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A step-by-step guide to cook the tastiest turkey with a Cajun twist

Everything you need to know to satisfy everyone's taste buds this Thanksgiving

HOUSTON – If you're hosting Thanksgiving, it's not an easy task to try to satisfy every foodie's taste buds. 

Luckily, cookbook author, blogger and mom, Leigh Ann Chatagnier with My Diary of Us is geared up with all the fixing's to make it possible.

Chatagnier shares her menu for holiday entertaining every home cook will appreciate to make turkey day the most delicious holiday yet.

First, keep the following tips in mind:
 

TWO DAYS IN ADVANCE:  

Make sure you start the thawing process in the refrigerator.  
You can also do this in an ice chest if you don’t have room in your refrigerator.
 

THE DAY BEFORE: 

  • Rinse the turkey, remove any bits from the cavity.
  • If you are brining your turkey, this is the day to do it.  

You can do a wet brine where you submerge the turkey or a dry brine where you rub the turkey down with a salt spice mixture and then leave it uncovered in your fridge.
 

DAY OF:  

Make sure to take your turkey out of the fridge at least an hour before you are planning to cook it so it will cook more evenly in the oven.
 

COOK TIME:  

Cook time is generally 15 minutes per pound of the turkey so calculate accordingly.  
Make sure your internal temperature reaches 165 when it is done.
Let sit for 30 minutes before carving so that the juices can redistribute.
 

CARVING: 

Start by removing the legs and thighs and then carving the breasts and removing wings with a sharp knife.
 

PRO TIP:

Save any juices to make a gravy.


Now onto the show stopper, the turkey! 
Follow this recipe to make a turkey with a Cajun twist the star the of show.
Chatagnier also shares 2 sides, something green and something starchy. 

 

CAJUN TURKEY

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Cajun Butter Marinade (I use Tony Chachere’s, but you can also make your own by melting butter with cajun seasoning)
  • 1 Stick Softened Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tbsp. No Salt Added Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 Tsp. Fresh Thyme
  • 5 Finely Minced Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Inject the Cajun butter marinade into the turkey using a turkey injector syringe in even spots across the breast and legs.
  • Mix butter cajun seasoning, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl until well combined.
  • Dry the turkey skin thoroughly with paper towels and then rub the butter mixture all over the skin.
  • Place the turkey onto a roasting pan and place into the oven covered with aluminum foil to prevent butter from burning.
  • The last 30 minutes of cooking, remove the foil and brown the skin until crispy.
  • Let the cooked turkey sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before slicing.

PRO TIP: Turn oven to broil to get an extra crispy skin.

 

KALE SALAD WITH PEPITA GRANOLA AND A PUMPKIN VINAIGRETTE

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Kale, chopped
  • 4 Cups Romaine Lettuce, chopped
  • 1 Apple, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Pomegranate Seeds

Pepita Seed Granola Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Pepita Seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Almonds
  • 1/2 Cup Pecans
  • 1 Tbsp. Chia Seeds
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Honey
  • 1 Pinch of Salt

Pumpkin Vinaigrette Ingredients: 

  • 2 Tbsp. Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 Tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp. Pepper
  • 1 Finely Minced Garlic Clove
  • 1 Tsp. Honey

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Add pepitas, almonds, pecans, chia seeds, hemp seeds, coconut oil, honey, and pinch of salt to a bowl and stir until all is coated and then pour out into a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes until nuts are golden.
  • Let the granola cool completely before breaking it apart.  Place into the refrigerator for quicker set time if needed.
  • Add all vinaigrette ingredients into a mason jar and shake until well combined.
  • Mix kale and romaine lettuce together and then top with pomegranate seeds, apples, and granola.
  • Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve immediately.

 

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE:

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Ingredients for filling: 

  • 3 Cups Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Melted Butter
  • 2 Eggs (well beaten)
  • 1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/3 Cup Milk

Ingredients for topping:

  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 5 Tbsp. Melted Butter
  • 1 Cup Chopped Pecans

Directions:

  • Peel and chop your sweet potatoes into large cubes.  Place cubes into a large pot and fill the pot with cold water until the potatoes are just covered.  Bring to a boil and let the potatoes go until they are fork tender (about 15-20 minutes). 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • After potatoes are tender, drain off the water, and place potatoes into a large mixing bowl. 
  • Add sugar, melted butter, beaten eggs, vanilla, and milk. 
  • With a mixer, combine until smooth and creamy. 

 
For more information or to connect with Leigh Ann, click here.