Talking Turkey {Giveaway}

I cooked my first turkey when I was 17 years old.  It was intimidating, but a proud moment after all was said and done.   I was a new mother & wife and we couldn’t live farther away from family at the time.  I remember calling my mom and grandma countless times, asking all sorts of questions to make sure I was doing it right.   And even as proud as I was, there was a moment that was more special that day.  My husband invited one of his coworkers to our home for Thanksgiving.  He didn’t have anywhere to go, no family, and definitely no home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner to eat.  My husband has always been a very thoughtful & kind man, still is.  As soon as they finished up their day of work (cows don’t know it’s Thanksgiving), they headed in to enjoy some football and food.  Looking back, I now see that my husband is so much like his mother.

We have cooked our turkeys various ways over the years and probably prefer the oil-less turkey fryer method the best, but today I want to share my favorite tips for cooking your turkey and preparing your Thanksgiving day.  Remember, as nice as it is to present a beautiful table setting, all that really matters is who you’re sharing the day with and the moments you are creating, together.


I have learned over the years that the turkey does matter and will always recommend Butterball turkeys.  I recommend that you buy a bigger turkey than you think you will need. I say this for two reasons:

  1. You never know what extra mouths you may end up feeding and it’s always better to have more than not enough.
  2. You can have some great turkey leftovers and we all know, the last thing we want to do after Thanksgiving, is cook.

If you want to truly set it and forget it, buy the Reynolds Oven bags and a thermometer. I love the bags.  You can butter your turkey all up, stick in the bag, and walk away.  Keep the thermometer in there so you’ll know when it’s done.  I always say to just leave the turkey alone.  Don’t poke it. You can pour some juices over it once or twice but just leave it alone and let it roast.


Instead of slaving over everything, ask family to bring a side or dessert.   This will ease your workload and pile up the table with plenty to eat.


Chances are, you’ll get a tiny bit stressed making sure everything is done on time.  This can also make you a bit more snappy so I’m telling you to slow down and don’t stress out.  The food will be done when it’s done.  Enjoy all the moments you can and don’t let the lazy bones watching football annoy you by their lack of participation.


Finally, and what it’s really all about, be thankful.  Be thankful for the food on the table, for the company you have, and count each blessing in your life.  Ask everyone to share their own thankful moments and when you’re sitting around feeling full as a tick, thank God for the day ’cause you’ll never get it back and tomorrow is unexpected.


To help your pocketbook this holiday season, I want to giveaway 3 $20 checks to help you buy that perfect turkey!


Leave a comment on this post sharing your best (or even secret) tip for Thanksgiving preparation.  (You may do this once a day as long as the tip is different each time.)

Be sure to visit the fabulous sponsor, Butterball!  They’re on Facebook, Twitter, and keep their 800# handy to help you answer all your turkey questions.  1-800-BUTTERBALL They also have an awesome app, Butterball Cookbook Plus, to help you prepare the perfect Thanksgiving, including recipes that will become a family tradition.

While sharing through social media doesn’t get you an entry, I’d still love for you to share this post.  All the tips left in the comments will definitely help someone have the perfect Thanksgiving!  Giveaway ends on Nov. 11th, around 10pm CST  so that I’ll have time to send checks out!! Open to US only..sorry! Good luck to all! Thank you Butterball for sponsoring and for helping create memorable moments.



  1. 1

    Audrey says

    My first turkey cooking was “smoking” one——which meant getting up at 5 am to get the charcoal going and keeping it going because the weather jusst happened to turn cold that year. The turkey turned out great——-I was exhausted!

  2. 2

    Stacy says

    i am cooking my first turkey this year! so scared but excited.

  3. 3

    Mami2jcn says

    We’re the same age! Hahaha!

    My tip is to use the juices that are pooling in the turkey tin/dish to wet the turkey all over. I do this every 15 minutes or so to keep the turkey moist.

  4. 4

    DEBIJOT says

    When planning a large family get-together for Thanksgiving, I will get everything I can prepared ahead of time. i.e. the sauces made up, cornbread cooked for the dressing, etc.

  5. 5

    Barbara Stenby says

    Thanksgiving is my ABSOLUTE favorite holiday for cooking. I grew up w/ my mother being the most amazing cook and since she has passed I still cook her Thanksgiving meal. Her stuffing was the absolute most moist delicious stuffing. Her secret was not to pre-cook the sausage meat for her stuffing. It adds moisture, flavor and makes the stuffing delicious. ALSO she always cooked Butterball Turkey. No tenting, no bacon wrapped, only salt & pepper and baste baste baste! Juicy cuicy bird! No complaints ever.

