You may have already bought your Thanksgiving turkey....
That’s good, especially if you bought one of 20-25 pounds. A 25 pound turkey will take about 5 full days to thaw in a 40º refrigerator. The good thing is that even if you miscalculate or your turkey thaws faster, you can hold it up to two days in the fridge, if it hasn’t gotten above 40º. If you’re going the refrigerator route, place the turkey in its’ original wrapping, breast side up, in a large roasting pan in the lowest part of the fridge. If you try to defrost a large turkey on the counter, the outer parts will be at very dangerous temperatures long before the inside is defrosted.
Of course, you can speed up the thawing time by placing your frozen turkey in a waterproof plastic bag and immersing it in cold water. For safety you need to change the water every 30 minutes. A lot of trouble especially for a large turkey. And you will need to cook it as soon as it is thawed. A 25 lb turkey would take about 12 hours. This seems impractical.
If your microwave is large enough you can theoretically thaw it in there, but the quality may suffer as some parts may get partially cooked. Again it will need to be cooked immediately.
So how big a turkey do you need? A rough rule of thumb is about 1 lb for each guest. But there are a lot of variables. Young children will not eat as much as grownups, though teenage boys may eat more. Another factor is whether or not you want leftovers. Our family has developed a whole category of food we call derivatives. We fight over the leftovers. But if you don’t want much meat left over, get a smaller turkey and avoid food waste.
The bones amount to about half of the weight of a turkey. A 20 lb. turkey will yield from 8-10 lb of meat. The average adult Thanksgiving guest eats about 4 ounces of turkey. If there are many side dishes they may eat less.
When it comes to cooking there are many decisions. Are you going to stuff the bird? The food scientists say no—that the stuffing will absorb the yummy juices, but the interior of a stuffed bird will not get to a high enough temperature for food safety. An unstuffed bird will also cook a little faster, and you can always bake some dressing in a pan, you could spoon up some of the juices in the roasting pan and add them to the dressing to improve the flavor. Remember it will need both fat and moisture to bake successfully.
For best results use a thermometer to test for doneness.
Jamie Oliver’s Fail Safe Roast Turkey
Here’s a pretty basic roasting technique.
Sales This Week
Fry’s—There are a couple of special deals. One for Holiday preparation necessities will get you $5 off your order (mix or match) of $15 worth of selected items such as baking utensils, C&H sugar, Cage Free Eggs, and other items. There are some 3 day only digital coupons for Private Selection Cheesecake, $9.99, Clever Kids Games and Puzzles etc. good only Fri, Sat, & Sun. There is a special deal that will give you from 30% to 50% off on apparel and home decor, if you spend over $200 in the period from 11/20 to 12/03. If you are interested in this you should probably check with customer service for more details, and keep all your register receipts during the period. Mostly, Fry’s seems to be counting on overall low prices to get you into the store during this pre-holiday period. Closing Time on thanksgiving—5pm
Safeway—Three special just for U digital deals—$.25, 5 lb bag of Russet potatoes, $.25 half gallon of Lucerne milk, $.25 16 oz Signature Select bread, select varieties. Limit 2 on each. There is $5 Friday this week. Whole Rotisserie Chicken $5, Florida’s Natural orange juice, 52 oz, $1.67/each (first 3), Signature Select Pizza, $2.50, select varieties. There are many Click or Clip Coupons including, Red Baron Pizza, classic or single, $2.99/each, Betty Crocker Cake, Brownie, or Frosting, $.99/each. Buy 2 Get 1 Free on many Holiday Baking tools including some Eco Foil, Good Cook and Ziploc.
Sprouts—Still wants to be your Organic Holiday Destination, save on hundreds of organic items throughout the store. A couple of particularly good deals, Sprouts Organic Spices (in jars) 30% off, Horizon Organic half and half or heavy cream, $2.99/each and Wholesome or Big Tree Farms, Organic sugars etc 35% Off. Closing time on Thanksgiving—4pm
All stores ad prices are good Wed Nov 20—Thurs Nov 28. There may or may not be a new ad at that time.
National Days This Week
Are you still looking for ways to perk up the Thanksgiving menu. See suggestions for mashed potato change ups. And how about a dessert tray featuring small items instead of big pies and cakes. The Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies from this week and the Spicy Hermit Cookies from last week would be good, along with these Mince Tartlets.
