Semi-Homemade Thanksgiving Series


thanksgivingbutton400 Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series

Welcome to Simply Living Simply’s version of Thanksgiving Dinner!

Semi-Homemade style!!


Join me for the next 4 posts in this series for tips, tricks, recipes and semi-homemade goodness for your

Thanksgiving Day Feast!  Today we focus on the MEAT!

turkey living turkey Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series

A salute to good ole Mr. Tom!

Turkey…it’s the centerpiece of Thanksgiving and takes the most prep and time to get on the table.  I don’t know about you but I like to spend time with my family doing…well, family stuff instead of slaving in the kitchen ALL day.  Here is MY semi-homemade way to get that turkey cooked y’all:


turkey tips 11 sl Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series



Turkey Tips:

1. Please, please remember to get that bird OUT of the freezer days in advance, better yet, buy it the weekend before Thanksgiving and put in in the refrigerator. Yes…I have spent to many thanksgivings giving a rock hard frozen bird a bath in the tub.

2.  Get turkey out of fridge and set on counter for about 15-20 minutes. Rinse inside and out, take out it’s insides…you know the stuff you probably throw away…well…don’t.  That stuff (heart, kidneys, giblets) is great to use in your stuffing- (more on this in our Sides Article)

3.  Chop your veggies: Celery, onions, carrots if you use them (apples anyone??)

4.  Pat your birdie dry, tuck in the wing tips, place celery in cooking bag, place in your roasting pan. Place bird on TOP of your celery.

5.  Arrange all your veggies around your bird.  I always place onion and lemons inside my bird…no I DON”T stuff my bird.  Personally, I use too.  But I have read far too many reports and experiences of people getting sick from doing that.  Not from cooking the stuffing in the bird, yes it keeps it moist, but from leaving it in after dinner is over and there is possibility of food illness.  So I just don’t go there.  Stuffing is talked about in our Sides article!

6. Season, season, season your bird…liberally…AFTER you give it a wonderful butter or oil massage.  I use butter….then season!

7.  Close up your bage and pierce a few holes up top, insert meat thermometer and your good to go.

8. Baste as your bird cooks if you wish…it is absolutely NOT necessary.  It will self -baste in the bag.

9.  Take out of oven when done…check that temperature…and also remember it will continue to cook for about 15-20 minutes as it cools down.

10.  Once cool enough to remove…do so and place on tray so that it will reabsorb all juices..then you may carve.

***Please remember to store your turkey as soon as possible after dinner in the refrigerator to prevent any food illness.

****Save the bones and carcass…time for Turkey broth y’all! (printable to come!)


turkey resting Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series

Letting Mr. Gobble rest…

11.  Meanwhile take all those lovely juices from the bag…and that will be your GRAVY…NEXT POST!!!

Use these…..

turkey oven bags Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series

It’s what I use! Moist and done every single time…and never, ever burnt!


And your cooking times:


turkey cooking times Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series

And your recipe…..


  • 1 turkey-sized oven bag (such as Reynolds)
  • 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 2-3 Lemons, sliced into thick slices or chunks
  • 1 12 to 18 lb. turkey, thawed
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. poultry seasoning
  • Lemon Pepper
  • kosher salt and black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place oven bag in a 2-inch deep roasting pan.
  3. Spray the inside of the bag with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
  4. Add flour to bag, and shake to coat.
  5. Place vegetables in the bag.
  6. Remove the neck and giblets from turkey.
  7. Rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels.
  8. Set turkey on a clean surface, such as a cutting board. (You will wash this surface, along with anything else that touches the raw turkey, with detergent and water, so make sure you don't plan to use this surface again today.)
  9. Optional: Combine softened butter with poultry seasoning.
  10. Gently lift the skin of the turkey breast away from the meat with your hands and rub all but 3-4 Tbsp. of the butter mixture on the breast between the turkey and skin.
  11. Note: You can skip this step, but it does make the turkey extra juicy.
  12. Rub the remaining butter mixture on top of the turkey breast. Note: You can use less butter if you have a smaller turkey.
  13. Season the outside of the turkey with salt and pepper, lemon pepper.
  14. Place the onion and lemon slices inside the turkey cavity.
  15. Place the turkey, breast side up (the regular way), in the prepared oven bag, which is sitting in the roasting pan.
  16. Seal the oven bag with the enclosed nylon ties.
  17. Do not use bread bag or trash bag ties! If you can't find the nylon ties that came with the oven bag, just tuck the ends of the oven bag under the legs of the turkey. Cut 6 half-inch slits in the top of the turkey bag to vent.
  18. Roast turkey 2-4 hours, depending on the size of the turkey, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the turkey measures 165 degrees F. A 12-15 lb. turkey will take approximately 2 hours; a 20-24 lb. turkey will take about 3-1/2 hours.
  19. Remove turkey from oven, and let the turkey rest 20 minutes before carving. This is an important step! Don't skip the resting part - it allows the turkey's juices to redistribute, keeping your oven bag turkey moist. You can use a turkey baster to extract the juices from the bag to make turkey gravy.
turkey and gravy Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series

Turkey and…gravy! Gravy coming in the SIDES post!

Ornamental Rule Lines in Different Design 2 150x44 Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series

This article is hopping around the following Blog Hops:

Homestead Barn HopWildcrafting WednesdayFrom the Farm Fridays, Simple Saturdays Blog Hop, Simple Life Sunday Blog Hop.


This article may be contributed to third-party sites, but it is COPYRIGHTED, and it may not be USED in any form or shared without my written permission.  If you are interested in this article or any of Simply Living Simply articles, please contact Kat Yorba; Author and owner of Simply Living Simply directly for republishing information.


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Medical Disclaimer:

Nothing in this post is to be construed as medical advice, simply a sharing of things that have worked for me & my family. If you have any symptoms of serious illness, taking medication, pregnant or nursing, or have never worked with herbal materials or essential oils before, please consider consulting a medical professional before use. I am unable to offer advise for your particular medical situation; please ask your Doctor, Nurse Practitioner or Naturopath for further guidance.  The statements made here have not been approved by the Food & Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act.

Ornamental Rule Lines in Different Design 2 150x44 Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series

About Simply Living Simply

I am a "red-neck country wife" to one wonderfully amazing man, mother to many outrageous children, daughter of the ONE Glorious God. Learning to be more self-reliant & self-sufficient in a semi-homemade, homesteading way!
Connect with Kat here:    


  1. very nice, yada yada ‘)


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