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How to Cook a Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey & Turkey Stuffing Recipes

perfect thanksgiving turkey

THANKSGIVING TURKEY STUFFING RECIPES

Try one of these 4 great stuffing recipes:

Easy Traditional Stuffing
-  Turkey and Fruit Stuffing Recipe
-  Oyster Stuffing Recipe
-  Herb Sausage Stuffing Recipe
-  Apple Raisin Stuffing



EASY TRADITIONAL STUFFING

1 (1 pound) loaf sliced Italian bread 
3/4 cup butter 
1 medium onion, chopped 
4 - 5 stalks celery, chopped 
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon sage  
salt and pepper to taste 
1 - 1 1/2 cups chicken broth 

Let bread slices air dry for at least 3-4 hours, then tear into small pieces. 
In a large pan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook onion and celery until soft. Season mixture with poultry seasoning, sage, salt, and pepper. Stir in bread pieces until evenly coated. (This is easiest with your hands.)  Moisten slowly with chicken broth; mix well. Don't over moisten or stuffing will be soggy. You can stuff your turkey or bake along side in a casserole dish for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

UNBELIEVABLE TURKEY AND FRUIT STUFFING

1 1/2 cups cubed whole wheat bread 
3 3/4 cups cubed white bread 
1 lb ground turkey sausage 
1 cup chopped onion 
3/4 cup chopped celery 
2 1/2 tsp dried sage 
1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary 
1/2 tsp dried thyme 
1 Golden Delicious apple, cored, finely chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries 
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley 
1 cooked turkey liver, finely chopped 
3/4 cup turkey stock 
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

On a cookie sheet place cubed bread in a single layer. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for approximately 5 minutes until bread is toasted. Remove from oven and place in a large mixing bowl. Over medium high heat cook sausage and onions together. Be sure to break up sausage so there are no large clumps. Once sausage is cooked through add celery, sage, rosemary and thyme. Cook for approximately 3 minutes being sure to stir often to blend flavors together. Once sausage mixture is cooked add to toasted bread. Blend in apples, cranberries, parsley and liver. Add melted butter and turkey stock to mixture and blend well making sure all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together. Stuff turkey with mixture. 
This will stuff a 10 pound turkey.

OYSTER STUFFING

2 medium onions, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 cup butter
7 cups of 7 day old French bread cubed
1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 8-ounce can oysters, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth

Sauté onion and celery in butter in large skillet until soft. Add oysters.  Cook until they curl, about 5 minutes. Combine bread, parsley, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper in a large bowl; stir in broth gradually.  Mix gently until moistened. 
This will stuff a 12 pound turkey.

HERB SAUSAGE STUFFING

1 cup butter
3 cups celery, chopped
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 large onions, chopped
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons marjoram
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb. bulk port sausage, browned
1 lb. bread crumbs cubes for stuffing
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken broth

Sauté celery, mushrooms and onions in butter, add browned sausage and all the seasonings.  Simmer three minutes.  Put bread cubes in a large bowl. Add the beaten egg. Stir in sautéed vegetables.  Add enough of the chicken broth to moisten.
This will stuff a 21-24 pound turkey.

APPLE RAISIN STUFFING

3/4 cup of minced onion
1 1/2 cups of chopped celery
1 cup of butter
7 cups of soft bread cubes
1 tablespoon of salt
3 cups of finely chopped apples
3/4 cup of raisins
1 1/2 teaspoons of crushed sage leaves
1 teaspoon of thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon of pepper


In large skillet, cook and stir onion and celery in butter until onion is tender. Stir in about 1/3 of bread cubes. Turn into deep bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss. Stuff turkey just before roasting. Yield 9 cups enough for a 12 pound turkey.  

Thanksgiving is a special time for family and friends.  Thanksgiving  is the only holiday that the sole focus is the meal. 

Pulling together the perfect Thanksgiving turkey & stuffing dinner can be a daunting task, whether this is your first time or you are a seasoned pro. 

Here at DinnerPlanner.com, we thought we'd help by offering some tips for how to cook a perfect thanksgiving turkey, as well as some Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas & Recipes. 

 




HOW TO COOK A PERFECT THANKSGIVING TURKEY 

HOW BIG A TURKEY SHOULD I BUY?

The general rule of thumb is to allow about 1 lb. of turkey per person. If you would like leftovers, buy a larger bird. If you are having 10 people for dinner, then get at least a 10 lb. turkey. While no one is going to eat 1 lb. of turkey on Thanksgiving, this estimate is based on the total weight of the turkey, including all the waste, as we all know a 10 lb. turkey doesn't have 10 lbs. of meat. Choose your turkey based on how many people you are serving, and whether you want leftovers or not. 

A large turkey is great value, but only if you either have a large group to serve, or would like leftovers for sandwiches for the next week!


Thaw the turkey in the package wrap in the refrigerator. You must think ahead of time for this, as it takes several days. Allow about a day for every 4 lbs. of turkey. In other words, a 20 lb. turkey will take about 5 days in the refrigerator. There is a "faster" way of thawing a turkey also. Place the unopened turkey in a sinkful of cold water, completely covering the turkey. You will have to change the water about every half hour to keep the turkey cold. Allow about 30 minutes per pound to thaw this way. So, a 20-lb. turkey will take about 10 hours. Not exactly convenient with changing the water every half hour, but it is an effective method, especially if you've forgotten to thaw the turkey beforehand!

