A complete Thanksgiving dinner made easy

Food, friends and family. Thanksgiving would be incomplete without any of them, but the most important is the holiday feast your family and friends have gathered to enjoy while the game plays in the background. Serving up a full holiday spread – from turkey to dessert – that is sure to bring everyone back for years to come is easy with these tips for every stage of the meal.

From a farm family’s table to yours
Pair this perfectly pumpkin dessert with a glass of milk for a tasty twist on a holiday favorite. From fourth-generation dairy farmers – Ryan and Susan Anglin and their sons, Cody and Casey, of Triple A Farms in Bentonville, Arkansas – this savory dessert, featured in The Dairy Good Cookbook, is sure to become a tradition in your family, just as it is in the Anglin family. For more recipes, visit MidwestDairy.com.


Pumpkin Pie Squares with Cinnamon Sugar Yogurt Toppingpumpkin pie squares

Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Servings: 16
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons low-fat milk
cooking spray

2 cups canned pumpkin
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt

Heat oven to 350 F.

In large bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, oats, brown sugar, butter and milk. Press into thin layer in a 9-by-13-inch pan greased with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes.

While crust is baking, in another bowl, beat together pumpkin through salt. Pour over crust and bake for 40 minutes or until set. Sprinkle pecans over filling and bake another 10-15 minutes or until center is set. Cool slightly in pan.

Mix together sugar and cinnamon. Mix in yogurt. Top each square with 1 tablespoon yogurt topping.


Leave your taste buds dancing for joy
With rich, creamy, delicious flavors in every bite, this Sorghum Pecan Praline Cheesecake will leave everyone at your table satisfied. Luscious sorghum syrup, which is naturally high in fiber, iron and protein, surrounds, captures and complements the decadent cheesecake and praline pecan topping. Find more satisfying recipes using sorghum that will keep your taste buds tingling all season long, visit sorghumcheckoff.com.


Pecan Praline CheesecakeSorghum Pecan Praline Cheesecake
Recipe developed by Brenda Watts, Gaffney, South Carolina
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/8 cups sorghum syrup, divided
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup sorghum syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs

1 package (6 ounces) pecan halves
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons sorghum syrup, divided
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat oven to 325 F. Lightly spray bottom and sides of 9-inch non-stick springform pan with removable rim. Place pan over center of 3 18-inch sheets heavy-duty foil and securely wrap foil around outside bottom and sides of pan.

For cheesecake, in small bowl, combine butter and 2 tablespoons sorghum syrup. In medium bowl, toss graham cracker crumbs and sorghum butter mixture together until crumbs are moistened. Press crumb mixture evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake 8 minutes to form crust; remove from oven and cool 10 minutes over wire rack.

In large bowl use electric mixer on medium speed to beat cream cheese, sour cream, brown sugar and flour, 3 minutes, or until well blended and smooth. Gradually add 1 cup sorghum syrup, vanilla and eggs (one egg at a time) and continue beating 3 minutes longer from low speed increasing to medium speed, or until mixture is well blended and creamy. Pour filling evenly over crust in pan. Place pan in center of large baking pan (e.g., roasting pan) and pour 1-inch of hot water in large baking pan, around filled prepared pan.

Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until center is almost set but slightly jiggles. Remove from oven, remove cheesecake from baking pan and gently remove wrapped foil from cheesecake. Place cheesecake onto wire rack to cool 15 minutes. Run thin, sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen edges; cool in pan 2-3 hours in refrigerator.

Meanwhile, prepare pecans. Increase oven temperature to 350 F. Line baking sheet with large sheet of parchment paper. In bowl, sprinkle brown sugar and drizzle 1 tablespoon sorghum syrup over pecans. Using large spoon, toss to evenly coat and spread pecans flat over parchment paper-lined pan. Bake pecans 8 minutes or until lightly browned and glazed. Place pan over wire cooling rack, use large spoon to separate and evenly coat pecans; let cool 10 minutes.

In heavy duty 1-quart non-stick saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and 3 tablespoons sorghum syrup into melted butter and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until blended and heated through, stirring constantly. Stir heavy cream, vanilla and salt into mixture; continue stirring constantly until praline mixture comes to a boil. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool.

To serve, remove rim of pan from cheesecake. Place cheesecake on large round serving plate. Place glazed pecans flat on top of cheesecake, starting at outer edges and ending in center. Spoon or pour praline topping evenly over top of cheesecake.


TurkeyTurkey day tips
The sight of a beautifully cooked, golden brown bird being brought to the table is one of the most memorable moments of any Thanksgiving gathering. Follow these tips to prepare the perfect centerpiece for your holiday meal:

Thawing Your Turkey
For every 5 pounds in weight, thaw in original wrapper for 24 hours in the refrigerator. Thaw faster by covering with cold water in the sink and soaking approximately 30 minutes per pound.

Refrigerate as soon as thawed or cook immediately. For best quality, do not refreeze uncooked turkey.

Roasting the Bird
•  Baste with extra virgin olive oil.

•  Place breast-side-up on rack in shallow roasting pan. Cook in 325 F oven.

•  For an unstuffed turkey, place a stalk or two of celery, seasonings, a cut-up onion and a handful of parsley in the cavity to keep it moist.

•  Lay “tent” of foil loosely over turkey to prevent over-browning.

•  Turkey is done when meat thermometer is 180 F or when the red stem on the pop-up thermometer rises.

•  For easier carving, let turkey stand at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.

More ways to make the perfect centerpiece
•  Grilled: Grill 15-18 minutes per pound. Air in grill must be between 225-300 F.

•  Deep Fat Fried: Cook 3-5 minutes per pound in 350 F oil.

•  Smoked: Cook 20-30 minutes per pound. Air in smoker must be between 225-300 F.

•  Microwaved: Cook 9-10 minutes per pound on medium power. Rotate during cooking.


Have your sides and eat them too
While the turkey takes center stage on Thanksgiving, surrounding the centerpiece with a variety of delicious side dishes can take your turkey day to the next level. Here are a few popular sides to round out your table:

  • Potatoes: While mashed potatoes and gravy are always a holiday hit, other serving options, such as roasted potatoes, scalloped potatoes or sweet potatoes, can add variety to a favorite traditional dish.
  • Fruits and vegetables: From green bean casserole and cranberry sauce to roasted vegetables, corn pudding, candied yams and butternut squash, no table is full without a variety of fruits and veggies to choose from.
  • Noodles: Outside of a traditional potato side, many turkey day tables offer pasta-based sides, such as homemade turkey noodles, macaroni and cheese or pasta salad.
  • Bread: No Thanksgiving meal can be complete without cornbread, rolls or biscuits – which can also be used to make miniature turkey sandwiches after the meal is over – and a holiday classic, stuffing.

(Family Features) Photo courtesy of Getty Images (turkey)

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