Thanksgiving Traditions Dinner starts with a taste of inspiration

November 20, 1991|By Sherrie Ruhl | Sherrie Ruhl,Evening Sun Staff

HERE'S A MODEL Thanksgiving meal and maybe some inspiration for next Thursday's feast.

Our centerpiece is a tender turkey roasted in an open pan. It can be basted with your choice of glazes to keep the skin moist and flavorful. Roasting directions are in the box below.

Peas and radishes combine in a crunchy, eye-catching holiday side dish. The dish cooks in your microwave, freeing the oven and stove-top for other uses.

Quick wheat pan rolls can be made ahead of time and frozen. Bake as usual, cool completely and wrap for the freezer. They will keep up to 12 months. To serve, unwrap sightly and thaw at room temperature two to three hours. Serve at room temperature or reheat, wrapped in foil, at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or wrap in paper towels and microwave briefly.

The holidays are one time when most people opt for a little extra indulgence. Pecan cheesecake can be made two days ahead and kept refrigerated. White mousse supreme piped into chocolate liqueur cups is dramatic and also the perfect treat for guests who are "too stuffed" for "more than just a bite."

Chocolate liqueur cups are available in gourmet shops and upscale liqueur stores or you can make your own. We bought 12 chocolate cups at Festival Wines and Spirits in Bel Air for $4.59.

We added tiny candy poinsettia and ivy leaves, available at cake decorating stores, on top of the mousse for extra color.

Cranberry stars, on the plate in our photograph, are easy to make. Slice canned cranberry sauce about one-quarter-inch ,X thick and cut out designs with a small star-shaped cookie cutter.

L Serve this tangy dressing with the best greens you can find.

Tarragon Vinaigrette

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup tarragon wine vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

Combine ingredients in a jar. Cover tightly and shake vigorously. Chill. Immediately before serving, shake dressing and pour over salad, tossing to coat greens. Serves eight.

Quick Wheat Pan Rolls

1 package Pillsbury hot roll mix

1/2 cup wheat germ

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/4 cups water heated to 120 to 130 degrees.

2 tablespoons oil

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

1 egg

1 tablespoon wheat germ

Grease two eight- or nine-inch round cake pans. In large bowl, combine roll mix with yeast from foil packet, wheat germ and sugar, mix well. Stir in 1 1/4 cups hot water, oil and egg until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. With greased or floured hands, shape dough into a ball. Knead dough for five minutes until smooth. Sprinkle additional flour over surface to reduce stickiness. Cover dough with large bowl; let rest five minutes.

Divide dough into 16 equal pieces; shape into balls. Place in greased pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and cloth towel. Let rise in warm place (80 to 85 degrees) until light and doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Uncover dough. In small bowl, beat one tablespoon water and one egg, brush over rolls. Sprinkle with wheat germ. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.

Wild Rice and Sausage

Stuffing

5 cups water

2 teaspoons chicken-flavor instant bouillon or 2 chicken flavor bouillon cubes

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3/4 cup uncooked wild rice, rinsed

1 1/2 cups uncooked regular rice

1 pound pork sausage

1 1/2 cups chopped celery

3/4 cup chopped onions

1/2 cup sliced peppers, a combination of yellow, red and green preferred

In large saucepan, combine water, bouillon and salt; bring to a boil. Add wild rice. Cover; simmer 20 minutes. Add regular rice. Cover; simmer an additional 25 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown sausage, celery, onions and peppers. Drain. Combine sausage mixture.

Bake any remaining stuffing in greased, covered casserole at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Allow one-half cup stuffing per pound of poultry.

Stuff birds just before roasting, if desired. Prepare stuffing when ready to roast bird or make ahead and refrigerate separately. Spoon stuffing lightly into cavity without packing, as it will expand during roasting. Bake any leftover stuffing in a buttered casserole at 350 degrees until heated through. Do not freeze stuffed poultry. Cooked stuffing can be frozen separate from the poultry.

-- adapted from "The Pillsbury Cookbook" Doubleday, 1989, $12.95.

Velvety Peas and Radishes

1 cup radishes, sliced

1 cup frozen peas

2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon dried dillweed

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning

In a 20-ounce microwave-safe casserole combine radishes, peas and water. Cook, covered, on 100 percent power (high) for five to seven minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring once. Drain. Cover to keep warm.

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