When you're ready to roast the turkey, locate and remove the giblet bag and neck in the turkey cavity. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a roasting rack set in a roasting pan. (Disposable pans, available at the grocery store this time of the year, are great here!). 

Heat oven to 325 degrees. 

Brush or spray the skin of the turkey with oil or butter to prevent it from drying too much. This will also help the skin turn a nice brown in color. Keep your eye on the turkey; after a couple of hours you should cover the top of the turkey, including the top of the legs, with aluminum foil to prevent the skin and the breast from becoming overcooked and drying out. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast, but don't touch the bone. The turkey will be done when the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees and the juices are clear. You can also place the thermometer in the thigh, making sure not to touch the bone here either. Roast until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees if inserted in the thigh. Usually, frozen turkeys also come with directions on the package and a roasting chart which is accurate. Find the weight of your turkey on the chart, and roast accordingly. It's a pretty foolproof method! Also, if you are lucky enough to find one of the turkeys with the "pop up" thermometer, these seem to work well, too. I have never used a meat thermometer, just roasted according to the times given, and I've never had a problem. Start checking to see if the turkey is done about a half hour before the chart time indicates.

If you stuff your turkey, follow these few tips. 

Sautee your vegetables- celery, onions, etc. prior to adding to stuffing mix. If you add sausage, oysters, or other meats, make sure they are cooked before adding to the stuffing mix also. Stuff right before you put the turkey in the oven; because of health concerns this can't be done in advance. Fill both the neck and body cavities loosely with the stuffing; don't pack tightly. You will, however, need to roast the turkey longer if you choose to place your stuffing in the cavity. If you choose to cook the stuffing in a casserole dish, you can add it to the oven (if there's room!) during the last 30-45 minutes of roasting time. If you don't have room, you can cook the stuffing ahead of time and reheat later.

Your approximate roasting times, thanks to our friends at the Butterball.com website, are listed below but are not hard and fast. It could easily take a bit longer or less time than indicated. Don't panic if this is the case. When the turkey is removed from the oven, let it stand at least 15 minutes before carving. Don't forget to take pictures!

See cooking time for thanksgiving turkey below.  As always, email us if you have any questions.

Melissa & Sue

 

thanksgiving turkey

This year, try your hand at some
 homemade traditional stuffing.   



DELIGHTFUL MASHED POTATOES

6-8 Medium Potatoes
1/4 cup milk
1 8 oz. carton sour cream
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
4 Tbsp. butter, divided
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. dried chives


Preheat oven to 325. Peel potatoes and cut in half lengthwise. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and cook potatoes until tender.   Drain potatoes and place back in the pan. Whip potatoes and add milk, sour cream, cream cheese, 2 Tbsp. butter, salt, pepper, and chives while whipping.  Pour into a baking dish and dot with 2 Tbsp. butter.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.



SIMPLE CROCKPOT THANKSGIVING TURKEY

Serving size 6-8 

With this recipe you can make a juicy, slow cooked turkey for Thanksgiving day entirely in your crock pot. Using a slow cooker makes cooking this classic dish fast, easy, and almost effortless. The best part about cooking your turkey in a slow cooker is that it keeps your bird from drying out or becoming rubbery, and you are free to concentrate on all the other details of the Thanksgiving feast.


4 - 5 pound turkey or turkey breast, fresh or frozen
1 medium onion, chopped 
1 rib celery, chopped 
1/4 cup salted butter, melted 
1 sprig of rosemary, chopped 
2 teaspoons salt 
1 teaspoon pepper 
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 sage leaves 

Grease the interior of the slow cooker to prevent sticking.   Rinse the turkey and pat dry with paper towels.  Put the chopped onion and celery in the turkey's cavity or line the bottom of the slow cooker with the vegetables if you're using a turkey breast. Place the turkey in the center of the slow cooker.  Pour the melted butter over the turkey and sprinkle the chopped rosemary, salt, and pepper on top.
Pour the chicken broth around the turkey and add the two sage leaves to the broth. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or until done. If you're starting with a frozen turkey, the cooking time could be longer. Remove the turkey from the slow cooker and let it stand for at least 10 minutes before carving and serving.

Quick Tip: An hour on high in the slow cooker is the same as 2 - 2 1/2 hours on low. You can use this as a guide to lengthen the amount of time the turkey is in the crock pot if you need the turkey to stay in the crock pot for longer than 6 hours.

Thanksgiving Turkey

COOKING TIME FOR TURKEY BY WEIGHT

WEIGHT: (LBS) COOKING TIME STUFFED: (HOURS)  COOKING TIME
UNSTUFFED: (HOURS) 

10-18 

3 3/4 - 4 1/2 3 - 3 1/2 

18-22 

4 1/2 - 5 3 1/2 - 4

22-24 

5 - 5 1/2 4 - 4 1/2 

24-30 

5 1/2 - 6 4 1/2 - 5 

 







    How to Cook a Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey &
 Turkey Stuffing Recipes