Turkey in a Bag - Celebration!

I cooked a turkey this last week and I had very little time to prepare it!

No more brining
The last few years I’ve tried all different kinds of fancy brines when preparing to cook the turkey, and I will admit that they were very delicious. Some of my turkeys were so large that I had to brine them in a cooler – and to be honest, even though the meat turned out fabulously, it was a pain in the neck and time consuming to not only make the brine, but to clean out the cooler, add the ice, and flip the turkey.

Back to the bag
I remember how my mom always used an oven bag when cooking her turkeys, and how it kept all of the juices together. So this year I went back to using turkey bags, and my meat turned out so tender and moist! And I alleviated the mess!

Reason to celebrate
Tuesday night we celebrated my step-mom’s retirement (a celebration that deserved way more than one of my home-cooked meals!), so I invited her and my dad over for dinner. I knew I had to keep my menu simple, because it was a work-week for all of us.

Chopped up the veggies and threw them in the cooking bag

Mr. Tom went into the oven for 3 hours

Using my son’s Christmas art from 4th grade, I set the table

I pulled out my “Celebration” plate

We set up Grandma Friesen’s nativity set (did you know you can’t buy angel hair any more?)

Buffet style
Store-bought rolls, turkey sliced, salad made, potatoes and sweet potatoes mashed

Poked a hole in the turkey bag, draining out the juices, and made gravy using Ginny's simple method – always use cold water with your flour! (The first time I made my "best" gravy was when Ginny showed me how.)

My daughter made her first “roll-out” pie crust

We each grabbed a plate, filled it up and devoured it quickly, but what we really celebrated was Ginny’s 32 years of passion as a nurse. Ginny is a true servant, and I’m hoping now that she is retired we will be able to spend more time together!

Because this girl rocks when it comes to servanthood! (You can’t be a nurse and not be a servant, right?!)

Back to the turkey in a bag – what is your favorite method of cooking a turkey?


Ms. Tee said...

What a sweet dinner! I've used those bags on roasts but never on turkeys. I'll definitely have to try that one. :) Congratulations to your stepmom on her retirement - yay!

Kim said...

What a great celebration! Lately I have been doing boneless turkey breast in the crockpot - very easy and it taste great! I do have a whole turkey in my freezer that I'm planning on cooking in the next couple of months.

Miss L's Craft Room said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miss L's Craft Room said...

I actually used my first oven bag this Thanksgiving. The last couple of Thanksgivings, my turkeys were a bit dry. I was so happy with the results and the clean up.
ps I love your site and visit often. Gives me inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Bag always!

deb meyers

Barb said...

I have a lot of admiration for anyone who was a nurse for 32 years - she's deserves to never have to lift a finger again. Yes, nurses are servants and they work hard. My mother is a nurse.

My favorite way to cook a turkey is the easiest way possible. Just put it on a rack in an open roasting pan, stuff the body cavity with a ton of celery stalks and scallions, spray all over with Pam and cover the breast about halfway through the cooking. I stopped stressing over turkeys a long time ago and discovered if I keep it simple like this, it comes out perfect every single time.

I love your celebration plate. :-)

RosyRose said...

Yum! Sounds like you had everyone contributing:)!That's great! I love the brine...I also like it the old fashioned way...and I like some smoked turkey too!
When it comes to turkey I'm not picky:)

Anonymous said...

We have prepared our turkey in a bag for the last 5 years or so...we love it...and this year I believe we had the most juicy and tender turkey ever...my husband made it...we stuffed the cavity with garlic, celery and onion and we just lightly seasoned the bird and drizzled some olive oil over the top...it was so good and even days later when I was still making Norman Rockwell sandwiches...the turkey was still so moist...yum...I just made myself hungry.

Bless you!

~nanashouse~ said...

I have always used the bag method! My son brines his and I must admit it is the best I've ever had :-)

K :) Family Historian said...

I love the turkey bags. I am not much of a turkey cook, but those bags make it come out perfect every time. Now, I think I'll pick up a turkey at the store tomorrow and surprise my husband with one this week.

Lisa said...

My family makes fun of me and says I can't cook. Truth is...I can sorta cook...I just don't do it all the time. I do like to bake. Anyway..I have cooked a few turkeys and used the bag method. Trust me...if I can't mess it up then it must be fool proof!

I have been a nurse for 15 years and a mega congrats to your stepmom on her retirement. It is often a thankless job and if she's been a floor nurse, I hope someone treats her to a pedicure and massage. Hmmmm.... :-)

Jane said...

Lovely cause for celebration!
Since we are a small family, my turkey (12lb) usually fits in my PC clay baker. Add a can of broth and some veggies and it turns out (effortlessly) moist and juicy!

Raquel, The Glamorous Life said...

i have brined once but i am with you when you are cooking a 20+ pound bird it is not as easy as it sounds, i have used and a bag and i love it! but my favorite is when my hubby cooks them in his companies bbq/smoker no mess for me and a yummy bird!

Polly said...

I'm a believer in brining. Now my method might not pass the Butterball safety test. We all survived, and continue to survive.
I also roast my turkey at a very high temp. I think that helps keep the juices in. And then I glaze the bird with a brown sugar/mustard/pepper mixture.
My brother in law got the recipe from Sunset many years ago and we all love it. No one makes a turkey without this glaze. It is so very yummy!

Betts said...

I'm a die hard briner, but I agree that it's a pain. The results are worth it to me.

Gee, I wish I'd heard about the angel hair ban before it happened. I love that stuff.

linda t said...

Oh YES! Without a doubt, the best turkey is prepared in a bag!! I have done it that way for the past several years and it's so moist and tender!
And I was taught too, that the key to great gravy is ice cold water! And it was my friend's husband that taught me that!
My kids cooked me the most amazing birthday dinner last night and I will have to email you the chicken dish!! Yumo!

Lora said...

You've been given a blog award:)


Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Definitely a bagger!

Julie said...

I like marinating the turkey with wine while it's cooking... It's just delicish!!!

~j~ said...

Congratulations to your step-mom!what a wonderful way to celebrate, with family. I am sure she was so honored and felt so special.

Christine said...

It is the only way I cook our Turkeys! Not only is it less mess,...but oh so moist! Congrats to your step moms retirement! yeehaw! =O)

Melanie said...

We deep fried our turkey this year and last.
My parents always use the cooking bags.
What is the salad you served? Mandarin oranges & ?

Anonymous said...

Could you give us the recipe for your Fresh Spinach Salad? Also, I always cook my turkey in a bag. This past Thanksgiving, I cut the slits too close to the bottom of the bag - what a mess! Unless you want the added work of cleaning out your oven on the day after Thanksgiving, cut your slits closer to the top.

Sharon said...

My grandmother always cooked her turkey in a brown paper bag. She kept a stash of bags that had no writing on them just for turkeys! It was always delicious. I just bake the turkey on an oven roasting pan,spread butter, salt and pepper all over it and bake. I cover it with foil when it gets brown and let it finish-simple and delicious! I am a no fuss cook and this works for me!

Tracey said...

What?! No more angel hair?! I had no idea you couldn't buy it anymore. I will cherish my mom's angel hair even more now!

Question, we are thinking of replacing our dining table. What are your thoughts on square or round tables. Which one is easier to squeeze an extra seat in?


gracy said...

That plate~ "This is your day- Celebrate" ~ my grandma has that same plate, & uses it @ our birthdays every year! Fun! :D

*jana* said...

We have this same nativity set at home. I'm not able to be home for Christmas this year--my first one away from my family. It's so great to see it (even if it isn't the one at my house). :)