Thanksgiving: Back to Basics | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 15 November 2012 13:34

111512fMost favorites on the Thanksgiving table are a combination of simple ingredients that are not complicated to prepare. But, since turkey roasting is an infrequent experience for most of us, it’s important to keep these basic rules in mind:

Plan on at least 1-1/2 pounds per person. Buy a frozen turkey in the next day or two and defrost in the refrigerator in a large pan to catch the juices. Never thaw a turkey on the counter at room temperature.

Roast the turkey at 325°F until temperature reaches 170°F in the breast and 180°F in the thigh. The cooking times that follow are for planning purposes only. Always use a meat thermometer.


Roast according to chart and meat thermometer. After the first hour of roasting, baste the turkey every 30 minutes or so with  drippings (add a little chicken stock, water or wine to the drippings if they evaporate too quickly). When skin is golden brown, shield breast loosely with light foil to prevent overbrowning.


1-1⁄2 pound loaf day-old bread

3 cups chopped onion

2-1⁄2 cups chopped celery

1⁄2 cup butter or margarine

1-1⁄2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 cup chopped parsley

Tear bread into 1⁄2-inch pieces, or use 3 quarts plain dry stuffing; set aside.

Sauté onion and celery in butter or margarine just until tender. Add to bread along with salt, poultry seasoning and parsley. Toss lightly until well mixed.

If you are not stuffing the turkey, place the dressing  in two buttered, covered casserole dishes and bake at 325°F for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 minutes longer. Drizzle with juices from the turkey roasting pan for additional flavor and moistness. Makes 8-10 cups stuffing after baking.

If you stuff your turkey, combine all dressing ingredients and stuff the turkey just before putting the bird in the oven. Pack lightly and don’t overstuff.Skewer cavity openings to secure stuffing. Tie legs together and twist wing tips under the back.


Turkey drippings

Giblet broth

Cooked giblets, chopped

1/2 cups flour

Salt and pepper to taste

Cover giblets and neck with 3 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for an hour or until giblets are tender. Drain, reserving broth and discarding neck. Chop giblets.

Pour turkey drippings from roasting pan into 4-cup measure. Remove 1/4 cup fat from the drippings and place in a pan. Skim off and discard remaining fat from drippings. Add giblet broth to drippings to make 4 cups. Blend flour into the pan with the fat until smooth, then add drippings and broth mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until gravy comes to a boil and thickens. Stir in salt and pepper to taste and add giblets.


1 cup sugar

1 cup water

4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

Wash and pick over cranberries. In a saucepan bring to a boil water and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst.

At this point, you can add a number of optional ingredients, such as a few strips of orange zest, or cinnamon and nutmeg, to taste.

Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools. Makes 2-1/4 cups.


6 large red yams

1 pound dark brown sugar

2 cups of miniature marshmallows

1 stick of butter

1/4 cup white sugar

2 teaspoons of salt

Wash and peel potatoes. Chunk potatoes into 2-inch disks, put in a pan and cover with water. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 cup of white sugar to the potatoes and water. Cover. Boil until potatoes are fork tender (approximately 30 minutes). Drain potatoes.

Put potatoes in a baking dish and sprinkle with brown sugar. Dot potatoes with butter.

Bake for 20 minutes in 350°F oven. Sprinkle with marshmallows. Return to oven and bake until marshmallows are brown. Serves 6-8.


3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 large eggs

1 (15-ounce) can Libby’s Pumpkin

1 (12-fluid ounce) can evaporated milk

1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell

Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

Pour into pie shell and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.





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