Category Archives: Thanksgiving

Aunt Mabel’s Cheese Ball?

Aunt Mabel's Cheese Ball

Aunt Mabel’s
Cheese Ball

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. Family favorites are always on the menu. Mark was looking for his Aunt Mabel’s cheese ball recipe… Well he found a recipe in his mother’s card file, not sure if it hers, but he made it hoping for the best. One taste and he was smiling….still not sure if it’s his Aunt Mabel’s or his mothers…..but it made him smile and that’s what really counts.

Ingredients:  makes 2 at about 5-inches in diameter

  • 6 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 10 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 TB onion, minced
  • 1 TB Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • chopped pecans

Mix all the ingredients except the pecans. Make sure it’s thoroughly blended. Shape into balls and roll in the chopped pecans. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. I’m leaving it in the refrigerator for about 40 hours before serving.


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Green Bean Casserole in the Crockpot

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Green Bean Casserole

First off, I am not a fan in the least of the Green Bean Casserole…..but dang if almost all of my Thanksgiving guest are. Well at least they seem to be as it is always requested and always seems to make it to the table. (Someone always insist on bringing the darn thing) This year Mark actually requested it and look so disappointed when I said no way. Oven space on this day is at a premium and I did not want to share even a minute of it for this side dish. Then a young cousin of mine shared a recipe where the casserole was made in a crockpot….Hmmmmm, could this be? How could that change the way it taste? Well after looking over the recipe I found it used a cream sauce made from scratch. Well I can’t bear to chance a homemade cream sauce turning sour in the crockpot….so why not blend the traditional French’s Green Bean Casserole recipe and this one. And that’s exactly what I have done. Plus of course I have doctored it up a bit. (Sorry about not having the finished dish photo, but hey it won’t be done until Thanksgiving Day)

Julia Child's Sauteed Mushrooms

Julia Child’s
sautéed Mushrooms

Ingredients:   Serves about 12 people

  • 8 oz of butter sautéed mushrooms and green onions, cooled (see Julia Child’s recipe, just search “sautéed mushrooms” here on my blog.)
  • 1 can of Cream of Mushroom Soup with Garlic
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground thyme
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 2 to 3 cans green beans, drained (this was hard to measure as I used green beans I had canned over the summer)
  • 1 1/2 cups French’s French Fried Onions, divided use
  • 1 TB salted butter
  • 1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs

In a large bowl, whisk together the soup, milk, salt, pepper, thyme, Parmesan cheese and garlic. Fold in the sautéed mushrooms and onions, bacon and the green beans. Butter the bottom and sides of your crockpot and add this green bean mixture. Top with 1/2 cup of the French’s French Fried Onions and cook on low for at least 4 hours, but it can cook all day if you need it to. About 15 minutes before serving, put the cooked mixture into a warmed casserole dish. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, add the Panko Bread Crumbs and sautéed until toasted. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of fried onions, toss well. Put this topping over the green bean mixture and serve.

Make ahead tip: After combining the bean mixture I put it into a gallon sized freezer zip lock baggy, write down the finishing instructions and place in the freezer. Now on Thanksgiving morning I will defrost it a bit on the counter, put into the crockpot and continue on my way. (I’ve completed the assembly of this dish today, Saturday….1 dish down only 7 to go)


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Thanksgiving in my Kitchen

squirrel with orange

It’s that time of the year….but don’t let it become a burden. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Most people don’t find that a surprise because I love to cook….but actually it’s my favorite because I love to watch my family and friends enjoy and be comforted by the food I prepare. I love to rekindle childhood memories with special recipes…I love to create new memories with special people and new recipes. Now don’t mistake my excitement and enthusiasm for a stress free Thanksgiving. I do find it very stressful…..but I also have a few tried and true tricks up my sleeves to get myself through it.

