Best Thanksgiving Turkey 2014

My Best Roast Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner

American Thanksgiving is in 4 days!

If you haven’t Thaw your turkey! Start thawing it in the refrigerator on a rimmed cookie sheet ASAP.

FYI A completely frozen turkey needs 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey (weight). A thawed turkey sitting around for an extra day or two in the refrigerator is much better than having to deal with a frozen turkey on Thanksgiving day.

Here is checklist of your Turkey roasting equipment inventory you will need before Thanksgiving:

  • A roasting pan and a V-shaped roasting rack

I purchase 2 disposable roasting aluminum pans; doubled up for strength (because who wants to wash more dishes or those huge roasting pans)

UPDATE: Review for Circulon® Roaster Pan Review and Giveaway 

I highly recommend purchasing this roaster!

If you don’t have a roasting rack, chopped extra mirepoix or you can make your own by simply scrunching up a long piece of aluminum foil into a figure 8.

  • A working meat thermometer I invested in The iGrill
  • A baster or brush, preferably silicone
  • Butcher’s string (cotton based food-grade approved) or Architec Stretch Hot Cooking Bands 2
  • Cheesecloth, double thickness and size of the turkey’s breast
  • Cooking Spray
  • A carving set or electric knife, my husband’s new friend
  • And a working oven 😉

This is the third post in My Best Thanksgiving Recipes, Tips and Tricks.

Check out My Best Stuffing for Thanksgiving Dinner and My Best Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving Dinner 

The Best Roast Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner

Preheat Oven 450F Serves 6-8
Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Mise En Place

PC Young Turkey -frozen

PC Young Turkey-frozen

  • 1 16-18 lb. whole turkey, defrosted and at room temperature
  • My Best Stuffing for Thanksgiving Dinner prepared and at room temperature
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 stalks celery, cleaned and chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 box reduced sodium chicken or turkey stock

Calculating your turkey’s cooking time. With my method of roasting a turkey, cooking time averages 20 minutes per pound for a stuffed turkey.

How to calculate cooking time: i.e. 16 lb. turkey X 20 min. per lb. = 320 min. divide by 60 min. in an hour = approx. 5 hours

After you do the math, add some additional prep time 15 min. and that the turkey should rest at least 30 minutes before carving. The total turkey time has worked out for the above example 5 hours & 45 min.

So, if you want to have dinner at 6pm, aim to have the turkey out of the oven at 5pm and work backwards from there. This is the time the turkey needs to go in the oven.

Preparing the Turkey

Preheat your oven 450 F and take the turkey out of the fridge; let the turkey sit out at room temperature while the oven is heating up. Remember to remove extra oven racks and adjust the rack you are using so that turkey has plenty of space to roast.

Place your turkey on a large cookie surface and unwrap your turkey.

Reach into the cavity and take out the neck (it looks like a long curved piece of bone with some meat attached.) Place the neck in a medium size pot with the reserved vegetables from preparing the stuffing. (i.e. parsley stems, celery stalks and carrots) fill pot with cold water and simmer.

Remove any plastic “thingy” holding the legs together. Discard.

Check inside of the neck cavity look for a little bag with the giblets (the heart, liver, etc.) sometimes you find this inside the main cavity. I just throw it away. Others will use the contents for giblet gravy.

Wash your turkey inside out in the sink with cold water. And dry it completely, both inside and out with paper towels.

Using a liberal amount of kosher salt and some black pepper sprinkle your washed and dried turkey inside and out.

Bend under the wing tips and now it is time to stuff the turkey with My Best Stuffing for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Trussing, or tying up the turkey into a more compact package, makes sure that the breast and thighs cook to the right temperature. The white meat won’t overcook while the dark meat is still cooking. Truss using butcher’s twine or just tie the legs or use the silicone elastic bands.

Mise En Place for Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner

Mise En Place for Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner

Spray the disposable roasting pan and v-shaped roasting rack liberally with cooking spray. And place your stuffed turkey on the rack and into the prepared roasting pan with 2 peeled garlic cloves, 1 onion quartered, 2 stalks of celery chopped, 2-3 peeled and chopped carrots to flavour the drippings.

