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.

THE TURKEY

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.

THE SIDES

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.

THE COMPANY

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.

BE THANKFUL

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.

BUTTERBALL TURKEY CHECK GIVEAWAY

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

TO ENTER

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.

 

Comments

  1. 51


    Chrystal says

    My best tip is to let mom and Gran Gran cook the turkey, they’re the best!

    Was disappointed you weren’t in your first Thanksgiving meal picture!

  2. 52


    Kenny F says

    start early

  3. 53


    Erica Best says

    my best tip is make sure to take the turkey out a least 5 days a head of time

  4. 54


    Natalie J Vandenberghe says

    My secret was using my Mom’s recipe for stuffing; and, when she was still here, my biggest tip was getting her to help me make it! Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. 55


    Lethea B says

    My best tip is to buy a Butterball Turkey=)

  6. 56


    Lauralee Hensley says

    My tip is if you cook a turkey in a rotissiere make sure it’s not stuffed. Make the stuffing separately and not in the rotissiere. Also, if you live at higher altitudes and you’re cooking that turkey in a rotissere, you might want to cook it for an extra thirty minutes, that way you won’t be surprised by pink juices near the center. I mean those rotissiere cooking booklet instructions that come with the systems are nice, but they don’t always take into account higher altitudes.

  7. 57


    Brandi says

    One of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes is Sweet Potato Casserole! The best tip I can give regarding this dish is to use fresh sweet potatoes (not canned) and to mash them with a hand masher. This makes the texture perfect and not at all “gluey” or stringy. I also recommend using finely chopped pecans in the topping as opposed to the big pieces. :)

  8. 58


    Sheena says

    I soak my turkey overnight in a brine. A few years I’ve used Grill Mates Garlic Herb & Wine Marinade on the turkey and it was sooooo good!

  9. 59


    ellen says

    Always cook too much rather than not enough- you don’t want to fall short!

  10. 60


    Colleen Sowa says

    I do my baking the day before, I also do as much prep wotk as possible the day before… like breaking up the bread, chopping onions and celery… veggie platter items. This really saves time on Thanksgiving! xo

  11. 61


    Colleen Sowa says

    I loved the photo and story… xo

  12. 62


    April V. says

    Sadly, I have no secrets as I am a terrible cook but one thing my mom always does is make her mac n cheese with extra sharp cheddar which makes it so much yummier.

  13. 63


    Kimberly says

    My tip is to have everything you need ahead of time and having extra ingredients on hand, never hurts either.

  14. 64


    jon brierton says

    … when ordering a Thanksgiving Day dinner, ASK if the turkey is COOKED.
    One year my GF didn’t and when she went to “pick up the goods” — the bird was FROZEN SOLID !

    Oh well, we had a nice ham dinner at the cafeteria …

  15. 65


    LW says

    For smaller gatherings buy just the turkey breast and a pack of turkey legs/thighs (to satisfy those who like dark and light meat). It’s easier to marinade/brine these smaller cuts as well.

  16. 66


    Wendy says

    I plan Thanksgiving about a month ahead and start shopping for ingredients as they go on sale. Not only do i get good prices but the burden of shopping for everything is spread out through the month. I just set up a space in the kitchen (or a closet) and start stacking up cans and boxes. Of course, there are perishables that have to wait until that week. It just works for me to do it this way as we always have lots of people for this meal.

  17. 67


    Joyce S says

    Butterball has been my turkey of choice for all 38 years of marriage. It’s always delcious and bakes up just right. My best tip is: find a friend who has a smoker and deep fat turkey fryer. The last few years, I buy my Butterballs, take them to Tom’s and he cooks my som fixed by each of these ways. There are usually around 30 of us for Thanksgiving and the vote as to which is best is pretty much split down the middle!

  18. 68


    Nicholas S says

    We tend to buy Butterballs as the flavor is great and they bake up consistently well. There’s really no special trick to them, other than we’ve found it’s important to tent them in the oven when they get a golden brown as desired.

  19. 69


    Selene M. says

    Use a crockpot to keep mashed potatoes warm.

  20. 70


    Linda Stewart says

    If I don’t have to cook a really large turkey, I look for one that will fit in my large oval shaped crock pot. I make several balls of aluminum foil to rest the turkey on so that it doesn’t lay solid on the bottom of the crock. Stuff it as usual, then turn it breast side down on the foil balls. Add about 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the crock, spay with vegetable cooking spray, plop the lid on, turn it on high for a couple of hours, then turn the heat to low and let cook for about 6-8 hours depending on the size of the bird.

