Brown Paper Bag Roasted Turkey

Brown Paper Bag Roasted Turkey

Thanksgiving foodMany years ago as a newlywed I was faced with making my very first Thanksgiving meal for myself and my new husband.  This of course entailed roasting a turkey.  I was clueless!

Seriously, in my single life Thanksgiving meals were prepared by mom, grandmas, and aunties; I think they took turns hosting the family for Thanksgiving each year.  Whatever the case may be I just popped in to where ever it was served and stuffed myself with all the yummy stuff they made.

Alas that year it was not to be.  Mom had moved back to New York where all the relatives were and I was alone in Hawaii, yup, just me and new hubby left to fend for ourselves on Thanksgiving. These days it probably wouldn’t have been a problem, one can just order a Thanksgiving meal for the entire family from one of the local restaurants or supermarket.  But back then this wasn’t an option.  So if I wanted a Thanksgiving meal I would have to figure out how to make it myself, starting with the turkey. (Yes that meant I had to stick my hand into the bird’s cavities and pull out its innards, seriously gross!)

Luckily I had a neighbor who showed me how to roast a turkey using a brown paper bag.  I was hesitant at first thinking the bag would catch fire, burn the house down, and we would be homeless on Thanksgiving day.  After all it was me roasting this bad bird and I could barely make toast unsupervised at that time!

Well my kitchen disaster never happened and I’ve been using this method to roast turkey ever since.  The only issues I’ve run into in recent years is finding large brown bags!

Years ago groceries were packed in large brown bags, perfect size for this roasting method.  The emergence of plastic grocery bags made it nearly impossible to find the paper ones.  Never one to give up I used brown craft paper when I can not locate large brown paper bags. Recently our state outlawed the use of plastic grocery bags and most supermarkets have started selling us large paper bags when we don’t bring our own grocery bags.  Umm that would be me, I always forget to bring the bags I have in my trunk into the stores so I end up purchasing even more bags.

I should mention however that I’ve only ever cooked using electric ovens, I’m told you can still use this method in a gas oven, just be sure to keep paper away from the flame.  I haven’t had the opportunity to try this so I would advise caution if you are going to try it in a gas oven.

Here’s how I do this using 2 large brown paper grocery bags or a very large shopping bag:

1.  Clean and wash turkey.  Be sure to remove the neck and giblets from the cavity.  Refrigerate giblets if you will be using them in your gravy.

2.  Salt the turkey cavity with about 2 tbls of salt

3.  Place a whole peeled onion in the back of the cavity.

4. Rub butter on top of the thighs, wing tips, and the breast; anywhere the turkey may come in contact with the paper bag.

5. If you will not be stuffing your turkey then place it on the rack inside the roasting pan.

If you will be stuffing your turkey then loosely place stuffing in both cavities.  Do not pack in stuffing.  Stuffing expands during cooking and you will have a big mess in the over and no stuffing.
Truss turkey using lacers and twine.  Place it on the rack inside the roasting pan.

6.  Insert one end of the roasting pan into the first brown bag.*

7.  Work the second brown bag onto the roasting pan.  Make sure the bag overlaps with the first bag.*

Brown bag
8.  Place the whole package in the oven using the chart below from

Bag in oven

9.  30 minutes before the turkey is done carefully tear off bags and remove.  Don’t jiggle the pan too much, you don’t want the drippings to spill, you will need the drippings for gravy.  Leave turkey uncovered to brown.

10.  When turkey is done remove from the oven and let rest on the rack for 30 minutes.  Do not transfer turkey on to serving tray immediately after cooking, it will fall apart.  Using turkey lifters makes transferring the turkey easier.

11.  If your stuffing is in the bird scoop it out onto a serving bowl before carving the turkey, it’s just neater than having everyone spoon stuffing directly out of the bird.

These times are based on placing the whole turkey on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C ) oven.


