During the holidays, which are my favorite time of the year, memories of home remind me of these wonderful recipes. Our selection includes Crunchy Strawberry Salad, My Mom’s Sautéed Turkey Steak with Poulette Sauce, Bread Stuffing, Baked chicken Breast and Dressing, and a simple Brandied Apricot Dessert. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!


Crunchy Strawberry Salad


Crust:


2 cups crushed pretzels


3/4 cup melted butter


2 tablespoons sugar


Filling:


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese


1 cup sugar


1 teaspoon vanilla extract


2 cups Cool Whip


Topping:


1 (8-ounce) package strawberry Jello


2 cups hot water


1 (10-ounce) package frozen sweetened strawberries, thawed


To make crust, crush pretzel with a rolling pin until the consistency of small pecan pieces. Mix pretzels, butter and sugar. Pat in the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 5 to 6 minutes. Watch time carefully; pretzels will not brown. Remove and let cool. For filling, cream the cream cheese, cup of sugar, vanilla and Cool Whip. Spread over cooled crust.


For the topping, mix strawberry Jello and hot water. Let cool. Add strawberries. Refrigerate until consistency of syrup. Pour over cream cheese filling and refrigerate until firm. Serves 8 to 12. One of the best congealed salads you will ever eat!


My Mom’s Sautéed Turkey Steak with Poulette Sauce


Cut 4 to 6 slices of cooked turkey breast 1/2-inch thick. Coat with seasoned flour, dip in beaten egg, then in dry bread crumbs. Sauté in slightly-browned butter in a large, heavy skillet until golden brown on both sides. Place on a hot platter and spoon over the following poulette sauce: Melt 3 tablespoons butter and cook 1/2 cup finely-chopped mushrooms until they just start to turn color. Blend in 2 tablespoons flour. Pour in 1 1/2 cups milk and stir until the mixture comes to a boil.


Serve over turkey steaks. My favorite way to serve turkey steaks at home. So delicious!


Bread Stuffing


1 stick butter


1 1/2 cups chopped onion


1/2 cup finely-chopped celery or more


1/2 cup chopped celery tops


1 1/2 teaspoons thyme


1 pound sausage, crumbled and lightly browned


1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper


1 tablespoon salt or to taste


8 cups bread crumbs 1(half cornbread, (toasted bread crumbs, or if desired, use all cornbread)


3/4 cup Madeira wine, optional


1 1/2 cups water chestnuts or chopped walnuts or pecans


2 cans (14 ounce) chicken broth, or more


2 eggs, beaten


Slightly sauté onion and celery in butter. Add rest of ingredients, sausage, eggs, water chestnuts (or pecans), bread crumbs, seasonings and chicken broth, along with wine, if desired. This is sufficient stuffing for one 8-to-10 pound bird, or cook it in a 9x13 baking dish, greased, for 350 degrees for one hour.


Baked Chicken Breast and Dressing


Season 6 large chicken breasts with salt, dust with flour, brush with butter and sprinkle with paprika. Set aside.


1 large box Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice Mix


Boiling water (see rice box)


Salt to taste


Pepper


1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning, or more if needed


1/2 cup butter


2 cups chopped celery


1/2 cup chopped onion


1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms


1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans


Add rice, salt, pepper and poultry seasoning to boiling water. Mix just enough to moisten rice. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand. Lightly sauté celery, onions, mushrooms and pecans. Add to prepared rice. Spray baking dish with cooking spray. Place rice mixture into baking dish; place chicken on top of rice mixture, skin side up. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for l 1/2 hours. Easy to cut in half if too much. Serves 6.


Tip: Add lemon juice to the butter when you sauté mushrooms. It will give them a high gloss.


Brandied Apricot Dessert


1 (11-ounce) package dried apricots


2 cups water


5 tablespoons sugar


1/3 cup brandy or cognac


1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped


Almonds, sliced and toasted


Boil apricots and water over moderate-high heat. Simmer 10 minutes until apricots are soft. Drain, save liquid. Add sugar to 1/3 cup saved liquid. When dissolved, place in food processor with apricots and brandy until smooth. Refrigerate three hours or until very cold. Serve in steamed glasses. Top with a little (Or a lot) of whipped cream and almonds if desired. Serves 4 to 6.