FoodLense: The Star of Thanksgiving Dinner

Traditional foods are a large part of Thanksgiving celebrations, which includes turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, cornbread, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. But making a delicious turkey remains central to the tradition. Here is one recipe to add taste to your Thanksgiving dinner table.

Posted on 11/26/14
By Dr. Patricia Whisnant | Via RainCrowRanch
(Photo by Annie, Creative Commons License)
(Photo by Annie, Creative Commons License)

I’m a grown woman with children of my own and yet, I still feel like a six year old during the holidays. At that age, waking up on Thanksgiving morning, smelling the turkey that’s already cooking away in the oven, there is only one thing to do: TURN ON THE PARADE! Fast forward almost 20 years. (20 years?! Stop.) Things haven’t changed much except that I now have a mini person to enjoy the parade with me, and a better appreciation for what it means to be thankful on Thanksgiving.


Food Lense1I consider myself very blessed to have so many things for which to be thankful! My husband, my children, our health, our families, and very important on this holiday: family recipes to make my own home smell like the Thanksgiving deliciousness I remember.


On Cody Whisnant’s side of the family and mine, there’s no shortage of those little yellowing handwritten index cards that have been passed down through the generations. They all come from a simpler time when pinches, dashes, and a-little-bit-of’s were neatly scribbled in cursive throughout the recipe because they knew what tasted right not the exact measurements. I find family recipes to be among the most valuable of heirlooms. As long as they survive, you can sit right there in your great-aunt or great-grandmother’s Thanksgiving kitchen every year. Now that’s something to be thankful for!


Drawing tips and recipes from Thanksgiving generations past, you get to make it your own. This means I’m not going to grab a turkey out of the yard or use quite as much lard, but that I get to make a few healthier choices!


The star of our Thanksgiving meal is our pasture raised turkey. With no antibiotics or hormones, I can feel good about feeding this to my family while not having to sacrifice flavor!


Time to turn on that parade, Christmas music, (or BOTH if you’re anything like me) and get to cookin’!


(Photo via RainCrowRanch)
(Photo via RainCrowRanch)


Herb Butter Roast Turkey Recipe


1 Rain Crow Ranch Pasture Raised Turkey

1 Stick Butter

½ Lemon, Juice and Zest

1 Onion

2 Cloves Garlic

2 Cups Turkey or Chicken Stock


Salt and Pepper
1. Remove all contents inside the bird.

2. Wash with cold water and pat dry.

(Photo via RainCrowRanch)
(Photo via RainCrowRanch)


3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

4. Place turkey in a roasting pan with rack or with tin foil coils to lift the bird off the bottom of the pan. (Could I find my roasting rack? No. I could not. Hence, the coiled tin foil.)

(Photo via RainCrowRanch)
(Photo via RainCrowRanch)


5. Carefully separate the skin from the breast meat. Salt and pepper the inside of the turkey generously.

6. Place quartered onion, garlic cloves, and bunch of thyme inside the turkey.

7. Mix softened butter, lemon juice and zest, and about 3 Tbsp. of thyme together. Rub between breast meat and skin and all over the surface of the outside of the turkey.


(Photo via RainCrowRanch)
(Photo via RainCrowRanch)


8. Pour 2 cups of turkey or chicken stock into the bottom of the pan and loosely tent with foil.

9. Turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees.

10. Place turkey in the oven approximately 15 minutes per pound basting every 45 minutes. Remove the foil for the last hour or so to brown.

11. Turkey is ready when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest meat where the thigh attaches to the body reaches 165 degrees. If not 165 degrees, continue to cook 10 minutes at a time until 165 degrees.

12. Remove from the oven and loosely tent.

13. Let rest 30 minutes before carving.

(Photo via RainCrowRanch)
(Photo via RainCrowRanch)


Enjoy! And enjoy the next day! Yum!


Dr. Patricia Whisnant owns the processing plant, Fruitland American Meat, LLC, located in Jackson, Missouri which is  certified for high animal welfare and processes multi-species.

This article first appeared at the RainCrowRanch. Click here to go to the original. 


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