  21. 71


    Kristy Thiel says

    My best tip is to try to make what you can the day before!

  22. 72


    Kenny F says

    enjoy!

  23. 73


    kim h says

    My tip is to NOT let my step father try to deep fry a turkey…just not a good idea

  24. 74


    rachel says

    stay calm and be prepared for family drama

  25. 75


    Eve says

    One tip is to know that there are many things that can be done in a slow cooker. I make mashed potatoes and stuffing, even veggies in there. Allows me time to do other things

  26. 76


    Elena Vo says

    My tip is having different appetizers that follow a theme. Last year, for example, it was pomergranate and pears, the year before it was Italian appetizers, and this year it will be smoked appetizers. It adds some excitement to the usual fare!

  27. 77


    Mary Calabrese says

    cook turkey in a roasting bag. So easy!

  28. 78
  29. 79


    Barbara M says

    My best tip – we all bring an agreed upon dish to share.
    Takes a lot of pressure off the host!
    Thank you.

  30. 80


    DEBIJOT says

    My tip is to have guests bring a side dish – I have found that they love to contribute.

  31. 81


    Kyl Neusch says

    dont cook a frozen turkey

  32. 82


    Terri says

    My tip is to make all your desserts a day or two before.

  33. 83


    ellen says

    My tip today is to preprepare as many dishes as possible you want to spend time with your guests not with the oven.

  34. 84


    dani marie says

    start early and have a backup plan.

  35. 85


    Margie says

    My best tip it to prepare as much of the food the day before. Like do your deviled eggs and eggs for potato slad. Make your pies and cut up your celery and things to go in your stuffing.get the dishes out that you’re planning to use.easy clean up is to wash the dishes has you go that way there want be alot went the meal is over with.Clean fridge out the day before so you will have room for lefted overs and try to send as much of the lefted over food home with someone else that way you want be timid to over eat more after everyone is gone.

  36. 86


    Ellie W says

    My tip for making the best dressing is to boil a whole chicken and shred it into the dressing. Then use the fresh chicken broth instead of canned. It makes a HUGE difference.

  37. 87


    LW says

    I’m from the south, so collards or cabbage are usually made for holiday meals. Cooking them until they are almost done and freezing is a great option. Also, cooking them in your crockpot is my other method and works great. I ususally make them vegetarian with lots of onion and garlic, vegetable broth, and liquid smoke.

  38. 88


    Selene M. says

    For easy cooking, fix a frozen turkey breast in the crock pot.

  39. 89


    Elena Vo says

    My best tip is to brine the turkey! It takes a lot of space in the fridge (or in the shed!) but the results are so worth it. I add apple cider to my brine for a subtle sweetness and tang.

  40. 90


    Ellen B says

    allow enough time in the refirgerator for defrosting

  41. 91


    steve says

    buy a big enough turkey for leftovers or uinexpected guests

  42. 92


    Kenny F says

    look around

  43. 93


    Amy Brewer says

    I just usually get up around 5 am to start. That way, I have time to prepare everything. Only real tip I have

  44. 94


    Kelly G. says

    My Thanksgiving tip would be to complete as many of the sides, desserts, etc. that you can the night before so that you don’t have so many things to prepare on Thanksgiving. Takes away some of the stress that way.

  45. 95


    laura ari says

    I make a detailed schedule that details what food need to be cooked at what temperature for how long so everything gets cooked on time!

  46. 96


    Lauralee Hensley says

    Make sure to allow a bit over 24 hours to unthaw for every five pounds of turkey. A ten pound turkey will need about 2 and a half days to unthaw in your refrigerator. Sometimes if you need a super huge turkey, it would be wiser to get two smaller ones, so you can be sure they’ll get unthawed before it’s time to cook them. It’s also good too, because the second turkey can remain uncut and stay warmer until the first one is eaten. Just be sure to cover it with foil to retain the heat.

  47. 97


    Eve says

    Ask others what they can do to help out

  48. 98


    steve says

    always make extra gravy for the leftovers

  49. 99


    Ellen B says

    try to get the desserts done the day before

  50. 100


    DEBIJOT says

    never try a new recipe on Thanksgiving, use one your have used before and you know it will work out.