The Main Stream

Nov 21, 2012 7:14 PM by Faye DeHoff

Let's Make a Meal: Thanksgiving stuffing and an easy pie!

TUCSON - On today's Let's Make a Meal, Food Contributor Jennifer English has some last minute recipes and tips that will make your Thanksgiving dinner much easier and tastier!

The difference between stuffing and dressing? Stuffing is prepared and then cooked inside the cavity of the roasting bird which Jennifer does not prefer. She puts apples, onion and celery in the cavity for flavor, aromatics and moisture. She makes this recipe into a dressing. Dressing is when this recipe is cooked in a casserole dish. Jennifer cooks hers covered with tinfoil to maximize moisture.

1/3 cup minced onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 tbsp. margarine or butter
1/2 cup of water or milk
8 slices of white bread, cubed (plain or toasted)
dash of pepper
1/4 tsp. Salt (if desired)
1 1/2 tsp. Bell's Seasoning
1. Sauté 1/3 cup minced onion and 1/2 cup chopped celery in 4 tbsp. margarine or butter until golden.
2. Pour sautéed vegetables and 1/2 cup water or milk over 8 slices of white bread, cubed (plain or toasted) and toss.
3. Add 1-1/2 tsp. Bell's Seasoning, a dash of pepper, and 1/4 tsp. salt (if desired). Toss until mixed.

Cook in a covered casserole dish for 35-40 minutes and uncovered for 5 minutes before serving while the bird is cooking. This can also be made the day before and reheated (cover for reheating)

How long should we roast the Turkey for?
I for one do not trust plastic pop-up "doneness" devices in birds. I trust two things a good meat thermometer and Rick Rodger a.k.a. the Thanksgiving Doctor. His guide for how long to roast your bird is the best guide to get you close to done, but your meat thermometer will get you home to the perfect bird. Insert the thermometer into the meatiest part of the thigh and it should read 175-180. Make sure you allow the bird to REST FOR 30 MINUTES AFTER COOKING BEFORE SLICING (no matter how hungry your family is)
This allows all of the juices to redistribute and absorb back in to the bird. Otherwise the juices will run out and the meat will be dry, no matter how well you cooked it.

Roast your bird breast side up on a roasting rack with turkey stock in the bottom of the pan to enhance the moisture factor of the roast. This makes the pan drippings more delicious as well.

Estimated Roasting Times
(Oven Temperature 325° F)
Add an extra 30 minutes to the roasting time to allow for variations in roasting conditions. It's better to have a bird done ahead of time than to keep everyone waiting and hungry for the bird to finish roasting.

Unstuffed Turkey
8 to 12 pounds 2 3/4 to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3 3/4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds 4 1/4 to 4/12 hours
20 to 24 pounds 4 1/2 to 5 hours
Stuffed Turkey
8 to 12 pounds 3 to 3 1/2 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 1/2 to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
20 to 24 pounds 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours

(a.k.a. SAWDUST PIE)
8 egg whites
1-1/2 cups chopped pecans
1-1/2 cups flaked coconut
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 nine-inch unbaked pie shell

Put egg whites in a mixing bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Add pecans, coconut, sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Mix well. Pour mixture into pie shell. Place in preheated 350 degree oven and bake until just set, about 30 minutes (do not over bake).
Cool before serving. Serves 6 to 8. That's it. Easy as pie!


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