Planning a stress-free Thanksgiving meal with Festival Foods

Local 5 Live

 (WFRV) – It’s time to start thinking about planning your Thanksgiving meal and thanks to Festival Foods, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

For more great tips for the holidays or any day of the year, head to festfoods.com.

Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Spread
Snack or Dessert

Ingredients
· 8 ounces cream cheese
· 1/2 cup caramel sauce
· 4 tablespoons toffee bits
· 4 apples and / or pears cored and thinly sliced

Instructions

1) Place the block of cream cheese on a serving plate. Use the back of a spoon to create a small well in the top of
the cream cheese.

2) Spoon the caramel sauce into the well, allowing some to drip over the sides. Sprinkle evenly with toffee bits.

3) Serve with sliced apple and/or pears.

4) These are recommended amounts, but feel free to use more or less to suit your tastes.

Turkey Cheese Ball

Ingredients
· Cheese Spread (8-12oz)
· Pretzel Sticks
· Beef Sticks
· Chopped Nuts (pecans or walnuts)
· Candy Corn
· Whopper candy or chocolate type ball for head
· Candy Eyes
· Melted chocolate for sticking/gluing purposes
· Crackers

Instructions

1) Shape cheese spread into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap. Chill about 1 hour.

2) Roll cheeseball into chopped nuts keeping round shape.

3) Place pretzels as shown in picture.

4) Take a 4-5” beef stick and with melted chocolate add the round candy for head on top. May have to place in freezer to set. Add eyes and candy corn with melted chocolate and again freeze a few minutes until set.

5) Insert beef stick as the neck as shown in picture. Place on plate and chill about 1 hour. Add crackers and serve.

Cranberry Brie Bites

Ingredients
· 1 (8-oz.) tube crescent dough or puff pastry cups
· Cooking spray for pan, Flour for surface
· 1 8 oz Brie Cheese
· 1/2 c. whole berry Cranberry Sauce
· 1/4 c. Chopped Pecans
· 6 sprigs of Rosemary, cut into 1″ pieces.

Instructions

1) Preheat oven to 375° and grease a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. On a lightly floured surface, roll out crescent dough, and pinch together seams. Cut into 24 squares. Place squares into muffin tin slots. Or place pastry puff cups in muffin tin.

2) Cut brie into small pieces and place inside the crescent dough.

3) Top with a spoonful of cranberry sauce, some chopped pecans, and one little sprig of rosemary

4) Bake until the crescent pastry is golden, about 15 minutes.

TURKEY TIPS

1. Choose the right type of turkey for you.

Organic, Fresh, or Frozen? There are lots of choices. Remember, fresh may not necessarily be better than frozen; frozen turkeys are snap-frozen just after butchering.

2. Figure on 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person.

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.

3. 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.

4. Brining and/or Bagging keep it moist.

Brining and/or using a cooking bag are easy and a sure-fire way to a moist and flavorful turkey. A typical brining solution contains water or broth, salt, sugar and a variety of spices and aromatics. Just be sure to follow a trusted recipe so you get the right proportion of each.

5. Keep the stuffing on the side.

Chances are the Thanksgivings of your childhood featured a stuffing cooked right in the cavity of the turkey. Go ahead and use your family recipe, but we suggest you cook the stuffing in a separate pan. Cooking the stuffing in the turkey can provide fertile ground for the growth of harmful bacteria. In addition, a stuffed turkey will take longer to cook, which could result in drier white meat. Instead, loosely fill the turkey with aromatics such as onions and herbs, and cook the stuffing separately.

6. To tie or not to tie.

To help ensure that poultry cooks evenly, simply tuck the wings of the turkey under the body and tie the legs together with kitchen string to create a tight package.

7. 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, Canola oil or olive oil. For even moister meat, place pats of butter under the skin.

8. 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 or by rubbing it all over with butter or oil.

9. 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°F, it’s done. The turkey will continue to cook as it rests, so the temperature should rise another 10°F or so out of the oven.

10. 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.

12 Thanksgiving Tips

1. Make two trips for Thanksgiving grocery shopping.

1st trip: One week before Thanksgiving is for nonperishables — canned things, flour, sugar, spices, paper towels, napkins, foil — anything on your list that doesn’t need to be super fresh.
2nd: Smaller and easier trip the Tuesday before Thanksgiving just to pick up things like salad greens, fresh vegetables, fruit, milk and cream, etc.

2. Make your list of food items and double check before serving, so many people forget something so check your list and check it twice just to be sure!

3. Two – three weeks before Thanksgiving bring Knives to Festival Meat department to get them sharpened. Store is not as busy so timing is great.

4. Thaw your turkey in refrigerator, 2-3 days for 8-12#, 3-4 days for12-16# or 4-5 days for 16-20#

5. Plan your menu for oven space, you may need to use crock pots for items like mashed potatoes or stove top for vegetables.

6. Check your meat thermometer to be sure it is working and accurate, nothing worse than under or overdone turkey.

7. Wash/Cut and prep all vegetables like onions & celery for stuffing the day before. Any vegetables like green beans or Brussels sprouts can be ready for cooking the next day

8. Use Zip-lock bags for storing vegetables so it does not take as much room in the refrigerator.

9. If making cranberry sauce make 1-3 days before.

10. Set table day before and cover with a disposable plastic table cloth to keep free from dust.

11. Gather serving dishes and label each with what is to go in for quick and easy set up.

12. Recommend buffet style so people can get food easily and more quickly. Extra food on table like rolls, gravy etc. is wise. Keeps your table beautiful and not so much interruption with passing food items.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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