First of all the best advice I have is if you are a person who does not enjoy the planning, prepping and preparing of food….don’t do it. Bring the meal in. Just because your guest may think you should cook it all yourself that doesn’t make it pleasurable….and that just doesn’t make for a good holiday. There’s nothing wrong if you don’t enjoy cooking such a celebrated meal. Try making it a pot luck, try buying a smoked turkey which has already been cooked, or if you must cook it yourself, prepare dishes you are comfortable with and enjoy making.

Now if you are like me and could spend all day in the kitchen the following are some of my tricks of the day.

  1. When planning your menu keep in mind that if you are serving more than 8 guests that the serving size of each dish will be less than if you are serving only a few guest. So when preparing your side dishes there is no need to expand or double the recipes. With so many options, people take less of each.
  2. Turkey size, plan on 1 pound per person. This will give you plenty for your guest and some leftovers. (Remember to look for those grocery store sales. I got my 10 pound turkey for only $5.00. How? Well most markets will give you big discount on your turkey if you buy a particular dollar amount in groceries. In my case I only had to spend $25 to get a turkey at 49 cents a pound. Take advantage of this) Don’t forget your turkey may take 5 to 7 days to defrost and should be defrosted in the refrigerator.
  3. Make a list of every ingredient you will need to prepare the dishes on your menu. Include staples as you may need to pick more of them up. SHOP EARLY! Don’t wait until the days before the holiday….it’s crazy in the markets and you don’t need that added stress.
  4. Do all of the cutting, dicing, chopping and assembling the weekend before Thanksgiving. Then freeze your sides to be finished on Thanksgiving day. (That’s what I’ll be doing this weekend. It makes Thursday run very smoothly. This is my schedule for Saturday and Sunday: Saturday – chopping and dicing of all veggies for the stuffing, toasting of the stuffing bread, assembling and baking my graham cracker ginger snap pie crust, then I freeze it to be used on Wednesday night when I will make my pumpkin pie. I will bake my beer bread and corn bread and freeze these also. On Sunday – sauteing my mushrooms and onions then assemble the green bean casserole and freeze, to be cooked on Thursday in the crockpot. I will make my cranberry sauce and baked mashed potatoes and freeze them also. Now on Thursday I will bring everything to room temperature and finish the baking process in the oven. But the key: No assembly required and no unnecessary dirty dishes.
  5. Ask people to pitch in. Whether they bring a side dish, the dessert or bring the beverages, it all helps to relieve the stress. (Here’s the help I’m receiving. My Daughter-in-Law will be making, in my kitchen, upon her arrival a corn pudding. Mark’s niece will also be cooking when she arrives and she is making our macaroni & cheese. Mark’s sister’s are also pitching in. One will bring a dessert, the other beverages.
  6. Create a cooking and oven timeline. How long will each dish take to finish off in the oven or on the stove? What serving dishes and utensils will be needed? Get them out and set aside. Now schedule each dish as to when it should be in the oven, how long it has to cook and when will everything be done. DINNERTIME!
  7. Last piece of advice……set the table or tables early. Set everything, including the silverware, glassware and decorations. Now cover it with a clean sheet. This will keep your beautifully set and decorated table clean and in place until the special day.

I hope my tips will help you relax and enjoy this wonderful holiday. Remember, if this is your first Thanksgiving…it’s do-able, it can be enjoyable and remember it’s just family and friends so it’s no problem.


Posted by on November 22, 2013 in Holidays, Thanksgiving, Tips


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Roasted Bourbon Glazed Vegetables

These vegetables turned out so good. Definitely will be adding this recipe to my Thanksgiving menu.

Roasted Bourbon Glazed Vegetables

Roasted Bourbon
Glazed Vegetables


  • Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • French Green Beans
  • Butternut Squash, cubed
  • 3 to 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 TB or so of Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • fresh rosemary, minced
  • fresh parsley, minced
  • about a half cup of Bourbon Sauce, heated over low (see my recipe)

Preheat your oven to 425 and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil that has been sprayed with a pan spray.

