Making Memories - Carb Feast And The Bird - Penny Lane Blog at - 287733

Penny Lane

Making Memories - Carb Feast and the Bird 
Nov. 1, 2012 5:57 pm 
Updated: Nov. 23, 2012 10:22 pm

Here it is, November again already!  

Time to gear up for another Thanksgiving feast - 

Carb Feast 2012.


Creamy Mashed Potatoes  

Another year to make more memories, another year to gather with family and friends and tell those, "Remember when....." stories.

One thing is for sure - if everyone gets along, the oven doesn't catch fire, the meal is 'perfect' - chances are those are not the Thanksgiving meals that we will remember.

We tend to only remember, in detail, the holidays gone wrong.

Lessons learned.....

Remember when Uncle Larry caught the garage on fire frying the turkey?   Oh dear....I certainly do and so does his wife!  

Before you decide to fry a turkey there are a couple of things that you should know. 

Link to article  

Link to Video


How much oil will that turkey displace?  

(Uncle Larry should have asked this question.) 

The best way I have found is, the day before, take the bird, place it in the empty fryer, fill with water until the water fills and covers the turkey by a couple of inches - leaving plenty of space between the water and the top of the fryer.  Remove the turkey, allowing all the water to drain back into the fryer.  The level of the water is where you want your oil level to be. 


***  Very important - place the now wet turkey - on end, in a large stock pot, in the refrigerator to drain and dry.***


Uncle Larry should have done this too  - putting a wet turkey into hot oil is a recipe for disaster.  In fact, I think he may have had a piece of ice lodged in the bird - not good.   

Which brings me to defrosting the bird. 

Frozen turkeys are frozen really, solid.  Allow 1 day for each 5 lbs + 1 day.  If you are planning to brine your turkey, which I do,  allow another  couple of days.  One day to brine and one day to drip dry in a large pot - even if you are not frying, your turkey should be dry for a crispy skin.  

Last year I told you about my Mother in Law, Lois offering to bring the turkey and arriving Thanksgiving morning with a rock solid frozen turkey.  Please don't be a Lois or one of the couples I see on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving buying a frozen bird and expecting to cook it the next day. 

How to defrost a Turkey.  

>How to defrost a turkey Safely.

PLEASE take the time to allow the turkey to defrost safely in the refrigerator.


Which reminds me of Uncle Pat's Thanksgiving story.


We decided to rent a cabin and have a holiday in the forest.  Sounds nice, doesn't it?  The whole family arrived on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to discover a tiny refrigerator and a ton of food to put away - not the least of which is the 25 lb fresh turkey that Uncle Pat brought to feed the troops.  Rather than storing in the cooler inside, as it would not fit in the tiny refrigerator, he decided to set it outside in the cooler, in the snow.  The next day, guess what???  Frozen solid turkey - another late dinner and lots of memories.    

Next up is cooking that bird - there are so many methods and recipes I don't even know where to begin.  The one thing I can say is that the final internal temperature needs to be 165 at the thickest part of the thigh.  Not 180 as some older recipes state.  There is no need for flipping the bird, breast up, breast down - whole turkey on the floor.

Just don't over cook it and it will not be dry and mealy. 

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Rich Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

