In a large hot sauté pan, place the butter, allowing it to brown slightly. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook on high heat till tender.
Season turkey breast with salt and pepper, and in a large hot sauté pan, place the breast skin side down. Roast it until the skin turns a nice caramel color. Turn over and place into a 500-degree oven. Cook until the breast reaches 145 degrees. Remove from the oven and place on a large plate to rest. Cover with foil. Let rest for 30 minutes.
Brush the squash with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven for 5–8 minutes until tender. Toss the leeks with just enough water to coat them lightly. Then toss with the corn starch. Fry the leeks in a 375-degree fryer for just a few minutes until nice and crispy.
Assemble by placing the squash on the bottom of a large platter; then layer the mushrooms on top of the squash. Slice the turkey breast thinly and arrange on top of the mushrooms. Garnish with the crispy leeks.
—John des Rosiers, Chef/Proprietor Inovasi and Wisma
Pour one jar Buttery Caramel Sauce into a pretty pitcher. Refill the empty jar with vodka and pour into the pitcher. Refill the jar once more with espresso and pour into pitcher. Add vanilla and stir. May be made a week in advance, covered and stored in the fridge until ready to serve. In a bowl, stir together the colored sugars. Pour ½ inch of the sugar in an even layer on one saucer. In the second saucer, pour ¼ inch of the vodka. In one fluid motion, dip each glass rim first into the vodka, then into the sugar. Stand the glasses upright on a tray and chill in the freezer or garage during winter months. For Thanksgiving, trim sprigs of wheat to lie across glass rims. Serves eight.
—Meg Dhamer, Mundelein
Microwave in large bowl, covered with saran wrap, until berries burst, about 20 minutes.
Optional: Add ½ cup Grand Marnier. Chill. Serve in a pretty glass bowl. This will thicken as it cools.
—Margaret Hartman, Lake Forest
Sweet Potato Praline Casserole
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a two-quart baking dish. Potato mixture: beat eggs, stir in potatoes until blended. Add remaining ingredients, mix well. Spread in casserole.
Mix sugar, flour, and nuts in bowl. Work in butter with hand blender. Sprinkle over potato mixture. Bake 60–70 minutes until topping is browned and bubbling.
—Jeff and Kathryn McClurg, Libertyville
Beat top six ingredients thoroughly. Pour pecan halves into bottom of unbaked 9-inch pastry shell. Pour fillings on top of pecans. Bake in moderate oven at 350 degrees for 50 minutes until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Cool. Serve with a dollop of your favorite vanilla ice cream and enjoy.
—Cathy Lynch, Lake Forest