Prisco’s Family Market

1108 Prairie Street, Aurora, IL 60506 | 630-264-9400

Hours: Monday - Friday, 7 am to 8:30 pm | Saturday, 7 am to 8 pm | Sunday, 8 am to 7 pm

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Thanksgiving Turkey Tips- Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Figure on 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person. To buy the right size turkey for your party, simply tally up the turkey-eating guests. Add a few pounds on for bones and you've got your turkey weight. For example, 8 people will require a 12 to 14-pound turkey. Don’t cut it too close, however: Thanksgiving is the one meal where everyone expects and loves leftovers and cold turkey sandwiches the next day or two.

Cook the turkey on a rack of vegetables. Create a natural roasting rack for your turkey by layering carrots, onions and celery on the bottom of the roasting pan. Lifting the turkey off the base of the pan helps to increase hot air circulation around the whole bird so that it will get crispy all over. And the vegetables add great flavor to the gravy.

Rub the turkey with butter or oil. Before putting it in the oven, make sure the skin of the turkey is as dry as possible, and then rub it all over with butter or oil. For even moister meat, place pats of butter under the skin.

Skip the basting. Basting means more oven door opening, resulting in temperature fluctuations that can dry out your bird. Instead, keep your turkey moist by brining it in advance or by rubbing it all over with butter or oil.

Invest in a good meat thermometer. Check for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the turkey around the thigh, avoiding the bone. At 165 degrees F, it's done. The turkey will continue to cook as it rests, so the temperature should rise another 10 degrees or so out of the oven.

Give it a rest. To lock in juices, tent your turkey with foil and let it rest for at least 15 to 20 minutes before carving. Be sure you don't cover the turkey too tightly as you don't want the bird to steam under the foil.


The truth about some common turkey myths- Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Thanksgiving is next week, and up until now we've covered some basics on decorating for the pending holiday, as well as offered some suggestions on meal planning and recipes. Now it's time for a bit of fun fact checking: There is a lot of misinformation out there on how best to prepare your turkey; everyone has their own experiences, and subjective "facts" abound. It's time to debunk a few of these notions.

Here is a list of myths you probably believe about the centerpiece of nearly everyone's Thanksgiving fare:

[info courtesy of Reader's Digest –]

Myth: You don’t have to thaw a turkey completely before cooking.

Actually: A properly thawed turkey is key to making sure the bird is fully cooked. A partially frozen will cook on outside, but the insides will remain raw.

Myth: Always wash the turkey thoroughly.

Actually: Scrubbing down your bird is not only unnecessary, it could actually be harmful. In an effort to clean the bird, you are likely splashing disease-causing germs around your sink and countertop; even nearby utensils and other food could be exposed. The USDA says it's "virtually impossible" to wash bacteria off a raw turkey, so why risk it?

Myth: A stuffed turkey won’t cook through.

Actually: You can reduce risk by heating the dressing up to at least 130 degrees before placing it in the turkey. Also, check the temperature of both the stuffing and turkey before serving. Note: Stuffing should be heated to about 165 degrees regardless of whether it is cooked inside the bird or separately.

Myth: Basting helps keeps meat flavorful and moist.

Actually: Contrary to popular belief, experts say basting doesn’t flavor or moisten the meat much because most of the liquid runs right off the skin again. Plus, opening and shutting the oven frequently can cool an oven quickly, adding to overall roasting time.

Myth: You can tell the bird is done by its thigh temperature.

Actually: Food experts recommended using the four-spot test to check for doneness: Use your meat thermometer to check the temp of both thighs, the thickest part of the breast on each side, and each wing. The bird isn't cooked enough until all areas register around 170 degrees.

Myth: The skin isn't good for you and should be avoided.

Actually: While turkey skin may be high in fat, it's the monounsaturated variety. Monounsaturated fats help balance cholesterol levels, which could lower your risk of heart disease, and it may improve insulin and blood sugar levels... So feel free to enjoy a small portion.


10 Ways to Keep Your Thanksgiving Stress-Free- Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Hosting a big turkey dinner can be a challenge but, if you do it with love and ask for some help, it need not become a stress-filled event. The following tips -- put together by Editor Debra Steilen of Better Homes & Gardens -- will prove to be a big help in making Thanksgiving a pleasant family occasion for all your guests -- and for you, the host or hostess, as well.