One of my tricks is that I think make for juicy breast meat, is to start the turkey breast up and roast for about 20 minutes in 450 F until slightly golden in colour. Then flip the turkey to breast side down for another 20 minutes.

Remove the turkey from the oven; flip the turkey back to breast side up. Prepare the 1 cup of melted butter, 1 cup white wine and ½ cup of stock in a glass-measuring cup. Dip the cheesecloth in the liquid, saturate and place on turkey’s breast.

The second trick is the cheesecloth protects the breast from getting too brown and dried out.

Add ½ cup of chicken or turkey stock to the roasting pan.

Turn the oven down to 325 F. Place the cheesecloth-covered turkey back in the oven.

Roast and baste.

Baste the turkey including the cheesecloth with the wine, stock and butter mixture. And with some of the delicious juices that are gathering at the bottom of the roasting pan. The cheesecloth will get brown, no worries.

Continue to baste.

Start checking the temperature 30-45 minutes before your calculated time just to be sure since every oven is different. Cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165F.  The temperature of the breast should be around 155F.

Remove turkey from the oven and place on carving board and/or clean-rimmed cookie sheet. Baste the turkey with drippings to help moisten the cheesecloth before trying to remove it from the skin of the turkey. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and rest at least for 30 minutes even up to an hour. Resting any meat such as a turkey or even a roast beef that has been cooking for a long time redistribute the juices themselves back into the meat. Don’t worry; this large piece of meat will not get cold.

While the turkey is resting, is the perfect opportunity to prepare the gravy using the pan drippings, reserved starchy potato water and simmering stock.

My Best Turkey Gravy for Thanksgiving Dinner. Stay Tuned!

Carve the turkey by removing the legs and breasts off the bird. Once the breast meat is cut off the bones, cut into slices. Cut the thigh meat off of the bones.

Thanksgiving Turkey 2014

Thanksgiving Turkey 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Chicken Stew with Bacon, Cheddar and Dill Biscuits

Last night for dinner I made Chicken Stew with Dumplings  Bacon, Cheddar and Dill Biscuits.

I decided the last minute to switch from dumplings to biscuits because I felt a little ‘flaky’ instead gooey. LOL! 😉

It was a fake-it, make-it recipe. A well stocked pantry helped out, as I always have Bisquick for that ‘just in case’ moment of a recipe development.

The biscuits turned out awesome especially with a pat of butter! 😀

Over the weekend, we had the pleasure of hanging with our friends and their little bundle of sweetness. My friend Lana is a talented professional photographer. She took a few pictures of me and our dinner of flattened chicken. She said “smile even if I’m just snapping pics of your hands”. Obviously, some pics were taken above MY HANDS! Should have combed my hair and changed my top. Yikes!

I aspire to have great pictures like hers on my blog……ONE DAY.

Always check out my Instagram @the5oclockrush  to see my daily dinners photos. My food pictures are improving. There are ‘real time’ pictures of my dinner plates.

Please check out Lana’s Facebook page Viva Image Group – Photography and Videography Service

Chicken Stew with Bacon, Cheddar and Dill Biscuits

Serves 6
Preparation 30 minutes Cooking 60 minutes
Chicken Stew with Bacon, Cheddar and Dill Biscuits

Chicken Stew with Bacon, Cheddar and Dill Biscuits

Mise En Place

For Chicken Stew:
 Vegetables for Chicken Stew

Vegetables for Chicken Stew

  • 1 package of pancetta pieces *
  • 5 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 5 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons PC Roast Chicken Spice **
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (480 ml) chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 stalks of green onions, chopped
  • Optional: 1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas
For Biscuits:
Mise En Place

Mise En Place

  • 3 cups Bisquick
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 4 slices, pre-cooked bacon strips, cut into bite size pieces ***
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, or 3/4 teaspoon dried dill weed

To make the Chicken Stew:

In a Dutch oven (or a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid), cook the pancetta until slightly crispy.

