An Unforgettable Feast ~ A Tuscan-Inspired Holiday Menu

  • Written by Family Features

(Family Features) This holiday, serve an inspired meal bursting with the rich flavors of Tuscany. With these recipes — a moist and tender turkey along with savory sides — you can create an unforgettable experience with family and friends.

These Tuscan-inspired recipes from Carapelli Olive Oil will enhance and lighten up your holiday favorites with the distinctive taste of heart-healthy olive oil. Naturally cholesterol free, olive oil is a monounsaturated fat, which makes it a healthful substitute for butter, shortening and other oils.

Whether you are entertaining a large crowd or serving up a small family-style dinner, this Tuscan Roast Turkey will be the centerpiece of your holiday table. The juicy flavors and crisp, golden brown skin come from a Tuscan Herb Paste made with fresh herbs and a blend of olive oils.

After you’ve tried Olive Oil and Herb Mashed Potatoes, you may never want to go back to plain mashed potatoes again. The creamy texture and robust flavor are a perfect complement to the turkey.

For another amazing side dish, try sweet and salty Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Prosciutto — it just might become the family’s new favorite.

The rich taste of olive oil promises to elevate your holiday cooking to delicious works of art. For more recipes that will turn any meal into an unforgettable feast, visit

Tuscan Turkey

Tuscan Roast Turkey

Serves 16

1 16-pound young turkey

Kosher salt, to taste

1 cup Tuscan Herb Paste

1 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed

2 tsp. celery salt

3 fennel stalks with fronds, rough chopped

3 onions, large dice

1 stalk celery, small dice

2 1/4 quarts chicken stock, divided

3 ounces all-purpose flour

Remove giblets from turkey’s cavity, rinse cavity and pat dry, set aside. Season turkey inside and out with kosher salt.

Mix Tuscan Herb Paste with crushed fennel seeds and celery salt.

Starting at the neck of the bird, slip your hand between the meat and the skin to loosen.

Rub half the paste mix under skin, and rub remaining paste inside the cavity and over the rest of the turkey.

Place two-thirds of the chopped onion and fennel stalks inside cavity. Truss bird.

Place turkey in a roasting pan. Roast at 400°F for 30 minutes.

Reduce temperature to 325°F and continue cooking the turkey to an internal temperature of 160°F, approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Baste turkey often during cooking with juices from pan.

If turkey begins to overbrown, cover it loosely with aluminum foil.

As turkey roasts, simmer giblets (neck, heart and gizzard), the other one-third of the fennel stalk, onion mix and diced celery in 1 quart chicken stock until tender, approximately 1 1/2 hours.

When turkey is done, remove from roasting pan and set aside to rest.

Degrease roasting pan, reserving 3 ounces of fat to make a roux.

Deglaze pan with a small amount of chicken stock. Transfer stock to a saucepot, and add remaining stock and broth from giblets.

Bring to a simmer and degrease.

Make a blond roux with reserved fat and flour. Add roux to the liquid, whisking well to prevent lumps. Simmer 15 minutes.

Strain gravy through a fine-meshed strainer. Adjust seasoning.

Tuscan Herb Paste

Yield: 2 1/4 c.

1 Tbsp. fresh basil

2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary

1/2 packed cup fresh Italian parsley

1 Tbsp. fresh thyme

2 Tbsp. fresh sage

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

3/4 cup Carapelli Olive Oil

1 cup Carapelli Premium 100% Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Blend herbs and crushed red pepper with light olive oil using a blender or food processor, then stir in extra virgin olive oil.

Serving Ideas: Rub under the skin of turkey for Tuscan Roast Turkey.

Use to flavor vegetables for grilling and mushrooms for roasting.

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Prosciutto

Serves 12

2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, blanched, quartered

4 Tbsp. Carapelli Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 onion, julienned

1 1/2 ounces prosciutto, sliced into 1/2-inch strips

4 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

Sea salt

Fresh cracked black pepper

Trim stem end of Brussels sprouts.

Discard wilted outside leaves. Boil in salted water until cooked through (about 7 minutes) and just tender.

Shock in ice water. Quarter the cooled sprouts.

In large skillet over medium-high heat, caramelize onions in olive oil for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from pan.

Place in bowl, mix with prosciutto.

In the same skillet, over high heat, lightly brown Brussels sprouts.

Add onion-prosciutto mix, toss.

Deglaze by adding white balsamic vinegar and scraping bottom of pan. Season with salt and pepper.

Mashed Potatoes

Olive Oil and Herb Mashed Potatoes

Serves 12

10 8-ounce potatoes, (about 5 pounds) peeled and cut in half

3/8 tsp. white pepper

1 1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt

1/2 c. Tuscan Herb paste

1/2 c. Carapelli Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 c. heavy cream, warmed

Boil potatoes in salted water.

When cooked tender, mash potatoes.

Mix salt and pepper with Tuscan Herb Paste, olive oil and warm heavy cream. Fold into potatoes.

‘Tis the Season for Everything Gingerbread

  • Written by Family Features

Giingerbread2Gingerbread is synonymous with the holidays. Who can resist the sweet-spicy aroma of gingerbread baking, and the absolute fun of decorating gingerbread creations such as a welcoming gingerbread house, or cookies for dessert, gift giving and, of course, for Santa.

For a customized house, like “Welcome to Candy Lane” pictured here, check out the complete instructions in the new book, “Wilton Cookie Exchange.”

This classic gingerbread cookie recipe, redolent with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, is perfect for cutting into holiday shapes, including the favorite gingerbread man … which can be enjoyed plain, simply outlined in white icing, or more elaborately decorated. This versatile recipe could also be the basis for a homemade gingerbread house, or tree ornaments. For ornaments, don’t forget to make a hole in the cookie (using a thin drinking straw) immediately after removing from the oven.