See these in Bonus Recipes at the end of the column.
See also the Bonus Bonus recipe which will help you turn most of your leftovers into a delicious Turkey Soup
Some Suggestions for The Week Before Thanksgiving (emphasis on quick and easy) The * means that a recipe video is provided.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches *
Pizza, from your Favorite place, or frozen
Spaghetti with purchased meatballs, or fresh
Go out for fast food (no prep and no clean up)
Composed Salad with poached Salmon
Sheet Pan Dinner (from StruggleMeals) *
Salads and Sides
No Lettuce Salads *
Crunchy Winter Salad *
Winter DeTox Salad *
Breakfast Parfaits (why not?) *
Peanut Butter Fudge *
Fruit and Cheese Plate
Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies *
Recipes and Videos
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
An exploration leading to Grilled Cheese Deluxe. Maybe just use a couple cheeses and some thin sliced ham or turkey.
Sardines, Three Ways
Who know that you could use sardines as a main ingredient.
Sheet Pan Dinners (from StruggleMeals)
Take your choice, Steak, Salmon or Tofu.
No Lettuce Salads
These all look good. Farro is available but you could substitute cooked barley or brown rice.
Crunchy Winter Salad
Winter Detox Salad
Maybe substitute some Romaine if you can’t take that much kale.
Peanut Butter Fudge
Need a quick and easy dessert. Try this.
Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies
Maybe add a little finely chopped candied ginger and/or a little grated fresh ginger. And the recipe is down below the video, love that.
On Sale This Week
Turkeys—Fry’s—$.69/lb frozen , $.99/lb, Butterball, fz., $1.49/lb Fresh Foster Farms
Turkeys—Safeway—$.79/lb, fz. will match price. $1.59/lb Fresh, Jennie O.
Turkeys—Sprouts—$1.49/lb @Sprouts, fresh, limit 4, $2.99/lb Organic, Fresh, Free Range
Ham, spiral sliced—$1.47/lb @Fry’s, Kroger, $1.99/lb @Safeway, Hormel. $2.49lb @Sprouts
Beef Roast—$4.77/lb @Safeway, boneless New York, *$4.77/lb @Fry’s, boneless New York, $6.97/lb @Fry’s, bone in Rib Eye. *$9.99/lb @Sprouts, Rib Roast, Presidential Cut.
Salmon—$6.99/lb @Sprouts, Fresh Atlantic. *$6.99/lb @Fry’s, fresh Atlantic
Shell Fish—$9.99/lb @Sprouts, Colossal Cooked Shrimp, $7.99/each @Sprouts, Wild Raw Lobster Tails, $12.99/lb @Sprouts, Snow Crab Clusters, wild cooked. *$11.99/2 lb bag @Safeway, 2 lb bag , large easy peel shrimp. *$15.98/ 2 lb bag @Fry’s, Large cooked shrimp.
Sausage Roll—$2.50/1 lb roll @Sprouts, Swaggerty’s Farm, all natural, gluten free. *$3/roll @Fry’s, Jimmy Dean.
Fruits and Vegetables
Pineapple—$2/each @Fry’s, *$2.50/each @Sprouts.
Blueberries—$1.67/box $Sprouts $2.50/box @Fry’s
Raspberries—$1.67/box @Sprouts *$12.20/box @Fry’s
Blackberries—$.77/box @Fry’s. *$1.67/box @Sprouts.
Apples—$.88/lb @Sprouts, Honeycrisp or Granny Smith. *$3.99/lb/3 lb bag @Fry’s, Honeycrisp. *$1.99/lb @Safeway, Honeycrisp
Mandarins—$3.98/5lb box @Sprouts. *$3.99/3 lb bag @Safeway. *$2,68/3 lb bag @Fry’s
Red Mangos—$.88/each @Sprouts
Navel Oranges—$.88/lb @Sprouts *$$3.99/4 lb bag
Grapes—$.98/lb @Sprouts, red, black. *$1.99/lb @Fry’s, red, green, black
Pomegranates—$1/each @Fry’s *$2/each @Sprouts
Cranberries, fresh—$2.50/8 oz pkg @Sprouts. *3.99/2 lb bag @Fry’s
Tomatoes—$.88/lb @Sprouts, on-the-vine. *$2.50/10 oz box @Fry’s, snacking
Bell Peppers—$1.25/each @Sprouts, red, yellow orange.
