How To Cook A Thanksgiving Dinner

Perfect Roast Turkey With Old-Fashioned Gravy

One (18-pound) fresh turkey
About 12 cups of your favorite stuffing (or 1 each chopped onion, carrot, and celery, mixed with 1/4 cup chopped parsley and Homemade Poultry Seasoning, recipe follows)
2 1/2 quarts Homemade Turkey Broth (see recipe), as needed
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more if needed
Freshly milled black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1. Position a rack in the lowest position of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Reserve the turkey neck and giblets to use in gravy or stock. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water. Pat the turkey skin dry. Turn the turkey on its breast. Loosely fill the neck cavity with stuffing. Using a thin wooden or metal skewer, pin the turkey's neck skin to the back. Fold the turkey's wings akimbo behind the back or tie to the body with kitchen string. Loosely fill the large body cavity with stuffing. Place any remaining stuffing in a lightly buttered casserole, cover and refrigerate to bake as a side dish. Place the drumsticks in the hock lock or tie together with kitchen string.

2. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in the roasting pan. Rub all over with the softened butter. Season with the salt and pepper. Tightly cover the breast area with aluminum foil. Pour 2 cups of turkey stock into the bottom of the pan.

3. Roast the turkey until a meat thermometer inserted in the meaty part of the thigh (but not touching a bone) reads 180 degrees F degrees and the stuffing is at least 160 degrees F, about 4 1/4 hours. (See Estimated Roasting Times, below.) Don't baste too often -- every 45 minutes is enough, and if you forget, that's fine too, as basting only glazes the skin and doesn't affect moisture. If you baste, lift up the foil and replace it to baste the breast area. Whenever the drippings evaporate, add broth to moisten them (about 1 1/2 cups at a time). Remove the foil during the last hour to allow the skin to brown.

4. Transfer the turkey to a large serving platter and let it stand for at least 20 minutes before carving. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Drizzle 1/2 cup of turkey broth over the stuffing in the casserole, cover, and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, pour the drippings from the roasting pan into a heatproof glass bowl or measuring cup. Let stand 5 minutes; then skim off and reserve the clear yellow fat that rises to the top. Measure 3/4 cup fat, adding melted butter, if needed. Add enough turkey broth to the skimmed drippings to make 8 cups total.

6. Place the roasting pan over two stove burners on low heat and add the turkey fat. Sprinkle with the flour and whisk, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, and cook until the flour is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the turkey broth,. Cook, whisking often, until the gravy thickens and no trace of raw flour flavor remains, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Strain, if desired. Transfer the gravy to a warmed gravy boat. Carve the turkey and serve the gravy alongside.

Homemade Poultry Seasoning: Mix 1 teaspoon each dried rosemary, dried crumbled sage, dried marjoram, dried thyme, and celery salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1 well-crumbled bay leaf. Crush together in a mortar and pestle or in a mini-food processor.

Estimated Roasting Times
(Oven Temperature 325 degrees F)

Add an extra 30 minutes to the roasting time to allow for variations in roasting conditions. It's better to have a bird done ahead of time than to keep everyone waiting and hungry for the bird to finish roasting.

Unstuffed Turkey
8 to 12 pounds 2 3/4 to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3 3/4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds 4 1/4 to 4/12 hours
20 to 24 pounds 4 1/2 to 5 hours

Stuffed Turkey
8 to 12 pounds 3 to 3 1/2 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 1/2 to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
20 to 24 pounds 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours
Recipe From CBS Early Show
(credit: CBS)
Green Bean Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 pound fresh cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced
Béchamel Sauce (warmed)
2 teaspoons minced thyme leaves
5 medium shallots, sliced (about 1 1/3 cups)
3/4 cup flour, for dusting the shallots
2 cups vegetable oil, for frying


1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and cook until bright green and just tender, about 6 minutes; drain in a colander and rinse under cold water until cold. Set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add mushrooms and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are brown on the edges, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.

3. Combine green beans, mushroom mixture, béchamel sauce, and thyme in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a 2-1/2-quart baking dish and set aside.

4. Dust sliced shallots in flour and shake off excess. Set aside.

5. Pour vegetable oil into a 10-inch frying pan (the oil should be 1 inch deep). Heat over medium-high heat to 350°F, about 4 minutes.

6. Fry shallots in batches, until light golden brown on the edges, about 2 minutes. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

7. Top casserole with fried shallots and bake until shallots are golden and crispy and casserole is bubbly and heated through, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Recipe from Chow
(credit: CBS/CHOW)
Sweet Potato
Sweet Potato
Basic Baked Sweet Potato

Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Slice an “X” into the top of a sweet potato and place it directly on the rack with a piece of foil on the rack below. Bake until the potato is easily pierced with a knife, about 60 to 70 minutes. Top with Molasses-Clove Compound Butter and serve.
(credit: CBS/CHOW)
Sausage And Apple Stuffing 101
(Makes about 10 cups stuffing)

1 pound pork or turkey sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium celery ribs with leaves, chopped
One 15-ounce bag cubed seasoned stuffing
5 ounces dried apples, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 1/2 cups turkey stock, preferably homemade, or use
canned, as needed
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
Freshly milled black pepper

1. In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat, bringing up the meat with the side of a spoon. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large bowl.

