Kitchen Concoctions: Taming a Turkey: 5 Tips for Preparing a Thanksgiving Day Turkey

Friday, November 11, 2011

Taming a Turkey: 5 Tips for Preparing a Thanksgiving Day Turkey

Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the Turkey. So today, as the last day of Thanksgiving week, I am sharing some tips to make sure that turkey comes out perfect on the big day in an article I wrote for meal planning/recipe site, Food on the Table.
Then below the article I am sharing a recipe for Hearty Italian Tortellini Soup with Turkey, which if I do say so myself was absolutely amazing. I mean I totally drooled in my sleep just dreaming about it! It was a great way to use up that leftover turkey (or chicken for other times of year). Since the tortellini absorbs a lot of the broth you may need to add extra broth for leftovers. Seriously don't pass up this winter season without making this!

One more thang (damn I'm wordy today!)! If you do need a turkey recipe check out this post from last year. Also if you need more ideas on how to use those Thanksgiving leftovers check out this themed week from last year as well!

No Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without the star of the show, the turkey. But for many purchasing, storing, and preparing a turkey can be a terrifying task. Whether you are a turkey roasting pro, or this year will be your first attempt, use the tips below to help guide you to turkey perfection!

• Selecting: When purchasing a turkey, avid packaging that has been torn or tampered with. As a general rule, plan for one pound of turkey per person.

• Thawing: Since most store bought turkeys are sold frozen, thawing your turkey is a crucial step. To properly and safely thaw a turkey requires patience and planning ahead. It is recommended to thaw frozen turkeys in the refrigerator and to allow at least 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey.

• Cooking: The most popular cooking method for cooking whole turkeys is roasting. Start by removing the giblets. Rinse the turkey inside and out and pat dry. After drying, tie the turkey legs together using kitchen twine (truss); this helps hold the turkey’s shape while cooking. Next brush the turkey with oil or melted butter and season with poultry seasoning. Bake at 350 degrees until the turkey’s internal temperature, taken at the thigh, reaches 165 degrees. Today, it is advised to cook the stuffing separate from the turkey, to ensure both the turkey and stuffing are cooked properly.

• Carving: After cooking, cover the turkey with foil and let rest for 15 minutes. A sharp, thin knife or electric knife is an essential tool to turkey carving. Cut into the joints and not bones, to easily break down and remove the thighs, legs and wings without much effort and the risk of breaking your knife.

• Storing: Frozen uncooked turkeys can be stored in the freezer for up to 12 months. A fresh or fully thawed turkey can be kept in the refrigerator (at 40 degrees) for up to 2 days. Fully cooked turkey can be frozen for up to 4 months.

Have leftover turkey on hand? This warm, flavorful soup is perfect for a cool November day, and even makes enough to feed lingering holiday guests!

Hearty Italian Tortellini Soup with Turkey
by Heather of Kitchen Concoctions:
Printable Version
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Serves: 6-8

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
2 cups cooked, shredded turkey
2 (15.5 ounce) cans diced Italian tomatoes
2 (15.5 ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 ½ cups frozen peas
6-8 cups turkey broth
1 (20 ounce) package cheese tortellini
salt and black pepper, to taste
In a large stock pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in poultry seasoning, turkey, diced tomatoes, beans, peas and 6 cups of broth. Let simmer for 15 minutes.

Add tortellini and continue cooking for another 5-8 minutes or until tortellini are cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The additional 2 cups of broth maybe needed to reach desired soup consistency.
Note: Chicken and chicken broth maybe used in place of the turkey and turkey broth.

PS: I am so proud of this recipe that I am linking it to a holiday recipe exchange. Here is the information: “Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Pacific Natural Foods"


  1. I have to admit that I'm so glad that I'm not normally in charge of making the turkey each year. But I do love the leftovers, and this recipe sounds amazing!

  2. This recipe is being linked up to Taste and Tell's Turkey link up party. Share your favorite turkey recipe and you are entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card!

  3. I actually just made my very first turkey a couple of weeks ago - I can't believe it took me so long! Loving these tips - and I'm totally loving this soup! Thanks again for linking up!


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