Helpful Tips for the Perfect Holiday Turkey
• When shopping for your turkey, look for one with a pop-up timer.
• To thaw your turkey, keep it in the refrigerator based on its weight. For example, it should remain in the refrigerator for 24 hours for every 5 pounds. To thaw quickly, place it in the sink and cover with cold water, changing the water every half hour per pound.
• Once the turkey has thawed, always refrigerate or cook immediately.
• When you’re ready to cook, baste the bird with extra virgin olive oil. Place turkey with the breast up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan in an oven preheated to 325F. Loosely cover turkey with foil to prevent over-browning.
• The turkey is done cooking when the meat thermometer reads 180F, or if the red stem on the pop-up timer is up and the drum stick feels soft or moves easily.
• Always allow the bird to rest for at least 20 minutes for easy carving.
• Present your turkey on a platter with a fresh and colorful grapes.
Cornbread Dressing with Roasted Grapes, Walnuts and Pancetta
makes 12 servings
2 cups red seedless grapes
2 cups green seedless grapes
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 ounces diced pancetta
3/4 cup sliced celery
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups coarsely crumbled cornbread (either store-bought or prepared from a mix), toasted
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 400F. Toss grapes and squash cubes together in large bowl with oil, salt and pepper, to taste. Spread in single layer on baking sheet and roast for about 20–30 minutes, until grapes have begun to slightly shrivel and squash is tender. Set aside. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook pancetta until it begins to brown slightly. Add celery and onions and cook until tender and onions are translucent, about 5–6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute more. Remove from heat.
In large bowl, combine cornbread, pancetta mixture, grapes, squash, walnuts, sage and salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Set aside. In medium bowl, whisk together broth, butter, vinegar and egg. Pour over cornbread mixture and toss well to combine.
Spray 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon dressing evenly into dish. (At this point, you can either bake immediately or cover and refrigerate overnight.)
Bake, covered with foil, at 350F for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake another 20 minutes, or until warmed through and golden brown.
Raw Vegetable and Grape Salad
makes 6 servings
2 cups shredded or very thinly sliced Brussels sprouts
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup thinly sliced fennel
1/2 cup cooked, chopped bacon (6 slices)
4 cups green and red seedless grapes, halved
1/2 cup sliced green onions
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Toss all salad ingredients together in large bowl. Whisk together all dressing ingredients in medium bowl and drizzle over salad. Toss until ingredients are well coated with dressing.
Peanut Butter and Grape Trifle
makes 14 servings
1 (16-ounce) container nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
8 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 (8-ounce) container litewhipped topping, divided
1 (16-ounce) store-bought pound cake sliced into 1-inch cubes
3 cups red seedless grapes, plus more for garnish
3 cups green seedless grapes, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts, chopped (optional garnish)
In medium bowl, stir together yogurt, peanut butter and honey until well combined. Gently fold in half of whipped topping. Set aside. In clear glass trifle dish or bowl, layer half each of pound cake cubes, peanut butter mixture, red grapes and green grapes. Repeat layers a second time and top with remaining whipped topping. Garnish with additional grapes (sliced in half) if desired, and chopped peanuts, if desired.