A full, delightful feast

Round out your holiday meal with mouthwatering courses

Family Features | 10/28/2016, midnight

While the turkey typically receives all the attention at holiday gatherings, rounding out your meal with the perfect snacks, sides and desserts is the key to a successful feast.

Start your guests off with NYC-style pita chips with herbed ricotta and arugula to keep big appetites at bay then serve slow cooker mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows alongside the main course as the ideal complement to any meat.

Finally, top off an evening of delicious food with caramel macchiato ice cream pie to send everybody home happy.

One terrific turkey

Centering your holiday meal around a turkey cooked to golden perfection is the ideal way to serve a feast. Without the right preparation and execution, however, your bird could fall short. To ensure your holiday dinner centerpiece lives up to expectations, follow these simple tips, from purchase to plate:

  1. Buy the right bird. Finding a turkey that’s just the right size for your expected party is the start to a successful gathering. One common rule of thumb is to buy one pound of turkey per person—so for a 10-person meal, purchase a 10-pound turkey. Don’t forget that nearly everyone loves leftovers, so you may consider buying a few pounds more than necessary.

  2. Be patient. If you opt for a frozen turkey, don’t rush the thawing process. For larger turkeys, it can take days to defrost properly.

  3. Timing is everything. Finding the right amount of time for your turkey to spend in the oven is crucial but not always the easiest thing to do. For an 8-12-pound bird, aim for 2.5-3.5 hours; 12-16 pounds for 3.5-4 hours; 16-20 pounds for 4-4.5 hours, and so on. The key is bringing the turkey to a temperature reading of 170 F.

  4. Let it rest. Instead of pulling the turkey out of the oven and immediately carving it, give it a chance to rest for 20-30 minutes, which allows the juices to soak into the meat and moisten it up.

Simple, chef-worthy holiday snacks

Award-winning chef Hugh Acheson created these gourmet, fuss-free NYC-style pita chips with herbed ricotta and arugula featuring Stacy’s Pita Chips. Perfect for any holiday gathering, and with three simple steps, this snack evokes the colors and flavors of the season in a matter of minutes. Visit stacyssnacks.com for more chef-worthy holiday recipes and pairings.

NYC-style pita chips with herbed ricotta and arugula

Servings: 6

1/4 pound fresh ricotta cheese

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

2 ounces baby arugula leaves

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

12 Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips

Scoop ricotta into small bowl, add chopped thyme, mix well.

On a platter, lay out 12 pita chips.

Top each chip with small dollop of ricotta mix and leaf of baby arugula; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.

Take it slow

This holiday season, use your slow cooker to save time and oven space without sacrificing flavor. Try this recipe for slow cooker mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows and find more seasonal recipes at McCormick.com.