Even a classic turkey dinner menu offers a world of possibilities for variations. Some chefs say it’s already too late to start your bird, because it takes 8,100 hours to roast. Others reassure home cooks that 1 to 15 minutes will be plenty.
Somewhere in between is the recipe for a perfect Thanksgiving with the folks you’re grateful for — and the family-friendly humor that never fails to nourish.
Welcome back to our annual How to Cook a Turkey instructions from the chefs of tomorrow at Bright Beginnings Preschool. Whether you like your turkey with hot sauce, onions and cheese, or whether you’re going for more of a vanilla ice cream and Halloween sprinkles motif, you can be sure all the latest trends are represented.
For instance, there’s no need to go it alone in the kitchen — not when your cooking companions could include a funny tiger, a pink robot or a little dog. Time management, however, seems to be an issue; the little dog may wait to serve the turkey until your birthday.
If you’re not a fan of turkey, there’s always ham with pudding and ice cream all over it, or the ever-popular pizza. And if you’re looking for ideas for a light breakfast to tide you over for the next 8,100 hours until the turkey is ready, get a head start on the strawberries, syrup, pancakes and chocolate milk.
Just don’t forget to powder the turkey before it goes in the oven — unless you’re committed to spaghetti sauce on the outside and vanilla frosting on the inside.
And, now, here are your cooking instructions from the young chefs at Bright Beginnings Preschool.
Forest Lakes Pre-K class:Teachers: Ms. Cassarah and Ms. Jordan
Henley: We go to Food Lion and Kroger to look for a turkey. When we find one my daddy puts hot sauce on it and cooks it for, I think, 10 minutes. When it’s done my mom and dad both cut it and they eat it, I don’t because I eat salmon.
Olivia: My mom puts it in the oven for 20 minutes. When she takes it out it cools down and then we can eat it.
Avery: Mom and dad put powder on it and mix it up, put it in the oven for 10 minutes and its done! We cut it and eat it.
Anna: We put brown sauce on it and cook it for 11 minutes. When it’s done daddy cuts it and then I eat it.
Ben: Daddy cooks it on the grill and then we eat it outside on the picnic table.
Aiden: Mommy cooks our turkey with ketchup and pretzels. Then she cooks it for like 15 minutes. Then she takes it out so we can eat it!
CeCe: They cook it in the oven. After that they put ketchup on it and then back in the oven when the take it out we eat it.
Cate: We go get a turkey from Target. When we get home my mom and dad put hot sauce all over it and put it in the oven for 13 minutes and then I eat it.
Jacob: I cook our turkey all by myself. I put salt and pepper on it. I cook it for 52 minutes. When I take it out, we eat it right away. I don’t let it cool.
Shelby: First mom adds salt, pepper, mushrooms, and applesauce to the turkey. Then she cooks it for 5 minutes in the oven. When it’s done mom cuts it up because dad might cut his finger. Then she puts it on a plate for my family and me.
Oliver P.: Daddy makes a fire with charcoal in the smoker. He puts the turkey in and closes it. It cooks for three hours. Then we can eat it!
Cora: Daddy cooks the turkey. He doesn’t put anything on it. It is cooked in the oven and then we can eat it.
Jack: First they add pepper. Then they cook it in the oven for 15 minutes. When it’s done, we get to eat it!!
Charlie: Mom and dad put salt on the turkey. Then they put it on my plate and I eat it.
Forest Lakes 3-year-old class:Teachers: Ms. Teena and Ms. Aurora
Logan: We put mashed potatoes on the turkey and put it in a pot with carrots, salt, and pepper, and watermelon on top of the turkey. It cooks for 40 minutes and we put it on a plate to eat with my fingers and drink milk.
Noah: We put bread, onions, and mushrooms on the turkey. We cook the turkey in a pan with watermelon, salt and pepper. It cooks for 40 minutes and we drink water.
Andres: We put the turkey in a dish and put it in the oven on hot and cook for some minutes. We put peanut butter and mayo on the turkey then eat it!!
Levon: We put water in the pan, then put the turkey in the pan and cook corn in the oven for a long time. Then we eat it and drink water with it.
Mason: Mommy gets a turkey, but I cook it for 10 minutes. Take it out and eat it then drink some sweet tea.