Visit to find additional holiday gingerbread treats — plus many more ideas for holiday celebrations.

Gingerbread cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

3 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 c. solid vegetable shortening

1/2 c. granulated sugar

3/4 c. molasses*

1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices. In large saucepan, melt shortening; cool slightly. Stir in sugar, molasses and egg; mix well. Add 2 c. flour mixture; mix well.

Turn mixture onto lightly floured surface. Knead in remaining flour mixture by hand. Add additional flour, if necessary, to make firm dough. Roll out on a lightly floured surface, 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Cut out cookies with holiday cutters in a variety of shapes.

Bake on ungreased cookie sheet until lightly browned on edges, about 10-15 minutes for large sized cookies, 6-10 minutes for small to medium sized cookies. Cool on cookie sheet placed on cooling grid 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheet and cool completely.  Decorate as desired.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

*Substitute 3/4 c. light corn syrup for molasses to make Blonde Gingerbread.

Courtesy of Family Features

Pear Tart

  • Written by Karin Hopper


Pear Tart

Do you want to impress without the effort?  This is the dessert for you.  The key ingredients for this recipe are a nice quality tart pan and the almond extract.  It is a simple recipe that delivers on the flavor and the impression.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup plus
1 Tbsp sugar (reserve)
1 large egg
1/2 tsp almond extract
4 Barlett pears
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup apricot jam
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Spray with cooking spray, a tart pan (9 or 10 inch) with removable bottom.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy; beat in the egg and almond extract. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add the flour mixture, until fully incorporated (dough will be soft).

Spread the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Use floured fingers or a floured cup and even out the crust.
Peel, core and cut each pear into 1 1/2- to 2-in. wedges. Arrange pears (slightly overlapping) in a circular pattern with tips pointing toward center. Repeat in the opposite direction. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and remaining sugar.
Bake until the crust is golden brown and the pears are tender, 65 to 75 minutes. Let cool for 1 hour.

In a saucepan, heat the jam and lemon juice. Cook, stirring constantly, until the jam is melted. Brush the jam mixture over the tart.

Indulge in a Special Holiday Moment

  • Written by Family Features

(Family Features) This season is full of hustle and bustle, with everyone working hard to make holiday magic. In all the frenzy to make a big impression, it’s easy to forget to take a moment for yourself.


Chocolate Maple Cake with Chocolate Maple Mousse

Prep Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: 12 servings


Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray

2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup Hungry Jack® Original Syrup

1/4 cup strong brewed Millstone Breakfast Blend K-Cup® portion pack

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt


2 cups heavy cream, divided

2 1/4 teaspoons Hungry Jack Original Syrup

8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped

Fresh fruit

Chocolate Maple Cake:

Heat oven to 350°F. Coat 8 x 8-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray.

Melt chocolate and butter in small saucepan over low heat. Cool 5 minutes.

Combine sugar, syrup, coffee, buttermilk, egg, vanilla and chocolate mixture in a large bowl.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Stir flour mixture into chocolate mixture until blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack.

Chocolate Maple Mousse:

Bring 2/3 cup heavy cream to a boil.

Combine syrup and milk chocolate in medium bowl. Pour boiling cream over chocolate mixture. Wait 30 seconds then stir.

Stir in remaining 1 1/3 cups heavy cream to mixture with electric mixer on medium speed. Chill mixture for 1 hour. Beat mousse until soft peak. Spread over cake. Top with fresh fruit if desired.

Cinnamon Latte

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 1 serving

1/2 cup milk

3-4 tablespoons cinnamon flavored syrup*

1/4 cup hot, fresh strong brewed Millstone Breakfast Blend K-Cup® portion pack

Whipped cream

Smucker’s® Sundae Syrup™ Caramel Flavored Syrup, for garnish

Ground cinnamon, for garnish

Pour milk into 1-quart microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until hot but not boiling. Whisk until foamy.

Pour cinnamon syrup into standard-size coffee cup. Microwave on HIGH 20 seconds to warm syrup. Stir in hot coffee.

Add steamed milk to brim of cup. Top with swirl of whipped cream. Drizzle with caramel flavored syrup. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.

Picture-Perfect Pumpkin Pie

  • Written by Jenny Harper (Family Features)
Thanksgiving is just not complete without a pumpkin pie—it’s the most treasured tradition on my holiday table. Amidst the flurry of activity on Thanksgiving morning, It’s hard to top the traditional Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe, which has been on the label since 1950. This pumpkin custard has the perfect creamy taste created by the blend of pumpkin and evaporated milk and allows the time-honored spice blend to come through. For a cool twist on tradition, Easy Pumpkin Cream Pie is an easy, luscious pie with the flavors of the season in a cool, creamy dessert.


Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie

Makes 8 servings

3/4 c. granulated sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

2 large eggs

1 can (15 ounces) Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin

1 can (12 fluid ounces) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Milk

1 unbaked 9-inch (4-c. volume) deep-dish pie shell

Whipped cream (optional)

MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

TIP: 1 3/4 tsp. pumpkin spice may be substituted for the cinnamon, ginger and cloves; however, the taste will be slightly different. Do not freeze, as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.

Nutrition Facts per Serving: 280 calories; 100 calories from fat; 11g total fat;5g saturated fat; 70mg cholesterol; 350mg sodium; 40g carbohydrate, 2g fiber; 25g sugars; 6g protein; 130% DV vitamin A; 0% DV vitamin C; 15% DV calcium; 4% DV iron

Photo courtesy of Nestlé