* I had Pancetta in my fridge to use up. You can substitute bacon or omit. If you do omit, add oil to pot to saute the vegetables.

Add the celery, carrots, onions, and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate; reserve the pot.

Season the chicken all over with the roasted chicken spice, salt and pepper. In a resealable plastic bag, place the seasoned chicken pieces with flour.

** PC Roast Chicken spice grinder has the typical flavours associated with roast chicken such as sage, marjoram, roasted garlic, thyme etc.

Seal bag and shake until the chicken pieces are evenly coated. Using the drippings and additional oil or butter, brown the chicken, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Add the whole grain Dijon mustard, water and chicken stock.

Add the vegetables and pancetta back to the pot; stir. Cover and place in 350F oven and bake for 60 minutes. (I place the pot on a cookie sheet in case there is spillage and I hate cleaning my oven)

Chicken Stew Ready for Oven

Chicken Stew Ready for Oven

Remove from oven; add the fresh green onions and fresh chopped parsley and dill. Seasoned to taste with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

To make the biscuits:

In a medium bowl, whisk together Bisquick, dill, bacon pieces and cheddar cheese.

*** I always cook the entire package of bacon and IF there is any leftover, I freeze it for future recipes. Or you can use the pre-cooked package bacon. Tip: Use scissors to cut the bacon into small pieces.

With a fork, gradually stir in 1 cup milk to form a moist and soft batter.

Using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop, place a scoop of batter into a greased muffins pan.

If desired, reserved a small amount of bacon and cheddar cheese to sprinkled on top of biscuits.

Bake at 450 for 12 to 15 minutes.

Chicken Stew with Bacon, Cheddar and Dill Biscuits

Chicken Stew with Bacon, Cheddar and Dill Biscuits

Confession: As you can see from the pictures above, I didn’t follow my own method of preparation. Originally I was planning on using my new smaller crock pot for dinner. I began preparing the chicken for the crock pot by browning it. I quickly determined that the crock pot was too small. Out came my Dutch oven and continue with cooking dinner in 2 pans.

I decided to write the recipe for my readers as if I began the cooking process in my Dutch oven. One pot, less dishes.

My Best Stuffing for Thanksgiving Dinner

American Thanksgiving is in 12 days.

The stuffing recipe I make for my turkey brings back memories from my childhood Thanksgivings. It is from the McCall’s Cookbook that my dad executes every holiday that involves a turkey.

The McCall’s Cookbook is one of the more popular collectible cookbooks from the 60s. It is a thick, over 700 page cookbook in the same vein as Betty Crocker Cookbook. In general, it is loaded with recipes and how-to’s. Most of the recipes are short and easy-to-follow. A Betty Crocker Cookbook definitely had an edge up in terms of cookbooks from the 60s era since McCall’s has no photos.

I’m still hoping that in the future to add my mom’s bright yellow copy to my cookbook collection. 😉

I presently use a beautiful bright pink printout of the stuffing recipe. One funny thing from the original recipe is that it calls for fine fresh-white breadcrumbs. Eeew! I can’t even imagine that. It would be the consistency of mashed potatoes with onion and celery pieces. My dad always used cubed bread.

My Best Stuffing for Thanksgiving Dinner

Adapted from the McCall’s Cookbook for Golden-Brown Turkey
12-15 lb. Turkey
Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Mise En Place

  • 2 onions, medium-sized, peeled
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 heads of celery, cleaned
  • 1 bunch of Italian parsley, washed
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. poultry seasoning
  • 5-6 leaves of fresh sage, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. hot paprika
  • 1 ¼ tsp. white pepper
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 2 loaves stuffing bread or your choice of day old bread, cubed*

My Best Stuffing is a combination the bite size pieces of the ingredients for texture and finely chopped in food processor. I chop half of each vegetable into ½ inch pieces with my knife and the other half  I will place into a food processor to be very finely chopped.

Remove the root ends from the onions and dice 1 onion and the other onion cut into quarters for food processor.

Remove the inside stalks and leaves from the head of celery. Set aside for the stock and gravy.

