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How to Cook Turkey for Thanksgiving

EatingWell's Jessie Price shows you how to roast a turkey for Thanksgiving with herbs and lemon instead of butter. She gives healthy tips for cutting fat and calories, including choosing white meat over dark meat. Try these healthy cooking techniques in your favorite roasted turkey recipes.

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Hi, I'm Jessie. We're here in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, and today we're talking about the star of the Thanksgiving table. We are talking turkey. And I'm going to show you a couple of easy tricks to make sure you get the tastiest turkey, but it's a little bit healthier too. I start out with my bird; I have a 10- to 12-pound bird. The first thing is, remember to remove the giblets. Do not leave them in there. I like to set them aside because I make a little bit of giblet stock to use in my gravy later. I'm going to get started with a little herb mix. I'm skipping butter because that is loaded with saturated fat. So I have a couple of tablespoons canola oil. I'm adding in a quarter cup of chopped fresh herbs. Use whatever kind of herbs you want. Put that into the oil along with salt and pepper. Stir that together. And then that's ready to slather all over your turkey. Make sure you get it all around your bird including under the skin onto the breast. Once that is done, I stuff my cavity with aromatics. It's things like onions, lemons, apples. Add a couple of sprigs of fresh herbs in there, and then you're ready to tuck your wing tips under in the back. Tie the legs together and put your turkey into your roasting pan. Then I put three cups of water into the pan and it's ready to go into the oven. It's preheated to 475 degrees. Now we're just going to let it go about 45 minutes and at this point the skin should be nice and golden. Take it out of the oven. Make a little foil protector for the breast of the turkey. This is going to slow down the breast from cooking so that it does not get dried out before those thighs and legs are done. Put it back into the oven with that foil protector on, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and then keep on cooking. And at this point it should be about another hour and 15 minutes to hour and 45 minutes. The way you know it is finished is to use your thermometer. Put it into the deepest part of the thigh. Don't touch the bone. And when it reads 165 degrees, you are finished. The bird is ready. Put it on a serving platter and just let it rest. Don't stress out. You've got time here. Finish up the rest of your meal. That's it, you've got gorgeous turkey. I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving. For this turkey recipe and more healthy holiday recipes, come to eatingwell.com.