Cameron: I bought a turkey at A.C. Moore. We cooked the turkey with chocolate milk, sugar, pancakes, syrup, candy bars, peanut butter, and jelly sandwiches! It cooks for a long time and we have water with it.
Claritie: We cook the turkey with peanut butter and jelly and salt. It cooks for five minutes. I eat the turkey with a fork and drink juice with the food.
Delaney: Mom and dad buy a turkey from Target. They put chicken nuggets, green beans, and mashed potatoes on the turkey. It cooks for a long time!
Averi: Momma cooks it. She bought a turkey from the closet. She puts bread on the turkey with salt and pepper. It cooks for two minutes and I eat it with my fingers.
Emma: Mommy buys a turkey from the store. We put potatoes on the turkey, sprinkles, and hamburgers on the turkey too! It cooks in the oven for 10 minutes, then we eat it and drink milk.
Chloe: Mommy gets a turkey because its too hard for me. She puts butter, mashed potatoes and bread on the turkey. It cooks in the microwave for a lot of minutes. We drink hot tea with our food!
Mia: Mommy and daddy buy a turkey from Target. The put sprinkles, cereal, gravy, French toast, and oranges on the turkey. It cooks for ten hours!
Maddie: We put it in a pan. We put onions and salt on it. It goes in the hot oven. It cooks for 1 minute. They we take it out. You have to be careful, the oven it hot! I don’t eat turkey. The turkey goes on a plate, then we eat it and drink cold water.
Aria: We buy it at a store. We put it in a pan with syrup, blueberries, strawberries, and grapes on top. We put it in the oven and it cooks for 10 minutes. It is put on a plate.
Jonathan: We put it in a pot. We put strawberry on top. It cooks for ten minutes. You can eat it on a plate and drink apple juice!
Jacob: We go to Target to get a turkey. We get a big pot to put the turkey in. We put salt on top. It cooks for 10 hours. They put it in a bowl to eat, I like turkey!
Sophia: Mommy gets a turkey from the store. I put the turkey in a pot. I put salt and pepper, mashed potatoes, celery, and gravy on it. We cook the turkey in the oven for a little bit. I eat the turkey with my fingers!
Forest Lakes 2-year-old class:Teachers: Ms. Sarah and Ms. Kristina
Luka: Yes! I like Thanksgiving! Yea! Turkey is good! Mommy cooks the turkey. The turkey is on a table by flowers.
Julia: Yes, I like Thanksgiving and turkey! Daddy cooks the turkey in the oven.
Hannah: Yeah Thanksgiving and turkey are good. Dad cooks the turkey and it goes on the table.
McKenna: I cook the turkey. I like turkey. It goes in the oven.
Kai: I cook the turkey, I don’t like it. It goes on the table.
DJ: Mommy cooks the turkey with corn and stuffing. It goes in the refrigerator.
Paige: I make the turkey with mommy and daddy. In the oven.
Stella: I like turkey. I cook the turkey. It goes outside.
Mill Creek Pre-K Class:Teachers: Ms. Kimberly and Ms. Becky
Jacob Stetz: “I’d go to a farm and get a turkey and then bring a trap for the turkey and then I would take it out of the trap and put it in the oven!”
Skylar Ashmun: “It’s a chicken! It would escape!”
Caryl Hallam-Gardner: “I’d kill it with a big knife! I would bake it in the oven. Then I would eat it!”
Wyatt Seidel-Hylton: “I’d make potatoes and soup!”
Noah LeBlanc: “It would take yummy! It would be purple! It would say, BOOGER!”
Lucy Barfield: “My dog is going to make it for Christmas! It’s going to be a little dog named Pite. It’s going to be on my birthday!”
Grace Colmer: “Make it in the oven! I’d put the stuffing in it. Then I’d eat it!”
Breck Parsons: “I’d cook it with a snowflake! I would cook it with a funny tiger. The tiger would help me. He would cook some cookies for me and mom and daddy!”
James Sullivan: You cook it in the oven at my house! It’s stinky. No! It’s good! It’s stinky when you cook it! I eat it with my mommy and daddy. But I don’t like turkey so my mommy decided to give me chicken nuggets and a fruit pouch!”
Nelson Mallette: “My mom cooks it! She uses a pot. I eat it. It tastes good! I want it blue! I have to make it just right!”
Adylynn Stallman: “I want pink! A pink robot cooks it. It uses a computer! The robot will spin around on her head!”
