Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tackling My First Turkey

When Eric and I decided to start our family's Thanksgiving tradition and host the holiday at our house, that meant tackling the guest of honor...Mr. Turkey. Luckily, Eric had lots of experience with the deep frier so he took charge of the small turkey. And my sister-in-law Diana, being the great cook that she is, tackled the big Turkey. Sweet! I just had to make it look pretty on the plate. I can do pretty.

But this year, I will be without my turkey chef. I am sure Eric will still deep fry something BUT I need someone to help me with the big turkey! I have never cooked one before! My mother-in-law Patti, who is also an amazing cook, offered to help me out. My mom also offered to lend a hand but when I talked to Eric about it last night he said "Babe...I think you and I should tackle the big turkey together. I think it would be fun."

I was shocked that he was taking such an initiative and then when he said "I saw a good lookin turkey on the cover of your Martha Stewart magazine", I remembered once again why I married this man. He knows me. He knows I was only a heartbeat away from running to grab that exact magazine.

So Martha Stewart Turkey it is!! I just hope ours turns out as pretty and delicious as this one...

So, it is official. Eric and I are going to tackle our first turkey together and make it special. And even though I have already downloaded the turkey prep video from AND asked my two moms a couple of questions...I am still open to any and all tips that people have to offer. Are any of you in charge of the turkey at your Thanksgiving? Have any great tips, recipes, ideas for serving, etc. that you would like to share? I am all ears :-)


  1. You are making me so hungry for Thanksgiving dinner!!

    I have never had a deep fried turkey but always wanted to try it. I have never hosted a T-day yet but I know my day is soon, scares me a bit!

    I have a great recipe for a cranberry salad (marshmallows, sugar, cranberries, cherry jello) It's super yummy if you're interested. Tastes AWESOME on the turkey!

  2. Good for you two! I haven't made one either and frankly, I'm a little nervous too!

    I'm sure it will all turn out great!

  3. I made my first turkey last year. Here is my biggest tip/advice: DO NOT DO IT TOGETHER. Last year Jon said he would help. And his "help" drove me insane. I was so worried/preoccupied with doing every step just how Ina Garten did it, that i would flip anytime he would say "it will be ok if we have it like this, Its not a big deal if we dont do it exactly like her". And there was a mini meltdown in the kitchen. And no, i was not overreacting! You are extremely capable of pulling of your first turkey. However, you are pregnant and can not drink to handle the stress, so maybe some help from Jan wouldnt be such a bad idea. :)

  4. Jen,
    Easiest way to cook a turkey is in a reynold turkey bag. It wont get dry and you don't have to bast it. I wouldn't stuff with dressing either sometimes get slimy.

  5. Jen tell me the truth, are you Superwoman? I mean I am totally in awe. Not only are you eight almost nine months pregnant, but now you are hosting Thanksgiving and preparing a turkey! I still haven't even decided if I haven't had the baby by then whether I'll have the energy to go to my family's Thanksgiving gathering (it will be like 40 people) so I am sending you all the cooking goddess dust I can, for being so brave!

    On the turkey tips, just make sure you have some good gravy on hand! I find gravy makes everything taste delicious!

  6. Thanks for all the tips ladies!! I will be sure to share the whole experience, including my freak out the day before. haha! Lins...I wish I could have that wine to keep me calm :-)

    And Amy, I am SO not superwoman...I just love the holidays and figured that I could handle this task with the help of my hubby. But this will be a test of patience...I can already see that. As for energy...I am just praying I wake up that day with a random second wind because otherwise, I have a feeling I will be passed out face first in my food after I cook it. haha!

  7. My mom and Grandma have always done the *gasp* long term cooking method for the Lurk, as we lovingly call it. My mom stays up until midnight making stuffing and pies the night before and at midnight we shove Mr. Lurk Man in at a low temp... Then, in the AM you wake up to a fabulous smell and turn the temp up for the last hour or so of cooking. I know it isn't recommended by most as the cooking temperature isn't right or something... whatever. It's our tradition and no one has died yet. HAHA! Except, Brandon won't let me cook it that way for us or his family... What a party pooper! My suggestion is to think out of the box for the stuffing ideas. I made an andouille (sp?)stuffing one year... I also love sausage & cranberry stuffing. Also, Christina has a fabulous recipe for "green bean bundles" that have become a staple at family gatherings so if you need a side dish those are delish! I prefer them to the regular green bean casserole...

    Good luck girl! And... Gobble 'til ya wobble!!! :)

  8. Fun! We did ours last year for the first time. I just put tons of butter under the skin, coated it with lots of spices, and it turned out great! My family always makes fried turkey, though and there isn't much that can beat that, in my opinion!

  9. Hi there - I just happened upon your blog today. It's very charming. I very highly recommend using The Pioneer Woman's method for cooking a turkey. I hosted Thanksgiving my very first time 2years ago and I followed her recipes. I will never ever do a turkey any other way. It was a huge hit! It is the best turkey I've ever eaten. She has a lot of other great reicpes too - her mashed potatoes are delish! You should check it out! And good luck!

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