Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mmm...Flavors of Thanksgiving

    All the smells of Thanksgiving food fill my nostrils....turkey roasted to a golden brown, stuffing seasoned with fresh herbs, sweet potato casserole topped with broiled marshmallows, and mashed potatoes whipped to perfection with the beloved Kitchen Aid mixer. 
   As I bustle around the kitchen, memories of Thanksgivings long gone enter my mind. Everything made from scratch...well, as much as possible! LOL! The ham was always made the day before, but the turkey was special. I remember my grandmother getting up extra early to get the turkey in the oven.  I'm talkin' 6-7am because in her mind we had to have Thanksgiving dinner ready at 1pm.  While all this was going on my mom would be getting the casseroles and desserts ready. Yum! Yum! Don't you just love Thanksgiving? All the flavors of comfort food on one special day!
   Somehow over the years the job of making certain "dishes" has been passed on to me.  I don't mind though...I love to cook! This Thanksgiving I'd like to share some of those recipes with you!!

My part of the Thanksgiving Menu
Sweet potato casserole, broccoli casserole, sweet & sour beets, and Cranberry Salad
 Recipes follow.... 

Sweet Potato Casserole
This recipe originated from my great Aunt Effie's daughter, Billy Joyce...Wow! That was a mouthful! She lived in the South, so this recipe holds true to the Southern believe that "the more butter the better"! I tend to agree!
  • 3 cups sweet potatoes...I use about 4 cups.
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 can condensed milk
Mix ingredients with a hand mixer. I usually warm this mixture on the stove as I'm mixing it. Just be careful because it will burn easily. Pour into a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with topping (see below).
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1/2 stick of butter
I use a pastry blender when mixing the topping. It should have a crumbly texture.
Bake 45 min. to 1hr or until center is set.
350 degrees
After casserole has baked, I sprinkle mini marshmallows over the top and put it under the broiler until the marshmallows are a golden brown. This takes less than a minute. You MUST watch the casserole the entire time its under the broiler because it can catch on fire!!! TRUST me I know! LOL! 

Broccoli Casserole
This recipe is from the kitchen of my mom, Shelia.

  • 2 boxes chopped broccoli. Cook in microwave 10-20 minutes and drain. I use 2 small bags.
  • Beat 2 eggs until fluffy, stir in 1/2 cup of mayo, 1 can of cream of mushroom soup (undiluted), 3/4 stick of Velveeta cheese, cubed (8oz- I go ahead and use the whole thing.)
  • Add the cooked broccoli to the mixture. Stir and put in a casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle with crumbled Ritz crackers..about 1 sleeve. Dot with butter.
  • Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45-55 minutes.
  • Remove foil for last 10 minutes of baking time.

Sweet & Sour Beets
I got this recipe from my mother in-law, Sally. 

    harvard beets easy
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1tsp. cornstarch
  • 2T. water
  • 2T. vinegar
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 (16 oz) can sliced beets, drained
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • dash pepper
This recipe is super easy! Just mix all ingredients in a pan on 
the stove and bring to a boil. Let cool slightly.

Pretzel Bottom ~ Cranberry Salad 
This recipe is my brother's favorite. I originally came across the recipe years ago from a teacher I met while I was working as a substitute teacher. My grandmother scoured magazines until she found a recipe that was comparable. The original recipe she found called for strawberries.

  • 2c. pretzels, crushed. I use my mini food processor. 
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. margarine 

Mix ingredients and press into the bottom of a glass casserole dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 6 minutes. Let cool.
  • 8 oz package of cream cheese (Philadelphia works best)
  • 1c. whip cream (cool whip)
  • 1c. sugar

Use a hand mixer and mix ingredients. Spread over the cooled pretzel layer.
  • 1 large box of red jello. I use cherry, but strawberry/cranberry works just as well.
  • 16 oz can of crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 can whole cranberries. I use whole cranberry sauce. Be careful to make sure it gets mixed well.
Mix jello as directed on the package. I usually follow the jiggler recipe so that I can cut these in small squares without them falling apart. When almost set spread mixture over the cream cheese layer. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired (I use pecans). Refrigerate until firm. Cut into small squares and arrange on a platter or serve straight from casserole dish. 

  • Make a day ahead
  • you can make individual servings by preparing in a muffin tin lined with cupcake liners.
  • These also look pretty if you pipe some of the cream cheese mixture on each one.

This year I decided to make individual servings in jars!! They turned out pretty cute!


you the 
Best Thanksgiving Ever!

Many Blessings to you and your family!!!


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