1. Create a plan. Sit down and make a guest list. From the number of guests you invite you can plan a meal. The secret to a simple meal is planning ahead so everything doesn't demand your attention all at once.

2. Plan a potluck. A potluck can be a great way to share the load, and with just a little planning you can avoid 15 green bean casseroles at your dinner table. Ensure menu variety and head off an all-deviled-egg buffet by assigning food categories to your guests.

3. Shop early. Brookhaven stores will get busier closer to Turkey Day. Plan your main shopping trip a week in advance and follow up with a second trip a day or two before Thanksgiving to pick up things like produce and bakery goods. Ask your spouse or partner to help with the shopping; it’s always easier if you have help finding things, and an extra pair of hands makes putting the groceries away much less stressful.

4. Prepare as much as possible in advance. There are plenty of side dishes, desserts, and breads that can be made ahead of time. For instance, measure seasonings and store them in labeled bags or containers; cut and store vegetables; and roast garlic a week in advance, then store the cloves in olive oil in the refrigerator.

One thing that you should not do, however, is pre-stuff your turkey.  Harmful bacteria can multiply in the stuffing and cause food poisoning even when the stuffed bird is refrigerated. The cavity of the bird actually insulates the stuffing from the cold temperatures of the refrigerator and acts as an incubator for the harmful bacteria. 

The ingredients for the stuffing can be prepared in advance and refrigerated separately. To save time, chop vegetables such as onions and celery the night before. The safest method is to mix the ingredients and lightly stuff the turkey just prior to popping it into a preheated oven.

5. Remember: practice makes perfect. If you're braving a new recipe or using ingredients that you aren't quite familiar with, try them out beforehand so you'll be primed for success on Thanksgiving Day.

6. Let your family help. Have the whole family help clean house and put up decorations. Children will jump at the chance to make place cards, fold napkins, and dress up your holiday table. This will also keep them out of the kitchen while you attend to the food.

7. Use your microwave oven. Take advantage of this appliance to reheat food before serving when all the burners on the stove-top are occupied.

8. Let the turkey rest before slicing. To avoid a last-minute crunch and assure tender turkey, let the bird rest out of the oven, covered, for about 20 minutes before slicing.

9. Serve buffet-style. Serving dinner buffet-style saves on both space and cleanup time. Also, with pretty serving bowls and silver utensils, guests can help themselves to seconds whenever they want.

10. Relax. Remember that Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day full of family, relaxation, and reflection. Thanksgiving is a great time for families to gather and spend the day together sharing traditions, so don’t let the task of being the host or hostess overwhelm you and rob you of that joyous family experience.


SUPERFOODS- Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Fortunately, Americans as a whole are becoming more and more health conscious; many of us are taking steps to improve our quality of life wherever possible, and this is especially true when it comes to the kinds of foods we eat.

The ability to be selective has made eating healthier easier for us. The modern grocery store or outdoor market offers at the very least dozens of types of fruits and vegetables, and a variety of protein sources -- more than enough for even the pickiest of palates to find something tasty. We've come so far in sheer variety, in fact, that we can take pickiness to a whole new level and start being selective about which of the already high-quality foods we want to consume...

This brings us to the idea of superfoods, a term used to describe any food with high nutrient or phytochemical content which may confer health benefits. By definition, superfoods are calorie sparse and nutrient dense, meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes. They are superior sources of anti-oxidants and essential nutrients -- nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves.

Here is a list of common superfoods (and -fruits!), courtesy of


Apples are a powerful source of antioxidants, including polyphenols, flavonoids, and vitamin C, as well as good source of fiber, and potassium. There are only 47 calories in an average sized apple. The secret behind the super antioxidant capacity of the apple is its skin. The apple skin alone provides two to six times the antioxidant activity of the apple flesh alone. So it is important to eat the skin to obtain the full health benefits of apples.


If avocados were only delicious and versatile, they would still be a treat worth serving frequently. Recent research has demonstrated that avocados also offer some surprising and powerful health benefits. One of the most nutrient-dense foods, avocados are high in fiber and, ounce for ounce, top the charts among all fruits for folate, potassium, vitamin E, and magnesium.


