Why did I get Ds in Home Economics? (Do they still teach that class?)

Because I learned to cook by watching my mother and grandmother. They were old-fashioned southern cooks – a pinch here – a dash there and it always tasted great. I was never taught the language of cooking – baste and preheat – but I can cook and I haven’t killed anyone yet.

My thanksgiving gift to you is my out of this world turkey recipe with directions that anyone who is a Home Ec dropout can follow. This is free-style cooking. You don’t need measuring cups and measuring spoons. You can also add ingredients that you like or take the ones that you don’t like away.



What you will need. (The Home Ec people never told me this, they just assumed I knew and had all this stuff sitting around)

  • Roasting pan with a lid (if you don’t have a lid, foil will do.)
  • Large pot with a lid for the gizzards.
  • Large pot for the rice.
  • Turkey injector. This looks like a big hypodermic needle. You can buy this in any grocery store.
  • Large spoons for stirring and stuffing.
  • Knife for cutting onions and celery.
  • Measuring cup.
  • Fresh mushrooms (optional) I use a pound but you can base it on taste.
  • Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice – 1 box for small turkeys, 2 boxes for larger ones.
  • Turkey (thaw in the refrigerator and buy the one with the pop-out thermometer that tells you when it is done.)
  • 1 pound of butter softened (this is Thanksgiving – all diets are off – one day of butter, that’s it.)
  • ½ cup of lemon juice
  • ½ cup of lime juice
  • Turkey seasoning
  • Garlic Powder (not garlic salt)
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 large onions
  • Corn starch
  • Toothpicks
  • Optional – 1/2 stalk of celery, 1/4 pound of chopped walnuts or almonds (make sure that they are out of the shell, the shells taste terrible)

