Preparing a Healthy Thanksgiving Turkey

How to choose a Thanksgiving turkey, how to easily cook it, and what to do with the leftovers!
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How to choose a Thanksgiving turkey, how to easily cook it, and what to do with the leftovers!

Choosing a Turkey

How to choose a Thanksgiving turkey, how to easily cook it, and what to do with the leftovers!

With November in full swing, and things in my life being busier than ever, Thanksgiving is on my mind. It is a wonderful time, that helps us to remember what we are thankful for, and focus on all the love in our lives. And of course, there’s no better way to bring people together than with food! Especially healthy, hearty food – the type of food that feeds your mind, body, soul, and brings you comfort. The kind of food that has all your family rushing to the table to enjoy together.

Being the house chef and Thanksgiving day hostess, I wanted to do a turkey trial run, to make sure that on Thanksgiving day my prep was on pointe, and so I can pass on my turkey-cooking tips to my readers! I ventured off to my local Kroger to get a fresh turkey. Fresh turkey is my preference over frozen, since it cuts out a lot of that time and prep work it takes to thaw a large turkey. I picked out a 15-lb White Honeysuckle Fresh White Whole Turkey. Since healthy food and green living are two of my passions, and big priorities in my family, I chose this particular turkey since its primarily white meat. Even more importantly, the Honeysuckle Fresh White Whole Turkey has no growth hormones (or any added hormones, for that matter), and no steroids. I always want to abide by my blog’s rule of thumb for recipes; in that I use only all-natural ingredients. So getting a turkey that was free of hormones, etc. was essential. And of course, being a blogger who works for myself, and having a husband who does freelance, I love supporting local workers, and Honeysuckle brand turkeys come from local family farms. It truly was the total turkey package!

So I picked out my turkey along with other Thanksgiving staples at Kroger, such as cranberries and stuffing!

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Prepping a Turkey

I brought home my fresh turkey to begin prep:

Step 1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F.

Step 2. Pull out the bags of separated giblets. Then, rinse your turkey and place in your roasting pan.

Step 3. Season your turkey to your liking. I think simpler is better, so I just poured 1 cup of no sodium vegetable stock over the turkey, as well as freshly ground salt, pepper, and rosemary. Rub your seasonings well onto your turkey.

How to choose a Thanksgiving turkey, how to easily cook it, and what to do with the leftovers!

Step 4. Place in your oven, and cook for 40 minutes, so that the skin is slightly brown.

Step 5. Take your turkey out of the oven, and add an additional cup of no sodium vegetable stock, and cover with aluminum foil.

How to choose a Thanksgiving turkey, how to easily cook it, and what to do with the leftovers!

Step 6. Lower your temperature to 425 F, and cook for an additional three hours. I recommend checking each hour, and adding additional stock if needed to keep from drying out.

Step 7. Your turkey should be done, but to be safe you should insert a meat thermometer into the breast (the thickest part of the turkey), and make sure it is at 180 degrees F.

Step 8. Once it’s at the proper minimum temperature, remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes before consuming.

How to choose a Thanksgiving turkey, how to easily cook it, and what to do with the leftovers!

 

Turkey Leftovers

Another great part about Thanksgiving? Once it’s over, it keeps on giving! I love leftovers – they have all the deliciousness of a home cooked meal, but without the effort. Rather than the traditional turkey sandwich, I wanted to get a little more creative with my turkey leftovers. Since I’m in Southern California, I thought some baja-inspired cuisine would be fun, so I created Thanksgiving Turkey Tacos!

These are the ingredients I used:

  • Honeysuckle Fresh White Whole Turkey
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Canned whole cranberries
  • Stuffing
  • Optional: Cilantro, lime juice

While shopping for my regular Thanksgiving day food items at Kroger, I also picked up some tortillas!

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I simple placed in a corn tortilla my leftover turkey (tastes good hot or cold), and some leftover Thanksgiving side dishes, such as stuffing, or even sweet potatoes. I then topped with cranberries, or you can have cranberries on the side to dip in. If you want to infuse a little more Baja into your tacos, you can mix your cranberries with cilantro leaves and a squeeze of lime juice – it sounds a bit strange but the tastes are remarkable together!

How to choose a Thanksgiving turkey, how to easily cook it, and what to do with the leftovers! How to choose a Thanksgiving turkey, how to easily cook it, and what to do with the leftovers! How to choose a Thanksgiving turkey, how to easily cook it, and what to do with the leftovers!

To get your own Honeysuckle Fresh White Whole Turkey, you can learn more by visiting http://cbi.as/5woyq

To purchase Honeysuckle Fresh White Whole Turkeys, you can find your local Kroger store at http://cbi.as/5wo-3 , and be sure to be on the lookout for some of these Kroger in-store coupons:

  • Select stores only: Save $2 on any ONE (1) Fresh Honeysuckle White Whole Turkey (11/6-12/31)
  • National: Save $2.50 on any ONE (1) Fresh Honeysuckle White Whole Turkey (10/31-11/21)

Happy feasting, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family! Make it a priority this Thanksgiving to know about where your turkey comes from: http://cbi.as/5wo-t

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