(Family Features) Most holiday feasts call for delicious dishes to please a crowd, but making preparation as simple as possible is as time-honored a tradition as the turkey itself. Simplifying your recipes and the ingredients you’ll need is one of the easiest ways you can take pressure off your own shoulders as the festivities draw near.
For example, this Sweet Tea Turkey Brine calls for just a handful of easy-to-find ingredients like Milo’s Famous Sweet Tea – available nationwide and fresh-brewed without any added preservatives or colors – for a tender centerpiece at your gathering. Follow it up with Sweet Pumpkin Bread for dessert that will truly wow your crowd while cutting down on prep time.
Find more holiday recipes and inspiration at drinkmilos.com.
Sweet Tea Turkey Brine
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1 gallon Milo’s Famous Sweet Tea
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 3 large sweet onions, quartered
- 4 lemons, sliced
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled
- 5 sprigs rosemary
- 10 cups ice
- whole turkey
- In large stockpot over medium-high heat, combine sweet tea and kosher salt; stir frequently until salt is dissolved. Add onions, lemons, garlic and rosemary. Remove from heat; let cool to room temperature.
- When broth mixture cools, pour into clean 5-gallon bucket. Stir in ice.
- Wash and dry turkey. Remove innards. Place turkey, cavity-side up, into brine to fill cavity. Cover and place bucket in refrigerator overnight.
- Remove turkey, carefully draining excess brine; pat dry. Discard excess brine.
- Cook turkey, as desired, reserving drippings for gravy.
Sweet Pumpkin Bread
Prep time: 15
Cook time: 55-60 minutes
Yield: 1 loaf
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup Milo’s Famous Sweet Tea
- 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts (optional)
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and nutmeg. In small bowl, whisk eggs, pumpkin and sweet tea. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just moistened. Fold in nuts, if desired.
- Pour into greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Bake 55-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to wire rack.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (pumpkin bread)
Source: Milo’s Sweet Tea
(Family Features) Make Father's Day special by combining two of Dad's favorite things - sweet treats and the grill. Hot dogs have gone gourmet and a big, juicy hamburger or steak is a tried-and-true classic. But, this year, show Dad how much you love him with a healthy twist on two American favorites - the chicken wing and watermelon.
If Dad is usually the one manning the grill, review these simple tips for cooking chicken outdoors before you begin:
- Preheat the grill on high.
- Make sure the grate is well oiled to prevent sticking.
- Transport the chicken to the grill on one plate and use a clean plate to take the prepared food back to the kitchen.
- Use tongs to turn the chicken instead of a fork, which may tear the meat.
- Keep the grill covered as much as possible for quicker, more even cooking.
- Have a spray bottle filled with water handy in case of a flare up.
- Once you remove the chicken from the grill, allow it to "rest" for five minutes so it will retain its juices when cut.
Get the kids involved in the meal preparation by creating a fun dessert. They can use a small ice cream scoop or melon baller to scoop out watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew. Serve the cool, refreshing treat in a pretty bowl or thread the melon balls onto skewers. Slices of watermelon can also be cut into fun shapes with cookie cutters. Add the shapes to the plate for a fun garnish or place one or two on the rim of a glass to add a festive flair.
Grilling out is a time-honored tradition so fire up the charcoal and let the celebration begin.
Look for more fun ways to enjoy watermelon and sign up for a free newsletter, at www.watermelon.org.
Chipotle Maple Citrus Watermelon Wings
- 2 cups watermelon puree
- Juice from 3 fresh lemons
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (can use light version)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, or to taste
- Chicken wings or drumettes
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 3 cloves minced fresh garlic
- To prepare the watermelon glaze, simmer ingredients together in a heavy saucepan for 20 minutes or until sauce is thick. Makes 2 cups. Keep warm.
- To prepare the chicken, place the chicken in a large zipper lock bag with rest of the ingredients and seal tightly. Allow to marinate at least 2 hours or up to 12. Grill until cooked and arrange on a warm platter. Pour the glaze over the chicken and serve immediately.
(Family Features) What can family members do special this year for Mom? Most Moms dream of a fine meal they don’t have to shop for, cook or clean up afterwards. Often going out for breakfast on Mother’s Day can mean dealing with long lines and slow service. But Dad and the kids can rise to the occasion and prepare a meal themselves at home that can be a real treat.