 Weight  of Bird

 Roasting Time (Unstuffed)  Roasting Time 
10 to 18 pounds 3 to 3-1/2 hours   3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours
18 to 22 pounds 3-1/2 to 4 hours   4-1/2 to 5 hours
22 to 24 pounds 4 to 4-1/2 hours   5 to 5-1/2 hours
  24 to 29 pounds 4-1/2 to 5 hours 5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours

The only true test for doneness is the temperature of the meat, not the color of the skin.

  • The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. To get an accurate reading, be sure that your thermometer is not touching the bone.
  • If your turkey has been stuffed, it is important to check the temperature of the dressing; it should be 165 degrees F (75 degrees C).
  • When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 20-30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, and makes for easier carving.

* If you can not get large brown bags you can use brown craft paper.  You can buy a roll at Walmart or any discount store.  Wrap the paper around the whole roasting pan.  Staple shut on both ends and on the top.

My Turkey

This is my turkey cooked using the brown bag method. This bird weighed 24 pounds.

Jaime's Turkey

My daughter in Colorado uses my method to make her Thanksgiving turkey. This is a small turkey weighing about 15 pounds.

Decorate With Pumpkins for Thanksgiving

Decorate With Pumpkins for Thanksgiving

Pumpkins for ThanksgivingWho says pumpkins are just for Halloween?  You can use pumpkins for Thanksgiving decor too!

Now that Halloween is over it’s a good time to buy Halloween decor at discount prices.  I grabbed a few foam craft pumpkins at Walmart for half price; scrounged up a few old cups in my kitchen cabinets, I used freebies we got from Bubba Gump, Spaghetti Factory, and Circus Circus; picked up metalic spray paint, ribbons, and dried foliage; and made centerpieces for my dining tables.  It’s a great and inexpensive way to use pumpkins for Thanksgiving!

The whole project didn’t take long to make, the longest part was waiting for the paint to dry.  It’s amazing what you can do with a couple cans of spray paint, some ribbon, and dried leaves!

Pumpkins for Thanksgiving

Gather your materials:

Foam pumpkins
Old glassware
Spray paint – I used metalic gold and silver, but you can use whatever color you want
Dried foliage

Spray paint your pumpkins and glassware.  Spray 6″ away from the item you are painting, otherwise paint will run.

Foam pumpkins will need 2-3 coats of paint.  Wait for it to dry before adding additional coats.
Be sure to spray paint the lip and inside of glassware.

Pumpkins for Thanksgiving


Pumpkins for Thanksgiving
Pumpkins for Thanksgiving
Pumpkins for Thanksgiving

Once everything is dried you can add ribbons, foliage, and whatever else you want.  The tumblers can be used as vases and candle holders.  Remember you’re only limited by your imagination!

Pumpkins for Thanksgiving
 Pumpkins for Thanksgiving
DIY Thanksgiving Centerpieces

DIY Thanksgiving Centerpieces

I recently saw some gorgeous Thanksgiving Centerpieces  online selling for $100 or more.  Most of them were made with mini pumpkins, dried leaves, nuts, berries, and other natural materials.  I love dressing up my holiday tables with beautiful centerpieces, but there’s no way I’m spending that much money on one.  Specially not when I know I can make something similar for much less.

With Thanksgiving just 3 days away  we’re all busy preparing that holiday meal, but have you given any thought to how you’re going to set your Thanksgiving table?  At our house we always have so much food that I end up setting up a Thanksgiving buffet on my kitchen peninsula so that we can actually eat on the dining table.  I like to place Thanksgiving Centerpieces on both the dining table and on the buffet, it makes everything look so much more festive.

With a bit of ingenuity and supplies you may already have at home I’m sure you can make some beautiful Thanksgiving centerpieces to grace your holiday tables.

Think about all the possibilities!  What does autumn call to mind?  Think rich harvest colors; pumpkins, nuts, seeds, and all the bounties of the earth. Making a centerpiece or creating a tablescape may involve as little as digging thru your pantry, clipping blooms from your garden, and a quick trip to the dollar store.

