I realize what I am about to say may come as a shock, but I have never been one to love Thanksgiving food. Crazy, right? I know some people look forward to it each year and drool when thinking of the sweet potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie, but I never really got into it.
In wanting to try an alternative to the typical Thanksgiving Day food, I dug deep and came up with something in cracker, pretzel and cheese form thanks to a recipe in a 1996 Woman’s World Magazine (many thanks to my Mom for saving everything)!
It’s something that looks crazy, but tastes really good! And is something that pretty much anyone at your home will enjoy.
Here is how you create this turkey:
- 8 Packages (8 oz. each) of cream cheese
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 4 carrots, divided
- 1 red pepper, finely chopped
- 1 green pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. cracked black pepper
For the crackers, you can be as creative as you want. This is how the actual recipe created their version:
But I improvised a little. I used Rold Gold Bakery Honey Wheat Braided Pretzel Twists, mini pretzel sticks, Ritz Crackers, Cheez-Its, Keebler Club Crackers and Club Crackers Minis, Wheat Thins Flatbread Garlic & Parsley Flavored, almond slices and walnuts (they are a little bit cheaper than pecan halves, but those also work).
In a large bowl with a mixer at medium speed, beat cream cheese and cinnamon until smooth. Set aside 1-¼ cups. Finely chop three carrots and stir into cream cheese mixture, adding chopped peppers, garlic powder and pepper until well combined.
To make the turkey, spread the cream cheese mixture onto a dish. They recommend the rim of a 4-qt. bowl, however, I used a flat serving tray. I evenly spread the cream cheese, but as I got towards the middle, I added more to make it round and higher. After I had the base of my turkey, I popped it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Trim your remaining carrot to 3 ½ inches long. Cut narrow end at an angle to form base of the turkey’s neck. Using a pretzel rod, place it into the middle of the cheese mixture (right in the center). Insert the carrot toward the front of the bowl and use the pretzel to support it.
Spread the 1-¼cup of the reserved cream cheese mixture (with the ground cinnamon) on the carrot and pretzel to cover them completely. As you cover, be sure to mold the shape of a head around the carrot.
And then start placing your crackers in an arrangement to look like the feathers of the turkey. I began with the Wheat Thins Flatbread Crackers (begin in the back and move forward).
I added the almond slices around the neck, along with the Cheez-It crackers and finally the walnuts.
The final touch was the red pepper slice, almonds and pepper kernels that I used to create the turkey’s face.
You will have plenty of crackers left over to use to finish the dip! Place them in a cute display and you are set for an appetizer!
This turkey makes about 32 servings and it takes about three hours, from start to finish. But it’s completely worth it, as it’s such a unique presentation!
A special thank you to my taste testers that accepted this treat! Hope you enjoyed!