Truth? During the Kiana's Flex Appeal days, I NEVER EVER COOKED. I traveled twice per month. I literally kept packed suitcases with duplicates of my things ready at all times. Often I would return home for a day or two and be on a plane again. For one job, in particular, I flew 12 hours from Hawaii to the east coast, Rhode Island to film Extreme Energy for ESPN at 6 am. (Makes me tired thinking of how I managed that!) Being so busy and on the go all of the time, I never ever cooked. Maybe hard-boiled eggs and bland chicken breasts. I had a chef, maid, car detailer, masseuse on the payroll. I am a self-taught cook and proud of it. Trial and error. Taste along the way, a clean spoon of course. Use fresh, quality ingredients.
Until I met my husband, Thanksgiving dinner was at my mother's, my then boyfriend's house, a friend's house and one year in particular, at a restaurant! Yikes! Yep, my Mom, Dad, sister, aunts, uncles, and cousins even went to a restaurant for Thanksgiving because none of the adults wanted to host is since it was "too much work" 🙁 Family issues... I know, sad right? Not surprisingly, Thanksgiving at a restaurant was kind of sad. So After I met Dennis (my husband) I decided to start nesting and host Thanksgiving like a normal person. I know, what was I thinking? Never cooked and tackling Thanksgiving? Um, can I have it catered? No, I wanted to try to do it myself. I knew I could do it! But I needed to buy a kitchen full of pots and pans, staples, everything. I drove to Bloomingdales and bought knives, pots, pans, cutting boards, plates, silverware, everything! Amazon Prime wasn't a thing then, that would have been so much easier! Seems funny to me now! And, why did I go to Bloomingdales for basics? Nowadays I would go to Target or somewhere more reasonable $ for basics. #differentlifethen I remember when my mother in law came over with her side dish ingredients she asked where the salt and pepper shakers were. I didn't have any because sodium was not something I used. To this day she still crams me about that and refers to the capable "cook" I've grown to be. That and every Christmas she gave me a set of different salt and pepper shakers.
Roasted. I started with this Roasted Turkey recipe, modified by my mom and me. I make this every year. This is the best and easiest recipe for a perfect turkey on Thanksgiving, Christmas or any time you want some lean protein and comfort food.
Kid you not, this recipe only uses a handful of ingredients. I am a purist, this is simple, juicy and tasty. Hope you'll try it!
Excited to try it?
You ready? Here we go.
12 lb. turkey for 6 people. Figure appx 2 lbs. of turkey per person, more if you like leftovers as I do. I make Turkey on toast the next morning, turkey sandwiches, turkey soup... Kona and Hula my rescue dogs love it too.
Turkey: Choose the very best your budget allows. I've purchase super expensive free-range turkeys and grocery store Butterballs. I like the organic free-range turkeys best. The Butterballs are too salty for me.
2 large Brown Onions peeled and rough chopped
4 Celery Stalks: rinsed and cut in 1/3s
4 Carrots peeled and rough chopped
Salt (Yes, I have salt in my kitchen these days. Lol)
Butter (I use Kerrygold butter since it's made from milk from a grass-fed cow and is all-natural) You can find it at any grocery store, Costco, Sprouts, etc.
2 sprigs sage and thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine
Directions: High heat first
Preheat oven to 425°. Adjust oven rack to middle position to accommodate Turkey size and allowing for other items you may need to cook in the oven.
Remove neck and giblets, put in a pot of water on high. Bring to boil and turn to simmer while you prepare the Turkey.
Using clean hands, or a brush, (I use my hands) coat the turkey with softened butter. Using your fingers, gently lift the turkey skin and spread butter in between the skin and meat (Ew I know, don't think about it too long, just do it.)
Place breast side down on a roasting rack in a shallow pan. It's important to use a rack so the turkey is above the juices and the skin gets crisp, not soggy on the bottom of Turkey.
Stuff the turkey cavity with salt, 1 onion, 1/2 the carrots, 1/2 the celery, 1 sprig of thyme, and 1 bay leaf. Put remaining veggies around the pan, under the turkey wing, in crevices of the turkey.
Cover with white wine
Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
Bake 30 minutes at 425°
Roast uncovered 3-3 1/2 more hours, reducing the temperature to 325° or until internal temperature reaches 165° F.
Important: Allow Turkey to rest on counter 15-30 min. before carving. The turkey will be very hot and continue to cook when it's removed from the oven.
Tip: If Turkey is getting too brown, make a foil turkey tent on top while it cooks.