Purchase your turkey fresh if possible. It can be purchased one or two days ahead and kept refrigerated.
When purchasing a frozen turkey, be sure to check to make sure it does not contain stuffing.
Be sure you have a roasting pan that will accommodate the size of the bird you are buying. You may also want to leave a little extra room around the turkey for vegetables.
The best roasters come with a wire tray in the bottom with handles for lifting the cooked bird out. This will cost you a little more money but man is it worth it!
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For a frozen turkey;
You must thaw the bird completely before cooking.
Up to 12lb. 2 – 3 days in the refrigerator
13 to 16lb. 3 to 4 days
17 to 20lb. 4 to 5 days
21 to 24 lb. 5 to 6 days
Once your turkey is thawed and you are ready to cook it, remove it from the fridge and remove the giblets and neck.
Wash it inside and out with cold running water. This is a very important step – don’t skip this.
Preheat your oven to 450ºF
Place the turkey on a large clean cutting board and tuck the wing tips under the back of the wings. (This will keep the wing tips from burning and they won’t get in the way when you remove the bird from the pot.)
Pat the bird dry with paper towel.
Next, rub the bird with butter and sprinkle with poultry seasoning.
Place the turkey into the pan on top of the wire rack, making sure the handles are up for easy access.
Pour fresh cold water into the pan until it is about ¾ inch deep.
Toss in a couple of small peeled onions, a few peeled carrots and some washed celery stalk. (This will add flavour to your gravy and can be discarded after cooking)
I quite often sprinkle a little rosemary, sage, savoury and garlic powder over the water and veggies.
When your oven is up to temperature cover the pan and place it in the oven.
Cook for about 20 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 250ºF and cook for about 20 minutes per lb. Leaving the lid off for the final 20 minutes to crisp the skin.
The turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the breast reads 175ºF.
Your stuffing should NEVER be cooked inside the bird.
The best method I have found is to lightly grease a large casserole dish with a lid.
Corn Bread Stuffing
2 recipes of corn bread made and baked one or two days ahead.
1 large onion, minced
2 large eggs, beaten
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup milk
1 stalk celery, chopped fine
½ tsp poultry seasoning
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
Lightly grease a large casserole dish with a lid.
In a large bowl, cut or break the bread into tiny bite-sized pieces.
In a small bowl, mix well, the eggs, milk, butter, stock, celery, and seasonings.
Pour egg mixture over bread crumbs and mix well with your hands.
Transfer mixture to prepare casserole dish and bake a 250ºF for about 45 minutes.
Stuffing will be lightly browned but still slightly moist.
30 slices white bread (Udi’s works but I use my own)
2 tbs butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups chicken broth
2 tsp rubbed sage
1 tsp garlic powder
pepper to taste
Cut the bread into small squares (I tear them)
Allow the bread to sit about 24 hours, until hard.
Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and celery and slowly cook until soft.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Mix the eggs and chicken broth into the bread crumbs. The mixture should be moist, but not mushy.
Use water, if necessary, to attain desired consistency.
Mix in the onion, celery, rubbed sage, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Press the mixture into the baking dish.
Bake, covered about 1 hour or until golden brown on top.
Once the turkey is cooked, it will need to stand for about 20 minutes before you start to carve. This is the time to prepare your gravy.
To make gluten free gravy, you will need about 6 cups of pan drippings.
Pour the strained pan drippings into a large heavy sauce pan and bring it up to a boil.
Lower the heat to medium. (Stir constantly until gravy is finished –thickened)
Add Gluten free chicken or turkey soup base (Minor’s or Glutino) according to package directions.
Thicken with tapioca flour or corn starch.
Potatoes and Veggies
The rule of thumb for potatoes is one for each person and one for the pot.
If you prefer roasted potatoes you can use the following recipe and cook them ahead.
Roasted New Potatoes
2 lb new potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tbs oil
2cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp rosemary, chopped fine
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp parsley, chopped fine
Preheat oven to 450ºF
Mix, in a small bowl or measuring cup, oil, herbs, and garlic.
Pour over potatoes and toss until well coated.
On a large baking sheet, spread potatoes in a single layer.
Bake 40 minutes or until golden.
If using with turkey dinner. You can make them a day or two ahead. Cook 30 minutes instead of 40 and pop them into your 250ºF oven for about 20 minutes or until heated through.
