Festive Foods Make Entertaining Simply Delicious

Now that temperatures are cooler and we’ve turned the calendar pages to the festive month of November, I can’t help but think about warm, comfort foods and holiday entertaining.

As a working mom, I look for every opportunity to save time.  That’s why I love crock pots and make-ahead salads!  Since I’d be remiss not to “talk turkey” this month, below is one of my favorite turkey recipes to feed hungry groups with ease.  I’m also including an easy-to-make cranberry jell-o salad recipe with Caramel Apple Cheesecake for dessert.  Mash some real potatoes, open a can of green beans and call it good…  Menu planning doesn’t get much easier than that!

Herbed Turkey Breast

5 to 6 pound turkey breast, fresh or thawed
2 T. butter or margarine
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. fresh parsley, minced
¼ c. garden vegetable-flavored cream cheese
½ tsp. dry basil
½ tsp. rubbed sage
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
¼ tsp. garlic powder

Place turkey in stoneware.  Combine remaining ingredients and brush over turkey.  Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours.

Cranberry Pineapple Salad

2, small packages of cranberry (or raspberry) flavored gelatin
1 ¾ c. boiling water
1, 16-oz. can jellied cranberry sauce
1, 8-oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained
¾ c. orange juice
1 T. lemon juice
½ c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water.  Then break up the cranberry sauce and stir it into the liquid gelatin.  Add pineapple, orange juice and lemon juice.  Chill until partially set.  Stir in nuts.  Pour into an 11x7x2 dish.  Chill until firm; cut into squares.  Serve on lettuce leave and top with a dollop of mayo.

NOTE:  While this red salad looks pretty against a dark, green lettuce leaf, I rarely take the time to serve it this way.  It just becomes so fancy!  Perhaps I should try it this holiday season…

Caramel Apple Cheesecake



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar.
  3. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
  4. Press evenly into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  5. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  6. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth.
  7. Then add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
  8. Pour over warm crust.
  9. In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining two tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  10. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.
  11. Sprinkle evenly with streusel topping.
  12. Bake 30 minutes, or until filling is set.
  13. Drizzle with caramel topping.


Streusel topping:

  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients.


Photo from Taste of Home


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons (divided)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup caramel topping