1. Dice onion into small pieces that resemble the crab meat.
2. With the heat on high, melt butter in a big pan, gradually adding flour until cooked to a penny-colored coppery brown.
3. Once cooked thoroughly, turn down heat to medium and add can of tomato soup.
4. Gradually add half and half, stirring frequently.
5. After washing hands, sift through crab meat to double-check for shells.
6. Add crab to soup, and immediately season with Tony Cachere's before crab has been fully mixed with soup.
Green Bean Casserole
When trying to think of my favorite original Thanksgiving recipe I hit a wall. From a young age, my family has always dined on the traditional Thanksgiving cornerstones—turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, and stuffing—no fried turkeys or extravagant fixings! I asked my mom why she stuck with these simple dishes. My mom explained that my dad and I were very picky eaters (that sure has changed for me) so she always kept Thanksgiving dinner simple. One of my favorite dishes from our classic feast is green bean casserole with French fried onions on top (I’m sure most of you have probably had this recipe as it’s a staple for Thanksgiving). Oh, and by the way, mom was happy to provide this picture of my stubbornness years ago at the Thanksgiving table!
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup milk
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 (9 oz. each) pkgs. frozen cut green beans, thawed (or canned whole or French cut beans)
1 1/3 cups FRENCH'S® Original French Fried Onions
Mix soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2 -qt. baking dish. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup French Fried Onions.
Bake at 350°F for 30 min. or until hot.
Stir. Top with remaining 2/3 cup onions. Bake 5 min. until onions are golden.
Sweet Potato Casserole
The main focus of a traditional Thanksgiving meal is usually the turkey, but for me it’s all about the savory sides! As my family gathers each year for Thanksgiving, we have everyone choose a side or appetizer to make. As far back as I can remember my mother always picked the delicious sweet potato casserole to cook for our family meal. Several years ago she passed the cooking duties to me and I thought how can I jazz up this simple dish? By adding crushed corn flakes and pecans the sweet potato casserole has evolved. I LUV making the dish and putting down some new roots in our family tradition.
SWEET POTATO FILLING:
2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 medium-sized)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup non-fat milk
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Canola Oil cooking spray
CORNFLAKE, PECAN, AND MARSHMALLOW TOPPING:
1 1/4 cups cornflakes cereal, crushed
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 1/4 cups miniature marshmallows
1. Prepare filling: Preheat oven to 400°. Bake sweet potatoes on a baking sheet 1 hour or until tender. Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Let potatoes stand until cool to touch (about 20 minutes); peel and mash with a potato masher.
2. Beat mashed sweet potatoes, 2 Tbsp. softened butter, and next 5 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spoon mixture into an 11- x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
3. Prepare topping: Stir together crushed cornflakes cereal and next 3 ingredients. Sprinkle over sweet potato mixture in diagonal rows 2 inches apart.
4. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle miniature marshmallows in alternate rows between cornflake mixture, and bake 10 more minutes.
When I first moved out of the dorms, my mom sent me back to school with a collection of our family’s favorite recipes. In addition to Grandma’s cream puffs (which any civilized person knows should be eaten while standing over the sink or near a hungry dog), she included the recipe for spinach balls—a recipe she received from her friend Nola (at whose wedding my mom met my dad).
Spinach balls have been a staple at every holiday meal. Mom LUVs to entertain, and my three brothers and I grew up with our house full of friends and family devouring the appetizing appetizer. Now that I have kids, I’ve found that spinach balls are a good way to sneak in some green (the benefits of which are likely at least somewhat cancelled out by the butter and stuffing...).
2 pkgs frozen chopped spinach
3 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix
1 lg. onion finely chopped
6 eggs well beaten
¾ cup melted butter
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 ½ tsp pepper
1 ½ tsp garlic salt
½ tsp thyme
Cook spinach as directed. Drain well to remove excess moisture. Combine all ingredients. Form into 1” diameter balls and place on baking sheet.
Bake at 325 for 15 to 20 mins. Stuff your face.
Forming the balls—the icky stage at which you remind yourself how much you love your family and want them to enjoy their holiday.
The final product.
Thanksgiving with my family is quite a production. As one would expect, everyone comes together for the largest meal of year. While the location may change from year to year, everyone in the family knows what they are required to bring for the feast. Funny story, one year our family ate at the local Boys and Girls Club because the family wanted to have a basketball tournament. It was made possible by an uncle had access to the building despite it being closed for the holidays. But back to the food, with seven aunts, and nine uncles, and quite a few cousins, we always have a nice variety of eats. For instance, one aunt brings potatoes every year, another makes a special version of Mac and Cheese, a uncle is responsible for two hams, and then the most trusted uncle of them all provides the "main turkey" that will compliment the other three.
My recipe of choice, Veggie Bars, is an aunt's specialty. She makes them every year without fail, and the entire family only eats them during the holidays. Nevertheless, the real recipe has come to epitomize the holiday season for our family. They are not to be savored during any other time of the year! These bars have become synonymous with family, love, and joy for the entire family. They are a personal favorite of mine but I must remind you this is a rendition of the true top secret recipe that only her and her three daughters know.
