Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanksgiving Recipe Family Favorites!

Thanksgiving Blessings...

I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, it is less than a week away! I love the holiday's, and Thanksgiving is one of my favorites because it is a low stress holiday. It is simply a time to hang out with friends and family, enjoy a great meal, play a few games, watch football, and maybe even take a nap.  It is an opportunity to slow down and take stock of our many blessings, and thank God for them. Here is a video that my kid's made last Thanksgiving just for fun, it pretty much sum's up our Thanksgiving, I hope you enjoy it... 

Shopping is definitely not on my agenda for Thanksgiving!  I am appalled that the stores are beginning to open on Thanksgiving Day... and expecting their employees to work and not be with their own families!  I don't care how good the deals are, I WILL NOT SHOP in their stores on Thanksgiving!  I am not a big Black Friday shopper either. Don't get me wrong, I love to shop, and I love a good deal, I just don't love the crowds! My idea of Black Friday shopping is in my PJ's with a cup of coffee and my computer, no stress, and the stuff comes right to my doorstep!  

I almost always cook Thanksgiving dinner, and it is one of those meals that the menu doesn't vary much because my family has favorite things that they expect me to make every year. I am already starting to think about what I am going to make, and get things in that I might need.

As Thanksgiving approaches I also begin to think of the many blessings I enjoy, and one of them is my friends! Recently I ask a few of them if they would minds sharing with me some of their families favorite Thanksgiving dishes and the recipes for them. Maybe I will sneak in a few new ones on my Thanksgiving menu this year!  We would love to hear some of your family's favorite Thanksgiving dishes, or traditions, here are a few of ours...

*Nadya's Corn Casserole 
My friend Nadya's family expects this dish at their table every Thanksgiving.  This recipe was given to her by our mutual friend Debbie Butler whom we lost to breast cancer several years back so it makes it extra special to both of us.
Nadya with her beautiful family... with a family this size 
you know she has prepared a few holiday meals

Townhouse Corn Casserole (Nadya Williams/Debbie Butler)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 sticks butter
2 cans cream style corn
1 can whole kernel corn
1 bag frozen sliced carrots thawed and drained
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 egg
2 rows Town House crackers
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

Directions:  Melt 1 stick of butter over medium heat in pan on stove.  Add chopped onion about 5 minutes until tender (not browned).  In large mixing bowl stir together 3 cans of corn, carrots onion in melted butter, egg and salt & pepper.  Add one row of crushed crackers and mix well.  Grease bottom and sides of a 9" x 13" casserole dish and spread in corn mixture. Sprinkle top with parmesan cheese. For topping crush remaining crackers in bowl and cut in 1/2 stick butter (in small pieces).  Mix well with fork.  Add shredded cheese and mix well again. Sprinkle on top of corn mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes until golden brown.

*Wanda's Perfect Pecan Pie and 
Jalepeno Cranberry Sauce 
My friend Wanda is a fantastic cook.  John and I have enjoyed many delicious meals around the Weaver's table.  These two recipes will not disappoint.  The pecan pie is a Weaver family favorite and the jalapeno cranberry sauce is a recipe that she got from Angel Food Ministries, an organization that helps get affordable food to families that our church helped organize in our area for several years.  I made this last year and it was really good!  The Jalapeno's give the sweet cranberry sauce a little kick!
This is a great picture of some of the Weaver family...
they are always having a good time together! 

Wanda's Perfect Pecan Pie
1 pie crust (homemade or store bought)
3 eggs beaten
1 cup light Karo corn syrup
1/3 cup melted butter 
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup white sugar
1 generous cup of broken up pecan pieces.

Directions:  Mix all ingredients together and pour in pie crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes.

Cooks Notes - Breaking the pecans up into pieces makes it crunchier on top. I use my hands to break them up so they are not to small!

Wanda's Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce (Angel Food Ministries)
16 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
1 1/4 cup water
1 1/4 cup white sugar
3 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
2 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup orange pineapple juice

Directions:  Rinse berries in cold water and drain.  In a saucepan, mix water and sugar, stir to dissolve sugar.  Bring to a boil.  Add cranberries, jalapeno peppers, and lemon juice, and return to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add orange pineapple juice and stir well.  Remove from heat and let cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate in a glass container with cover.