Cut 1 of the head celery stalk into ½ inch pieces, set aside. The remaining stalks cut so they will fit in a food processor.

Remove the stems from the parsley and reserve for the stock and gravy.

Place the bite size pieces of celery and onion into a large microwavable bowl with melted butter.

Place the remaining onions, garlic cloves, fresh sage, celery and parsley into the food processor.

Pulse in the food processor until very finely chopped but not liquid.

Place in the microwaveable bowl with bite size ingredients and butter; cook covered in the microwave for 5-7 minutes.

Note: At this point, the celery/onion mixture can be covered, refrigerated and stored several days in advance. On the day that you are stuffing the turkey, removed from fridge and bring to room temperature and then mix with dried out cubed bread.

Add the eggs, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, hot paprika, applesauce, and honey to the cooked celery/onion mixture. Mix well.

Place the dried out cubed bread into a large mixing bowl.

Toss lightly the celery/onion mixture with the dried cubed bread.

Bend wings tips of the turkey under the body.

Spoon stuffing into the neck cavity of the turkey; fasten close with poultry pins.

Spoon stuffing into the body cavity of the bird. Do not pack.

With twine, tie ends of legs together and truss the turkey and using pins secure the stuffing in the cavity.

Never place a warm stuffing into bird. Once the turkey is stuffed it should be placed in the oven immediately to begin roasting.

Bake any left over dressing in a well-greased covered casserole.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner

* My local grocery store makes their own stuffing bread which is flavourful bread baked with thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper, and nutmeg. A day or two ahead of making the stuffing, cube the 2 loaves of stuffing bread and spread out evenly on baking sheets. Leave on the counter to dry out overnight or bake the cubes in a low oven until lightly crisp and toasted.

Weekday Wrap Up and A Kitchen Cheat Sheet

It has very busy at the 5 o’clock rush

The American Thanksgiving is just 20 days away and I will be posting our recent Thanksgiving dinner recipes as well as tips and tricks. Check out the first Thanksgiving post for My Best Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving Dinner

I have also been engaging with other food bloggers through Food Bloggers of Canada Facebook page.

One of the food blogs that I follow, Un Assaggio of food, wine, & marriage  today posted this awesome Kitchen Cheat Sheet.

I recommend that everyone print it out, laminate it and hanging it in your kitchen. It will be especially useful during the busy holiday season.

Have a great weekend…….looks like fall is here which means winter is around the corner. 😛

More daily dinner tonight pictures follow the5oclockrush on Instagram.

Weekday Wrap Up

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‘Pulo Cuisine’ A Twist on Tacos

the 5 o’clock rush was pleasantly surprised and honoured to be chosen to participate in the Pulo Recipe Challenge.

The challenge is to develop a recipe using the products from Pulo Cuisine.

the 5 o’clock rush was given sample products to review for this post. The package arrived with 2 cooking sauces and 3 marinades.

Pulo, which means ISLAND, is an authentic collection of sauces and marinades inspired by the 7000 islands of the Philippines – the original fusion cuisine where East (Asia) meets West (Spanish)

NO ARTIFICIAL FLAVOURS, COLOURS, OR PRESERVATIVES. VEGAN.

Pulo Philippine Cuisine  

The Malay, Chinese, Spanish and Indian cultures are the culinary influences of the Philippines, using the Samal Island ‘Pulo Cuisine Pineapple Tamarind Marinade’ I developed a meal of tacos with an asian twist.

 

Pulo Cuisine Selection of Products

Pulo Cuisine Selection of Products

Samal Island Pineapple Tamarind Marinade balances sweet and sour aromas with a refreshing fruity flavour.

About the SAMAL ISLAND

An idyllic oasis of hidden coves and beaches, Samal Island boasts a tradition of stout and hearty dishes featuring a wide range of fruit and meat.

Pineapples, one of Mindanao’s key crops, are a feature of the region’s cuisine.

Pineapple Tamarind Marinated Chicken Tacos with Grilled Pineapple

Pineapple Tamarind Marinated Chicken Tacos with Grilled Pineapple

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