The Thanksgiving menu is pretty well standardized. The turkey, potatoes, stuffing and pie are a 'given,' but what about the side dishes?
Thinking you might wish to try some new 'sides' this year, I asked a few friends to share their family favorites.
Along with the recipes I asked them to share the story of how the dish became a cherished part of their Thanksgiving. Reading the stories made me feel as if I was sitting in each contributor's kitchen, watching cheer and love being added to every dish. I could almost feel the oven's cozy heat as it labored roasting the turkey.
I want to savor these feelings as I finish the last of my Thanksgiving preparations.
And, dear readers, I can't help but think that at least a little of the love with which these recipes are shared will come through when you cook them at home.
Try a new old favorite! Bon Appetit!
North Carolina Southern Yellow Squash Casserole
Submitted by Martha Harrell
My sister and mother-in-law make this for all special occasions and there is never a leftover! Truly comfort food on a cold winter's night. Easy, too!
2 pounds cubed yellow crooked neck squash
One large Vidalia or Walla Walla onion, chopped
2 large eggs, well beaten
1 C of milk, whole
1 C of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 C Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar
Cook squash and onion together until soft. Drain very well. Mash squash and onion together and add the eggs, milk, stuffing and cheese, salt, pepper and sugar and mix together.
Spread into a casserole dish and add some extra grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Brussels Sprouts That Everyone Will Love
Submitted by Stephanie Knecht and Lori Tutt-Mulcare
Brussels sprouts don't have to be scary! My sister likes to make these and we convert someone every Thanksgiving!
1 1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed
1/3 lb. pancetta, diced
3 shallots, minced
3 T. olive oil
3/4 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Brown pancetta in a sauté pan until crisp. Transfer to paper towel lined plate. Add shallots to pan and sauté until soft. In a bowl, mix olive oil, salt and pepper and toss in Brussels sprouts and shallots. Pour onto sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, shaking pan occasionally to brown evenly. Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle pancetta on top.
Holiday Cranberry Sauce
Submitted by Susan Mansfield
This recipe, which my mother used to make, is my very favorite way to serve cranberries. The apples cut the tartness of the cranberries, and it is so elegant to see the red with the pure white on top.
Wash and sort two packages fresh, ripe cranberries and cook with 1 C water. When cooked, cool slightly. Blend half or less at a time in blender, then sieve into a large saucepan. Cook 4 lbs. peeled apples (8 large); cut up and cook with 1 C water. Blend and sieve. Add to cranberries. Save only fruit pulp. Add 2 C sugar; bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Cool. Serve cold with whipped cream on top.
Susan also sent a recipe for a peanut soup her husband Chuck likes to make.
King's Arms Tavern
Cream of Peanut Soup
Submitted by Chuck Mansfield
Chuck loves history and while on while on a trip to Williamsburg, Va., in 1976 enjoyed this soup in one of the charming old taverns. It was served with very thinly sliced Smithfield ham.
One medium onion, chopped
Two ribs of celery, chopped
1/4 C butter
3 T flour
2 quarts chicken stock (or canned broth)
2 C smooth peanut butter
1-3/4 C light cream
Peanuts for garnish, chopped
Saute onion and celery in butter until soft but not brown. Stir in flour until well blended. Add chicken stock, stirring constantly, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and rub through a sieve.
Add peanut butter and cream, stirring to blend thoroughly. Return to low heat, but do not boil. Serve, garnished with peanuts.
Baked Apple and Butternut Squash
Serves 8 - 10.
One year, after flipping through pages of recipes in both cookbooks and magazines, we found this side dish. Since then, it has become a favorite. If there are any leftovers, we throw them into the food processor and make soup.
1 stick unsalted butter
¾ cup maple syrup
¼ cup apple juice
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp salt
3 small butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into ½' slices
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, halved, cored and sliced
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9x12 inch baking dish.
Stir butter, maple syrup and apple juice until melted in small saucepan. Boil and slightly reduce (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in spices.
Arrange 1/3 of the squash slices in a flat layer in the bottom of the dish. Arrange a flat layer of the apples on top of the squash. The remaining slices are placed 'standing up' in the dish, alternating squash and apple slices, creating rows. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Pour the syrup mixture over the top of the slices. Cover with foil and bake about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until tender, basting occasionally.
Holiday Dinner Rolls
Submitted by Pam Halvorsen
These dinner rolls make an appearance at both our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and are probably the most consumed food. My mom, sister and I all make them for special dinners. The recipe came from my mom's best friend's mother (say that three times fast!) and it was the only thing she ever made that we could stand to eat because she insisted in putting raisins in everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING, with the exception of these dinner rolls.
Scald 1 cup of milk and let cool to lukewarm. In large bowl dissolve 1 package dry yeast (I usually use rapid rise) in 1/4-cup warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and two eggs. Beat well; add scalded milk, followed by 4 cups flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let raise 2-3 hours, until double. Dough will be sticky. Divide dough in half and roll half on a floured pastry cloth to a 10' diameter circle. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 16 wedges. Roll each wedge into a crescent and place on an oiled cookie sheet. Repeat with other half of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let raise 2-3 more hours and then bake at 350 10-15 minutes. When removed from the oven, brush with melted butter.
And last but far from least, a little something sweet:
Pecan Pumpkin Pie with Caramel Sauce
Submitted by Linda Hundhammer
Just looking at this recipe makes me smile. Reminds me of the Thanksgiving my daughter Leslie and I were a party of two, and we decided we just wanted pie. Tha's all, just pie. But only this pie. Leslie still says it was her favorite Thanksgiving ever.
1 29-oz can pumpkin pie mix
1 5-oz can evaporated milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 Pillsbury Plus yellow cake mix with pudding
1/2 lb. butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 9' pie pans with waxed paper.
Mix together the pumpkin, milk, sugar, eggs, salt and cinnamon. Pour into pans. Sprinkle cake mix over the top. Distribute chopped pecans over cake mix and drizzle melted butter over all. Bake 1 hour. Chill.
Invert and cut into wedges. Serve topped with a dollop of whipped cream and warm caramel sauce.
This is delicious - don't be thrown by the cake mix!
2 sticks of butter
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
Cut butter into pieces and melt in a small heavy pan. Stir in the brown sugar and cream. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until all is melted and blended -whisking helps.