.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

I love this recipe because it’s so easy and it tastes so good and it’s relatively good for you (depending upon how much butter you add, of course).

Some Thanksgiving Reads

Just because I haven’t done anything special for Thanksgiving, doesn’t mean I haven’t read about things other people are doing!  Here are two great articles dedicated to focusing on being thankful during Thanksgiving:

That’s all for this week!  I’ll be spending the rest of the week celebrating with my sweet family.  I pray you focus on all the blessings God has given you (mostly, Jesus!) this week as you cultivate a spirit of thankfulness in your home.  Happy Thanksgiving!

This post is linked to

Menu Planning Mayhem

over at Desiring Virtue.

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One Response to “Our Perfect Turkey, Fabulous Sweet Potatoes & Some Thanksgiving Reads”

  1. Incredible! Super wonderful position. I will be storing your page today. Thanks!

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