It's hard to imagine Italian, French, or Asian cooking without garlic. The big news on garlic isn't its ability to flavor a dish, but rather its considerable role as a health promoter. Indeed, recent findings on the power of garlic to fight cancer and cardiovascular disease, as well as its anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, give garlic the bona fides to elevate it to superfood status.


Spinach and its green, leafy sidekicks, are among the most nutritious foods on earth. Calorie for calorie, spinach provides more nutrients than any other food. Along with wild salmon and blueberries, spinach is an all-star superfood that packs an incredible nutritional wallop. Low in calories and jam-packed with nutrients, spinach should be a regular part of your daily menu.


Highly nutritious, low in fat, inexpensive, versatile, and always available, the turkey has finally come into its own. Skinless turkey breast is one of, if not the leanest meat protein sources on the planet. This alone could make it a superfood: but turkey also offers a rich array of nutrients, particularly niacin, selenium, vitamins B6 and B12, and zinc. These nutrients are heart-healthy and are also valuable in helping to lower the risk for cancer.


Salmon is one of the richest, tastiest, readily available sources of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for brain memory and performance, and behavioral function. By including wild salmon in your diet two to four times a week, you should achieve optimal protection against a multitude of diseases that have been associated with low intakes of these critical fats.

Let’s Talk Turkey!- Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Without a doubt the month of November is the busiest that our meat department gets every year, followed closely by December. It is so gratifying to realize that thousands of our customers come year after year to our store and order their fresh turkey and Christmas roasts. On behalf of the Prisco Family and our employees we would like to say “Thank you” for your ongoing support and we want to wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

That being said, I’d like to devote my Shout Out to passing on some helpful advice and perhaps answer questions about how to best prepare and enjoy the center of your holiday meal… The turkey.

Let me begin by going over the top 10 reasons why you should always purchase an all-natural Ho-Ka fresh, non-basted turkey from Prisco’s Family Market.

  1. These are locally grown turkeys raised on the Kaufmann Farm in Waterman, IL.

  2. The Kaufman Farm is a green farm. In addition to raising turkeys, the farm rotates crops of corn, soy beans and wheat. Turkey litter is the only fertilizer used on the corn which is grown to feed the turkeys. Turkeys range on freshly harvested wheat fields, which were no-till drilled into last year's soybean field.

  3. Ho-Ka turkeys are raised in a slower, gentler fashion in order to assure that each bird attains maximum tenderness, a denser meatiness and a richer favor.

  4. Ho-Ka turkeys are fed a balanced diet of animal protein and natural grain.

  5. Ho-Ka turkeys are younger and therefore more tender, dressed at 16 to 19 weeks.

  6. Our Ho-Ka turkeys are 100% natural with minimal processing and absolutely no additives.

  7. Prior to Thanksgiving they are raised free range on freshly harvested wheat fields

  8. Our Ho-Ka turkeys are comparable to or better tasting than those sold online or in specialty stores at more than twice the price per lb.

  9. Our fresh (never frozen) Ho-Ka turkeys retail for just $2.99 lb.

    ..... And the top reason to buy your fresh Ho-Ka turkey from Prisco’s Family Market is .....

  10. YOU ALWAYS GET IT EXACTLY YOUR WAY. Simply call us at (630) 264-9401. Tell us what size bird or birds you want, what extras you would like included, and when you want to pick it up. It’s that simple. All you need do then is invite the quests and write your shopping list for the fresh produce, deli trays, pies and wine and beer to get when you stop to pick up your delicious, fresh Ho-Ka Turkey.

What if you have questions?

Is this the first time you’ve cooked a turkey dinner? Perhaps not the first but it’s been a while and you don’t want to disappoint a house full of Thanksgiving quests? Not to worry, you’ve come to the right place. We have all your turkey questions answered and several you haven’t even thought of yet. Here are some examples of questions we get asked most often.

  1. Question: Can you really tell the difference between a fresh Ho-Ka turkey and the less expensive frozen alternative?

    Answer: Some people can’t but the vast majority can and that’s why hundreds of local area families return to Prisco’s every year to order their fresh turkey and holiday roasts.

  2. Question: Is there a difference in taste between the various brands of turkeys that you carry?

    Answer: While individual customers show a particular preference for one band over another our taste experts say it’s difficult to taste any clear difference because we carry only Grade “A” natural birds. We like to steer people who aren’t pre-set on a particular brand toward the locally grown, all natural fresh Ho-Ka brand because they offer the best opportunity to match the bird size with your particular needs.

