Many studies have shown that the consumption of turkey has grown considerably from the 1970s until the present time, and is currently the fourth largest protein choice among Americans.
In fact, as a report by the University of Illinois Extension shows that as of the year 2012, the average American consumed at least 16 pounds of turkey.
An increase in popularity and consumption of meat can be attributed to a number of factors including the wide availability of turkey and its products all around, its nutrition components, as well as its delicious taste.
Turkey contains a lot of protein, which is important for the nourishment of the body as well as in the building and development of muscles.
It also contains B vitamins, which help to unlock energy from food and also helps to maintain the red blood cells healthy, as well as to reduce fatigue.
A serving of turkey breast, for instance, offers a good source of vitamin B6 which keeps you healthy.
Moreover, turkey also contains important minerals such as selenium and phosphorous. Selenium is important in keeping your hair and nails healthy and offers vital protection against damage to your body cells and tissues.
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On the other hand, phosphorous which is present in 40z per serving of turkey offers a rich source of phosphorous minerals. The minerals are very essential for the normal growth and the development of bones in the body.
While everyone’s stomach filling capacity of turkey differs, on average each of your guests is likely to consume between one-half and one full pound of turkey meat each.
This translates to slightly less than a quarter to half a kilo of turkey meat. It is important to have the number of your guests in mind as you plan to purchase the right size of turkey that avails enough food for everyone.
For a stuffed turkey, the serving of meat can be considerably lower due to the presence of other ingredients.
For children, the consumption capacity is even more reduced ranging between one-quarter to one-half pound of meat, which is 200 grams of meat or less.
If you are intending to purchase a whole unstuffed turkey, you should consider serving two pounds of the entire turkey per person if your gathering consists of at most 8 people.
Alternatively, if you are preparing boneless turkey breast, you can consider portioning at least ¾ of a pound of the meat per person.
For larger groups of people, you will need larger sizes of turkey. It is also important to remember that for these birds the larger the bird, the higher the meat-to-bone ratio.
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You can also set as a general rule one pound of meat for each adult guest, and use this to calculate the amount of meat you would need to purchase depending on the number of guests.
It is also important to note that uncooked turkey can deliver significantly less amount of meat and weight when it is finally cooked.
This is largely because when turkey cooks, it releases a large amount of liquid, and when you consider all the bones, the weight becomes even less.
If you are planning to have leftovers of the food after eating, you should incorporate at least 3 extra pounds of turkey.
How long do you cook a 3-pound boneless turkey breast in a slow cooker?
Before you start cooking, it is important to note that cooking durations for the turkey breast will vary depending on the weight of the turkey breast.
Also, older turkeys have tougher meats which may require significantly more time to cook than younger turkey meats.
For a turkey bird that weighs about 3 pounds slightly more or less like a standard, it is a good idea to let it cook for at least 6 hours on the slow cooker.
This is while you are making use of the low heat function and 5 hours of using the high heat function.
It is important to note that using the high heat function to cook turkey breast is not always recommended.
As another general rule is that the more the weight of your turkey, the greater the amount of time needed to prepare it.
The turkey is ready and safe for consumption when its minimum internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can check the temperature of the turkey by inserting a thermometer into the innermost and thickest part of the breast.
If you are cooking a turkey with some vegetables, the cooking time would largely remain the same but you would have to place the vegetables at the bottom first.
This is because vegetables cook the slowest, and thus it is advisable to place them at the bottom near the heat or along the sides of the slow cooker.
It is also important to always close up the lid of the slow cooker during cooking.
This is because every time you lift the lid unnecessarily as you cook, the internal temperature in the cooking pot reduces by 10 or 15 degrees.
This would slow down the cooking process by as much as 30 minutes to one hour, meaning more time will be spent on cooking.
Having enough amount of liquid can also affect the amount of time needed to prepare the turkey breast. Water is needed to create steam.
Therefore, when slow cooking your turkey breast, you should ensure that the water level is enough to cover the ingredients in the crockpot which would subsequently allow enough heat transfer throughout the slow cooker.
How many sides should you prepare?
The number of sides you prepare for a feast is largely dependent on the number of guests you will be expecting.
However, for a feast as large as a Thanksgiving dinner, consider preparing many sides because they are the key highlights of the thanksgiving table.
It is also partly because turkey does not appeal to everyone, and therefore having many traditional Thanksgiving side dishes will accommodate the interests of everyone.
They are also very delicious too.
When it pertains to preparing enough side dishes, more is always better than having fewer food choices. For such a joyous occasion such as Thanksgiving, running out of a dish may not occur well with the festivities.
There is also the option of freezing remainder dishes and leftovers, meaning you won’t have food loss. Even as you decide on the dishes to prepare, here are some of the basics that you should consider:
Have at least two vegetable dishes. Having veggies as part of side dishes is not only important for its nutritional content; it is also accommodative for vegetarians.
It also ensures a healthy and balanced mix of food for your guests, ranging from carbs to lots of protein (in the turkey) as well as vitamins in the veggies.
They can be simple or complex depending on the taste and your guests’ preferences. For instance, you can sauté some green beans or offer Brussels sprouts. If you prefer creamier foods, you can also prepare baby spinach in milk.
Potatoes are a great accompaniment with any food. You can never go wrong with potatoes whether it is mashed, wedges, stewed potatoes, or just French fries.
Potatoes are very filling and can be a great addition when some other type of food like turkey is running low.
Being such a versatile food, you can make it into any form depending on your guests’ liking and it is the desired meal even among children.
You certainly should not make the mistake of omitting this meal from your diet, especially where turkey is on the menu.
Cranberry sauce is a tasty classic side accompaniment for your dishes, and the guests are certainly going to appreciate this.
The stuffing you use in turkey matters as much as the turkey preparation itself.
Having good turkey stuffing will certainly add to the allure, flavor, and taste of your dish and therefore having great turkey stuffing is a necessity.
Having some bread and extras as part of the dishes is a good bet. Just like potatoes, bread is versatile and can be used with a number of recipes and sauces.
It is also very convenient, as bread is easily available from any store. If you don’t have any extra time to prepare a side dish, grab some bread from a local bakery and use it as a perfect side dish with the main meal.
When the slow cooker is used correctly, it is one of the safest ways of preparing food at low temperatures and one of the best at tenderizing meat.
The combination of direct heat from the pot while combining this with the long cooking and steaming periods, not only destroys bacteria, it also tenderizes and evens meat cooking.
This offers one of the safest and most effective methods of preparing turkey breast.
Meal planning and preparation, especially when it involves multiple dishes is an intricate, time consuming, and very involving affair.
Using a device like the slow cooker will certainly ease meal planning, preparation, and cooking.
This frees you up and allows you to focus on other activities as the slow cooker prepares the food.