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With Thanksgiving coming up, menus are being planned. One question that falls a close second to is it stuffing or dressing is the sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes dilemma.

In a way it’s the age old question of savory or sweet.

Creamy buttery mashed potatoes is a culinary classic that has its place as a side dish to accompany almost every poultry dish worth its sage.

Yet the sweet potato casserole is every bit the culinary workhorse that can dress up with a streusel topping or kick back with a marshmallow topping. It, in a word, tastes of fall, with notes of cinnamon, vanilla and brown sugar.

But how to choose if you’re unsure? Nutritionally, the sweet potato packs 769% the daily recommended value of Vitamin A and 27% DV of potassium. Calorie-wise, both tubulars have similar values at 92-90 per 3.5 oz. servings. Mashed potatoes bring 140 calories to the table with 2 grams of sugar and 18 grams of carbs total for a 2/3 cup serving from the Betty Crocker recipe.   Sweet potatoes casserole comes in at 210 calories with 15 grams of sugar and 30 total carbs for a ½ cup of the Betty Crocker version.  Fat content is 7 grams for mashed potatoes or 9 grams for the sweet.

Preparation is a bit more involved with the casserole needing to first boil the sweet potatoes then baked for an additional 25 minute to finish the dish.







Oven Roasted Turkey with Herbs


Yield: 12 to 14 servings


1 (12 to 14 pound) whole turkey, thawed if frozen with neck and giblets removed


1 teaspoon salt


1 teaspoon black pepper


4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


6 sprigs fresh rosemary


6 sprigs fresh sage


6 sprigs fresh thyme


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease the rack of a roasting pan and fill the bottom with 3 cups water. Place the turkey on the rack and rub all over with the salt and pepper. Slip your fingers between the skin of the turkey and the meat, being careful not to rip the skin. Work the softened butter under the skin of the breast meat.


Place the herb sprigs in the cavity of the bird and truss. Insert a thermometer in the thigh just above the drumstick, making sure it doesn’t touch the bone. Place in the oven so you can easily see the thermometer through the oven window. Roast 3-1/2 to 4 hours or until the temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove from the oven and allow to rest at least 20 minutes before slicing. Cool completely before packaging for the refrigerator or freezer.




Pecan Dressing


Yield: 10 servings


1-1/2 cups chopped pecans


1-1/2 cups unsalted butter


2 medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped


8 celery stalks, chopped


1 cup low sodium chicken stock


16 cups assorted day old bread (mixture of sourdough, wheat, Italian), cubed


1/2 teaspoon garlic or seasoned salt


1/2 teaspoon black pepper


1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning


Arrange the pecans in a single layer in a shallow baking dish and place in the oven while it is preheating to 350 degrees. Roast for 7-8 minutes, stirring halfway through. Turn off the oven and set the pecans aside to cool. Place the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When melted, add the onions and celery. Saute 11-12 minutes or until tender. Add the pecans, stock, bread cubes, salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Remove from the heat and stir to evenly coat the bread cubes. Let stand for 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch baking dish. Evenly spread the dressing in the prepared dish and bake for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Let stand 10 minutes before serving warm.




Chocolate Souffles


Yield: 6 servings


5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped


1/4 cup milk


6 tablespoons sugar, divided


1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


3 egg yolks


4 egg whites


1/3 cup miniature milk chocolate chips


With cooking spray, grease six 4-ounce ramekins or 6-ounce custard cups. Place on a baking sheet and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.


Place the bittersweet chocolate and milk in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in half the sugar, extract and egg yolks. Set aside.


In a mixing bowl, whip the egg whites at medium-high speed of an electric mixer until the whites begin to hold their shape. Gradually add the remaining sugar a tablespoon at a time, whipping until soft peaks form.


Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and spoon batter into each ramekin or custard cup halfway. Sprinkle with the milk chocolate chips and fill the dishes to the top. Bake for 14 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven and serve immediately.











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