>Rich Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

Nov. 1, 2012 6:00 pm
Well, I have played around and fooled with this blog long enough. Hopefully the links work and to heck with the fonts etc....sorry.
Nov. 1, 2012 6:35 pm
Amusing and helpful! Thanks for another great blog Baking Nana!
Nov. 1, 2012 6:43 pm
Every holiday brings it's own memories - some are more "memorable" than others....if everything ran perfectly, I wouldn't remember half of the holiday events.
Nov. 1, 2012 6:44 pm
The links work, and the tips are great, especially the formula for defrosting. It always takes longer than you think it will! I haven't gotten up the nerve to try deep-frying the turkey. I will leave that to the more adventurous souls!
Nov. 1, 2012 6:44 pm
Great Blog with some great info BN...and I now need some mashed potatoes!!!!!!
Nov. 1, 2012 6:55 pm
Great tips BN!
Nov. 1, 2012 7:01 pm
Bibi - I can tell you a dozen ways I would rather could a turkey than deep frying! It seems to be something that appeals to the males in the group. It is dangerous, for sure.... hope they do their research first. But like most men, they don't read directions....
Nov. 1, 2012 7:05 pm
ellie - Heck mashed potatoes and I go together all year long. I don't need a holiday for those. I just happened to make these and take a pic today - it is Thursday, seemed like a fair occasion to me!
Nov. 1, 2012 7:06 pm
Magnolia Blossom - if your guys ever think about "frying" a turkey - contact me, please!
Nov. 1, 2012 7:28 pm
Funny and great tips. I often deep fry turkeys and only use fresh turkeys so the defrost isn't a problem.
Nov. 1, 2012 7:31 pm
If I'm going to use a frozen turkey it would be for bowling or baked in the oven.
Nov. 1, 2012 7:48 pm
I have never cooked an entire turkey and I'll be 50 this Thanksgiving Day! We all like white meat, so I roast a breast that's about the size of a large chicken. Works for us!
Nov. 1, 2012 8:17 pm
bd.weld - I would trust you to fry the turkey - Uncle Larry had his one time at the fryer - that was his one claim to fame. The fire Dept still remembers him.
Nov. 1, 2012 8:20 pm
I still need help with my mashed potatoes! Please help! In person, please, on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day preferably!
Nov. 1, 2012 8:23 pm
TwoSweetPickles - I know many families that only like the white / breast meat. Personally, I like the whole bird. But cooking the beast only & having it cooked just right is a real accomplishment.
Nov. 1, 2012 8:30 pm
Marianne - we will work through your potato crisis - we have to get this issue solved.
Nov. 1, 2012 8:35 pm
For Marianne!
Nov. 1, 2012 8:38 pm
We like them a bit chunky but feel free to smooth them out if you like. The family Would strike if these were not on the T day table.
Nov. 1, 2012 8:43 pm
Thank you BN! Great tips. I am Deathly afraid of frying a turkey! I know how to do it and Could pull it off, BUT am unwilling to try.
Nov. 1, 2012 8:58 pm
Oh Patty - stick with my oven, my friend...unless you have a pro at the fryer.
Nov. 1, 2012 9:01 pm
be.weld - can we sneak off and eat all that crispy skin? Shhh - we don't need to tell a soul.
Nov. 1, 2012 9:57 pm
Too late! Now all I can think of is crispy turkey skin. No! Wait! Don't forget the turkey soup! Love turkey soup. The one son makes about 4 turkeys in November. He also makes a good turkey soup with red chile flakes. Must be hungry...
Nov. 1, 2012 11:15 pm
Excellent tips Nana. Thank you! I had to go to Wal-Mart late tonight and the main center aisle that just yesterday was all candy and Halloween junk was nothing but canned green beans, cream of chicken soup, Velveeta, stuffing mix, mac and cheese boxes, cranberry sauce and the like. Aside from a turkey, a person could have compiled and entire Thanksgiving feast without leaving the center aisle! Don't we just love holiday marketing tactics? ;-)
Nov. 2, 2012 5:45 am
redly - Turkey soup is great, isn't it? My son always offers to carve the turkey, I know it so he can snag the crispy skin. Makes me hungry just to think about it.
Nov. 2, 2012 5:46 am
LOL! Just yesterday I was informed the boys expect the works for Thanksgiving. Don't think we will go with deep fried this year although the DH has never got anything on fire. I don't want to buy all that oil. Glad you posted the new rules. Overcooked turkey is a sad thing!
Nov. 2, 2012 5:52 am
mimosa - one stop shopping! I am sure that the canned yams and marshmallows were there for that dreaded sweet potato casserole. That is one of those dishes that you either love or hate. I am in the hate category.
Nov. 2, 2012 6:06 am
Good morning Cat. I can't stand dry, over cooked turkey. The problem is, most of the meat thermometers say 180 for poultry. BTW I think the peanut oil for frying the bird costs more than the bird itself. I like how your guys put you on notice so early. I am sure they are already dreaming about the feast.