3 Tubes of Crescent Rolls
1/2 Cup of Purple Cabbage (chopped)
5 oz of Carrots (shredded)
1/2 Cup Broccoli Trees (shredded)
1/2 Cup Cauliflower Head (crumbled)
1 Bag of Hidden Valley Ranch Dip
16oz of Sour Cream
1. Take crescent rolls and lay them flat on a cookie sheet. (Bake as indicated on packaging)
2. Mix Hidden Valley Ranch Dip mix in 16oz of sour cream.
3. Spread Ranch mix on cooled crescent roll in cookie sheet
4. Spread a mixture of chopped veggies on top
*SERVE THE SAME DAY
Rosemary Roasted Carrots
12-14 full sized carrots
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
Generous amount of pepper
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary
1 baking sheet
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the carrots by cutting the tops and bottoms off and slicing them in half if they are large. Then cut them lengthwise so you have carrot halves. Lay the carrots on the baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil evenly over the sheet. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper over the olive oil and mix everything with your hands or mixing utensils so that the carrots are evenly coated. Sprinkle the rosemary over the carrots. When the oven is ready, put the carrots on the top shelf for 35-40 minutes until golden and browned on the edges. Serve hot!
Broccoli, Cheese & Rice Casserole
Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to gather and share time together. It is a good time to reflect on the past and create memories for the future. One of my favorite memories is when my Mom taught me how to make one of her signature side dishes: broccoli cheese & rice casserole. It’s a quick, easy recipe that is guaranteed to have your family and friends wanting more!
1 package frozen broccoli
½ small onion, chopped
½ cup butter
½ cup cheese whiz
½ cup milk
1 can Campbell’s cream of chicken soup
1 ½ cup rice, cooked
Melt butter in skillet and add onion and broccoli. Sauté until the onion is transparent and the broccoli is thawed. Add the soup, cheese whiz, and milk. Cook until well blended. Add cooked rice to mixture and pour into non-stick casserole dish. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Pioneer Woman's Mashed Potatoes
The Pioneer Woman’s Creamy Mashed Potatoes are not for the faint of heart. They mean business. Seriously delicious business. I’ve been following the Pioneer Woman’s food blog for years now, and her recipes are always a crowd pleaser. Not only are they delicious, but the recipes contain a heaping helping of humor which makes them just as fun to make. Since stumbling upon this recipe for mashed potatoes, they’ve become a family tradition at my Thanksgiving table. And if I’m being honest, they’ve been known to make regular appearances at family dinners throughout the year.
- 5 pounds Russet Or Yukon Gold Potatoes
- 3/4 cups Butter
- 1 package (8 Oz.) Cream Cheese, Softened
- 1/2 cup (to 3/4 Cups) Half-and-Half
- 1/2 teaspoon (to 1 Teaspoon) Lawry's Seasoned Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (to 1 Teaspoon) Black Pepper
Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 to 35 minutes. When they’re cooked through, the fork should easily slide into the potatoes with no resistance, and the potatoes should almost, but not totally, fall apart.
Drain the potatoes in a large colander. When the potatoes have finished draining, place them back into the dry pot and put the pot on the stove. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape, before adding in all the other ingredients.
Turn off the stove and add 1 ½ sticks of butter, an 8-ounce package of cream cheese and about ½ cup of half-and-half. Mash, mash, mash! Next, add about ½ teaspoon of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and ½ a teaspoon of black pepper.
Stir well and place in a medium-sized baking dish. Throw a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes and place them in a 350-degree oven and heat until butter is melted and potatoes are warmed through.
Note: When making this dish a day or two in advance, take it out of the fridge about 2 to 3 hours before serving time. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 to 30 minutes or until warmed through.
Orange Pound Cake
One particular dessert my Grandma loved to make was Orange Pound Cake. She considered it a special dessert and baked it for special occasions. My Grandfather would be sure to request it for Thanksgiving and Christmas every year. Grandma would not buy the boxed cake mixes as she thought that the from-scratch-cakes had the best flavor, texture, and, more importantly, the essence of the one who made it. Here is the cake that my Mom learned to make from watching her and passed down to me. Enjoy!
- 1 cup cake flour or all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 orange, juiced and zested (to yield 4 tablespoons juice, divided)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons orange liqueur
- Preheat oven to 350. Thoroughly oil an 8x4-inch loaf pan.
- In a medium bowl, combine cake flour, baking powder, and salt. In a second medium bowl, cream butter and sugar with mixer until soft, about 3 minutes.
- Add eggs and beat another 2 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons orange juice, zest, and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture. Transfer batter to pan. Smooth with a spatula and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Combine remaining 2 tablespoons orange juice and the orange liqueur in a small bowl. Poke holes in top of the cake with a fork or a skewer and pour the liqueur mixture over the cake. Allow to cool, then remove from pan. Serve immediately, or wrap tightly until ready to serve. ~~Serves 12
Last year I bought these "tasting party" parfait glasses and spoons for Thanksgiving. Turkey day rolled around and I realized these little suckers would be tricky to transport to Grandma's house! Handyman husband to the rescue! Ryan cobbled me up a carrying tray for my cute desserts. It's perfect and now makes it easy to transport to any party! I used a pumpkin mousse recipe from FoodNetwork.com. The pumpkin parfaits are a sweet small treat and they were perfect for wrapping up our Social Media Team PotLucksGiving!