Turkey Time!
With Thanksgiving just weeks away, it’s a good time to plan what to do with those leftovers
Johanna Hicks | Hopkins County Extension Agent / Family and Consumer Sciences

Nov. 4, 2006 - Even though Halloween just ended, Thanksgiving is less than three weeks away. Now is the time to be thinking about food safety. Turkey is a great buy during the holiday season. Whole turkeys can be roasted and the leftovers can be used in sandwiches, casseroles, soups, tacos and more. Turkey can help stretch your food dollars!

If you have never roasted a turkey, it may seem difficult. However, it is actually quite simple. Follow these easy steps:

1) Thaw your turkey in the refrigerator. Be sure to give it enough time to thaw. A 12-pound turkey can take three days in the refrigerator to thaw.

2) Rinse the turkey inside and out before cooking. This will help rinse away some of the harmful bacteria before cooking.

3) Roast! Place the turkey in a large pan. Add 2 inches of water and roast at 350 degrees. Add more water if needed during cooking. Or use one of the turkey baking bags, available in grocery stores. Clean up is simple, and the product is moist.

4) How long should the turkey cook? The best way to check for doneness is with a food thermometer. The internal temperature should reach 180 degrees. An unstuffed turkey will need to cook about 3 hours.

Leftover turkey can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Cut up leftover turkey and freeze in small freezer bags for quick and easy meals. Turkey can be added to soups, quesadillas, salads, spaghetti sauce, pizza, pasta, and of course, sandwiches!

There are many ways to incorporate turkey into a sandwich. Try a barbecue turkey sandwich by layering turkey slices, barbecue sauce and a slice of cheese on a bun. Heat in the microwave and serve. You can also try a turkey pita. Combine chopped turkey with low-fat mayonnaise and a small amount of pickle relish. Stuff into pita bread. Add a slice of tomato and shredded lettuce. Use whole grain breads for the best nutrition. Mmmm — good!

Holiday Program Slated

Don't forget the 33rd annual Extension Christmas Joys holiday program. Here are the details:

WHAT: Demonstrations, gift-giving and decorating ideas, food gift ideas, door prizes, refreshments

WHEN: Monday, Nov. 6

TIME: 1:30 p.m. and repeated at 5:30 p.m. 

THEME: "Touched by Tradition"

WHERE: Southwest Dairy Center, 1200 Houston St.

COST: $2 covers booklet of all ideas demonstrated, refreshments, door prizes, give-aways

I will be presenting a portion of the program, as well as guest speakers from Hunt and Kaufman Counties. Our very own Valli Hardgrave will have great ideas for the green thumb in you, and the Southwest Dairy Center staff will add some gift-giving ideas of their own.

You don't have to pre-register for this event, but come early for the best seats. If you are bringing a group of 10 or more, please contact my office, 903-885-3443, so we can reserve seats for your party.

Don't miss it!


  • Monday, Nov. 6: "Touched by Tradition" holiday program
  • Friday, Nov. 10: Extension Office close
  • Monday, Nov. 13: Stars of TX 4-H Club, 6:30 p.m., Ag Workers' Building
  • Wednesday, Nov. 15: drivers needed to deliver Thanksgiving Food Boxes (call my office)


Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.

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