My Thanksgiving All-Stars

I typically spend my Thanksgivings alternating between my grandma’s house and Blake’s family. And so while I haven’t hosted turkey day at my home but once or twice,  I’m usually making half a dozen sides to contribute to the meal and so I’ve acquired my favs over the years. My office also has an annual Thanksgiving lunch, and so I get another opportunity to try new recipes and perfect the tried and true.

Ever since I began eating cleaner and cutting out all the “cream of whatever” soups, I’ve been on a quest to find recipes that are just as flavorful, but truly made from scratch. So far so good. I’m still lacking a good green bean casserole, but I’ve got a couple of Pinterest ideas that I may just try next week – stay tuned.

So here’s the list… sorry don’t have pictures for all of them, but trust me, they look as good as they sound!

My Thanksgiving All-Stars:Butter and Bay Leaves Roasted Turkey (see below)

Sweet Potato Casserole

Squash casserole5

Creamed Spinach

Broccoli and blue cheese casserole2

  • Cauliflower Gratin with Gouda and Asiago (see below)

Cauliflower gratin

Mac n cheese

Green Beans

Pumpkin pie slice

  • Chocolate Pie (see below)

Recipes for some of the my unblogged dishes above:

Butter and Bay Leaves Roasted Turkey
Courtesy of my good friend, Glynis

1 turkey (any size)
2 sticks of softened butter
2 tsp salt
10 or more bay leaves

1.) Rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towel and set aside.
2.) In a small bowl, mix softened butter and salt.
3.) Rub the exterior and underneath the skin with butter and salt mixture. (I suggest you wear gloves for this, and you will have to do some work to separate the skin from the bird – but do not give up!)
4.) Arrange bay leaves in a decorative pattern underneath the skin.
5.) Bake according to the size of the turkey, basting often.

Cornbread Dressing
Courtesy of my grandma

2 10-inch skillets of homemade buttermilk cornbread
1 tbsp butter
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 cups diced celery
2 or 3 hard boiled eggs, diced (optional)
2 tsp ground sage (or more to taste)
1 tsp ground pepper (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
6 to 8 cups turkey or chicken stock (enough to thoroughly moisten cornbread)
2 eggs

1.) In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium-high heat and add onion and celery. Sauté until onion is translucent. Set aside.
2.) In a large mixing bowl, crumble cornbread and add onion/celery mix, hard boiled eggs, sage, pepper, salt and stock until it is very moist (but not soupy). If you add too much liquid, you can always cook longer to dry out, but if you don’t add enough liquid your dressing will be dry! Do not add raw egg yet. Taste to make sure seasoning is good and adjust as needed. Once the taste is right, add raw egg.
3.) Pour into a greased 10″x13″ casserole dish and bake at 375 degrees until golden brown (about 45 to 60 minutes).

Cauliflower Gratin with Gouda and Asiago

2 lbs (or 1 large head) cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk, warmed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup shredded gouda
1/2 cup shredded asiago
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup seasoned panko

1.) Steam cauliflower for 5 minutes, then allow to drain in a colander for at least another 5 minutes.
2.) In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter and add flour. Whisk continuously for 1 to 2 minutes and then gradually add warmed milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Continue whisking until sauce thickens.
3.) Remove pan for heat and add gouda and asiago. Stir until cheese melts.
4.) In a large bowl, combine cauliflower with cheese sauce. Pour into a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle the top with parmesan and then with panko.
5.) Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 – 35 minutes, or until top is brown and sides are bubbly.

Chocolate Pie
Courtesy of Cooking Chef’s Grandma’s Chocolate Pie

½ c. cocoa
¼ cup cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1 ½ c. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix cocoa, cornstarch, beaten egg yolks; sugar and salt and vanilla, then add milk gradually, while stirring in a pot over med-high heat. Cook until thick, beating it smooth. Pour into a pre-baked pie shell (use this homemade version and bake it for 12-15 mins on 375). Put in the fridge to chill.

Super Easy Pie Crust (and Pumpkin Pie)

When I found this recipe for pie crust on Pinterest, it seemed too good to be true. You mean to tell me that I can make a pie crust with four ingredients, without rolling it out, in the pie plate?? Why yes. Yes you can. When I first read that this crust was made with oil instead of butter, I was slightly put off. I put butter in everything! But I figured I’d give it a shot. To my pleasant surprise, this crust was good and flakey.

To say I’m thrilled about this pie crust would be the understatement of the year. I stopped buying store-bought pie crusts a while back (except Immaculate Baking Company brand, when I can find it) because they are full of hydrogenated oils and preservatives. But most times I’m too lazy to go through the trouble of rolling out a crust. So what happens? I don’t make as much pie as I’d like. Well my friends, not any more! I’m going to be a pie making machine! This weekend I made two pumpkin pies and a buttermilk pie (just because I could).

Super Easy Pie Crust

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt

1.) Add all ingredients into a 9″ deep pie plate.
2.) Using your hands, mix ingredients together and form a dough ball. Place dough in center of the pie plate and use your fingers to press it out, starting from the center and moving out toward the edges.
3.) Use with any pie that calls for unbaked dough (pumpkin, apple, pecan, buttermilk, etc.)

Easy pie crust2

Easy pie crust

Easy pie crust3

Easy pie crust4

I switched pie plates on you (I made a couple pies and forgot to get this shot in my stone pie plate)

Recipe from Redhead Can Decorate

I use Libby’s famous pumpkin pie recipe (plus nutmeg) – simple but delish!

Pumpkin Pie

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs
1 15-oz can pumpkin
1 12-oz can evaporated milk
Unbaked pie crust

1.) Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in a small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in sugar/spice mix and pumpkin. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
2.) Pour into pie shell.
3.) Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 425 degree oven. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 40 to 50 minutes longer, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 2 hours.

Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie slice