My First Turkey

Thanksgiving has come and gone and I am no longer a turkey-cooking amateur.

Yes, that’s right, I have successfully cooked and served my first turkey.

Let me take you through the oh so eventful steps that led to our fabulous meal.

Last Tuesday- After reading many, many websites and blogs about cooking and thawing turkeys I frantically rearranged my fridge and pulled the 20 pound bird out of the freezer at 9pm at night totally terrified that if I didn’t remove it early enough I would be attempting to cook a partially frozen turkey and would give everyone food poisoning. (You are going to notice a theme to my worries as you continue to read…)

My first turkey

Sunday night (the day before our big meal)- I unwrapped the turkey, had a mini freak out because there was still ice in some of the crevasses and began removing the giblets and gizzards from the inside of the turkey. I washed it with cool water inside and out (gagged a little) and patted it dry. I salt and peppered the outside and inside, added a whole bunch of poultry seasoning and stuffed a couple carrots, onions and a stalk of celery inside the cavity.

My first turkey

Monday morning (crack of dawn…)- Set the oven to 450 degrees, removed the turkey from the fridge and uncovered it to take the chill off. Went back to bed.

15 minutes later- Remembered that I am bad at going back to sleep… got up and blogged.

7:30 am- Put the turkey in the oven and turned the heat down to 350 degrees. (Began to worry that it would not cook in time and people would get, you guessed it, food poisoning)

7:40 am- Realized I was supposed to put 2 cups of water or broth in the bottom of the pan and frantically ran to the oven to add it.

8:15 am- My bird got its first basting bath. I removed the bird from the oven and closed the door (The site I read said not to let the heat escape!) then I basted it all over with the liquid from the bottom of the pan. I continued this ritual every 45 minutes.

10am- I took my first thermometer reading. Not done (shouldn’t have been) and starting to wonder would there be ENOUGH time. Would someone get sick?

My first turkey

10:45- Temperature reading number 2….it was lower than the last time. How can that be? Isn’t it supposed to be getting hotter??

11:30- Last basting for the bird. This time with melted butter….delicious!

My first turkey

12:15pm- Turkey needs to come out, but the temperature still isn’t at 170 degrees…just keep cooking!

12:45pm- Skin is golden brown, temperature is…close-ish….let’s throw caution to the wind and take the bird out and let it rest for carving

1:15- Bird is carved, meal is set, let’s eat!

My first turkey

The verdict- Delicious! And no one got food poisoning! I think was a win on all fronts. I will totally make a turkey again. It’s not so hard…just time consuming. But the results really are worth it.

Side story- My sister’s fiancee loves the neck of the turkey and my mom usually cooks it up for him. I thought we had thrown it away. (As I assumed it was in one of those little bags I made Andrew remove from the inside of the turkey.) It was a pleasant surprise when Andrew found it as he carved up the leftover turkey. I sent it home in a little doggie bag with Matt to enjoy later that night.


Weekly Meal Plan October 13-17

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving everyone! Andrew and I have so much to be thankful for and we have been celebrating with friends and family all weekend.

Our celebrating is continuing today with my family. But this year I am in charge of the turkey. I have never made a turkey, so hopefully it all works out, and no one gets food poisoning. Wouldn’t that make for a Happy Thanksgiving?

My first turkey
I’ve been thawing this thing in the fridge since Tuesday!

I have a feeling we are going to be eating a lot of leftovers this week because I bought a 20 pound turkey. (Go big or go home right?) Sandwiches, soup and maybe a casserole or two… I’ve got a few ideas, but will also try to intersperse some non-turkey meals into the week so that we don’t get sick of it.

Here is what I have planned for this week:

Turkey DinnerBlack beans and RiceTurkey Noodle SoupTuscan Shepards PieFrozen Pizza

Grocery List:

  • Turkey
  • Poultry seasoning
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Gravy packets
  • Potatoes
  • Black beans
  • Rice
  • Corn
  • Red pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado
  • Tortillas
  • Chicken broth
  • Egg noodles
  • Ground chicken
  • Parsley
  • Garlic
  • White beans
  • Butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Cheese
  • Milk


I’ve never ever cooked a turkey before. I have been doing lots of reading online about how to cook a turkey and finally settled on this method. Maybe it was the calming, confident tone of the writing, or maybe it was the title of the post, all I wanted was an easy, simple way to cook a turkey. And I want it to taste good…and I don’t want anyone to get food poisoning. Wish me luck!

My first turkey


After all that turkey (and stuffing, and potatoes, and vegetables….) I figured we should have something a little lighter and full of fiber. I love black beans, and when I mix them up with lots of great Mexican flavors I like them even more!

Black Beans and Rice


I am going to start using up the turkey leftovers in a soup. I plan on throwing turkey, vegetables and some noodles in a broth with some spices. I’m sure it will be delicious!

Turkey Noodle Soup Wide
Thank you Natasha’s Kitchen for the inspiration!


I didn’t get to this last week, so I am going to try to get to it this week. Maybe I could substitute turkey for the ground chicken…

Tuscan Sheppard Pie-PARADE