2. Add the butter to the skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the onion and celery. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is golden, about 10 minutes. Add to the bowl with the sausage.

3. Add the stuffing cubes, dried apples, and parsley. Stir in enough of the broth to moisten the stuffing, about 2 1/2 cups. Season with the poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Use as a turkey stuffing. Spread any remaining stuffing into a buttered casserole, cover, and refrigerate until ready to bake as a side dish.

Recipe From CBS Early Show
(credit: Jupiter Images)
Thanksgiving Gravy

5 cups turkey stock with pan drippings
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Bring the turkey stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in soup, and season with poultry seasoning, pepper, seasoned salt, and garlic powder. Reduce heat to low, and let simmer.

Warm the milk in the microwave, and whisk in the flour with a fork until there are no lumps. Return the gravy to a boil, and gradually stir in the milk mixture. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Be careful not to let the bottom scorch.

Recipe from
(credit: Jupiter Images)
Mashed Potatoes
Mashed Potatoes
Make Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole
(Makes 8 to 12 servings)

Make Ahead: The casserole can be prepared up to 1 day ahead.

5 pounds baking potatoes (such as russet, Idaho, Burbank, or Eastern)
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks, at room temperature
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk, heated
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Chopped chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)

1. Fill a large pot (at least 5 quarts) halfway with cold water. Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks about 1 1/2 inch square, and drop them into the pot. Add more cold water to cover the potatoes by 1 to 2 inches. (The potatoes can be prepared up to this point for 4 hours, stored at cool room temperature.)

2. Stir in enough salt until the water tastes mildly salted. Cover tightly and bring to a full boil over high heat, allowing at least 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and set the lid askew. Cook at a moderate boil until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a small, sharp knife, about 20 minutes.

3. Drain the potatoes well and return to the warm pot. Add the cream cheese and butter. Using a hand-held electric mixer, mash the potatoes until the cream cheese and butter melt. Beat in the sour cream and milk. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Transfer to a buttered 9 X 13-inch baking dish. Cool completely. (The potatoes can be prepared up 4 hours ahead, covered loosely with plastic wrap, and stored at cool room temperature, or cool, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 1 day.)

4. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Bake until the potatoes are heated through 30 to 40 minutes. Serve hot, sprinkled with the chives, if using.

Recipe From CBS Early Show
(credit: Jupiter Images)
Dinner Roll
Dinner Roll
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/2 cup warm milk
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup butter, softened


Place water, milk, egg, 1/3 cup butter, sugar, salt, flour and yeast in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough/Knead and First Rise Cycle; press Start.

When cycle finishes, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 12 inch circle, spread 1/4 cup softened butter over entire round. Cut each circle into 8 wedges. Roll wedges starting at wide end; roll gently but tightly. Place point side down on ungreased cookie sheet. Cover with clean kitchen towel and put in a warm place, let rise 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden.

Recipe from
(credit: Jupiter Images)
Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry, Ginger And Lemon Chutney

(Makes about 3 cups, 12 servings)

Make Ahead: The chutney can be made up to 2 weeks ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated.

1 medium lemon
One 12-ounce bag cranberries
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup diced (1/4-inch) crystallized ginger (about 2 1/2 ounces)
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Using a grater, remove the yellow zest from the lemon. Using a small, sharp paring knife, cut away and discard the thick white pith. Cut the lemon in half horizontally and pick out the seeds with the tip of the knife. Dice the lemon into 1/4-inch pieces.

2. In a medium, nonreactive saucepan, combine the cranberries, diced lemon and zest, sugar, ginger, onion, garlic, jalapeno, cinnamon stick, mustard and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often to help dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce is thick and the cranberries have burst, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool completely. (The chutney can be prepared up to 2 weeks ahead, covered tightly and refrigerated.) Remove the cinnamon stick just before serving. Serve at room temperature.

Recipe From CBS Early Show
(credit: Jupiter Images)
Candied Yams
Candied Yams

3 1/2 pounds yams, as uniformly sized as possible
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon whole cloves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons apple juice
2 cups mini marshmallows (optional)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place yams in a large pot (they should fit in a single layer). Cover with cold water and add salt and cloves. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cover pot and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer until yams give only a little resistance when pierced with a sharp knife, about 20 minutes. Drain yams and rinse under cold water.

2. Butter an 11-by-7-inch baking dish. When yams are cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 1-inch cubes. Transfer to the baking dish and set aside.

3. Melt butter in a small frying pan over low heat. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Stir in apple juice, drizzle mixture over yams, and bake, stirring occasionally, until yams are syrupy, bubbly, and completely cooked, about 20 minutes.

4. If topping with marshmallows, heat broiler. Sprinkle marshmallows over yams and broil until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. (Watch carefully so they don’t burn.) Serve.

Recipe from Chow
(credit: CBS/CHOW)
(credit: Jupiter Images)
Pumpkin Pie (credit: Jupiter Images)

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