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Happy Thanksgiving!

A Thanksgiving feast to feed the soul! Here are the recipes you will need to make an outstanding meal! Things like the stuffing, sweet potatoes, creamed spinach and desserts can be made two days in advance or kept frozen for over 3 weeks covered  in an air tight container in the freezer! I share lots of tips and secrets to help make this special day a joy for everyone!

I’ve tried so many ways over the years to prepare turkey so it will have lots of flavor and not turn out dry. I’ve wrapped them in cheese clothes, soaked them in brine, deep fried, put butter over the skin, under the skin, cooked it stuffed, unstuffed, none of that works like this simple marinade. Everyone who has tried it swears that by using this marinade they end up the the most tender and juicy turkey ever. Not to mention the wonderful flavors that penetrate the turkey from the fresh herbs. The fresh herbs usually come in bundles with rubber bands wrapped around them. These fresh herbs are the secret to the most flavorful gravy.

I introduced this recipe on a local talk show I was hosting in Los Angeles called, “A.M. Los Angeles” over 25 years ago and to this day I have strangers stop me in in the streets and grocery stores to tell me how much the love it and now I have new converts! Preparing the turkey with this marinade will insure you will have plenty of gravy that you will want to put on everything!

Happy Thanksgiving!


1- 14 to 15 pound organic turkey, empty cavity of bird and the neck, rinse well, pat dry and place in roasting pan.


2-1/2 cups Dijon mustard

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

4 fresh lemons juiced, save the rinds

1 cup low sodium soy sauce

4 sprigs fresh rosemary

1 bundle  fresh sage

1 bundle fresh thyme

1 bundle fresh oregano

1 bundle fresh Italian parsley

6 to 8 cups chicken broth, homemade or organic store bought chicken broth

 1 to 4 tablespoons arrowroot

  2 tablespoons dry sherry

  ¼ cup chives, chopped

  8 to 10 twists of a pepper mill with black peppercorns

  1 cup pomegranate seeds


Pre-heat oven 350 degrees

In a large glass bowl add the Dijon mustard, olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce and whisk until well incorporated.

Take half of the herbs from each bundle, place one half inside the cavity of the bird along with the left over lemon rinds. Pour all of the marinade all over the turkey. Crack fresh pepper over the top, 8 to 10 twist of the pepper mill should do it! Scatter the remainder of the herbs on top of turkey and in roasting pan.

Tie the legs together with twine and cover the tips of the legs and wings with aluminum foil (this prevents the tips from burning while roasting) Tie a string around the bird to keep the wings in place.

Cut a large piece of heavy aluminum foil big enough to cover the roasting pan and turkey. Spray the insides of foil with cooking spray. Tent the turkey with the foil so steam can’t escape. (If you are using a roasting pan with a lid no need to use foil.) Try to not let the aluminum touch the turkey.

Roast for 1 & 1/2 hours undisturbed. Remove the foil and check the turkey, the color will be beige, add 3 cups of chicken stock and stir the bottom of the pan to loosen the bits that have formed on the bottom and sides.

Baste the turkey all over using a turkey baster. Roast another 1/2 hour and add another cup of chicken stock. Scrap the bottom of the pan again, baste.

Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast without touching the bone. Continue roasting uncovered basting every 15 minutes for another hour. Continue to baste every 15 minutes until the thermometer registers 160 degrees.

If the pan juices start to dry out add another cup of chicken stock. The whole process should take 3- 3/4 hours depending on your oven, that is why it is important to watch the thermometer and remove the turkey at 160 degrees. The turkey will continue to cook while resting. It will rise at least 5 more degrees. It is done when it reaches 165 F. unstuffed.

Remove the turkey from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Cover loosely with foil to keep it warm. Let it rest at least for 15 to 20 minutes before you carve. Remove thermometer before you carve and after the turkey has time to sit. If you remove the thermometer immediately after taking the turkey out of the oven juices will escape.


Pour what ever chicken broth you have left into the roasting pan, scrap the sides with a wooden spoon to release any of the bits that are on the bottom or corners. Strain into a mesh strainer over a sauce pan let sit for 5 minutes to give the oil time to rise to the top. Use a large spoon to remove oil that has risen to the top and discard.  Bring to a gentle boil.

In a small cup combine 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with one tablespoon of cold water and mix well. Pour into the sauce pan and stir to thicken. If you wish to have thicker gravy continue the same process until you get the thickness you like. Add the sherry and simmer for one minute then add the fresh chives.

Carve the turkey and arrange on a large platter dividing the white meat from the dark. Ladle some of the gravy over the top of the turkey to help keep it moist and garnish with fresh parsley and pomegranates! Give 2 to 3 turns of black pepper over the top of the turkey.


1. Basting is extremely important if you want to have a moist golden turkey.

2. The aluminum foil on the tips of the wings and legs will keep them from burning while baking.

3. The instant read thermometer should not touch the bone. It will give you a false reading of the temperature.?

4. Remove thermometer before you carve and after the turkey has time to sit. If you remove the thermometer immediately, the juices will escape from the turkey. Let it settle first.

I added the the temperature charts for cooking turkey including stuffed. I personally DO NOT stuff my turkey. The juices are absorbed it into the stuffing drying out the turkey. It also changes the flavor of my stuffing giving it a gamey taste which I’m not to fond of.


4 to 6 lbs. breast 1- 1/2 to 2- 1/4 hrs?

