Thanksgiving Recipes!

Well, it's that time of year again… Is it just me or has this year gone by too quickly?  Anyway, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, I anticipate the meal all year long so I'm very excited!  I'm thankful for my big crazy wonderful family, for my friends, for my life and for all of the yummy food I'm going to devour on Thursday (and the following days of Pilgrim sandwiches!).  

This year we're sharing Thanksgiving with a few family members who don't usually come over, that is to say who we've never really had Thanksgiving with before.  I'm looking forward to the change in routine, especially because my older cousin is coming and we are two peas in a debaucherous pod!  Muhahaha…  

I want to re-share a few Thanksgiving family recipes that I posted a few years ago, they are definitely worth sharing again because they come from a family of culinary mavens… HA!  I'm serious, the women in my family can cook up an amazing storm of deliciousness and I want you to get in on it!  

I highly recommend that you try the Stuffing and Sweet Potato Casserole recipes, but whatever you decide to do I hope it comes out amazing!  What are your favorite family recipes for this food-filled holiday?


Here are some shots from our Thanksgiving table setting and decor from a couple years ago...

My mother loves her vintage Pilgrim salt and pepper shakers… Ok, so do I!


Let's not forget to drink some red wine while cooking...

Which reminds me of this hilarious joke that I've seen going around the internet:

1. Buy a turkey
2. Have a glass of wine
3. Stuff turkey
4. Have a glass of wine
5. Put turkey in oven
6. Relax, have another few glasses of wine
7. Turk the bastey
8. Wine of glass another get
9. Ponder the meat thermometer
10. Glass yourself another pour of wine
11. Bake the wine for 4 hours
12. Take the oven out of the turkey
13. Floor the turkey up off the pick
14. Turk the carvey
15. Get yourself another wottle of fine
16. Tet the sable, and pour yourself another glass of turkey
17. Say grace, throw-up, and pass-out

I think this is hilarious, however I don't plan on drinking so much that I throw up - just a few glasses of wine for a buzz will do!  Also, I like to resist sleep for as long as I possibly can because I hate when the day comes and goes in the blink of an eye (that's how it always feels regardless of when sleep prevails, ha).

Five Grain-Apple-Cranberry and Sausage Stuffing

1 loaf 5-grain Italian bread (Publix Bakery)
2-3 stocks Celery
1 large Onion (or two small)
1 cup dried Cranberries (I use Ocean Spray's "Craisins")
1 cup chopped Walnuts
1-2 chopped green Apple (Granny Smith)
1-2 cups Chicken Broth (moisten to your taste)
(optional) 1 box Stove Top stuffing seasoning of your choice
1 pack Sausage (I use Jimmy Dean sausage w/ sage)
2 cloves fresh Garlic - or, to taste
*chopped Parsley - to taste
*chopped Sage - to taste
*Salt + Pepper to taste

Chop loaf of bread into small cubes and bake in 200 degree oven for 10-20 minutes until toasty and golden brown (the more dry the bread is the better, so as to absorb the most moisture).

Meanwhile, cook sausage and season - to taste. Chop celery, onions and garlic and saute 5 minutes with the sausage - add a little butter or olive oil.

Transfer the bread, sausage, celery and onions into a large bowl and combine thoroughly, adding the parsley, sage, chopped apples, walnuts and cranberries/"Craisins". Once everything is thoroughly combined slowly add the chicken broth and optional Stove Top seasoning packet (as per directions on the Stove Top box) until the bread absorbs all the liquid and develops a thicker consistency.

Then... stuff it in your turkey, spread it in a casserole dish or pack it into a muffin pan for some (as Rachel Ray calls them) "Stuffin' Muffins" and bake 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven!

*If you find that the stuffing is too dry after baking, moisten as desired with some chicken broth.

Sweet Potato Casserole
(my mother's recipe)

Sweet Potato purée:
6-7 large Sweet Potatoes, peeled and boiled until tender (drain them well)
1 Egg
1/2 stick Butter
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon, Ginger or Nutmeg (optional)

2 cups chopped Pecans
1/2 stick Butter, melted
1 cup dark Brown Sugar
2 tbsp. Flour

In a mixing bowl, add boiled and peeled potatoes, egg, butter, vanilla, sugar and any other flavors desired. Mix well with a hand mixer (until it looks like mashed potatoes). Pour mixture into a casserole dish.

In a separate bowl, mix the all of the ingredients for the topping until crumbly and spread evenly over sweet potato mixture in casserole dish.

Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes until bubbly. 

**As a side note, you can definitely prepare and cook this the day before, let cool and then refrigerate overnight. Simply pop it in the oven [covered in foil] for a bit to warm up before the meal (my mom has done this once or twice to save time and it tastes all the same, trust me - I'm very finicky about leftovers!)**

Click here for my homemade Key Lime Pie recipe!

Pecan Pie
(recipe from Karo Corn Syrup)
"From scratch to your oven in 5 minutes."

Preheat: 350 degree oven
Prep time: 5 minutes
Bake time: 60-70 minutes
Serves: 8

1 cup Karo light/dark Corn Syrup
3 Eggs
1 cup Sugar (granulated)
2 tbsp. Butter, melted
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups Pecans (6 ounces)
1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish Pie Crust

(High altitude adjustments: reduce sugar to 2/3 cup and increase butter to 3 tbsp. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit)

Stir the first five ingredients thoroughly using a spoon. Mix in pecans. Pour into pie crust and bake on center rack (350 degrees) of oven for 60 to 70 minutes.

*Cool for 2 hours.

TIPS: Pie is done when center reaches 200 degree Fahrenheit. Tap center surface of pie lightly; it should spring back when done. For easy cleanup, spray pie pan with cooking spray. If pie crust over-browning, cover edges with foil.

*You can make this pie the night before, let cool for 2 hours, store it (covered in foil) in the refrigerator.  On Thanksgiving day set it out in the early afternoon so it will be room temperature at serving time, or just warm the pie up in a low heated oven.

(All images in this post are my personal photographs.  All recipes in this post are my family recipes, except the Pecan Pie recipe that I noted is from Karo Syrup.)