Celery—$.99/head @Safeway. *$1.48/head @Sprouts.
Green Beans—$.69/lb @Safeway. *$1.29/lb @Fry’s. *$1.48/lb @Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts—$.69/lb @Safeway. *$1.48/lb @ Sprouts
Potatoes—$.25/5 lb bag @Safeway, must have digital coupon, limit 2 Russet.
Potatoes—$2.98/3 lb bag @Sprouts, red or gold (O)
Squash—$.99/lb @Sprouts, Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti (O)
Sweet Potatoes—$.99/lb @Safeway. *$.99/lb @Fry’s
Yellow Onions—$.99/lb @Safeway
Mushrooms—$2.50/8 oz. omg @Safeway, white or brown.
Salad Blends—$4.99/16 oz. box @Fry’s, (O)
Squash, summer—$1.29/lb @Fry’s, Yellow or Zucchini
Other Good Deals
Refrigerated Rolls—$1.67/each @Safeway, Grands, Crescents, Cinnamon Rolls, select var.
Whole Cashews—$5.99/lb @Sprouts, bulk bins, raw, roasted, salted, unsalted.
Sugar—$2.50/bag @Fry’s, C&H
Chips—$1.67/bag (when you buy 3) @Safeway, Lays, Tostitos, Cheetos, Fritos.
Rice—30%off @Sprouts, Lundberg, select varieties, 1 lb bags
Butter—$1.49/lb @Fry’s, Kroger Brand, 3 days only—Fri Sat & Sun.
Bakery Pies, 8 inch pumpkin—$3.99/each @Safeway. *$3.99/each @Sprouts. *$
Bakery Pies, 8 inch fruit—$3.99/each @ Sprouts, apple. *$5/each @Safeway, assorted flavors
Bakery Pies—$8.99 @Fry’s, 52 oz Celebration Pumpkin Pie
Steakhouse Style Mashed Potatoes with Garlic
Duchess Mashed Potatoes
For even more flavor, add some grated cheddar cheese.
And have a great Holiday.
At my parents home there might be some turkey sandwiches, but the main use for most leftovers was Mom’s Turkey Soup. She put in most everything, and it tasted wonderful. She always stripped the meat off the carcass after the meal, then broke it up and put all the bones in the largest kettle along with any skin and some onions and bay leaves. She let it simmer as long as she could, then strained out the solids in a colander and put the stock in the fridge overnight.
Louise’s Thanksgiving Turkey Soup
1 large onion, diced
bits and pieces of yesterday’s dinner such as, stuffing made with rice or bread cubes, green bean casserole, raw carrots, celery etc. from appetizers or relish trays, cooked sweet potatoes, mashed white potatoes, gravy.
3-4 cups (or more, depending on how much was left) turkey meat, torn or diced
If there’s not enough raw carrots or celery, dice some extra
If there’s no mashed potatoes (which was usually the case) dice a couple potatoes
If there’s not enough rice, measure out about 1/2 cup more (wild rice is great but only use 1/4 cup because it expands more.
1 package of frozen peas (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 quarts or more of homemade turkey stock (chilled overnight and fat removed)
2 Tablespoons cooking oil (usually olive)
A much of the defatted turkey stock as you need.
In a large pot, heat the oil, cook onions until softened, add other raw diced vegetables. Stir and cook until all vegetables are partly cooked. Add turkey stock to a level 3 inches over the veggies. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. If adding extra rice or uncooked potatoes do that now.
Let simmer for 10 minutes. Start adding cooked items. If you have green bean casserole, chop it up a bit. Cut up cooked potatoes or sweet potatoes to eating size chunks. Add more stock if necessary. Bring to a boil, then simmer 5 minutes.
Add turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and frozen peas at the end. Simmer another 10 minutes.
Check for salt and pepper. Saltiness will vary drastically depending on what you have put in.
Serve with plenty of lightly buttered toast or if you have rolls left, split and toast those.
There should be enough for dinner on the day after, and probably lunch on Saturday. If there’s any left over, freeze it. You will be glad some dreary cold January day, when you can have hot turkey soup.
Thanks again Mom.