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These Thanksgiving recipes can save your day

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Back to Article

These Thanksgiving recipes can save your day

Give thanks for planning recipes ahead. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Give thanks for planning recipes ahead. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Give thanks for planning recipes ahead. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Give thanks for planning recipes ahead. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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By Grace Miller -Entertainment-

Thanksgiving is a time to to be thankful and to spend time with family, but sometimes it can be a cause for stress. Cooking large meals is a job for caterers, not everyday people.

When it comes to Thanksgiving, many people cook meals for a ton of people. If you need some help with food ideas or some recipes, we are here to help you. (All recipes are courtesy of my mom, Heather Miller). 

Turkey is the main food of Thanksgiving and it can be the cause of a lot of stress when it comes to cooking due to the cooking time and the size of the bird. Here is a simple recipe for a delicious, moist bird.

*Individual results may vary*

The ingredients that you will need are:

  • One and a half sticks of room temperature butter
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped thyme
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 1 twelve pound turkey (fresh or defrosted)
  • 1 onion, cut into quarters  
  • 1 carrot, cut up into chunks
  • 1 stalk of celery, cut into chunks
  • 1 head of garlic, cut horizontally so there are 2 chunks
  • 1 lemon

Set your turkey out an hour before preparing it so it is at room temperature.

Make sure your turkey is clean before cooking. Be sure to remove the giblets, and wash the turkey to ensure a clean bird and a perfect flavor (results may vary). 

After you have all of the ingredients, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and get ready to become a master turkey chef.

Combine butter, parsley, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Put your 12 pound turkey (breast side facing up) into a roasting pan with a v shaped rack in it.

→ Be sure to check that the wings are tucked under the rest of the bird.

Cover the outside of the turkey in butter to get a crispy skin.  

Rub the butter mixture under the skin to infuse the herbal flavor into the meat of the bird.

Sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper, make sure to get an even coating.

→ The cavity of the bird is the opening where you normally see people stuffing it.

Toss the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in the juice of one lemon before putting them inside of the turkey.

Fill the cavity with the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Be sure that the vegetables are evenly dispersed so the bird gets as much flavor as possible.

After you stuff the turkey, tie the legs together with string so you can make sure that none of the vegetables fall out.


Now it is time to roast the bird, for a twelve pound bird, you should roast it for 3 and a half hours (about 18 minutes per pound).

Halfway through cooking, check to see if your turkey is getting too brown, if it is, lightly tent with tin foil and continue cooking.

The turkey is done when the thickest part of the thigh is 165 degrees fahrenheit when inserted with a thermometer and the juices run clear.

Tent the turkey with tin foil and rest for about 30-60 minutes before carving.

→ If you want your turkey to have more lemon flavor, squeeze lemon juice on the turkey before tenting and resting.


Along with the stress of cooking the turkey, there is the added problem of the side dishes. Thanksgiving is a large meal, so that means that there needs to be an enormous amount of food that needs to be served. One of the most popular sides on Thanksgiving is mashed potatoes and gravy. The most time-consuming aspect of this dish is the time it takes to peel the potatoes.


The ingredients you will need for mashed potatoes are…

  • 4 pounds of russet potatoes (peeled but not chopped)
  • One and a fourth cup of hot milk (use whole milk for silkier potatoes)
  • 2 sticks of softened, unsalted butter
  • One and a half teaspoons of salt (or salt to taste)
  • 4 to 5 ounces of cream cheese

First, you need to peel your potatoes but do not cut them.

Next you will need t get a large pot and fill it with cold water (about 5 or more quarts or enough to cover the potatoes completely).

Bring the water to a boil then turn down the heat so the water is simmering, cook the potatoes for about 25 minutes or until they are easily cut with a knife.

Drain the water then transfer your potatoes to a mixing bowl.

Mash the potatoes with a hand held mixer, an electric mixer or by hand.

Add the milk, butter, salt, and cream cheese to the potatoes and mix until it is completely combined

Serve the potatoes with a side of gravy


Oh, you don’t have a good gravy recipe? Well, let me tell you a pretty good one that pairs great with potatoes and turkey.

For the gravy you will need…

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 8 tablespoons of flour
  • 5 cups of turkey broth
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of heavy cream

First melt the butter in a large saucepan (10-12 ounces).

Add the flour and stir constantly for 2 minutes, do not let it burn (should be a light brown color).

Add the broth, salt, and pepper and stir for 3 minutes. The gravy should be getting thicker.

Remove from heat and transfer the gravy to a serving bowl.


At Thanksgiving dinner, you get enough savory options, but what about sweet things? Many people think of desert when they hear sweet but there is a sweet side that pairs wonderfully with turkey. Cranberry sauce

For the cranberry sauce you will need…

  • The juice and zest of one orange
  • ¾ cup of packed brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1 12 ounce bag of cranberries, rinsed
  • ½ cup of dried cherries
  • ½-1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground allspice

Measure the orange juice and add water to create one cup

Pour the juice into a saucepan and add the other ingredients

Stir the mixture until all of the brown sugar is dissolved

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat

Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat so it is simmering

Simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes or until the cranberries pop

Remove from the heat and cool

Cover and refrigerate until it is time to serve them


Now it is time for dessert. One of the most popular desserts on thanksgiving is pumpkin pie.

To make the pumpkin pie, the ingredients you will need are…

  • One can of pumpkin
  • One 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit

Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until smooth

Pour the mixture into a store bought pie crust and bake for 15 minutes

Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until a knife is removed clean

Let cool and enjoy

Now that you have all of the recipes you need, it is time to plan accordingly. You should start prepping your turkey about 5 hours before you are planning on eating. For example, if you want to eat at 4, you should begin to prep your turkey at 11. Remember to set your turkey out an hour before prepping. During the cooking time of your turkey, you should make your cranberry sauce first. If you are planning on eating at 4, start your cranberry sauce at 12:30. After your cranberries are finished, remember to put them in the refrigerator. Once your cranberries are done, Start peeling your potatoes, at 1 o’clock. Once your potatoes are done (probably around 2 ish) start making your gravy. It is getting close to dinner time and the desert is still not made. Do not worry, pumpkin pie is easy. About 10 minutes before your turkey is ready start making your pie filling. Put your pie in the oven while your turkey is resting. One of the most important thing about making a large meal, is time management. Plan your day out and double check to make sure you have everything you need to make the most fantastic dinner ever.


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