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Send Your Holiday Menus South this Year

It’s getting close to that time of year again—the holidays. Have you got your menu forecast under control?

See Also: AARP Recipes

With the season right around the corner, plans on how you’re going to treat your palate to a taste-bud extravaganza should be well underway.

Sharing a meal during holiday festivities is pretty much a tradition wherever you may find yourself. Many have taken pleasure in this practice and have carried it from generation to generation and across all cultures.

By now, we all know what the stereotypical holiday foods are— turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. Few are more fond of tradition than Southerners – but in recent years, Florida cooks are putting a delicious new Southern spin in on the traditional favorites.

Allow us to re-introduce to you some treasured holiday traditions, only this time, with a dash of Southern seasoning.


This Louisiana-bred country dish consists of a chicken stuffed into a duck, which itself is then stuffed into a turkey. This one is sure to satisfy even the largest and most famished holiday table-full of guests


1 (3 pound) whole chicken, boned
salt and pepper to taste
Creole seasoning to taste
1 (4 pound) duck, boned
1 (16 pound) turkey, boned
3 cups prepared sausage and oyster dressing


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lay the boned chicken skin-side down on a platter and season liberally with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Lay the boned duck skin-side down on top of the chicken and season liberally with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Cover and refrigerate.
2. Lay the boned turkey skin-side down on a flat surface. Cover with a layer of cold Sausage and Oyster Dressing and push the dressing into the leg and wing cavities so they will look as if they still have bones in them.
3. Lay the duck on top of the turkey skin-side down and cover it with a layer of cold dressing. Lay the chicken on top of the duck skin-side down and cover it with a layer of cold dressing.
4. With the help of an assistant, bring the edges of the turkey skin up and fasten them together with toothpicks. Use the kitchen string to lace around the toothpicks to help hold the stuffed turkey together. Carefully place the turducken, breast up in a large roasting pan.
5. Roast covered for 4 hours or until the turducken is golden brown. Continue to roast uncovered for 1 hour or until a meat thermometer inserted through the thigh registers 180 degrees F. and a thermometer inserted through the stuffing registers 165 degrees F. Check the turducken every few hours to baste and remove excess liquid. There will be enough pan juices for a gallon of gravy. Carve and serve.

Sweet potato biscuits

What holiday delights could be more scrumptious than that first hot biscuit, still steaming and freshly buttered? Well . . . how about mixing in that Dixie delight, the sweet potato? Now they’re super-scrumptious!


2 cups self-rising flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons shortening
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
6 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted


Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Cut in 1/4 cup butter and the shortening with a pastry blender or forks until mixture is crumbly. Add mashed sweet potato and milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead just a few times.

Roll dough out to 1/2-inch thickness; cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter. Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet and brush with the melted butter. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until nicely browned.

Cranberry Chutney

Bored by the same ol’ canned jellied cranberry sauce? Try the South’s version of this classic American favorite.


1 cup water
3/4 cup white sugar
1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
1 cup apples - peeled, cored and diced
1 can Mandarin oranges
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves


Bring water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the cranberries, apples, oranges, cider vinegar, raisins and spices. Bring to a boil, then simmer gently for 10 minutes stirring often.

Pour mixture into a mixing bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the sauce. Bring chutney to room temperature before serving.

Kentucky Chocolate Pecan Pie

Treat your guests to something sweet after their full-course meal. Try this Southern spin on another classic American favorite. Better bake plenty – there’ll be calls for seconds!


3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons rum
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup flour
1 stick butter or margarine
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans — chopped
1 unbaked 9" pie shell


Combine sugar, flour and eggs. Add nuts, coconut and rum. Melt butter. Add butte. Pour chocolate chips on bottom of pie shell. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

AARP Florida wishes you a great holiday, wherever your traditions originate – and this year, remember this great Spanish proverb —“the belly rules the mind”.

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