Like I said earlier, one for each person and one for the pot.
Wash, peel and cut the potatoes into bite-sized cubes.
Rinse two or three times under cold running water. (this gets rid of some of the excess starch)
Place the rinsed potatoes into a large heavy sauce pan and cover with fresh water.
Cook, uncovered, on high for about 30 minutes or until the cubes are tender.
Remove from heat and drain. Keep the water and set it aside.
You can mash them with an old fashioned potato masher or use a hand mixer to whip them.
Add approximately 1 tbs milk + 1 tsp butter (Or vegan friendly butter flavouring and rice milk) for each potato in the pot.
Mash or whip until well blended.
One large turnip will be enough for about 6 people.
Peel the turnip and cut into small cubes.
Rinse and place into a heavy medium sauce pan.
Cover with water.
Cook on high, for about 30 minutes, or until the cubes are soft.
Drain. (keep the water and set aside)
Mash, adding 1 tbs butter. (Or vegan friendly butter flavouring)
Carrots are very easy to cook.
Peel and rinse 1 large carrot for every two people you are feeding.
Cut the carrots into coins about 1/8 inch thick.
Place into a heavy medium sized sauce pan and cover with fresh water.
Cook, on high until coins are tender.
Drain and serve. (Keep the water and set aside)
You can also cook frozen corn and peas.
Broccoli and Cauliflower
1 large bunch of each will do 6 people.
These two veggies should be steamed.
These are the last thing you do right before you start serving the meal.
They are done when tender-crisp.
Cheese Sauce for Broccoli and Cauliflower
I haven’t found a vegan friendly cheese type sauce yet but I am sure there is one out there somewhere
3 tbs. butter
2 cups milk
2 tbs. gluten free all purpose flour
1/8 tsp pepper (optional)
1 ½ ups grated cheddar
Melt butter over low heat.
Add flour and seasoning.
Stir until well blended.
Gradually add milk, stirring constantly.
Cook until thick and smooth.
Add grated cheese and stir until all the cheese is melted.
Makes 2 ½ cups
Cut several types of cheese into cubes and have a ramekin full of frilled toothpicks in the center.
Arrange on a glass plate or pickle tray, a ramekin with olives, dill pickle spears (dill pickles cut lengthwise) pickled pearl onions, and gherkins.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
Wash and pick over the cranberries.
In a large heavy sauce pan, bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring constantly.
Add the cranberries and bring back to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the cranberries burst.
Remove from heat and cool completely at room temperature.
Chill in fridge until ready to use.
Makes about 2 ¼ cups.
Now the most important part of the meal….dessert!
I try to have a variety of desserts to suit everyone.
I will give you several choices for Celiac, diabetes, most allergies and vegan.
Cherry Pie Squares
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter (Or margarine)
3 cups gluten free all purpose flour mix
1 ½ tsp guar gum
2 tsp baking powder
1 can cherry pie filling
1 ¼ cups icing sugar
1 tbs unsalted butter (or margarine)
2 tbs lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Lightly grease a 10 X 15 inch jelly roll pan.
Cream sugar and butter in a mixer bowl on medium speed until fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and guar gum.
Add flour mixture slowly with mixer on low.
Spread half the batter into the prepared pan.
Spread the cherry pie filling over the batter.
Spoon remaining batter onto cherry layer.
Bake 45 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.
Mix icing sugar, butter and lemon juice until you get a smooth paste.
Drizzle over bars while they are still warm.
Cut into squares.
Use other fruit pie fillings such as apple, blueberry, or blackberry.
Make a cream cheese glaze instead of the suggested one.
1 ¼ cups icing sugar
2 tbs cream cheese (softened)
2 tbs lemon juice.
Blueberry Custard Pie
1 baked and chilled 9” pie crust
2 cups blueberries
1 tbs GF all-purpose flour mix
¾ cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 425ºF.
Place blueberries into pie crust.
In a medium bowl, mix together flour and sugar.
Add milk gradually, beating as you go.
Beat in the eggs.
Pour mixture over blueberries.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to 350ºF and bake another 35 minutes.
Cool completely before serving.
NOTE: You can use non-dairy evaporated milk to make this recipe dairy free.