Sawyer Strongsmith: “Be good! Be nice! Be honest! I know how to work computers.”
Morgan Walker: “Put it in the oven. You buy it at the store. I don’t really help my mom and dad because it’s super, super hot! You get your turkey when you say a polite word. Sometimes I even have turkey sandwiches. Oh, I have to go!”
Isaiah Gillikin: I’d cook a real turkey. Put it in the oven and cook it and take it out. You cool it off and then eat it! Leave it the way it is!”
Kazu Godhwani: ”You put chicken on it and put turkey on it and I EAT IT! If it spills on the floor you need to get a towel and clean it up!”
Arlo Wyant: “I want one! The guards have to kill it and they give it to us. You eat it and I love turkey!”
Giselle Cortes: I would do it with mommy! And with daddy! My mom does it and then she puts it there and then I help her do it. I help her stir. My mommy and daddy have a computer. But only my mommy has a computer.”
Mara McGarvey: “ Make a chicken! Hmmm … you put it in the oven! It makes turkey! Hmm. Maybe you put M&Ms in it to make it tasty!”
Bryden Stallman: “My daddy and grandpa do it! They put it in the bag. They leave it in the garage. That’s it!”
Zella Smith: “I would roll it up. Put the turkey in. You put the sausage in! You put the butter in. You put the fruit in. Vegetables and grapes! Put strawberries in it. If you forget the strawberries it will be old.”
James Hansen: I would put it with onions! I would do it with sauce and I would do it with carrots and, like, some sugar? And some ice and I would take it, hmmm … with salad. I would put apple cider in it. I would also have some apples and fresh carrots!”
Crozet Pre-K class:
Teacher: Ms. Margaret and Ms. Summer
Piper: They have little bones that you stick them right inside. Put in the oven at 10 degrees for 10 minutes. Put it on the table, cut it into pieces and eat it!
Hazel: Fill it with vanilla ice cream, cover it with Halloween sprinkles and serve it!
Deeshna: I would cover it with spaghetti sauce and stuff it with vanilla frosting. Cook in the oven at 25 degrees for 20 minutes and eat it!
Braden: Cook it in the oven at 500 degrees for 12 hours, cover it with chocolate frosting and serve it!
Declan: Kill a turkey and put stuffing in it! Cook it at 250 degrees for 8 minutes and take it to the table to eat!
Madeline: Get some jello for dessert and a turkey for dinner. I would cook it on the bbq for 2 or 3 minutes, fill with s’mores and roasted marshmallows on a stick. I would also eat salad.
Amina: Stuff the turkey with cabbage leaves and cook on high in the microwave for 2 days. Cover with rainbow sprinkles and serve!
August: My mommy cooks the ham. She puts pudding and ice cream on it before she cooks it. She cooks it on the grill for 14 minutes.
Kellen: My daddy cooks the turkey. He puts vanilla pudding on it then he stuffs the turkey with cucumbers and squash. He cooks it on the grill for 8100 hours.
Josie: We eat pizza. My mommy puts only cheese on it. She cooks it in the oven, but I don’t know how long she cooks it. We eat ice cream with our pizza.
Annie: We eat ham. My mommy and daddy cook it together. They put cheese on the ham. We make sandwiches after the ham has been in the refrigerator for 15 hours to cool down.
Ben: My mommy cooks a turkey. She puts it on sandwiches. My daddy helps my mommy cook the turkey. They put cheese on it and put it in the white thing I have at my home and in the microwave. Don’t know how long, but it’s not long.
Lyla: RoRo cooks the turkey. He puts sprinkles on it and covers it with docut cheese. He stuffs it with crackers and sprinkles. He then puts it on the grill outside for 50 minutes.
Isla: My momma cooks a HUGE turkey. She puts salad all over it. And puts coco all over it. She cooks it in the kitchen and in the oven for 36 hours!
Crozet 3-year-old class:
Teacher: Ms. Mercedes and Ms. Taylor
Caldwell: You first flip the turkey, then you smash it, put it in the oven let it cook for 41 mins.
Melly: Wash it then put strawberries and a sandwich in it. Then put it in the oven for 2 days.
Beau: Put sugar and pancakes on the turkey. Then you put it in a pot for 5 mins.
Crozet 2-year-old class:
Teacher: Ms. Marlyn and Ms. Pat
Thomas: You cut in half and ding ding ding!