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Making an actual turkey can be an overwhelming prospect to even the most seasoned cook. And making it right so that it doesn’t dry out is a challenge in and of itself. In our family home, my mother-in-law makes the turkey – and it is served to perfection every time. (I’m thrilled making the appetizer, sides and dessert. If I were ever going to write a Thanksgiving cookbook, it would be called “Everything But the Bird.”) My mother-in-law’s secret: she cooks the bird upside down. Brilliant!

Serves 15-20 people.


1 18 lb Turkey
1 onion, cubed
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Olive oil spray
Salt, pepper, granulated garlic, dry minced onion
2 c tomato juice


1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
2. My mother-in-law uses a Reynold’s baking bag. (Note, if you are using a baking bag, you should sprinkle 1 Tbsp of flour in the bag before placing the turkey in it.) If you don’t have baking bags on hand, simply cover the bottom of your pan in foil and when you’re done preparing your turkey, tent the top of the turkey with another piece of foil.
3. Pour 1 c tomato juice in bottom of bag/pan.
4. Place turkey in pan drumsticks side down/wings side up.
5. Spray the turkey with olive oil spray (or just brush the top with olive oil).
6. Fill cavity of turkey with stuffing (optional).
7. Season turkey with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, dry minced onion.
8. Pour the second cup of tomato juice over the turkey.

Cooking time:

If you are baking the turkey unstuffed, bake for 2 ½ – 3 hours. If you are stuffing the turkey, bake for 3 – 3 ½ hours.