Non-dairy evaporated milk http://bit.ly/aDTfwo
Sweet Potato Pie
Your favourite homemade GF pie crust, glazed with an egg yolk and pre-baked
3 eggs, whisked
1 – 15oz can sweet potatoes (or two cups of cooked and mashed sweet potatoes)
1 ½ cups heavy cream
¾ cups brown sugar
1 tsp each cinnamon and ginger
½ tsp nutmeg and allspice
½ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375ºF
Mix everything together.(Except the crust of course)
Pour into hot pie crust.
Bake 40-45 min.
Cool on rack.
Top with whipped cream.
Fireman’s Apple Pie
This pie makes it’s own crust!
¼ cup margarine
½ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup gluten free all purpose flour mix
4 large apples
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350°F
In a medium bowl, cream margarine and sugar together.
Beat in the egg.
Mix in the cinnamon, flour and salt.
Stir until smooth.
Fold in the apples and spread into a 9inch pie plate.
Sprinkle with pecans.
Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until browned.
Cut into bite-sized pieces each of the following:
1 honey dew melon
Also have on your tray:
Grapes (green and red)
Black Bean Brownies
You won’t taste the beans and this recipe must be made the day before you want to eat them. They are a little complicated but well worth the effort.
2 squares of unsweetened chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter substitute. (I used soy margarine)
2 cups black beans, cooked and well drained
1 cup pecans, chopped
¼ cup instant coffee
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ cups agave nectar
Preheat oven to 325ºF.
Lightly grease an 11” X 13” glass baking pan.
In a small sauce pan, melt the chocolate in the butter substitute.
In a blender, blend the beans, ½ the pecans and 2 tbs of the chocolate until smooth.
In a large bowl, mix together the remaining pecans, remaining melted chocolate, coffee and salt.
In another bowl, whip the eggs until light and fluffy.
Add the agave and continue to beat until well blended.
Add the blender contents to the coffee/chocolate mixture.
Stir until well blended.
Add egg/agave mixture.
Pour the contents of the bowl into the prepared pan.
Bake 30 to 40 minutes (until they look set)
Refrigerate over night to set.
Ice with chocolate icing if desired.
Flourless Peanut butter cookies
4 cups peanut butter
4 cups white sugar
Preheat oven to 350°
Combine ingredients and drop by spoonsful onto a cookie sheet. (I roll them into one inch balls and flatten with a fork)
Bake about 7 to 8 minutes.
Allow to cool.
Do not make these if any of your guests are allergic to peanuts.
Uncle Bill’s Favourite Cookies
2 cups pecans, chopped
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 ½ cups raisins
8 tbs margarine
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup pure maple syrup
¾ cup quinoa flour
¾ cup GF all purpose flour mix
1 ½ tsp guar gum
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
2 cups certified gluten-free rolled oats
To make pecan goo, heat a medium skillet over medium heat.
Place pecans in pan, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted.
Reduce heat to low and mix in cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
Add syrup and raisins.
Stir constantly, cooking until mixture thickens.
Transfer to a dish and allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Line two large baking sheets with waxed paper or parchment paper.
In a large mixer bowl, beat margarine, brown sugar, syrup, and eggs until well blended. In a medium bowl, whisk together quinoa flour, GF flour mix, guar gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing until smooth and incorporated.
On low speed, blend in oats and pecan goo.
Form dough with your hands, into balls, and flatten into a 2” disk.
Place on baking sheets, spacing them about 2’ apart.
Bake 15 minutes, until lightly browned.
Cool on a wire rack.
Make a tray with cookies, brownies and squares.
A Few Notes
If any of your guests are allergic to peanuts or tree nuts DO NOT have anything containing these items on your menu and do not have any kind of nuts in the house.
Many of these recipes can be converted to suit individual dietary needs. If you need help with this, leave a comment on this post.
To save yourself some frustration, make ahead anything that can be.
For example, cookies brownies and some pies etc. can be made well ahead and frozen or refrigerated.
Cranberry sauce can be made 2 or 3 days ahead
Veggies can be cut the day before and stored in water in the fridge.
If you are having a large crowd and a long table put your condiments into several small dishes and have “condiment stations” along the center of the table. Each condiment station should consist of cranberry sauce, butter/margarine, salt & pepper etc.
Cheese sauce and gravy can be passed around the table in gravy boats.
If you want to have a centerpiece(s) be sure they won’t obstruct the view/conversations of folks sitting across from one another.
Save the vegetable water, pan drippings and leftovers to make a fabulous turkey soup.