November 7, 2016

Fast forward 17 days to the scene at your house on Thanksgiving Day. Your table is overflowing with turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, cranberries and pumpkin pie. But wait, what about keeping all of your guests satisfied before the Thanksgiving feast is ready? The answer is a variety of snacks and appetizers so they can keep their mind on the football game and off of dinner.


Cheese and Mushroom Bread

As a child I attended many, many Iowa State football games. I recall the tailgates before the games the best. There was also something good to eat and a ball to throw around. One of the appetizers I remember eating is this cheese and mushroom bread. It is an unusual combination of ingredients, but very tasty.

1 loaf Vienna bread

1 lb Swiss cheese, grated

8 oz fresh mushrooms, roughly chopped (or 2 small cans of mushrooms, well drained)

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1 stick butter, melted

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon dry mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Score bread both directions without cutting through. Stuff the crevices of bread with grated Swiss cheese and mushroom pieces. Sprinkle on poppy seeds. Mix melted butter, salt, lemon juice, and mustard. Drizzle over top. Completely wrap loaf with foil and put on a cookie sheet. Bake for one hour.


Thanksgiving Blessings Snack Mix

Set out a few bowls of this mix for munching before everyone sits down to eat. This snack is not only fun, it’s full of meaning.

2 cups Bugles

2 cups small pretzels

1 cup candy corn

1 cup dried raisins

1 cup peanuts

1 cup chocolate chips

In a large bowl, gently mix together all of the ingredients.

The meanings behind the ingredients of the Blessings Mix are as follows:

Bugles: Shaped like a cornucopia, a symbol of abundance.

Pretzels: Arms folded in prayer, a freedom sought by those before us.

Candy corn: Sacrifices of the Pilgrims’ first winter, survival on a few kernels a day.

Nuts: Hope of a future harvest.

Dried fruits: Harvest gifts of our bountiful land.

Chocolate chips: The sweet love of our family and friends.

Note: Snack mix can also be put into individual cellophane treat bags along with a copy of the meanings behind the ingredients. Bags can be given to friends and neighbors or set at each place setting.


Turkey and Cheese Tray

Children will be delighted when they see this handsome turkey made of pepperoni, salami and cheese. Adults will gobble it up too. If you need something to keep little hands busy, have kids help assemble the turkey and then place Mr. Turkey on the kids’ table for all to see.


Butter crackers such as Town House

About 20 slices of salami or 30 slices of pepperoni or a mixture of both

1 block of Cheddar cheese

1 block of Colby Jack cheese

For the face, there are many options:

The eyes could be two peppercorns or two bits of black olives. The beak could be a small piece of yellow bell pepper or a squirt of mayonnaise or mustard. The waddle could be a small piece of red bell pepper or a tiny piece of salami folded up in the shape of an upside cone.

Assemble the turkey on a large tray or platter. Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to serve.


Note: If you are assembling ahead of time, wait to add crackers until the last minute.