Alan's family's holiday foods
Select a turkey that is plump and meaty with smooth, moist-looking skin. The skin should be creamy colored. The cut ends of the bones should be pink to red in color.
If the turkey is frozen, thaw it either slowly in the refrigerator or in cold water or quickly in the microwave, following the manufacturer's directions. A turkey weighing 8 to 12 pounds will thaw in about 2 days in the refrigerator. A turkey weighing 20 to 24 pounds will thaw in about 5 days in the refrigerator. A whole turkey can be safely thawed in cold water. Leave the turkey in its original wrap, free from tears or holes. Place in cold water, allowing 30 minutes per pound for thawing, and change the water often.
Remove the package of giblets (gizzard, heart and neck), if present, from the neck cavity of the turkey, and discard. Rinse the cavity, or inside of the turkey, with cool water; pat dry with paper towels. Rub the cavity of turkey lightly with salt if desired, but do not salt the cavity if you will be stuffing the turkey.
Stuff the turkey just before roasting--not ahead of time. Fill the wishbone area (the neck) with stuffing first. Fasten the neck skin to the back of the turkey with a skewer. Fold the wings across the back so the tips are touching. Fill the body cavity lightly with stuffing; do not pack the stuffing because it will expand during roasting. Tuck the drumsticks under the band of skin at the tail, or tie or skewer the drumsticks to the tail.
Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Brush with melted butter or margarine. It is not necessary to add water or to cover the turkey. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of thigh and does not touch bone. Follow Timetable for approximate roasting time. Place a tent of aluminum foil loosely over the turkey when it begins to turn golden. When two-thirds done, cut the band or remove the skewer holding the drumsticks; this will allow the interior part of the thighs to cook through.
Roast until the thermometer reads 165°F (for a whole turkey) and drumsticks move easily when lifted or twisted. Thermometer inserted in center of stuffing should read 165°F. When the turkey is done, remove it from the oven and let it stand for 15 minutes for easiest carving. Keep turkey covered with aluminum foil so it will stay warm.
1 whole turkey, 12 pounds
Butter or margarine, melted
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.
Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.
Special equipment: a 2-quart baking dish
For the filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 2-quart baking dish.
Whisk together the butter, mashed sweet potatoes, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and the eggs in a large bowl. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
For the topping: Combine the flour, brown sugar, butter and salt in a medium bowl until moist and the mixture clumps together. Stir in the pecans and spread over the top of the sweet potatoes in an even layer. Bake until mostly set in the center and golden on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot.
Sweet potato casserole
Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with enough water that there's 1 1/2 inches of water above the eggs. Heat on high until water begins to boil, then cover, turn the heat to low, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and leave covered for 14 minutes, then rinse under cold water continuously for 1 minute.
Crack egg shells and carefully peel under cool running water. Gently dry with paper towels. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, removing yolks to a medium bowl, and placing the whites on a serving platter. Mash the yolks into a fine crumble using a fork. Add mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper, and mix well.
Evenly disperse heaping teaspoons of the yolk mixture into the egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook the macaroni until still slightly firm. Drain and set aside.
In a small bowl, beat the egg. In a large pot, melt the butter and sprinkle in the flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook for a couple of minutes, whisking constantly. Don't let it burn. Pour in the milk, add the mustard and whisk until smooth. Cook until very thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low.
Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into the beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the eggs. Whisk together until smooth. Pour the egg into the sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth. Add in the cheese and stir to melt. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt and the pepper. Add any additional spices if desired. Taste the sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed! DO NOT UNDERSALT.
Pour in the drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Serve immediately (while it's still very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese and bake until bubbly and golden on top, 20 to 25 minutes.
Fry the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until slightly crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove from the pan and cut into bite-size pieces.
In a separate pan, cook the onions in the butter over a low heat until caramelized, 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Use a fork to crumble the gorgonzola.
Put the bacon, caramelized onions and crumbled Gorgonzola into separate bowls. Serve as delicious toppings for both sliders and macaroni cheese.
Mac and Cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook bacon in a heavy skillet until crisp. Turn heat down and add onions and celery; saute until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the thyme and sage and saute until fragrant. Stir in pecans.
In a large bowl, add the cornbread mix, bacon and vegetables, and stir in the chicken broth. Add to a 13 by 9 by 2-inch casserole dish. Add butter slices to the top of the casserole and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes then remove foil and cook until top is crisp, about 15 more minutes.
Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size. Place in a large saucepan, add the salt, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.
Heat the half-and-half and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off the water. Mash and add the garlic-cream mixture and Parmesan; stir to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens and then serve.
Empty a 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries into a saucepan and transfer 1/2 cup to a small bowl. Add 1 cup sugar, 1 strip orange or lemon zest and 2 tablespoons water to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the reserved cranberries. Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste and cool to room temperature before serving.
Ingredients and Steps
1 container (4 oz) refrigerated vanilla pudding
1/2 cup Cool Whip™ frozen whipped topping, thawed SAVE $
1 cup seedless green grapes, halved
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 can (11 oz) mandarin orange segments, drained
1 can (8 oz) pineapple tidbits in juice, drained
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1 In medium bowl, mix pudding and whipped topping.
2 Gently stir in grapes, marshmallows, oranges and pineapple. Add strawberries; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator up to 8 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Soak the anchovies in a bowl of water, 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry, then finely chop and mash to form a paste; set aside.
Make the croutons: Combine the butter with the garlic in a small saucepan over medium-low heat; cook, swirling the pan occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a medium bowl. Add the bread cubes and parsley and toss; season with salt and pepper. Arrange the bread on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes; let cool.
Meanwhile, make the dressing: Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Gently lower the egg into the water, then immediately remove the pan from the heat and let stand 5 minutes. Drain and rinse the egg under cold water; crack into a large bowl. Whisk in the anchovy paste, the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and mustard powder until smooth. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified; season with salt and pepper.
Add the lettuce, croutons and about one-third of the Parmesan to the bowl with the dressing and gently toss. Divide among plates and top with the remaining Parmesan.