Let’s Talk Turkey

turkeyI love, love, love Thanksgiving! I really enjoy prepping and cooking all the goodies that surround this holiday.  But let’s get down to the star of the meal: Turkey!



–       First off, if you’re intimidated by cooking a whole turkey or don’t have that many mouths to feed, you might opt to buy and prepare a boneless turkey roast or a smaller turkey breast. Both are convenient, relatively inexpensive and you’ll have less cleanup and leftovers to deal with after dinner.

–       If you want to be somewhat untraditional, but still want to put turkey on the table somehow, someway, buy a turkey tenderloin. You could make a stir-fry out of it or pound it to make turkey scaloppini or turkey rolls. Heck, you could even buy some lean, ground turkey and make a lasagna dish. Create your own spin on the tradition!

–       Most people I talk to tell me they prefer the white meat from the bird (skinless white turkey meat is a Weight Watchers Power Food) but are then faced with what to do with the dark meat that’s left over. Well, I know what to do: I always make a nice turkey soup or tasty turkey casserole with the leftovers. I also like to make a robust turkey chili. If I still have leftovers, I pull the meat, place it in freezer-proof zipper bags, label it and put in in the freezer so I can use it in a recipe later on

–       We also have dark meat fans. Because the darker meat has more fat in it, the end result is a juicer, tastier piece of meat. Three ounces of cooked dark meat without skin is 3 PointsPlus® value, which equals the PointsPlus® value of white meat, but it’s not a Power Food.

–       I always fool around with the sauce (or gravy) not only for the main meal, but to accompany turkey leftovers. Try adding red wine, cider or pomegranate seeds to your sauce. Experiment. I always make sure to make my own private batch of gravy reserved just for me. I take turkey liver cooked in some sage, a touch of better and some brandy (or Marsala wine) and drizzle it over my stuffing.

–       My favorite part of the turkey? Stuffing! Lots of people make it out of croutons, leftover bread, or some other type of bread. Why not use grains, like quinoa, rice or polenta in your stuffing. I know, I know, people like their classic stuffing but you could make an alternative as a second choice. Who doesn’t like choices on Thanksgiving?

–       Want a more relaxing holiday? Keep in mind that 99% of the food can be prepped one or two days ahead of the big day. Prepare as much as you can before Thanksgiving so that when the actual holiday rolls around, all you’ll have to do is roast the bird and reheat or bake things. Even set the table a day in advance. You’ll have more time to relax with friends and family.

Have a fabulous Thanksgiving!