Nov. 2, 2012 7:31 am
Thanks for all the tips Baking Nana. When I buy a turkey I buy one that is around 17-20 pounds so we can have a few wonderful meals after Thanksgiving. We make Turkey Soup and Turkey Tacos.
Nov. 2, 2012 7:48 am
I love your holiday stories, Baking Nana, and my guess is you have plenty more about your dear MIL, Lois! : ) My family frequently fried the turkey, but it was always done well away from the house or garage and by an experienced "fry-man". I find it far preferable in taste and moistness to the baked bird, but I know everyone has their own preferences and traditions. DH and I eat only white meat, so I buy a fresh, free-range, natural turkey breast every year and smoke it. Then I use the bones for a stock. And you are so right...the most memorable holidays are the "Griswald" ones. LOL.
Nov. 2, 2012 8:09 am
Baking Nana, Good tips indeed. I would also add that there are some tasty make ahead gravy recipes here on AR and I am going to start the gravy (and freeze it) this weekend. Next week, making pie crusts and putting them in the freezer. Happy Thanksgiving BN!
Nov. 2, 2012 12:35 pm
Lela - we like having some left overs as well. No Baking Papa likes all the carb laden side dishes - me I go for the turkey sandwiches. Last year I did 4 full Turkey dinners - 1 for us and 3 for clients. By Sunday I didn't care if I ever saw a turkey again. I got over it and am once again looking forward to the gobble gobble of Thanksgiving.
Nov. 2, 2012 12:58 pm
wisweetp - Lois was a character for sure! She has been gone for quite a few years but her spirit and memories live on. I wish that I had laughed more of some of her antics - she certainly left her mark on this world.
Nov. 2, 2012 1:02 pm
Mauigirl - great plan to use some of those make ahead recipes. I did a turkey a month or so ago so I am well stocked with turkey broth. I should add a couple of links to the blog featuring a couple of those recipes.
Nov. 2, 2012 3:52 pm
Great blog. Gave up frying turkeys when I moved out of the south but your tips are good ones. Wish I had had them before I fried the first time. What a mess.
Nov. 2, 2012 8:52 pm
Hi Cookin Up A Storm - I think that frying the bird is an art, one that after witnessing Uncle Larry's adventure, I prefer to leave to others. It is a big trend these days though. There is a reason that the Fire Extinguishers are sold along side the turkey fryers.
Nov. 3, 2012 6:01 am
Great blog and good tips. Last year I thought it a bit amusing when I volunteered at a homeless thanksgiving dinner and they had five fryers set up for the turkeys out in the parking lot. There were two fire trucks there to over see the cooking process. Of course those good looking firemen got plenty of turkey samples. :)
Nov. 3, 2012 6:12 am
You have given some great tips, and planning is so important on the T-Day meal. I tried the "make ahead" approach last year for as many parts of the meal as possible. I had more time to spend with my guests, less time in the kitchen, and the guys actually did the cleanup. I'm not going to duplicate that meal, I'll mix it up a little, but that make-ahead turkey gravy is definitely going to be a repeat, everybody loved it.
Nov. 3, 2012 6:29 am
Oh Sherri, you should have got a picture of the fire trucks and the fryers! Of course those firemen probably all know how to fry a turkey safely. The middle of a parking lot is the right place for a vat of hot oil. I would feel much better having the fire dept. on site. I am sure they ate well that day.
Nov. 3, 2012 6:33 am
lutzflcat - I may do the make ahead gravy this year. I am not allowed to change much though. The family is pretty set about what they expect to see on the Thanksgiving table. One year my sister in law decided to do cornish game hens with wild rice stuffing - she was almost lynched.
Nov. 5, 2012 11:11 am
My tip is to make the mashed pots. the day ahead, on TDay warm in micro and place in med. sized crockpot on low or keep warm. Willhold for hours and saves the last minute rush of mashing, mixer, getting out milk and butter etc. Works every time. Serve right in hot crockery liner.
Nov. 5, 2012 12:21 pm
BN, your blog is great, your tips are priceless. Frying a turkey is defintely "in mode," and my brother-in-law has been doing it, sucessfully, for a few years now. Fortunately we usually have at least one other turkey at our meal that has been roasted. Sometimes I'm responsible for that aspect of dinner, sometimes someone else is. I like the roasted much better, especially when I make it (I'm the only one who brines, and I cook to the lowest safe temp). LOL.
Nov. 5, 2012 2:27 pm
Hi Covergirl - I usually have to do at least 10 lbs of taters. I do them in the morning - mashed and into a large crock pot. I once tried to do a potato casserole and almost had my head handed to me. If we had a smaller group I would consider doing them the day before. But then I would have to bump something else out of the way. I do trim and blanch my green beans. Then they cook in a matter of minutes the day of.
