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Cooking Turkey for Thanksgiving (or Christmas)

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Can you believe that Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK!!!! I hope you’re ready. If you are not then I hope my advice helps you through the day. Remember planning is key, and it is okay if you mess something up! There is always Chinese Food! (Christmas Story Reference!)

As many of you know I have not always celebrated Thanksgiving. In fact I’ve only celebrated the much loved holiday for fourteen years. So when my turn to make the turkey came up I was beyond nervous.  It did not help that when ever I sought out advice, I was met with how hard it is to make a turkey and how stressful Thanksgiving is.

So to alleviate some of that pressure I decided that I was going to do some research. Most of the recipes I was going to make, along with the turkey, were pretty simple. They were handed down from my husband’s mother. For those recipes I just had to learn time management. But my big worry was the Turkey!!!!

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Making a turkey sounded very hard, and I would be lying if I said I was not nervous. Cause I was. At the time, when the Food Network actually played cooking shows not competitions and the Cooking Channel was on my cable plan, I found a little gem named, Nigella Lawson. I LOVE THIS WOMAN!!!!!

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If I had never found her I would have been overwhelmed with what the heck I needed to do with a turkey. Many cooks and chiefs made the process impossible, as talked about how I could create a turkey like theirs. (Um, Wrong!) But with Nigella, she didn’t make it overwhelming. In fact she sort of made if fun, and she sort of gave me confidence I could do it. Nigella broke the process down so it didn’t seem so overwhelming.

One of the things I am often asked when it comes to cooking a turkey is how long I cook it for. Well, here is a simple table that I got from Nigella.

First off you want to go by the weight of the bird. You also want to use the weight to determine how many servings you will be serving. For instance a 12 lb bird will feed about 7 people. To determine how many birds you need you should estimate 1 pound per serving. Most people get a bird about 11 to 11 1/2 pounds and that gives them plenty of left overs. ( FYI I will share on my next post what we do with our leftovers!)

Ok, back to how long to cook the bird.

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Just remember to check your bird at the end of cooking time. The thickest part should reach 165  or if you really want to be safe 170 degrees.

So there you have a, simple way of cooking a turkey. Now, what to put on it! Well, the possibilities are endless.

For me I prepare “butter coins” riddled with herbs. On the day of cooking I shove the coins under the skin , spread some on the body and inside the cavity.  This year I think I might go crazy and do goose fat with maple syrup!

Keep in mind that it really isn’t as hard as some people have made it out to be. Once you get through your first one, you are golden my friend! (I have been there, when it seemed my turkey would never finish. I have stressed it would be too dry. I was even so stressed one year I accidentally cooked it upside down. My husband said it was the best turkey ever. So don’t put too much stress on yourself!) Just find a recipe that you think sounds good, nothing too elaborate and go from there!

I’d love to hear your turkey plans!

Coming up next on the blog I’ll write about what to do with left overs!

Until Next time.

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PS. I’ll be posting cooking pictures on Instagram the day of Thanksgiving! I’d love to see what you guys are cooking too! Maybe you might catch me on SnapChat!

Find me on instagram at @christinasaysthings

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