Giblet Turkey Gravy

Even though your turkey will be so deliciously moist after following this recipe, gravy is the cherry on your thanksgiving sundae! This recipe is my mother’s and it is perfect! Make it the day before and then reheat and combine with turkey drippings on Thanksgiving Day! Please enjoy all of my Turkey Day recipes as a part of my Teacher. Foodie. Athlete. Does Thanksgiving!


Turkey giblets, neck, gizzard, and whatever else is in that packet they put in the bird
1 large onion – chopped
2 stalks celery – chopped
1 tsp.
6 cups water
2(ish) Tbsp. flour
Turkey drippings

1. In a large sauce pan, bring water to a boil and add salt, onion, celery, and turkey “parts”. Boil until it reduces to half.
2. Remove turkey parts. Mince all meat and remove bones/cartilage. Return meat to gravy and set aside until roast turkey is done.
3. After removing turkey from oven, remove turkey from roasting pan and set aside to rest. Pour gravy directly into pan with turkey drippings.
4. In a small bowl whisk together flour and a full ladle of gravy. Add back to pan.
5. Put turkey pan directly on your stovetop and heat over medium high heat (use 2 burners if big enough). Whisk gravy until it thickens. Serve it piping hot!

Perfect Roasted Brined Turkey

As a part of my Teacher. Foodie. Athlete. Does Thanksgving series, we go above and beyond the minimum requirements for Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of just doing this perfectly roasted turkey, I also do a Cajun deep fried turkey.

Growing up, we always had the typical stuffed roasted turkey. Don fix what isn’t broken, right? A simple brine makes the classic so moist, and sausage stuffing makes the perfect side!



20 pound turkey – giblets removed and set aside for gravy
Stuffing – try this recipe for Sausage Stuffing!
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt & pepper

For Brine –
6 cups apple cider
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon peppercorns
3 Tbsp. sage leaves
3 Tbsp. chopped parsley
5 sprigs of thyme
1 onion – quartered
3 cloves garlic – crushed
2 oranges – sliced

1. At least 24 hours before roasting, heat all brine ingredients in a large pot over medium heat until brown sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool COMPLETELY. Place the turkey in a plastic bag (garbage bag works great!) and add the brine to the bag. Place bag in a large pot and pack with ice. Allow to rest for 24 hours while occasionally adding more ice as it melts.
2. When ready to roast, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove turkey from brine and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Loosely pack both cavities with stuffing. Do not cram in! Stuffing needs space to expand when cooking.
3. Truss the turkey, rub down with olive oil, and generously season with salt and pepper. Place on a roasting rack and pan, and roast for about 5 hours while occasionally basting.
4. About 3 hours through (or when skin is browned) cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning.
5. When the thickest part of the breast reaches 180 degrees and the stuffing reaches 165, remove the turkey and allow to rest for 15-30 minutes before carving.

Sausage Turkey Stuffing

Growing up, depending on who was the one to prepare Thanksgiving dinner, the stuffing differed greatly. I have taken my favorite bread-y stuffing and mixed it with my favorite sausage-y stuffing and viola, you have this recipe! Check out what else I am up to on my Teacher. Foodie. Athlete. Does Thanksgiving page.


2 lbs. sweet Italian sausage
1 stick butter
4 celery stalks – chopped
2 medium onions – chopped
1 1/2 loaves white bread – broken into 1 inch chunks
1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper

1. Brown sausage in a large skillet over high heat and set aside (do not drain).
2. Melt butter in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onions, celery, and herbs and cook until tender – about 5 minutes.
3. Stir sausage and remaining ingredients into stuffing mixture, and then stuff your 20 pound pre- brined turkey.
4. You will probably have more stuffing than will fit comfortably in the bird. You are going to need it to send your happy guests home with leftovers. Place any remaining stuffing in a shallow roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, and cook for 30 minutes at 325 (turkey cooking temperature).

Crockpot Hawaiian Turkey Coconut Meatballs

Looking to change up the old fashioned turkey meatballs? This recipe is a nice twist to the classic that is bursting with flavor. Better yet, it’s best prepared in a crockpot which allows for an easy dinner on a busy schedule.

I love my slow cooker, but hate the recipes that essentially boil the ingredients for a long period of time. Yes,those dump and cook recipes are nice and easy, but adding a little extra TLC in the preparation really adds depth to the flavors.