Nov. 5, 2012 2:30 pm
mommasangelbaby - I am a fan of brining and of not over cooking. One year a friend did a couple of birds in a bag - over cooked them - tossed all the good juices in the bag and served dry turkey with jarred sauce. Sigh.... I like the deep fried turkeys, especially if we are camping but not unless I have an experienced fry man at the helm. No Baking Papa and Uncle Larry should both step away from the fryer!
Nov. 6, 2012 5:22 am
Good Morning, Baking Nana! Fried turkey has intigued me for years but I have always steered clear of it because of the safety issues. I cannot convince myself that it is something I want to do for Thanksgiving but I might give it a shot at a summertime event. Thank you for putting this together.
Nov. 6, 2012 7:16 am
Hi Mike. While camping we often see people with fryers at the ready - also lots of kids zooming around. It scares the dickens out of me. I will stick to the oven or grill. With all those ovens your new kitchen will have you won't have to worry about oven roasting that bird.
Nov. 6, 2012 7:26 am
Believe it not, I am not in charge of the Bird this year for Thanksgiving. We are going to my MIL's house and she refuses to let me. No respect I tell you. No respect.
Nov. 6, 2012 8:49 am
What's with the No Respect Doug? Doesn't she know who you are? You are "Mr. Thanksgiving". You will just have to do your own bird on Friday or Saturday. Thanksgiving does last all weekend, you know.
Nov. 6, 2012 9:24 am
Unfortunately we did lose the free frozen turkey we had at the bottom of the freezer this week but I will get another one for the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
Nov. 6, 2012 10:10 am
Sorry about the turkey Doug. Actually, a turkey fryer might have come in handy this past week. My kids all come here for Thursday and then they all do their own free turkeys Saturday or Sunday. They all want to have their own left overs.
Nov. 23, 2012 10:22 pm
Last year I did the entire Thanksgiving feast. My daughter and I plated it up in aluminum pie plates in meal portions and froze it without any cranberry suce as we make that ourselves and had a jar in the refrigerator for when we want that with our meal. We had turkey yet in May and it was still good. This year I was alone so I made roasted chicken legs and thighs and opened some cans of veggies and microwaved those and made instant coffee. I had the thighs and my cats had the legs. If I would have had family coming I would have made a turkey. Since no one was coming I did buy a ham and a chicken, duck, beef roast and 2 for 1 pork roasts and also pork chops and rack of ribs and beef stwe meat and ground round so I can make alot of meats and veggies and potatoes and gravy and have meals froze so I can make the meals quick from the freezer. That works great as there is no wasted food.
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Baking Nana

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Corona, California, USA

Member Since
Aug. 2009

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Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Frying, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Healthy, Quick & Easy

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About Me
Every morning my granddaughter calls and says, "Good morning Nana. Whatcha doing? Are you baking Nana?" Hence my name, Baking Nana. I love to bake bread and never get tired of it. Yeast is additive! Visit me at If you would like to contact me directly please use the 'Contact Me' on my site.
My favorite things to cook
I go through phases, Asian for a while then Italian then on to something else. I love experimenting with new flavors and different spices. Some times my husband will ask if we will ever have "ordinary" food again. Once in a while I have to toss him a burger just to keep quite! Actually, he is a good sport and my favorite taste tester.
My favorite family cooking traditions
In our family if it is your birthday you get to choose the menu. We have had some really interesting meals. In March we have 5 birthdays so we do one big party - what a crazy menu that is! Christmas dinner is very traditional. Sausage rolls, Prime Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, gravy, Green beans with bacon, Mashed Potatoes (the really fattening kind) and trifle for dessert. If I were to dare to omit any of those items I would be lynched.
My cooking triumphs
Mastering really great bread is probably my biggest triumph. I am always so pleased when I create a perfect Asian dish.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few but none so horrible that I can't laugh about them now.
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