  6. 6

    Valerie Beuth says

    What a wonderful blog! My tip is do as much as you can a few days ahead of time. Some sides can be almost finished and refrigerated. By the time of the big day, just throw the turkey in the oven and you’re done (except for making the gravy). I’ve found that the turkey is the easiest part of the whole meal!

  7. 7

    Dominique Booth says

    I have no special recipe, however I do roast pumpkin slices and serve it with the turkey. Seems to make a big hit with everyone!

  8. 8

    Anne Marie says

    My best tip is to use a Butterball turkey and a Reynolds turkey bag – turns out perfect every time.

  9. 9

    Lindsay W. says

    I need all the tips I can get this will be my first year cooking the Turkey so fingers crossed it is eatable when I am done!

  10. 10

    Linda Stewart says

    I always stuff my turkey with ‘my’ special dressing and cook it the night before Thanksgiving. I cook it on a reduced heat setting and allow it to ‘simmer’ all night. The next morning when I take it out of the oven it’s always really moist and ready to eat. The house smells awesome and leaves the oven free for cooking other treats throughout the day.

  11. 11

    Wendi S says

    I make all that I ca the day before including stuffing the turkey.

  12. 12

    Marilyn Wons says

    I gently rub oil over the turkey and cover it with foil while baking in the oven. This turns the turkey golden brown.

  13. 13

    alice sims says

    I like to do all the cooking myself and I prepare for a large crowd on Thanksgiving. My tip is to prepare as much as possible ahead of time and freeze. I usually prepare my stuffing the day before and let all the wonderful flavors of celery, onions, and spices mix well together in the refrigerator over night. I also like to plan my menu in advance and determine what casserole dish or pot I will be using for each menu item. That way I know I will have the right size dish or pot for everything. I do my shopping early so I do not have to worry about the grocery store running out of the items I need. I make a list of everything I need to prepare each dish and check my pantry for what I may already have on hand.

  14. 14

    Alicia Clinton says

    Mostly I’ve assisted with the turkey making – so most of my tips have been initiated by my father.
    Tip #1 Cook upside down, so the breast is nice and juicy.

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  16. 16

    Shannon Baas says

    In our family, everyone brings something. The host does the meat and potatoes and everyone else brings the rest of the food.

  17. 17

    carol cas says

    We enjoy deep frying the turkey. We like the crispy skin, I know ur not suppose to deep fry and eat the skin, but what the heck once a year not

  18. 18

    Marjory says

    Ever since I married my husband..I’ve used McCormick Turkey Rub as my *secret seasoning. It was the best…until they discontinued it last year. This year we are creating a new *secret seasoning. My tip to all is make sure your turkey is thaw out before cooking. We sit it out the night before to ensure we are good to go. It all depends on the weight of the turkey.

  19. 19

    Carolyn G says

    One of my favorite tricks to keep the breast moist is to make an herbed butter. Then when you are about to put the turkey into the oven, you take the herbed butter and place it under the turkey skin. SO when it cooks, the butter melts into the breast and makes it flavorful and moist.

  20. 20

    Angela Kinder says

    What we do is cook a lot of the side dishes the night before and reheat them in the oven. That way, all we have to do is worry about the turkey and not spend all day over the stove. We’re able to enjoy more time with the family!

  21. 21

    Rochelle says

    I bake my yams before making my yam dish. Once they are coo enough to touch but still warm I peel them by hand. The skin falls off so easily. Beats peeling them raw before hand. Thanks!

  22. 22

    Babs says

    The best tip I can think of is being organized. Do all your planning and shopping as early in the week as possible. Try to have everything prepped ahead of starting in and actually doing the cooking. It makes everything so much easier if you don’t have any surprises, like “Oh, no! I forgot the (?)”

  23. 23

    Christy harris says

    Thanksgiving is when my husbands family finally started having a holiday tradition at our house. The best thing is to have each family being a dish already cooked and we cook the turkey!

  24. 24

    Kristin says

    I make at least half the side dishes the night before (like sweet potatoes and deviled eggs and mac and cheese) so I only have to heat them up when it’s time to eat.

  25. 25

    Kandace says

    Plan ahead. I made my first thanksgiving a few years ago for us and 3 guests, including my MIL. I obsessed over every detail so we had a plan for everything and did manage to somewhat enjoy the day. Everything was perfect.

  26. 26

    Suzette Rummell says

    A week ahead I get all the dishes and utensils ready that I will be using and put a little post it note in each one written what will go n it.

