I vividly remember almost 10 years ago when Keith and I hosted our first Thanksgiving dinner. To say it was a complete debacle might be a bit of an over-exaggeration, but not by much! We had just moved into our farmhouse, we were kid-free and still learning our way around a kitchen, and I was suddenly faced with the daunting prospect of preparing an elaborate holiday meal for a group. I had never cooked for more than two of us, I wasn’t used to juggling multiple side dishes, and I had certainly never roasted a turkey. The mounting pressure was enough to make me break out in a cold sweat!
Fortunately, Keith’s family members were our guinea pigs. His mom transported at least half of the side dishes for a two hour car ride from her own kitchen, and his younger brothers enthusiastically gobbled up anything that we served — no complaints! But I laugh when I look back at that evening…
We were too intimidated to roast a large turkey because we had NO CLUE what that would entail, and all I could think of was the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when the whole bird goes up in smoke. That would be me…no doubt!
Instead, we put a small turkey in the slow cooker and another small turkey in Keith’s countertop rotisserie oven. Not exactly the classic American Thanksgiving bird, but it was the best that we could do at the time! And my dessert that year involved some sort of pumpkin ice cream pie with a gingersnap cookie crust. Except we really just ended up eating bowls of ice cream because my cookie crust melted and burned into the pie plate in a caramelized mess so that we couldn’t even scrape off the charred sugar with a knife. The whole plate just went right in the trash! Bless my in-laws for eating their meals anyway — and with smiles on their faces!
Needless to say, I’m a little bit more comfortable in the kitchen these days. But you know what? I still stick with simple and easy recipes — even for special holidays!
If you’re like me and you want to keep Thanksgiving stress-free and delicious this year, then a Maple-Glazed Roasted Turkey Breast is the way to go. I learned from my mom that the white turkey meat is always our favorite, so cooking a breast (and not messing around with the rest of the bird) is a quicker and easier option. And with just a few minutes of prep, you can pop a turkey in the oven that roasts for a couple of hours and comes out perfectly every time. The maple-butter basting sauce is To.Die.For.!
This turkey gives you the crispy, golden skin that epitomizes a holiday meal, while keeping the meat inside tender and juicy. My kids seriously devoured this dish (and fought over the remaining scraps when the dinner was over). It’s so simple and so good, that it has become one of our favorite Sunday suppers during the cool weather months — no special holiday required! The leftovers work well in sandwiches all week or freeze nicely for casseroles or other recipes later on. It’s a winner, winner Turkey Dinner that will make you feel like the ultimate hostess…in just 15 minutes!
Easy Maple-Glazed Roasted Turkey Breast
- 1 7-8 lb. whole turkey breast, fresh or frozen and thawed
- 1/2 apple chopped into two pieces
- ½ lemon
- ½ onion
- 1 stalk celery halved
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup 1 stick butter
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 cup water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Rinse the turkey breast with cold water. Pat dry.
- Stuff turkey cavity with apple, lemon, onion, celery, rosemary, and thyme. Sprinkle salt inside the cavity.
- Place the turkey in a large shallow roasting pan lined with aluminum foil. Don’t skip the aluminum foil (it makes clean up quick and easy)!
- TO PREPARE THE GLAZE: In a small saucepan, melt butter with maple syrup over low heat. Pour maple butter glaze over turkey to coat.
- Add 1 cup water to bottom of pan.
- Roast the turkey breast for 2 – 2 ½ hours, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 175-180 degrees F. Baste with pan juices every 30 minutes.
- If any part of the turkey browns too quickly while cooking, just tent lightly with aluminum foil.
- Remove the turkey from the oven and place on a large cutting board. Tent the turkey with foil and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes before carving.