Arla Nelson

Arla Nelson

Columnist’s note: Welcome to Taste of Home recipe test, every week I pick the recipe to be featured in the paper, and give it a try. To note, my cooking level should be considered average and is matched with a style that could only be described as unabashed with little to no reservations.

Initial thoughts: I have been anticipating a recipe like this since the holiday fury officially hit, and I knew, without a doubt, it was time to step out of my comfort zone, embrace my inner chef, and roast a turkey. In my mind this is really a mom duty, akin to being the matriarch of a family. A strong robust woman floats across my brain, bustling around the kitchen, not a touch of stress in her eyes. I, on the other hand, have been silently chanting, “Jesus take the wheel,” since the beginning of the week.

To the store: Last week I jumped on the Safeway cut out coupons faster than the federal government on my paycheck and scored 89 cents a pound on a Butterball turkey with a $25 purchase. I waltzed in there, coupon in hand, placed the bird on the counter and promptly sent the checkout machine into a tailspin with the barcode. After five minutes (and several poetic apologies to the people behind me) the cashier finally got it to scan and I walked away the proud owner of a 13 pound turkey. Now, a quick note, I also picked up oven bags after consulting three people and they all sang in unison the beauty of the bag. Not only is it easier for cleanup it also evens the cooking out and will ensure a moist and crispy skinned bird. Listen, I am not one to argue with the cooking wizards of the world, so just go with my advice: Get the bags.

In the kitchen: Courtesy of the internet, I learned that for every five pounds of bird it will need 24 hours of thawing in the refrigerator. So that is what I did starting the night of Nov. 13 but by the following night I graduated it to the kitchen sink in warm water. Per usual I was time crunching and needed a guarantee that I would be ready to cook by that Friday night, this is not recommended due to sanitary reasons, use your own discretion here. On Nov. 15, my sister Kyra and I commenced with the cooking shenanigans of chopping and slicing. I did add a quartered apple to the other ingredients because it needed to be used badly. I placed the seasoned bird in the bag, surrounded it with the veggies, poured broth in and tied the bag shut. I also used a foil baking dish as I didn’t have anything else deep enough for the bird to sit comfortably. I cut six vents in the bag and popped it in the oven. Now the readers here need to understand that this all went down at nine o’clock at night which means we still had a long night ahead of us. We tried our best but some napping may have happened somewhere in the middle. Finally, at midnight the timer went off and I inserted a meat thermometer into the bird at multiple spots (be careful not to hit the bone) and it read the desired 175 degrees fahrenheit.

Final thoughts: Like two ravenous vikings, Kyra and I each took a leg and chowed down. The Official Taste Tester’s review was: “Juicy and tasty, the skin was crispy, and I usually don’t care for the skin but I would definitely not pick around this.” My thoughts mirrored hers, and everyone was right about the oven bag, I wasn’t panicky about how it would turn out after hearing all the great things, I really think it pulled this recipe off. I also did not have to occasional baste the turkey because of the bag. There is a gravy recipe attached to this, in a moment of unusual self control I decided I should do things one at a time, so no, I did not make gravy to go with. In conclusion this recipe is a Thanksgiving keeper and I feel as though I conquered a small part of the cooking world and plan to ride this high till the wheels fall off.

Arla Nelson is an advertising representative at the Delta County Independent. She can be reached at 970-874-4421 or

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