Ah, Thanksgiving. Such a glorious time! In the past, I didn’t really dig Thanksgiving. My young taste buds weren’t crazy about sweet potatoes, dressing, pecan/pumpkin pie, or cranberry anything.
Thank goodness they’ve matured because Thanksgiving food is the bomb! And I love the family time! We spent a good portion of the meal discussing the various animals we had hit with our cars over the years (chipmunk, raccoon, deer, and even a squirrel that got caught around an axel – don’t ask), among other things. I hadn’t seen any of my dad’s side of the family since Labor Day and over that time span, my cousin grew even more! I’m freakishly tall for a girl (5’11”) and was taller than my cousin until two or three years ago…first he finally reached my height, then he was a smidge taller, and then today he was almost a whole head taller than me! I have to say, though, it was kind of nice not being the tallest cousin; plus, it makes for good picture posing.
Sheridan Green Bean Casserole (aka, probably the casserole on the back of Campbell Cream of Mushroom Soup Can…)
Serves…A lot. Between 8-10.
– 6 cans French cut green beans
– 3 cans cream of mushroom soup (this is my dad’s rule…I could use two and be okay)
– 1 tablespoon garlic, split into 3 teaspoons)
– 3 shakes Italian seasoning
– Fried onion thingies, enough to coat the top of the casserole
Preheat oven to 375. In a casserole dish, pour two cans of green beans with one can of mushroom for the first layer. Mix together, along with a teaspoon of garlic and a shake of Italian seasoning. Repeat twice, then bake for 20 minutes. Top with however much fried onion you want, then bake again for 5 to 10 minutes. Easy, right? It’s really simple and nothing fancy, but I couldn’t imagine Thanksgiving without it. I felt really sophisticated and handy after making it my freshman year.
For Thanksgiving my junior year, I made the green bean casserole again, but this time I also helped my dad make his awesome dressing. I diced onions and celery, sauteed them, and browned the sausage. None of this was anything new, as I had already been making dinner for Kayla and Shelley at the apartment, but it still felt really cool to cook with my dad and say that I was responsible for more of the Thanksgiving feast.
Serves a lot. Probably between 10-12.
– 1 pie pan of cornbread, crumbled (hey, use my mom’s cornbread recipe!)
– 1 lb spicy sausage
– 2 cups Pepperidge Farm breadcrumbs
– 2 cups diced onion
– 1.5 cups diced celery
– 2 eggs
– 1 can low sodium chicken stock
– 1/2 tsp pepper
– 1 tsp dry sage
Dice some onion and celery into small pieces, then saute in a pan with 1 tbsp olive oil until translucent and soft. Dump the celery and onion in a large mixing bowl, then brown the sausage in the same pan, breaking it up into small chunks. Once browned, take out the sausage with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels to catch the grease. Crumble the cornbread into the same mixing bowl, then add the two cups of bread crumbs. Once the sausage has cooled, add that in, along with two eggs, the chicken broth and the spices. Mix all of it together and press into a 9×13 baking dish. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.
My dad’s dressing is probably my favorite part of Thanksgiving. It’s like his Hoppin’ John black bean chowder that he makes on New Year’s – it’s his specialty and I’m glad that he shares it with me. Although, I wouldn’t say no to trying out some apple/butternut squash dressing along side his usual stuffing one day….
This year I really upped my game in the food prep department. Yesterday I made two pecan pies, helped my dad majorly with the dressing, made the green bean casserole, and also tried something new: homemade cranberry conserve, courtesy of Barefoot Contessa.
Let me tell you guys something – Ina Garten is my lady. If the rugged, outdoorsy side of me loves Pioneer Woman, then the refined, “good quality” ingredient side of me loves Ina Garten and all of her Hamptons/butter glory. She just oozes classiness. When I saw her make her cranberry conserve, I feel in love with it’s deep, vibrant pink color and it’s variety of textures. I was sure no one would really eat it (after all, we served the canned stuff every year prior to this one), but I didn’t care. I was too proud of how beautiful it was.
Is it weird that I say food is beautiful? I mean, how can you not call this beautiful?
Barefoot Contessa’s Cranberry Conserves
Makes about 2 cups.
– 1 16 oz bag of cranberries
– 1.75 cups of sugar
– Juice and zest of one lemon
– Juice and zest of one orange
– 1 cup water
– 1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
– 1/4 cup of raisins
Pour the cranberries, water and sugar into a saucepan and heat over medium-low for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the skins on the cranberries start to split. Add the chopped apple, the zest, and lemon/orange juice to the pan. Continue to stir occasionally over medium low heat for another 15-20 minutes. By this time some of the cranberries will have burst, the apples will have turned pink and soft, and the mixture will begin to foam. Take the pan off of the heat, stir in the raisins, then let cool. Store in the fridge until serving time!
I was pleasantly surprised to see that my grandparents and my aunt dug the cranberry sauce! It was perfect over a dinner roll and I can’t wait to have it on a turkey sandwich tomorrow. Would it be weird to say that one of the reasons I made it was so that I could have a turkey/cranberry sauce sandwich the day after Thanksgiving? Because that’s seriously one of the reasons I made it.
Today I wrapped up my cooking spree by making one of my first blog recipes: Spiced Nuts!
Here are some of the other eats from today (but definitely not all of them!)
I hope all of you had a glorious, food filled Thanksgiving with lots of laughs and family time. Thank goodness I managed to avoid an overfilled stomach; instead, I’m just incredibly sleepy! And for some reason I’ve decided to join my mom in some Black Friday shopping tomorrow (my first time ever!), so if any of ya’ll are braving that mess, good luck!