November 22, 2000

Festive Gatherings

Food, Family, Fun

Key ingredients for any festive gathering are food, family and fun! Delicious food the whole family will love and have fun creating...and, of course, eating! And what could be more delicious than three of America's favorite comfort foods: roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and apple pie.

Jazz up the conventional turkey with flavorful rubs and bastings that will blend well with traditional side dishes, such as Apricot-Glazed Turkey With Herb Butter. Then, take the guesswork out of roasting the turkey to perfection by buying one equipped with a Pop-Up Timer. As the turkey roasts and reaches its optimum doneness, the colorful button-head of the Timer "pops" up, indicating the turkey is ready to serve. Have the kids help watch for the Timer to "pop" up.

For the ultimate presentation, Cutco Cutlery suggests "dressing up" the turkey with fruit and vegetable garnishes the whole family will have fun creating. Use a sharp paring knife to create tomato roses or carrot blossoms and create small bouquets of fresh herbs to tuck here and there. When carving the turkey, Cutco suggests using a carving fork to steady the bird, a sharp carving knife to create smooth even slices and the carving fork again to transfer slices to the serving platter.

What would any meal be without mashed potatoes - one of America's favorite comfort foods that is high in vitamin C and fiber, low in calories and sodium and is fat and cholesterol free. To save time and preserve nutrients, pierce potato skins with a fork, microwave and mash with the skins on. Wisconsin Potatoes suggests serving mashed potatoes with a little milk and butter and then perking them up by adding your favorite spices or other ingredients. Sautéed garlic and mushrooms, cheese and chopped green onion, and creamy Italian or ranch dressing are savory flavorings, or for potatoes with a bite, try a dash of basil and cayenne pepper! Be creative...use your imagination to create special tastes your family will love.

To add to the fun, let the kids and other family members help watch for the turkey Timer to pop up, "dress up" the turkey and jazz up the potatoes and pie. Food, family, fun - a day everyone will remember!

Potato & Mushroom Stuffing

2 packages mushroom stuffing mix
1 lb. sausage, cooked and crumbled
6 Wisconsin potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 stick butter
1 can (8 oz.) sliced mushrooms

Prepare stuffing mix according to directions. Cook and crumble sausage; drain well. Add to mix. Peel, slice in bite size pieces and boil potatoes; drain well. Add to mix. Add remaining ingredients and stuff a 12-14 pound turkey or put in a covered casserole dish and microwave on medium for 12 minutes. Makes 6 servings.


Cream Cheese and Chives Mashed Potatoes

4 medium Wisconsin potatoes, peeled or unpeeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup nonfat cream cheese
1/4 to 1/3 cup 1 percent milk
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives or 2 tablespoons dried chopped chives
Salt and pepper to taste

In medium saucepan, cook potatoes in 2 inches boiling water, covered, about 12 minutes, until tender; drain thoroughly. Mash potatoes with electric mixer or potato masher. Mix in cream cheese until melted. Mix in remaining ingredients. Do not overbeat. Stir gently over low heat until heated through. Makes 4 servings.


Helpful hints and ideas for Wisconsin potatoes!

Visit their web site for Baby Baker information, helpful hints and recipe ideas from Wisconsin potato producers at:


Apricot-Glazed Turkey With Herb Butter

The apricot glaze gives a wonderful sheen to the bird, and the herb butter adds moisture and subtle flavor.
1 cup apricot nectar
1 cup apricot preserves
2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger root
1 Tbsp. Honey
3/4 cup butter, unsalted, room temperature
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 turkey (21 to 22 lbs.)
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh sage or 1/4 tsp. dried
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) chicken broth
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

For Glaze: Combine apricot nectar, preserves, ginger root and honey in a small heavy saucepan, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, about 15 minutes.

For Herb Butter: Blend 3/4 cup room temperature unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, salt and pepper in small bowl. Set aside.

1. Preheat oven to 400° F.

2. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Season turkey cavity with salt and pepper.

3. Place turkey on rack, and set in large roasting pan. Slide hand under skin of turkey breast to loosen skin.

4. Spread half of herb butter over breast under skin. Place remaining herb butter in small saucepan. Stir over low heat until melted. Brush butter over outside of turkey. Tie legs together loosely to hold shape of turkey.

5. Roast turkey for 1/2 hour. Reduce oven temperature to 325° F. Roast turkey another 1 1/2 hours, basting occasionally with pan drippings. (Add chicken broth to pan if pan drippings evaporate.)

6. Tent turkey with heavy-duty foil; roast 1 hour, brushing hot glaze over turkey.

7. Remove foil; roast another 1/2 hour. Turkey is done when colorful buttonhead of Timer "pops" up.

8. Place turkey on platter; tent with foil. Let stand 1/2 hour before carving.

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