Even the dad who only makes breakfast on weekends can cater a fine restaurant meal at home, with kids as willing sous chefs. It’s easy when your family shops where the pros shop, such as Sam’s Club for frozen appetizers, readymade pastry, organic produce, fine wines, quality meats, great breads and fabulous cheesecake ready to thaw and serve. For a crowning touch, add an unexpected and affordable luxury gift and Mom just might decide to sign on for another year.
Check out www.samsclub.com — or the Sam’s Club nearest you — for more great Mother’s Day ideas.
Mother’s Day Game Plan
Here’s the game plan for catering a Mother’s Day meal at home.
- Chill the champagne or make a delicious punch a few hours before the meal.
- Read the instructions on the box, then pop those frozen appetizers in the oven.
- Prepare and cook the salmon.
- Slice up some fresh fruit or bread.
- Finish with a deliciously moist cheesecake - a Mom favorite. (Remember to thaw it beforehand.)
- Serve Mom in bed - let her relax and enjoy the meal and her day.
- Have the kids clean up the kitchen.
- Watch Mom smile.
Mom’s Secret Wish List
Mom usually puts the needs of her family first. But if she were really honest, she would say she’d love to have something from this list. And, Dads, when you shop smart, these become affordable luxuries.
- Diamonds. They’re always a girl’s best friend. Diamond solitaire earrings go with everything — jeans on the soccer field, a suit at the office or workout clothes at the gym.
- Designer Fragrances. Perfume and cologne in her special scent makes Mom feel pampered and special.
- Furniture. Surprise her with something she’s been wanting, whether it’s the armoire for the great room, a new desk for the home office or even a new leather sofa.
- Chocolate. Always a treat, especially now that health experts have declared that dark chocolate is actually good for us. Now, will it be Godiva or Ghirardelli?
- Culinary Ware. If Mom has been trying to make culinary masterpieces from a mismatched set of cookware from her early married days, it’s time for an upgrade. Or, maybe she’d love a stand mixer or a great platter.
Puff pastry encloses flavorful salmon, spinach and herbs in a main dish fit for a special occasion. Wellington preparations are thought to take a great deal of time and skill to make. However, with the time saver of purchased puff pastry, it’s a breeze. The bundles can be prepared up to a week in advance and then frozen. Just pop them in the oven when needed.
Note: Puff pastry must be cold (but not frozen) when placed into a hot oven in order for the pastry to become light and flaky.
Makes: 4 servings
- 1 tablespoon sweet butter
- 1-1/2 tablespoons shallots or onion, minced
- 1/2 cup frozen spinach, defrosted and well drained
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon thyme or dill
- minced Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 1-1/2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
- 4 thick, skinless fillets of salmon (about 6 ounces each)
- 2 packages puff pastry (defrosted in refrigerator)
- 1 lightly beaten egg
- 1 teaspoon milk
- Heat sauté pan with butter over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté 3 to 4 minutes until softened. Reduce heat to medium-low and add spinach, nutmeg, lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes; remove from heat and stir in feta. Taste for seasoning and let cool.
- Lightly salt and pepper each piece of salmon and top with 2 tablespoons of spinach mixture.
- Roll out pastry sheets on lightly floured board. Cut 1 piece of pastry for bottom of each fillet — about 1 inch larger than the salmon. Cut a second piece large enough to drape over fillet and touch counter, plus 1 inch to spare all the way around.
- Brush edge of smaller sheet with lightly beaten egg mixed with milk. Place 1 piece of salmon in center of pastry. Drape larger piece over salmon and seal the two pieces of dough together by folding and pleating like a pie crust. Repeat for each “package.” Chill at least 30 minutes or freeze up to 1 week before baking.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush top of each package with a small amount of egg/milk mixture. Put on sheet pan lined with parchment paper and a dusting of corn meal. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 23 minutes, until golden. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Cranberry Splash Punch
Makes: 8 servings
- 4 cups cranberry juice
- 3 cups pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup cherry juice
- 2 cups puréed strawberries or raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- 6 cups ice cubes
- 2 lemons, sliced
- 2 limes, sliced
- 3 cups orange soda or ginger ale
- Mix all juices and puréed berries and chill thoroughly.
- To serve, put punch in handsome container and add ice and fruit. Slowly stir in orange soda.
Source: Sam's Club