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Turkey~Roasting and Leftovers!

Updated on November 19, 2011

Turkey~BTS (Back to School)

Recipe for healthy and inexpensive lunches!

School is in session! Here in New Mexico school is in the third week of the semester. Now that the dust has settled from buying shoes, clothes, school supplies, and trundling them off on the bus let’s talk about bag lunches!

If you are like me you had sticker shock when you went to the grocery and priced sandwich meats. The cost was at about 18.6 cents an ounce which means that sliced turkey was nearly $3.00 a pound! The deli counter had turkey at $5-6.00 a pound. Ouch! Add to that indignity, the ingredient label that listed additives like salt, chemicals and water as part of the weight. So, the product was not as healthy as I wanted either!

Turkey isn’t that expensive. Why not cook your own turkey? At the frozen meat section I found a whole turkey for a mere .92 cents a pound. This was a great deal better than the $2.97 a pound for sliced and water soaked turkey sandwich meat. So, I purchased the whole frozen turkey at 12 pounds for $11.04.

Wait until you hear how many meals I got out of the turkey and how many WEEKS of wholesome turkey sandwiches we are enjoying!

Talk about efficient, tasty, and good for you!

Turkeys are easy to cook but take time. So, the thawing/brining began on Thursday and the actual cooking took place on Sunday.

Basic Easy-Peasey Turkey Cooking Recipe

Thawing the Turkey

You MUST brine to have a tender turkey. MUST!

Place 1 cup of kosher salt in 1 gallon of water and stir until the salt dissolves.

Immerse the turkey (unwrapped) in the brine. Place in the refrigerator. Turn the turkey every few hours. I use my turkey roaster for this and place a towel (soaked in the brine) on the top of the turkey, so that the part of the turkey that is out of the water doesn’t dry out between the turns.

Generally, it will take 2 days in the refrigerator to thaw.

On about the second day the turkey is thawed enough so that you can remove the gizzard, liver, heart and such from the turkey. (Place the gizzard, liver, and heart in a pan, bring to a boil covered in water, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until done and once cool, chop the meat, and freeze for use in soups, stews, beans etc. Or you may use the broth to make noodles, this is what I did!

Baking the Turkey

Once the turkey is thawed throw away the brine and rinse the turkey.

Pre-heat the oven to 450°.

Rub the turkey breast, legs, and wings with a shortening product (hydrogenated vegetable shortening)

Place the turkey in the oven and after the first 15-minutes turn the oven down to 325°

Did you NOTE the reduction in oven temperature?

After no more than an hour, loosely tent the turkey with aluminum foil.

The turkey should roast for 20-minutes per pound. That is 1 hour per every three pounds.

So, my bird, at 12 pounds, roasted for 4 hours

The brining means you do not have to do ANYTHING to the bird while it cooks. Leave it alone and go about your business.

Your family will comment how good the house smells with all that cooking turkey aroma wafting about!

Remove the turkey when done.

THE USDA recommends that the internal temperature of a turkey reach 165° in order to be done. The legs should be very easy to pull away from the bird.

Here is some turkey talk from the USDA:

Let the turkey sit for 20-minutes.

Slice the turkey.

We had a lovely turkey dinner with some summer side dishes. Then we made up about 6 packages of sliced turkey that we froze for use over 4-6 weeks of school sack lunches!

But wait……this turkey still has much to provide!

Once the turkey carcass is stripped of the meat you can still boil it for all that yummy turkey broth.

Boil a Turkey Carcass Recipe

Place the meat stripped carcass in a big pot and cover it with water

Bring it to a boil and reduce the temperature to a simmer

Let simmer for an hour or two, covered.

Cool and remove any meat, then strain the broth so that little bones do not get in your broth

Once cooled freeze in 1-2 cup portions

HINT: I use my plastic left-over containers to freeze the turkey broth in, once the broth is frozen solid, I pop the frozen broth out and place it in a freezer bag. (The broth pops-out easy if you run the container under some warm water for a minute or two!)

I have pre-labeled the freezer bag “Turkey Broth 8/11.”

What to do with that broth?







The broth is a magnificent addition to these dishes! Oh, the taste that it brings to the dishes!

I use the broth mixed with water in many cases due to the enormous flavor that the broth brings to the pot.

I have provided some links to other dishes that will taste superior when you use this broth over a granulated cube. It also tastes much better than the canned broth too!


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    • NMLady profile image

      NMLady 6 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      I don't add the aromatics generally.

      I can see how they would add another layer of flavor, though.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 6 years ago from Iowa

      I do enjoy your hubs, NMLady. I don't cook turkey often, except at Thanksgiving, but I roast a chicken at least once a week. Question for you: when you make broth, do you add any vegetables or aromatics to the water with the carcass? I usually throw in an onion, a few cloves of garlic, some celery, and some fresh herbs like parlsey or thyme. I find it adds even more flavor to the broth.

    • NMLady profile image

      NMLady 6 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      LOL...want some turkey?

    • profile image

      Jackie 6 years ago

      Enjoy reading your blog. You is a real good writer. I could briefly smell that turkey cooking.

    • NMLady profile image

      NMLady 6 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      thanks you are so kind!

    • profile image

      Arlene V. Poma 6 years ago

      Yet, another one of your well-written and illustrated gems. As usual, appealing to the cook and wannabe cook. After years of pawning off cooking turkeys to family members, I threw turkeys in cooking bags for Thanksgiving and Christmas of last year. Yes, I cheated! Although I didn't cook them your way, I sure loved the ease of turkey and will be cooking holiday meals again this year. Looking forward to it. Thanks for all the information. Turkey doesn't last long in my home. If we're lucky, we'll have some to freeze. Voted up as useful and interesting. And bookmarked! Thanks!