Here are some ideas to inspire you!   And don’t forget the Kids’ table, it needs to be fun and pretty too!

Thanksgiving Centerpieces

For these Thanksgiving centerpieces I used foam pumpkins I got from the post-Halloween clearance at Walmart and promotional glasses I had at home.  I added dried leaves and corn I got from the supermarket, some ribbon and a happy scarecrow. Learn how here![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]


Thanksgiving CenterpiecesLaterns are always popular and very versatile.  Learn how to make this Fall Centerpiece from Sweet Something Designs.

It would look great on a mantel or in your foyer too![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]



Thanksgiving CenterpiecesAcorn filled Mason Jar candle holders, how simple and inexpensive is that! You can probably find a bunch of acorns in your backyard!

Learn how to make this on[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]


Thanksgiving CenterpiecesA quick trip to the dollar store and the farmer’s market for supplies, and a glue gun is basically all you need to make this pumpkin centerpiece by Shanty 2 Chic.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]



Thanksgiving CenterpiecesAnother dollar store project is The Craftinomicon’s Harvest Centerpiece.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]




Thanksgiving CenterpiecesThese beer bottle candle holders by Big City Little Joys will give you a reason to drink more beer.  Just glue on some twine, paint on the letter, and add candles and done!  How fun and easy is that?[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]


Thanksgiving CenterpiecesCalm Cradle nestles votives in a glass filled with coffee beans, ties on some twine and places everything in an old pan.  Simple!  You may not need to leave home to make this one.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]


Thanksgiving CenterpiecesShelterness arranges nuts on assorted stands.  Easy!  You can even make your own stands!  To learn how to make serving stands click here! [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]


For more Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas from Shelterness click here!

Thanksgiving CenterpiecesMy Blessed Life will show you how to DIY Hurricane Vases for this easy centerpiece.  Looks pricey but really uses dollar store supplies![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]


Thanksgiving CenterpiecesThis centerpiece by At the Picket Fence uses corn kernels, beans, and fruit to create this simple tablescape.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]




Thanksgiving CenterpiecesCranberries in over sized Brandy snifters by Shelterness.





Thanksgiving CenterpiecesFor a healthier alternative try these edible centerpieces from Top Inspired.Thanksgiving Centerpieces

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Fall Decorating with Mason Jars

Fall Decorating with Mason Jars

Mason JarsI collect bottles, jars, tins, and other interesting containers.  My kitchen cabinets are filled with empty spaghetti sauce jars, wine bottles, and other stuff I insist I will someday do something creative with.  The recent popularity of Mason jars are right up my alley.

Mason Jars are not only used for canning, they are so versatile and can be used for almost anything.  They can be painted, glued, etched, stenciled, and more.  They can be vases, baking containers, drinking glasses,  gift packaging, and I’m told are used for moonshine!  It only takes a little imagination and very little time to turn jars into something special.

With Thanksgiving this week here are a few ideas on how you can use Mason Jars as part of your holiday decor and gift giving.



Mason JarsOwl Candy Jars by ChicaCircle are a great way to store extra Halloween Candy or would make a great Teacher’s gift, you can fill it with treats, stickers, or just about anything you want.

For instructions click here![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Mason JarsRustic Fall Centerpiece by Love of Family & Home are simple and easy to make.  You can personalize them with your own initial.  For Tutorial click here![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Mason Jars“FALL” Mason Jar vases by My Anything & Everything are painted in chalk paint and stenciled.  Simple and lovely on your mantle or Thanksgiving table.
For instructions click here!
Mason Jars Simmering Pot Mason Jar Gift by The Happier Homemaker is easy to make and would be a terrific hostess gift.  Not to mention your house will smell wonderful when you’re making it.
For recipe and instructions click here!

Mason JarsStanding Mason Jars on candle stick holders what a novel idea!  This Aqua and Orange decor by Cherished Bliss is simply lovely!

