Turkey TipsAre you the host of the annual Thanksgiving family dinner? Are you cooking the dinner? Do you feel a little anxious, maybe have a few questions? Well, feel free to ask me!

I thought I could give some pointers to help out with the turkey. Basting Tip: Do you like to baste your turkey with butter? Place flavored butter underneath the skin, instead of on top. I use herb butters, they are easy to prepare. Bring butter to room temperature and don’t be afraid to use your freshly washed hands to incorporate chopped herbs you like, such as parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, or marjoram. While you are preparing the turkey, gently separate the skin from the flesh and fill the space in with herb butter….ahhh, self-basting, this means more time for you, and that’s always a plus!!!!

Our featured recipe is my Mother-in-Law’s family stuffing recipe for you to enjoy this holiday season. Stuffing is quick and easy; you can’t go wrong, if it’s too dry add more liquid, too moist add more bread. If you are using canned/boxed broth or stock, check the sodium content before adding extra salt. If you fill your turkey with stuffing it can become a harbinger of germs, when checking turkey’s internal temperature, remember the stuffing should read 165 degrees too.

I remember my Chef at the Restaurant school telling us the day after Thanksgiving was the highest incidents of food poisoning at hospitals. Click here for FDA Guidelines on handling Turkey.

I use the whole turkey and through the years have come up with some clever ideas for all the leftovers. I combine, turkey, sliced grapes, diced celery, nuts, and mayonnaise to make turkey salad. Slice down the turkey and use it for sandwiches, start off with either a whole grain roll or two slices of cranberry nut sliced bread, add turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and Gouda cheese. A spinach and butter lettuce salad with blue cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries, diced apples, and apple cider vinaigrette is one of my favorites.

I have a penchant for soup; I could eat it every day of the week. I told you I use up every bit of the turkey, even the carcass. Place the bones in a large stock pot and cover with cold water. Add 2 diced carrots, 1 large onion, 2 ribs of celery, 3 peppercorns, 3 flat leaf Italian parsley including stem, 1 bay leaf and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 hours, skimming the top of the soup. Strain the soup and return it to a clean stock pot, add freshly diced carrots, celery and an onion. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cook until veggies are soft then add all the leftover mashed potatoes, vegetables and gravy from Thanksgiving dinner.

From our famiglia to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Chef Jacquie