1 package ground turkey (about 1.5 pounds)
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup almond flour
1 egg
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1 large onion – chopped
2 bell peppers – chopped
2 Serrano peppers – chopped (optional for added heat)
1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1 20 oz can pineapple chunks in 100% juice
1/2 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp. corn starch

1. In a large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients. Mix with hands and form into 1 inch balls.
2. Over medium high heat, preheat a large skillet with a drizzle of olive oil.
3. Pan fry the meatballs turning frequently. Allow to brown on all sides, then transfer to crockpot.
4. In the same pan (with the meatball goodies), add onions and peppers. Sauté until tender and transfer to the crockpot.
5. Strain pineapple juice into pan, and place chunks in crockpot. Add soy sauce and orange juice to pan. Simmer over low heat until bubbling then whisk in corn starch. Pour into crockpot.
6. Set crockpot to low heat for 7 hours and wait for the yumminess!

Paleo Crockpot Turkey Meatballs in Meat Sauce

The majority of my recipes serve two. This one serves an army. Ok, maybe not an army, but enough to feed our family of 4 and then freeze the rest for a complete second meal at a later date.

I love pasta. There is no question that it is my favorite food. Ever. The paleo diet puts quite the damper on my pasta habit, but the flavors of this sauce (or as the Italian in me must say, “gravy”… Since it has meat in it) are incredible. It’s almost enough to fool me into thinking I am eating spaghetti and meatballs! The meatballs can be served as is, over zucchini noodles, on spaghetti squash, or the good old fashioned way – on top of a mountain of spaghetti.

Given the summer heat, I have turned this into a crockpot recipe. It allows me to do the “cooking” during the cooler morning hours and not heat up the whole house in the evening. Don’t have a big enough crockpot (you will need a 6.5 quart one)? Feel free to make in a good old fashioned pot and allow it to simmer for at least 3 hours over low heat.

Serves a lot
1 large onion – chopped
3 cloves garlic – minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 6 oz. cans tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
3 28 oz. cans whole tomatoes in sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped oregano
1.25 lbs sweet turkey sausage
3 lbs. ground lean turkey
2 eggs
1/2 cup almond flour (or substitute bread crumbs for non-paleo)
1 tsp. garlic powder
Salt & pepper

1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, sauté olive oil, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper until fragrant – about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and wine while stirring. Allow to sauté for 5 more minutes while occasionally stirring.
2. Transfer onion mixture into crockpot. Roughly chop the tomatoes right in the can (I take a sharp knife and give them a few slices to make sure they are at least cut in half. Add tomatoes and sauce to crockpot. Stir in basil and oregano.
3. Remove the turkey sausage from its casing and brown in a large skillet over high heat for about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to the crockpot.
4. Using your hands, in a large bowl, mix ground turkey, egg, almond flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Make 1 inch meatballs and place to the side. You should get about 30.
5. In two large frying pans (or two batches in one),heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat. Brown all sides of the meatballs while carefully turning for about 10 minutes. The browned crust will allow them to stay together while cooking all day.
6. Transfer the meatballs to the crockpot and very carefully stir to coat them with sauce. Set the crockpot to low and allow to cook for 7-9 hours.

Beets & Balls

Sometimes you wind up with an unexpected menu item that you have to create a meal using. I was sitting in my classroom when a student that isn’t even my student showed up. I had a conversation in passing with him yesterday about the incredible store in town that he works at. It is a little shop that sells all locally grown produce and products. As a part of this conversation, my love of beets came up. Today, he arrived to my classroom with a giant smile and presented me with some beautiful golden beets. Yes, I jumped up and gave him a bear hug!

I made this recipe with my grandmother in mind. Occasionally she would put raisins and pine nuts in her meatballs. It adds just the right amount of sweet to the meal. With Nanny as my inspiration, I decided to make my turkey meatballs over a bed of roasted beet slivers with goat cheese and toasted walnuts. It is not paleo, but it is a Friday night, so it is time to cheat a bit! Yummy!

1 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 medium bunch of golden beets
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt, pepper, and basil to taste

1. Make the meatball mixture by mixing the turkey, bread crumbs, egg, and basil in a large bowl. Make golf ball sized meatballs.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
3. Preheat a large skillet over high heat. Drizzle a bit of olive oil to coat the pan. Add the meatballs an brown them by frequently turning. Cook until brown on all sides.
4. Transfer the meatballs to a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.
5. While the meatballs are baking, wash, peel, and very thinly slice the beets.
6. In a large bowl, mix the beets with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the slices on a baking sheet and put in the oven when there are 15 minutes remaining for the meatballs.
7. Serve by placing the beets on the plate and sprinkling with as much goat cheese and toasted walnuts as you wish. Top with a mound of meatballs and enjoy!