Thanksgiving – Tips and Traditions


Have you ever noticed that everyone has the “perfect” way to make Thanksgiving turkey? Some people use an oven bag and baste the turkey, others cover the bird in cheese cloth, some people grill their turkeys, others may use tin foil to lock in the juices, but have you ever heard of using lemon/lime soda? One tip we recommend you try is putting lemon/lime soda at the bottom of your roasting pan. On Thanksgiving morning, make sure that your turkey is defrosted appropriately (in the refrigerator or in cold water). Season the turkey to your desire and completely cover the turkey in tin foil. Place the turkey on a rack that slightly elevates the turkey from the bottom of the pan. Then, add enough lemon/lime soda to cover up to 2 inches in the bottom of the pan. (Keep in mind that the turkey is covered by tin foil and should not touch the soda. Set your timer accordingly depending on the size of your turkey. Lastly, with 1 hour remaining on your timer open up the tin foil on top so that the turkey can get a nice golden brown. Please note that the turkey does not need to be basted with the lemon/lime soda because it is keeping it’s juices since it’s covered up in tin foil Additionally, this method does not leave enough juice to make gravy (since the meat absorbs and keeps the juices) therefore you may need to get a packet or ready-made gravy. Do you have any other ways to make a mouthwatering turkey?

Making a meal as large as Thanksgiving can be difficult with only 1 oven. Timing becomes key and it can be a challenge to have everything hot, ready to serve on the table at the same time. One tip we recommend you try is putting your turkey in a roaster (note: a roaster has a temperature setting and is larger than a crock pot). Cook your turkey in the roaster the same way you would an oven for the same temperature and time. This frees up the oven for all of the yummy casseroles, rolls, and dishes that need to be served hot. Do you have any tips or tricks for juggling how to prepare all the hot dishes on Thanksgiving?

Do you have a bunch of turkey leftover on Thanksgiving that you don’t know what to do with it? Try making scrumptious turkey recipes that reuse the turkey meat (and a few side items). These recipes reconstitute some of our Thanksgiving favorites and keep our families from getting sick and tired of turkey! Do you have any recipes that reuse turkey?

Shepard’s Turkey Pie

Turkey is featured in this classic dish. With lots of added vegetables, this dish is a well-rounded entrée that makes menu-planning easy. Only 300 calories per serving! (Recipe adapted from the American Diabetes Association Holiday Cookbook)

Shepard's Turkey Pie Ingredients
2 onions (sliced)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups turkey breast (chopped or chicken)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups low-sodium carrots (canned and drained)
2 cups low-sodium tomatoes (canned and drained)
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (if you like)
6 potatoes (baked, peeled and mashed)

1. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, cook the onions and garlic in one tablespoon of oil for 5 minutes.
2. Add the turkey. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to blend.
3. Add the chicken broth, carrots, and tomatoes. If using rosemary, add that too. Cook over medium heat until thickened.
4. Oil casserole dish with remaining oil and pour in mixture.
5. Spread the potatoes over the top. Bake in oven at 375 degree F 20 to 30 minutes, or until browned. Makes 8 servings.

Turkey Roast and Rice Soup

Make a hearty soup by adding lean, chopped turkey roast. You may also serve turkey roasts with steamed vegetables or side salad and potatoes or rice to make a complete meal. Only 154 calories! (Recipe adapted from Commodity Supplemental Food Program Cookbook)

Turkey Roast and Rice Soup Ingredients
5 ounces thawed turkey roast (about 1 cup, chopped)
4 celery stalks (chopped)
4 carrots (peeled and sliced)
1 onion (chopped)
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups water
1 tablespoon margarine
1 cup rice (uncooked)
1 can low-sodium green beans (drained, about 15 ounces)

1. In a large pot over high heat, add the turkey roast, celery, carrots, onion, bouillon cube, black pepper, and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
2. Cook rice according to package directions.
3. Add cooked rice and green beans into the soup and stir. Cook for 5 more minutes. Makes 8 servings

We would love to hear about your ideas, tips and what makes your Thanksgiving holidays really special. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving this year!
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