Maria Rodale’s Scratch Thanksgiving

scratchThanksgiving dinner is easier than you think. Maria Rodale shares her thanksgiving menu with tips from her cook book Scratch, which is filled with dozens of home-spun recipes. When Maria Rodale cooks her annual Thanksgiving Dinner, nothing comes out of a can or a box, not even the cranberry sauce. Her menu this year includes tried and true dishes from roasted turkey and gravy to fresh cranberry sauce and stuffing. See the recipes below.

An organic activist and chef, Maria is also the CEO and Chairman of Rodale Inc., publisher of Women’s Health and Organic Life, among many other health and lifestyle magazines.  Maria shares the recipes and recounts her childhood spent on America’s first official organic farm; growing up in a family business that published books and magazines about healthy food, fitness, organic gardening and farming (at a time when they were pretty much the only ones doing it).

This roasted turkey recipe focuses on simplicity. No stuffing, no trussing, no fussing.

Roast Turkey

  • Difficulty: Involved
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Serves 10 to 12


  • 1 whole turkey (about 14 pounds)
  • Salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Place the turkey, breast-side up, in a deep, high-sided roasting pan, sprinkle with salt, and roast for 1 hour. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue to roast for 2 hours, or until the turkey is golden and cooked through. (Allow 15 minutes per pound of turkey. The internal temperature should read 165°F on a meat thermometer when inserted into the thigh.)
  3. Transfer the turkey from the pan to a serving platter, first making sure you tilt the bird slightly to drain the juices into the roasting pan. Set aside.
  4. Place the pan over high heat on the stovetop and bring the juices to a boil.
    Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Makes 3 cups


  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
  • 2 oranges or tangerines
  • 1 cup sugar (or to taste)


  1. Place the cranberries in a food processor or blender. Squeeze the juice from the oranges and add it to the cranberries.
  2. Trim the ends from the oranges and then coarsely chop, skin and all. Add to the processor and blend until roughly chopped (not smooth).
  3. Transfer to a bowl, add half the sugar, and stir to combine. If it is too tart, add a little more sugar to taste (up to 1 /2 cup). Refrigerate for at least 24 hours to allow the flavors to develop.

Pan Gravy

Serves 4 to 6


  • Pan drippings from roasting chicken or turkey
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (depending on how many drippings you have)
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. After roasting a chicken or turkey (which I always do in a high-sided roasting pan), I transfer the bird to a platter, tilting the bird first so all its juices run into the roasting pan. Then place the roasting pan on the stovetop.
  2. In a small bowl or glass, combine the flour and water and whisk with a fork until there are no lumps.
  3. Heat the pan drippings over high heat until bubbling (spoon off some of the fat, if desired) and add the flour mixture, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Make sure you scrape all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan (that’s where the flavor is!). Cook for a few minutes, stirring, until golden and thickened. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Serve the pan gravy with the bird you just roasted.

Thank you to Maria Rodale for images and recipes • printed with permission Follow Maria Rodale on Facebook

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