DSC_1674In a large bowl toss all the above ingredients except the Bourbon Sauce. Season with salt and pepper, spread out on the foil lined and sprayed baking sheet. Roast 15 minutes, toss and roast another 5 to 10 minutes until the squash is soft. When finished roasting move to a warm serving bowl and drizzle the bourbon sauce by a teaspoon over the vegetables. Drizzle as much or as little as you like.

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Posted by on November 3, 2013 in Thanksgiving, Vegetables


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Baked Butternut Squash Casserole

Baked Butternut  Squash Casserole

Baked Butternut
Squash Casserole

Every Friday I go down to the local farmer’s market. Mainly because our Amish friends are there selling their produce, but also because I love getting all their product. It’s so fresh and wonderful to cook with. This time my friend Donna Sue asked if I would like a Butternut Squash. Truth be told I don’t like squash but I took it anyways. (Didn’t want to be rude) Then I asked her how to prepare it? She told me just use it like a sweet potato. So here’s my first way of trying butternut squash.


  • 1 large Butternut Squash
  • 2 TB Sour Cream
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • DSC_15211 TB salted butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • roasted seeds from the squash

Peel, cube and seed the Butternut Squash. Clean and save the seeds. In a large pot cover the squash cubes with cold water and boil until soft. (Toss the squash seeds with salt and ground black pepper and roast in the oven until lightly browned and crispy. I use my low broil setting and place them on a foil lined cookie sheet. Once roasted set aside for later in the recipe.)  When the squash is entirely soft, drain, but save a bit of the cooking liquid. Place in a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer beat until smooth. You may need to add a bit of the cooking liquid to reach a smooth texture.

DSC_1527Preheat your oven to 350 and butter a small 1 quart baking dish.

Fold in the sour cream, cream cheese, butter, marshmallows, ginger and pumpkin spice. Place this mixture in your baking dish. Now in a small mixing bowl combine the brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg and the roasted butternut squash seeds. Sprinkle this over the squash mixture.

Cover the dish with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 20-30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

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Posted by on September 24, 2013 in Casseroles, Thanksgiving, Vegetables


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Cranberry Salad

Cranberry Salad

Cranberry Salad

I just had to post this recipe before Christmas. Jane again shared her family recipe for this delicious Cranberry Salad. I now understand why everyone who taste this, loves it.


  • 3/4 of a 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large box of strawberry jello
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup diced apples

Ina medium sauce pan bring the cranberries, water and salt to a boil. Once it starts to boil add the baking soda and continue to boil for about 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the sugar and jello, stirring until completely dissolved. Stir in the marshmallows while the mixture is still hot so they will also dissolve. Let the mixture cool a bit then add the nuts, celery, carrots and apples. Pour into a 7 x 9 baking dish and refrigerate overnight to set.

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Traditional Wassail

I’m feeling very homesick this year. So I have surrounded myself with treats from my childhood Christmases of years past. A traditional Wassail reminds me of my Great Uncle Lou and Great Aunt Wanda’s yearly Christmas Eve open house. Not only was it a pleasure to share this warm holiday drink with Mark’s family but it placed a warm feeling in my heart to revisit those lovely memories of my Aunt and Uncle.


  • 2 oranges generously studded with whole cloves
  • 6 to 8 cups apple cider
  • 3 to 4 cups pineapple juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup honey
  • the zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 2 to 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and thickly sliced.

Place the studded oranges in a shallow baking dish. Add about 1/2 inch of water and bake in a 325 degree oven for 30 minutes. While the oranges are baking combine all the remaining ingredients in a crock pot. Stir and set the temperature on high. Once the liquid becomes hot reduce the temperature to low. When the oranges are done baking, remove them from the baking dish, slice in half and add to the crock pot. Serve warm.

(I’m sorry I don’t have a photo of my Wassail but we drank it all before I remembered to photograph it)


Posted by on December 23, 2012 in Drinks, Holidays, Thanksgiving


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