  3. Question: Do you only sell fresh turkeys? What if I’d prefer a frozen turkey?

    Answer: No problem at all, we carry two of the most popular frozen turkeys in the market, Grade “A” Nobest and Butterball.

  4. Question: What size turkey should I order?

    Answer: To have plenty for everyone, figure one pound per average adult and about ½ a pound for seniors and children. This is one meal, however, where everyone wants some leftovers, so after counting heads and pounds add on five or six pounds for delicious leftovers and turkey sandwiches.

  5. Question: Do I need to get a hen?

    Answer: This is something that you may have heard from grandma or perhaps even Mom. Years ago when turkeys were raised totally free range the Toms (males) ran a lot, fought with each other and got lean and a bit tough. A Tom turkey was something to be avoided if possible. That’s not the case any longer: All the turkeys are raised humanely and are well cared for to assure that no matter the sex of the bird, you are getting a delicious natural meal.

  6. Question: Will my turkey keep fresh in my refrigerator?

    Answer: Yes it should keep fresh for a week if properly refrigerated. Just keep it in the coldest part of your refrigerator.


  1. Question: What can I do to avoid hurt feelings when four kids want the two drum sticks?

    Answer: Easier than you may think. When you order your turkey ask for two extra turkey legs…no problem. Some customers who have an abundance of white meat lovers order an extra turkey breast rather than trying to fit two full turkeys in the oven.

  2. Question: What is the proper temperature for a roasted turkey?

    Answer: The white meat should be 160-165 degrees F. and the dark meat 170-175 degrees F. Most of the fresh turkeys come with a popup timer. The Ho-Ka and Butterball do not. Pop up timers are available for sale in the store. The frozen turkeys do come with timers. Of course the surest method is to use an instant read thermometer.

  3. Question: I have a small family and nobody likes dark meat. What do you suggest?

    Answer: Buy one of our exceptional boneless or bone-in breasts. Our meat cutters make them right here at the store in a variety of sizes. We are one of the few stores that offers a complete range of fresh turkey parts including breasts, drumsticks, thighs, wings, backs and necks for stock, and giblets. (Boy if they thought that they didn’t like dark meat wait till they try some turkey giblets.)

  4. Question: I’ve heard brining can make a turkey moister. What does that involve?

    Answer: Brining your turkey is a good way to add moisture and seasoning throughout the bird. It is generally worth the effort. The most basic way to brine a turkey (see The Joy of Cooking) is to add two pounds of salt to two gallons of water in a suitable container and, in a cool spot, submerge your turkey for 4-6 hours. At roasting time, remove from the solution, pat dry and cook according to instructions. Many times people like to add their own touches to the brining solution such as apple cider, or various spice combinations. Brining kits are available in the store.


Margaret’s 5 step process to carving a turkey

I’d like to close out this little epistle on turkeys by sharing my sure fire best way to carve your turkey

Take the turkey from the oven, place on a cutting board and remove the stuffing. Let it stand for 10-15 minutes before beginning.

  1. With a sharp carving knife, remove the legs by placing the knife in the seam where the thigh meets the breast. Slice through the meat slowly, pushing down on the leg until you reach the ball joint (where the thigh bone meets the pelvis). With the tip of the knife, cut through the joint, releasing the whole leg. Grasp the drumstick in one hand and with the knife, find the drumstick/thigh joint and separate the drumstick from the thigh. Repeat for the other side.

  2. Next grasp the wing and probe with the knife tip to find the joint where the wing attaches to the breast. Cut through the joint and remove the wing. Repeat for the other wing.

  3. You now have the whole breast with back portion attached. At this point the breast meat can be sliced “as is” or the breast meat can be removed from the carcass in halves and then placed on the cutting board for slicing.

  4. To remove the breast meat from the bone, score the breast down the middle along the keel (or breast bone) with the tip of the knife. Once the seam has been created insert the blade lengthwise and “scoop” along the breast bone. The breast half should literally fall away from the bone at this point. Repeat for the other half.

  5. You now have a disjointed turkey. The meat can now be sliced as you wish. The drumsticks, thighs, and wings can be served as-is, or the meat can be sliced off and the bones discarded. Slice the breast meat against the grain.


Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Margaret Prisco