  27. 27

    Deen says

    Cook the Turkey up side down! Really!

  28. 28

    Marty Harris says

    I found out with glazing the ham with blueberries keeps the ham go and moist

  29. 29

    Ashley says

    My tip for a great thanksgiving dinner is to make a great apple pie and serve with vanilla ice cream.

  30. 30

    LW says

    I prepare the sausage-cornbread stuffing a day or two before (baking the cornbread and freezing it a few weeks in advance as well) keeping it refrigerated before baking it on thanksgiving day.

  31. 31

    Steve says

    I like to brine the turkey! Makes the meat moist and great to eat.

  32. 32

    Lisa says

    Prepare as much as possible the day before. Also, don’t try to do too much. I have found sometimes the simple things are what make the day great! Focus on memories and family/friends.

  33. 33

    Margie says

    If you want a moisted turkey and have lots of juices for gravy take 4 cups of water and put it in a pot on top of the stove to that add 1 to 1 1/2 sticks of butter and bring to a boil are just until the butter it melted.Take and run your fingers up under the skin of the turkey and rub butter good all over and salt and what ever other spices you want to use. Then pour your water butter mixture over the turkey and cook like you usely do.

  34. 34

    Eve says

    I plan my menu ahead so I know exactly how to divide my time

  35. 35

    sunnie says

    Ive never fully made my own turkey, my dad in law helps. I dont have any tips. Maybe this year I will make my own!

  36. 36

    Vicki says

    Good article Lori! It is making me hungry for turkey and dressing! My tip is… If you don’t have many to feed, a crockpot with a turkey breast in it is a fabulous way to have a small,simple thanksgiving. My best tasting turkey came out of the crockpot!

  37. 37

    Ma;ry Johnson says

    I cook my turkey breast side down for the most moist turkey ever.

  38. 38

    Emily says

    My tip is to keep a check list.

  39. 39

    My best tip is don’t forget to remove the bag of innards. I have forgotten twice! I was 17 when I cooked my first turkey dinner also:)
    smchester at gmail dot com

  40. 40

    Donna B says

    Our family loves Sweet Potatoes. We always used the canned ones until last year when I had the opportunity to fix “fresh from the garden” Sweet Potatoes. They were literally the BEST we had ever had!! And I agree with you about using the bag to cook the turkey (and it should be a Butterball turkey). So easy and so moist!! Thanks for the opportunity!!

  41. 41

    Wendy says

    I always clean, chop and slice all vegetables the day before the holiday. I measure everything out into containers or plastic zip lock bags and label them clearly. Then when I prepare each recipe it’s a cinch! Love your photo of the first Thanksgiving. You did great!!

  42. 42

    I’ve had good luck with brining the turkey, but it’s some extra time and work, and you have to have room for the bucket in the fridge! Not a lot of extra room during the holidays unless there’s an extra fridge.

    I always use a disposable roasting pan and criss-cross whole carrots and celery stalks,underneath and filling in with quartered onions and garlic cloves. These raise the turkey up much like a rack does and gives awesome flavor to the drippings! I’ve even pureed the veggies to use in the leftover turkey soup.

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  43. 43

    mary says

    My Mom always used a cheesecloth soaked in butter and put on turkey while roasting . It was so moist and had a beautiful brown skin.

  44. 44

    Deb C says

    I use a poultry injector and inject a mix of chicken broth and real butter, melted, into the meatiest parts of the turkey.

  45. 45

    Kit says

    It’s been a tradition in our family to have wild rice. It’s so good with turkey gravy on it. A few more carbs for Thanksgiving. That’s what it’s about right? Can be made a day or 2 before too.

  46. 46

    ellen says

    One of my best tip is always defrost the turkey as instructed !

  47. 47

    Nanette says

    My best tip is to use the Reynold’s Turkey bags to cook the turkey. Clean up is a breeze!!

  48. 48

    Jamie Myers says

    I did my first Turkey all by myself last year and my mom made a back up turkey een though she said that she had it in case there were more hungry people than normal…ya right!! I don’t really have a tip other than be confident in your turkey. I got my recipe online and everyone loved it.

  49. 49

    Denise says

    Last Thanksgiving I had to roast a chicken instead of a turkey :( Not the same! I love cooking chicken and turkey in the oven cooking bags. They always come out moist.

  50. 50

    Karen G says

    I brush on Popcorn oil all over the turkey, then sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Did this last year for the first time and everyone liked it. Doing it again this Thanksgiving.