Sues Grandma's original recipe!

*Sue's Mashed Potato Casserole (Grandma's)
This is a special recipe passed down from my friend Sue's Grandma.  She told me that she makes this every Thanksgiving and her kids would think it was a crime if she didn't make it!  One of her favorite things about this recipe is it is hand written by her Grandma on some old onion skin paper.  It is old, worn and yellowed with age, but holds a special place in her heart. I am sure she remembers her Grandmother every time she pulls this recipe out to make it!
I love this picture of the Haack family... 
although that precious grand baby is a lot bigger now!

Grandma's Mashed Potato Casserole
10 average potatoes
1/2 cup butter softened
1 TBS grated onion (she uses onion powder instead, to taste)
1 1/2 cups scalded milk (heat to almost boiling)
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. salt, pepper to taste

Directions:  Cook potatoes and mash.  Add the cheese and the butter and whip until smooth.  Add scalded milk, onion, salt and pepper and whip until creamy. Pour into a well buttered casserole dish and bake at 325 degrees for 1/2 hour.  If refrigerated, bake an hour.  It is also good with a little shredded cheese on top.  

Cooks Note - This dish can be made a day or two ahead and pulled out to bake when needed.

*My Granny Gillette's Cranberry Salad
and Mom's Sweet Potato Souffle
The cranberry salad recipe was given to my Mom by my Dad's mother in 1962 and my Mom has been making it for holiday gatherings ever since.  My Granny Gillette lived on a dairy farm in Tennessee with my Grandpa and their five boy's, she was a great country cook and rarely used recipes (it was always just a little pinch of this, or a little dash of that) so it is really amazing that we got this from her!  It is one of my favorites and is perfect for Thanksgiving.  It is a really fresh tasting salad I think you will enjoy!  
Grandpa and Granny Gillette (my Dad's parents)

The Sweet Potato Souffle is one of my Mom's specialties, she makes it for every holiday and it is so delicious it is more like dessert than a side dish! Everyone wants to take the leftovers home but there usually isn't very much left!
  My Mommy (Virginia Gillette)

Granny Gillette's Cranberry Salad
1 small box of lemon jello
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water

Mix the Jello with the boiling water and stir until jello dissolves, add cold water and mix.  Let partially set up.

1 cup raw chopped cranberries
1 cup chopped apples
1 orange cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans

Combine the fruit with the sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Combine the partially set jello with the fruit and sugar mixture and gently fold in 1/2 cup nuts.  Chill in fridge until ready to serve. 

Grandma Ginny's Sweet Potato Souffle (12 servings)
80 oz. canned sweet potatoes or 6 Cups fresh cooked and pureed
1/2 cup milk
1 cup melted and cooled butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 TBS. vanilla extract

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup flour
2/3 cup butter or margarine chilled
2 cups walnuts or pecans

Directions:  If using fresh sweet potatoes scrub, peel and cook until tender. With a potato masher, electric mixer, or food processor, puree the sweet potatoes.  With a whisk or electric mixer, add milk, melted butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract.  In another bowl, stir together the brown sugar and flour.  Slice the chilled butter into the brown sugar mixture.  With your fingers, a fork or pastry blender, blend in the butter until the mixture is crumbly and evenly mixed.  Stir in the chopped nuts.  Spread sweet potato mixture into a greased or sprayed 9 x 13 casserole dish.  Evenly spread the brown sugar crumble over the potatoes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

Cooks Notes -  This is an easy dish to make ahead and freeze.  Put sweet potato mixture in freezer bag or container and put the crumbles in separate bag.  Thaw when ready to use, put in prepared pan as directed and bake!

I don't know about you, but just reading these delicious recipes makes me hungry for Thanksgiving dinner, I can hardly wait!  I love trying new recipes, but I really love trying a recipe that has some history or a story to it. I hope you will give some of these a try and make some new family favorites with your family this year!  

Whatever you do, my prayer is that you can relax and enjoy your family and friends this Thanksgiving and have a little time to sit back, relax and count your blessings.
Thankful to God for my friends and family...
Counting my Blessings,

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