How to do this

  • Turn on the oven and preheat according to the temperature indicated on the turkey package. Usually between 325 and 350.
  • Follow the directions on the package for the rice box. It will tell you how much water to boil. Put the water in the pot and turn the burner on high (you cannot burn water, it is impossible. The high setting will make the water boil faster.)
  • While you are waiting for the water to boil for the rice, prepare your turkey. DO NOT throw the turkey directions (the plastic it is wrapped in)  away. Digging the directions out of the garbage is no way to spend a holiday.
    • Remove the neck and giblets from the inside cavity of the turkey.
      • Thoroughly wash the giblets and neck (do not ask what giblets are. You do not need this information. It will ruin everything for you, but they need to be washed thoroughly.)
      • Place the giblets and neck  in a large pot of water.
      • Quarter the onions and place them in the pot with the giblets.
      • Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Do not add too much salt, more salt can be added later but you cannot remove it later, so err on the side of caution. As far as the other seasonings, you can never add too much flavor as far as I’m concerned.
      • Place the giblets on low heat and cover with a lid. They will simmer as long as the turkey is baking. Check every hour to make sure that there is still water in the pot – add more as needed only to keep them from burning.
  • Thoroughly wash the turkey inside and out. Do not use soap 🙂 – (They didn’t tell me that in Home Ec either. Aren’t they supposed to tell you stuff like that?)  You will live through this – I promise.
    • Pull out any disgusting, stringy stuff from inside the turkey cavity.
    • Also pull off any hunks of fat that you find inside the turkey. Fat is a yellow-white substance. You will know it when you feel it.
    • Dispose of this stringy stuff and fat in a double garbage bag and throw the bag in the garage trash or a dumpster, not in the kitchen can.
    • Wash your hands – this time use soap.
  • Rub the inside turkey cavity with butter, do not skimp. Lots of butter is important.
    • Yes you have to stick your bare hands inside the turkey again. If you washed it correctly, this shouldn’t be gross. If it is gross, you need to wash it again.
  • Season the inside cavity with turkey seasoning, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper to taste. You have to rub the seasoning inside of the cavity. Remember to go easy on the salt. That’s why you put salt shakers on the table in case you didn’t add enough salt.
  • Rub the outside turkey with butter, do not skimp. It is a holiday for Heaven’s sakes.
  • Season the outside of the turkey with turkey seasoning, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper to taste. You can rub this on with your hands or you can be cute and sprinkle it on.
  • Wash your hands again using soap.
  • The water for the rice should be boiling by now. Add the rice and the flavor packet as directed on the package BUT cook for ½ of the cooking time on the package.
  • While you are waiting for the rice to cook, you can begin injecting the turkey. – THIS IS FUN. You can pretend you are a mad scientist.
    • Mix ½ cup of lemon juice and ½ cup of lime juice in the measuring cup and inject the entire amount into the turkey. Make sure that you distribute the injections evenly. Your turkey will look like it is on steroids.
    • Thoroughly wash the mushrooms and chop them. I like large pieces myself, but the size is to your taste.
    • You can also chop about 1/2 stalk of celery if you like. You must wash it as well but celery doesn’t have any disgusting, stringy stuff. You can either chop the celery into little pieces or you can cut it into chunks about 1/4 stalk each. That is up to you. Celery is optional. You can add more celery if you really like the taste or less if you do not. This is free-style cooking.
    • If you want to add nuts, put them in a paper bag and hit the bag several times with a hammer. Not only does this relieve stress, it chops the nuts. The more aggression you relieve, the finer your nuts will be chopped. Nuts are also optional. Leave the nuts out if there is any chance that any of your guests may have a peanut allergy. Even though the recipe does not call for peanuts, some peanut allergies can be triggered by other nuts.
    • Once the rice is cooked (remember only ½ the time on the package) Stir in the raw mushrooms, nuts (no shells, remember) and celery. These ingredients are optional.
    • Use a large spoon to stuff the rice into the turkey cavity. Fill the entire cavity with rice.
    • Now, place the turkey into the roasting pan.
      • The legs go up. (Aren’t you glad I told you this stuff.) Most packaged turkeys come with a little metal gadget that holds the legs down while baking. If your turkey doesn’t come with one, you can use string to tie the legs down. This process is important if you want your turkey to look like a magazine turkey.
      • Add a little water to the bottom of the pan. No more than about 1/8 of an inch.  This will keep the turkey moist, but you don’t want it soggy. Add any rice that did not fit into the turkey to the bottom of the pan as well.
      • Cover the roasting pan. If you are using foil, use wooden toothpicks to keep the foil off of the turkey. Do not use plastic toothpicks.
      • Place the turkey in the oven.
        • At this point, wash everything that the turkey touched with hot, soapy water (use soap this time.) You don’t want to run the risk of food poisoning. Rinse everything off with a mild bleach solution (1 tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of water.) I also like to rub salt on laminate or wood countertops to kill off additional bacteria. Don’t forget to clean the refrigerator shelves.
        • About once an hour spoon the juices from the bottom of the pan over the turkey. They called this basting in Home Economics class. Use an oven mitt or pot holder to lift the lid off of the pan. You are supposed to know this, too.
        • One hour before the turkey is to be done (the cooking times are on the outside of the turkey package):
          • Remove the lid (foil) from the turkey pan. This will allow your turkey to brown on the top and get a crisp crust.
          • Return the turkey to the oven (this is the stuff they don’t tell you in traditional recipes – what are you psychic?)
          • Make the giblet gravy
            • Remove the giblets from the pot and place them in a bowl. You can either serve them at dinner or put them in the leftover turkey soup that you will make the next week.
            • Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in ½ cup of COLD water. If the water is warm, the cornstarch will not dissolve. This is the secret of non-lumpy gravy.
            • Stir the cornstarch mixture into the pot of giblets and turn the heat up to high.
            • Keep the lid off.
            • Stir frequently.
            • The gravy will thicken as the water evaporates. Once it reaches the desired thickness, remove it from the heat. You can warm it up in the microwave if needed before dinner.
            • This is the best part – taste it and add additional seasonings as desired.
        • After the turkey is thoroughly cooked (the little red gizmo will pop out)
          • Turn the oven up 25 degrees. Allow the skin to brown for another 15 minutes or until it looks like the pictures in the magazines.
        • Put the turkey on a pretty turkey plate. Surround it with parsley, cherry or grape  (or both) and the remaining rice stuffing. You can also add cranberry sauce, cranberries, lemon wedges, lime slices or whatever other pretty, edible stuff you want to the edge of the plate.
        • Take a picture and send it to your home ec teacher. Resist the urge to stick your tongue out in the picture.
  • Most important – what to do with the turkey paper.
    • Wash it out thoroughly – use soap.
    • Double wrap it in two garbage bags. Tie them tightly. You can also throw in a handful of baking soda to minimize the stench.
    • Immediately dispose of the paper away from people. The garage, a dumpster, anyplace but the kitchen can.
    • If you fail to follow these instructions, I am not responsible for the unpleasant odors that will greet you and your guests in the morning.


I will be taking the weekend off,  but I will return with more Mental Health Food on Monday.

Happy Thanksgiving Cyberfriends.


About living4bliss

Mental Health Food is the place to stop to get your bliss on everyday. I give tips, hints and sometimes a little silliness to help you navigate the challenges of life. We have a great community of positive bloggers that keep the bliss going all day every day. Make sure to visit their blogs, too. Mental Health Food is a product of Believing Life Is Setup for Success, Inc. (B.L.I.S.S.) in Thornton, CO. We have been in the business of teaching success since 1991. We provide workshops, consulting services and now videos that help people just like you start and maintain successful businesses and personal lives using what you already have. Enjoy a daily dose of Mental Health Food; nourishment for the mind.

One response »

  1. rumpydog says:

    I like how you do recipes. Knowing what utensils needed IS important!

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