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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Slow cooker mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours, 10 minutes
5 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1/2 cup Kitchen Basics Original Chicken Stock
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
2 teaspoons McCormick Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Ground Nutmeg
2 cups miniature marshmallows
Spray inside of 6-quart slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Add sweet potatoes, stock and brown sugar. Cover.
Cook 4 hours on high or until potatoes are tender, stirring after each hour. Stir in butter, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Cover. Let stand 5 minutes.
Beat potatoes with electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Top with marshmallows. Cover. Cook 10 minutes on high or until marshmallows are slightly melted.
Cool, creamy nightcap
There’s only one way to properly end a holiday celebration: dessert. Send your guests home happy with one final course, a Caramel Macchiato Ice Cream Pie, to fill the remaining space in everyone’s bellies. Find more dessert ideas at nestleusa.com/nestle-kitchens.
Caramel macchiato ice cream pie
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 4 hours, 55 minutes
9 graham crackers
1 cup finely chopped almonds
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 container (1.5 quarts) Dreyer’s or Edy’s Grand Coffee Ice Cream, softened
1/2 cup Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, chopped, divided
1/2 cup Nestlé La Lechera Dulce de Leche
1 tub (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
To make crust: Heat oven to 325 F.
In food processor, add graham crackers and pulse until crackers resemble fine crumbs. Add crumbs to bowl along with chopped almonds, sugar and butter; stir to combine. Press into bottom and up sides of 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.
Bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
To make filling: Spread ice cream into cooled pie crust, smoothing out over bottom. Sprinkle with half of the chopped morsels.
Heat dulce de leche in microwave-safe bowl on high for a few seconds to soften; stir. Pour over chocolate morsels, spreading evenly.
Spoon whipped topping over dulce de leche, covering entire surface of pie. Sprinkle with remaining morsels and almonds.
Freeze 30 minutes. Remove pie from freezer and cover with foil. Place back in freezer for at least 4 hours, or until pie has set. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving.