Prep One Turkey for Seven Meals



So, by now, hopefully you’ve looked over the meal ideas we’ll be making, purchased and thawed your little turkey, and prepared a list for the other items you’ll need. 



Now it’s time to prep your turkey.


These instructions are going to be much much more brief than mine typically are. That’s because there’s not really a whole lot to prepping the turkey and, if I’m honest with you all, I’ll tell you that, since I typically only do it once or twice a year, I always just follow the directions that come attached to it.


I’m going to give you a general run-down of how I got my turkey all ready though, okay? Here goes:


1. Thaw your bird. You can do this in the fridge (it’ll take a couple days in there) or in a cold water bath (it’ll take several hours.)


2. Unwrap the turkey. Pull out the neck and giblets. You can set these aside for stock, gravy, or just toss them– honestly, I tossed them this time. I didn’t feel like dealing with them.


3. Preheat the oven to 325. Rinse the turkey and pat it dry. Place it in a roasting pan. Drizzle it with some olive oil and give it a generous sprinkle of seasoning. Because I was making 7 different meals from the same bird, I kept it super simple and used salt, black pepper, and onion powder.


4. Roast (unstuffed) for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 180 degrees and into the breast, 170 degrees.


5. Remove from oven and let sit for awhile. There’s no reason to scald your hands handling the meat.


6. This is where things get easy– you’re NOT carving the bird. All you’re doing is removing meat. To do this, I kept a trash can handy (for skin, gristle, and tiny bones) and three bowls. I use the bowls for the following:

  • white meat
  • dark meat
  • bones for stock


Try to remove the breast pieces in large chunks, if you can, but don’t worry overly much about the state of the meat you’re collecting. It’s mostly going to be chopped into bite-size pieces, anyway.


6. Once you’ve picked off all the meat you can, toss the bones into a slow cooker or stock pot, add the pan drippings, and cover with water. Set on low and just leave it alone for at least four and up to twelve hours. This will yield about three quarts of deep, rich stock.



7. Bag up the meat and place in fridge or freezer until ready to use. The turkey yields so much more meat than the chicken that it’s not so critical to portion it out just yet– you’l have plenty.


8. Wash your hands, do the dishes, wipe the counter, and feel good about having the meat all ready to go for a whole week’s worth of meals!



To give you plenty of time to deal with the turkey– because I know that the thaw time makes it more time-consuming than other meats, even though the prep is truly very simple– I’m going to step away from this series for a few days. I’ll be back on Monday to start sharing all the recipes with you– all SEVEN of them!


In the meantime, go ahead and get your turkey ready and pick up your other ingredients. You might notice that this grocery list has more frozen veggies on it– this is deliberate. For some parts of this nation (like mine), most fresh veggies are out of season and, thus, both price-prohibitive and not-so-tasty. Frozen veggies are quick and easy and, yes, still healthy.


If you live someplace where fresh produce is currently more abundant and yummy, feel free to substitute! I’m just trying to keep it as simple as I can– I know you all face many of the same challenges I do with time and grocery money.


I’ll be back Monday with the recipe for Turkey, Veggie, & Cheese Crepes!

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