NOTE: Even though you may have purchased a Butterball or a butter basted bird, you should still follow these directions, as they inject very little butter into the bird, just so that they can legally get away with saying that it is butter basted. Trust this recipe of mine, and I guarantee that you and your guests will have the best and juiciest turkey ever. The cook time and the amounts of ingredients will vary, depending on the size of the bird.
Remove giblets from both cavities at both ends and set aside. Rinse the bird inside and out and pat dry with paper towel. Place a rack into a large roasting pan, and then place the turkey onto the rack with the breast and legs up.
Place your hand between the skin and the flesh from the rear of the turkey and slide a palm full of the butter all the way up to the front of the bird, so that the entire bird has butter between the skin and the flesh.
Then place a glob of butter into the palm of your hand and generously rub the entire outside of the turkey with the butter.
Generously sprinkle the entire bird with salt, freshly ground black pepper, onion powder, granulated garlic powder, tarragon, parsley flakes, thyme, basil and paprika. Pour about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of chicken broth in the bottom of the roasting pan, being careful not to wash any of the seasonings off the turkey. Completely tent the turkey with aluminum foil and place into a preheated 325°F oven for about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the foil tent and wrap foil around the legs and wings. Baste the turkey and return it to the oven for the remainder of the cooking time, which will be when the interior temperature of the bird reaches 180 degrees, or until the juices run clear and not red when you puncture the bird between the thigh and the breast. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the turkey. NOTE: I always cook my turkey unstuffed. I place my stuffing into baking dishes to bake.
DIRECTIONS FOR BREAD STUFFING:
Place 2 Tablespoons butter into a hot skillet. When the butter is melted, add the small dices of celery, lightly sprinkle with salt, and sauté until the celery pieces are tender.
Transfer the celery with the pan juices to a large pot or a very large mixing bowl. Add the turkey or chicken stuffing. Tear the white bread into small, but not too small, pieces and add the bread to the mix. Add the 4 eggs. Season to taste with the herbs. Add a little water if necessary, but be careful not to make it too mushy, otherwise you will need to add more torn up white bread. Mix it well.
Preheat oven to 325°F Spray baking dishes with Pam or a non-stick spray, and fill the baking dishes with the stuffing mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 30 to 45 minutes.
DIRECTIONS FOR CANDIED YAMS OR SWEET POTATOES:
The other way is to place all of the ingredients into a large pot and cook the potatoes on top of the stove over medium heat and stirring every so often until potatoes are soft. Also, do not be afraid of adding more brown sugar and/or orange juice if needed.
DIRECTIONS FOR CRANBERRY SAUCE SUPREME:
In a large bowl, place the whole cranberry sauce and mix it well, so that there are no large jelled sections. Drain the blackberries and add them to the bowl. Add 1 cup of raisins. Mix well and it is ready to serve.
DIRECTIONS FOR GIBLET GRAVY:
In a large skillet, pour in the chicken livers with their juice. Sauté the livers, turning them, until they are done. Allow to slightly cool, and cut the livers into small, but not too small, pieces.
Place the gravy into a large pot. Add the cut up chicken livers. Heat, stirring every so often. Add about 1 cup of the turkey drippings.
NOTE: You can also serve mashed potatoes and rolls if desired.