6 to 8 lbs. breast 2 -1/4 to 3 -1/4 hrs

8 to 12 lbs. 2- 3/4 to 3 hrs

12 to 14 lbs. 3 to 3- 3/4 hrs?

14 to 18 lbs 3- 3/4 to 4- 1/4 hrs?

18 to 20 lbs. 4 -1/4 to 4 -1/2 hrs

20 to 24 lbs. 4- 1/2 to 5 hrs.


8 to 12 lbs. 3 to 3- 1/2 hrs

12 to 14 lbs. 3- 1/2 to 4 hrs

14 to 18 lbs. 4 to 4- 1/4 hrs

18 to 20 lbs. 4 -1/4 to 4- 3/4 hrs.

20 to 24 lbs. 4-3/4 to 5 -1/4 hr


For me the stuffing is as important as the turkey. If either one comes out too dry or bland it can ruin the whole dinner. I have spent many many hours and tried countless ingredients to come up with what I think is the best combination for this stuffing. I say that only because everyone has to put their two cents in until I finally came up with a stuffing EVERYBODY LOVES!

Our WHOLE family, over 50 of us now and growing approves. I still get phone calls every year from nieces, nephews, cousins and grandkids to ask me to make SURE I make “ZIA’S” (That’s me, it means Aunt in Italian) stuffing. I altered it one year just for variety but that didn’t go over so well and I am still hearing about it!

We’ve picked up some vegetarians, vegans and two gluten free girls along the way and this dressing works without the meat and I substitute the sour dough bread with gluten-free bread or corn bread!

I like to bake my own bread and use sour dough to make the cubes but if you don’t have the time or don’t want to make your own, store bought is perfectly fine!

Make the bread cubes for this dressing a week or at least 3 to 4 days before you are ready to make the stuffing. This will give the cubes a chance to dry out completely and the dressing will hold up better. Let the toasted cubes sit out on the counter after baking to cool then dry out for at least 3 hours before you put them in an airtight container to store in the pantry.


1-1/2 pounds (24 ounces) sour dough bread, cut into 1″ inch cubes,

4 sweet Italian sausages

 ¼ cups extra virgin olive oil

 2 medium onions , chopped into small chunks

 8 scallions, diced

 3 large carrots, diced into small pieces

 8 celery ribs, sliced into 3 long strips then chopped into 1/4″ inch pieces

1 can (10 ounces) organic cream of celery soup

  3 cups chicken or vegetable broth, home made or store bought

  1 cup fresh orange juice

   2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  ½ cup Italian parsley, chopped coarsely

  2-½ teaspoon kosher salt

  2 green apples, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1/2″ inch pieces

  ¼ cup raisins

 ¼ cup dried cranberries

  1/2  cup chopped walnuts

Cracked black peppercorns to taste


Have all of your ingredients prepared ahead and lined up before you start to cook.


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Slice the sourdough bread into 1″ inch cubes and spread evenly on a baking sheet.

Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the bread is golden on all sides. Check the cubes every 10 minutes to make sure they don’t burn. Make sure to turn the baking sheet around at least once during baking and use a metal spatula to turn over the cubes so the other side can bake.

Remove the bread cubes from the oven and let them rest uncovered for a least 3 hours to let them dry out.


Pre-heat oven 350 F.

Place the baked sour dough cubes in a large bowl. Make sure the bowl is large enough to hold all the stuffing once the rest of the ingredients are added, set aside.

Place the sausages on a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until cooked through turning 3 to 4 time while baking to make sure all sides are brown. Remove from the oven and wait at least 10 minutes then chop into small bit size pieces. Set aside.

Heat a large heavy skillet on medium high heat for 2 minutes. Pour olive oil into the skillet and coat the bottom quickly, add the onions, saute for 5 to 8 minutes. Add scallions, carrots, celery and salt, mix, saute for 8 to 10 minutes turning gently. Pour into the bowl with the sour dough cubes and mix well. Add the cooked sausages, cream of celery soup, chicken or vegetable broth, orange juice, lemon juice, mix well.

Add apples, raisins, cranberries, walnuts, parsley and mix well. Correct seasoning by adding more kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste. Pour into a baking dish and cover tightly with foil.

Store in the refrigerator until ready to bake. When ready to serve remove the stuffing from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and bake with the foil on for to 45 minutes until hot in the middle. Test by dipping a spoon into the middle of the stuffing and pull out a small amount. Taste to see if it is hot enough.


Sour Dough bread is best for this stuffing. You can make the cubes 1 week before and keep it in an airtight container in your pantry. If you are making gluten-free just substitute the bread with one pound of gluten free bread and follow the same steps as you would for the sour dough stuffing.

You can make the stuffing 1 to 2 weeks before Thanksgiving and freeze it. Make sure to bring it to room temperature before baking. It will take about 2 to 3 hours to thaw.

Or make the stuffing two days before Thanksgiving and keep it covered in the refrigerator tightly with plastic wrap. Make sure to remove the plastic wrap BEFORE baking. Cover with foil before baking!

If you are vegetarian eliminate the sausage. Add teaspoon of fennel seeds (optional) that will give you the flavor of Italian sausages but without the meat.

You can purchase store bought bread cubes, or corn bread cubes but I highly suggest you take the extra minutes it takes to cut and bake the cubes yourself. This stuffing is great with chicken and Cornish game hens too! I also take the left over stuffing, and put it in turkey sandwich’s. Yum!

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