Thanksgiving is hectic, true, but you can create a gracious gathering with minimal fuss with help from Sandra Lee, star of Semi-Homemade Cooking on the Food Network. Sandra’s Semi-Homemade shortcuts cut the kitchen time in half, leaving you lots of time to join in on the festivities. Below are Sandra’s quick-fix Thanksgiving recipes from her new book: Semi-Homemade Fast-Fix Family Favorites. This delicious holiday menu couldn’t be easier to prepare and her streamlined classic tastes so good that everyone – especially the cook – will give thanks. A kick-off cocktail spreads the warmth to all senses, so start things off with a Hot Apple Toddy. The combination of apple cider, rum and cinnamon schnapps add an amazing aroma to the kitchen. For a fancy little side dish, create Prosciutto-Tied Asparagus drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice. Turkey with Cornbread Stuffing, served with Pink Peppercorn Gravy or Lemon Chive Gravy, is a flavorful, classic main dish that your guests will love. For dessert, stir syrup, sugar, eggs, flour and vanilla together and you have a rich Maple Pecan Pie in under ten minutes. Finally, add family and friends and you’ve got the recipe for a thankful day.
Recipe excerpted from Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Fast-Fix Family Favorites
* Prosciutto-Tied Asparagus
* Hot Apple Toddies
* Turkey with Cornbread Stuffing
* Pink Peppercorn Gravy
* Lemon Chive Gravy
* Maple Pecan Pie
Pink Peppercorn Gravy
Start to Finish 10 minutes Makes 2 1⁄2 cups
2 1⁄4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, Swanson®
1⁄4 cup cognac
1 packet (1.6-ounce) garlic and herb sauce mix, Knorr®
1 packet (0.87-ounce) turkey or brown gravy mix, McCormick®
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons pink peppercorns, crushed, The Spice Hunter®
Crushed pink peppercorns and fresh thyme sprigs (optional)
In a medium saucepan, whisk together chicken broth, cognac, dry sauce mix, and dry gravy mix; stir in butter and peppercorns. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 3 minutes or until thickened. Garnish with pink peppercorns and fresh thyme sprigs (optional).
Start to Finish 10 minutes Makes 2 cups
1 jar (12-ounce) turkey, chicken, brown, or mushroom gravy, Heinz®
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice, Minute Maid®
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon dry sherry, Christian Brothers®
Salt and black pepper
Fresh chives (optional)
In a medium saucepan, combine gravy, butter, lemon juice, chives, and sherry. Cook over medium heat just until simmering. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh chives (optional).
Start to Finish 20 minutes Makes 18 bundles
1 package (3-ounce) prosciutto, Columbus®
1 pound thin asparagus, ends trimmed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice, ReaLemon®
Salt and ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut prosciutto slices lengthwise into two thin strips. Gather two to three asparagus spears and carefully tie prosciutto into a knot around asparagus bundle. Continue until all ingredients are used and place asparagus bundles on prepared baking sheet.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice. Drizzle over asparagus. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes.
Hot Apple Toddies
Prep 5 minutes Cook 45 minutes Makes 4 drinks
3 cups apple cider, Martinelli’s®
1⁄2 cup spiced rum, Captain Morgan®
1⁄2 cup cinnamon schnapps, Goldschlager®
4 cinnamon sticks, McCormick®
Cinnamon sticks, McCormick®
1. In a medium saucepan, combine apple cider, rum, schnapps, and the 4 cinnamon sticks. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 45 to 60 minutes. (Or, use a 4-quart slow cooker.)
2. Serve warm in footed glasses. Garnish each with cinnamon stick swizzles. Note: If using bittersweet to garnish the cinnamon stick swizzles, make sure it is faux.
Turkey with Cornbread Stuffing
Prep 45 minutes Bake 4 hours Stand 15 minutes Makes 8 to 10 servings
1 12-pound frozen turkey, thawed
1 box (8.5-ounce) cornbread mix, Jiffy®
1 cup chopped celery
1⁄2 cup chopped green onions,/p>
1 can (10.5-ounce) chicken with rice soup, Campbell’s®
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning, McCormick®
1 stick (1⁄2 cup) butter, softened
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and ground black pepper
1. Rinse the turkey in clean water and pat dry with paper towels. Remove the gizzards and neck. Place gizzards and neck in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer to create broth for gravy. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from heat, strain, and reserve.
2. Meanwhile, prepare cornbread according to package directions. Crumble cornbread into small pieces; place on a baking sheet to air dry. In a bowl, combine prepared cornbread, celery, and green onions. Add soup and poultry seasoning. Mix well; stuff inside turkey cavities.
3. Generously cover turkey with softened butter. Tent with aluminum foil and bake according to package instructions for bird’s weight. One hour before bird is done, remove foil and baste. The turkey is done when the internal temperature registers 170 degrees F deep in the thigh. The temperature of the stuffing should be 160 degrees F in the center.
4. Remove turkey from oven. Place on a serving platter; tent with foil. Let turkey stand for about 15 minutes until the temperature of the stuffing reaches 165 degrees F in the center and the temperature in the thigh rises to 180 degrees F.
5. While turkey stands, prepare gravy. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add flour; cook and stir until deep brown. Add turkey drippings and whisk until thickened. Add reserved gizzard broth and simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Remove stuffing from bird and place in a serving bowl. Carve turkey and arrange on a platter. Serve with stuffing and gravy.
Maple Pecan Pie
Prep 10 minutes Bake 50 minutes Cool 15 minutes Makes 8 servings
11⁄4 cups maple-flavored pancake syrup, Log Cabin Original Syrup®
1⁄3 cup packed golden brown sugar
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
11⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, McCormick®
2 tablespoons butter, melted
11⁄2 cups pecan halves
1 9-inch frozen unbaked deep-dish pie shell, Marie Callender’s®
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir together syrup, sugar, eggs, egg yolk, flour, and vanilla. Whisk in melted butter. Stir in 1 cup of pecans. Place frozen pie shell on a baking sheet. Pour maple syrup mixture into shell. Arrange remaining 1⁄2 cup of pecans on syrup mixture, pressing into syrup mixture to coat.
2. Place baking sheet in center of oven. Bake pie for 50 minutes or until edges are golden and filling is just set in center. Cool pie on cooling rack for 15 minutes. Cut pie into wedges and serve warm.