Instructions click here!


Mason JarsThankful Jars by Positively Splendid are a great to display fall foliage or perhaps you can even place small pots of herbs in them.

For Instructions click here!



Mason JarsCorn Husk Wrapped Jars by Garden Therapy would make a nice centerpiece for your holiday table.

For Instructions click here!

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Mason JarsSpice Kits by Mixing Bowl Kids make wonderful hostess gifts or even party favors for you Thanksgiving events.

For Recipe click here!  [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]




Mason JarsMason Jar drinking glasses and centerpiece by AKA Designs.  Guests can take home their jars as party favors.  Easy and inexpensive.  Jar lids can be replaced by Daisy cut lids, they have holes for the drinking straw.  Otherwise you could drill holes in each lid.  Daisy cut lids can be ordered from (Affiliate Link)

Mason JarsWondering what to do with the lids you just replaced with the Daisy cut ones?  Don’t toss them out, here’s a fun way by The Country Cook. to use them and incorporate them in your holiday decor.

Instructions click here! 


Need Mason Jars?  You can find Mason and Jelly Jars in all sizes from!
Fun Thanksgiving Treats

Fun Thanksgiving Treats

Thanksgiving is a time to think about all the things we are grateful for, but it’s also a time to EAT!  Many of us will be celebrating the holiday with friends and family, sharing great food and even better company.

Here are some cute Thanksgiving treats that the kids will love, adults will love them too!  They would look great on the Kids’ Thanksgiving Table!

Turkey Pop from is made with Oreos, mini Nutter Butters, and candy corn.  Instructions here![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Another treat made with Ores and candies from The Dating Divas are these adorable turkeys.Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]


Turkey Pretzel Sticks from Frugal Coupon Living is also made with fall candies.

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Thanksgiving TeePee from

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]


Pumpkin Patties from Mom on Time Out
Click here
for instructions! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Turkey Leg rice krispy treats from Bitzngiggles.

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Thanksgiving Pudding Cups from Party Pinching turns pre-packaged pudding cups into turkeys with Milano and candies.

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

For a healthier treat try this cute fruit and yogurt dip from Pilsbury.

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]


Turkey snack bagTurn a plastic glove into a Turkey Snack bag.  This idea from Thats What Che Said.

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Thanksgiving Blessing Mix from This Little Project.  Package them up in Mason Jars for great take home gifts.

Recipe here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Fruit filled cones make great healthy conricopias.  Fill waffle cones, with berries, melons, and other fruits. [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Instead of Ores these little gobblers by 7th. House on the Left uses Nutter Butters.

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

These cute Turkeys and Pilgrim Hats by Our Best Bites do double duty as place card holders.  Fun!

Instructions here![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Gracious Rain turns donut holes into Sweet Acorns!

Instructions here!  [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

This Turkey fruit platter by Clean and Scentsible can be served with melted chocolate for a yummy fondue.

Instructions here!  [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Have you been gobbled?

Have you been gobbled?


The Thanksgiving Turkey has come to town,
To abandon a few treats, I see you’ve found. In the event that you wish to make this a more joyful fall.

Proceed with this welcome, this ghost fall. To begin with, post this Turkey where it can be seen, What’s more, abandon it there yet don’t make a scene.
This will indicate different Phantoms who may happen to visit, Make certain to take part, you would prefer not to miss it.

Second, if capable, make two treats and duplicate this sonnet. Convey them to two different homes. Try not to give them a chance to see you, be subtle, doubtlessly.
What’s more, ensure they put their Phantom Turkey out.

Abandon it at entryways where the Turkey hasn’t hit, Convey at dim when there isn’t much light, Ring the doorbell and run and remain beyond anyone’s ability to see.

What’s more, last, however not minimum, come participate in the season, Try not to stress, be glad, you require no justifiable reason. This is all in great fun and we are simply attempting to state,

Have a superbly Happy Thanksgiving Day!