By: Amanda Jade
My family takes Thanksgiving seriously. Growing up, we regularly had a half dozen or more guests at our place throughout the day, plus even more for the leftover days. I’m fairly certain it had to do with Mom’s Thanksgiving Sandwiches. There are only so many days one can eat the same meal on a plate and we always made enough to feed an army, So one year Mom got creative. She took a good sized spoonful of stuffing, tossed it into a sauté pan with a bit of oil and bits and pieces of the collection of leftovers and pan-fried the most delicious sandwich I’ve ever had (second only to her fried meatloaf sandwiches, it’s a trend).
This recipe is rather fast and loose with the ingredients, as everyone makes a different variation on Thanksgiving Dinner. Feel free to be as creative as you would like! Try it as a wrap!
- Turkey, shredded
- Green Beans
- Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
- Cranberry Sauce
- Mayo or other Condiments
- Honey Baked Ham, sliced and shredded, optional
- Butter or Oil
- Heat a little butter or oil in a pan and add the turkey, ham and green beans. Cook until just heated through.
- Add the stuffing and mashed potatoes, creating a kind of pancake and incorporating everything into a patty-like shape.
- Apply mayo to your bread and add your Thanksgiving patty.
- Drizzle gravy and cranberry sauce over your Thanksgiving patty.
- Consume carefully to avoid wasting even a tiny drop.
I have made this recipe using other Holiday leftovers. I’ve even added a scrambled egg to keep it all held together. Macaroni and cheese makes a great mashed potato substitute, as does cheesy mashed cauliflower. Sometimes I even pull this one out on leftovers day, just for a change. The possibilities are limited only to what you have in your fridge.
Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for all that we have and have achieved in the past year. I include here some traditional blessings you can use, or allow your thanks to flow straight from your heart.
I know these things must always be
To keep our nation strong and free.
One is good health from food nourishing and dear,
Eating elegantly with loved ones far and near.
One is ready heart and hand
To love, and serve, and keep a peaceful land.
One is the Word and following His Way
Where people, daily, eat, work, witness and pray.
So long as these are kept alive,
Nation and people will happily survive.
We thank you, Lord, for all you give;
The food we eat, the lives we live;
And to our loved ones far away,
Please send your blessings, Lord, we pray.
And help us all to live our days
With thankful hearts and loving ways.
Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you, God, for everything!
~Edith Rutter Leatham~
God, we thank you for this food,
For rest and home and all things good;
For wind and rain and sun above,
But most of all for those we love.
God is great, God is good.
Let us thank Him for our food.
By His hand we are fed,
Give us Lord our daily bread. Amen.
Lord, bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies,
And our bodies to your service. Amen.
By: Amanda Jade
Occasionally my family buys Little Smokeys as finger foods. We have a pair of very simple recipes that turn this into a delicious and memorable meal: Pigs in a Blanket and Sweet and Sour Smokeys. These recipes are great as appetizers or on a buffet.
Pigs in a Blanket Ingredients:
1 package Little Smokeys
2 packages Crescent Rolls
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and oil a cookie sheet.
2. Open Crescent Rolls and cut each one into quarters. Roll out into pieces approximately 3 inches by 1 inch. You do not have to be exact.
3. Open Little Smokeys package. Roll each one in the crescent rolls so that just the two tiny ends stick out. Place on cookie sheet.
4. Bake the Pigs in a Blanket in the oven until golden brown, 12-15 minutes. Oven times may vary.
Sweet and Sour Smokeys Ingredients:
2 cups Grape Jelly
2 Tablespoons Yellow Mustard
1 package Little Smokeys
1. In a small saute pan, heat the grape jelly on medium heat.
2. Add mustard and stir to combine. Simmer for five minutes or until desired thickness is reached.
3. Add Little Smokeys, simmering until sauce has thickened.
These two recipes can be made together using the Sweet and Sour Smokey recipe as a sauce for the Pigs in a Blanket. Fun as finger foods, snacks or appetizers!
This is an elegantly delicious recipe that requires minimum work, perfect for a romantic holiday meal for 2. You can roast the hens whole if you prefer, but I halve them first to save on roasting time. These hens are too small to carve properly anyway.
You could add an orange slice or two if you’d like an additional garnish, but the colors of the orange cranberry sauce are great just poured over the hens. Simmer the sauce for only long enough to cook the cranberries. Too long will reduce them to a thick sauce that, while tasty, isn’t as pretty.
Two hens will serve 4. If there are two of you, you can easily halve the recipe. I complete this meal with a wild rice pilaf and crisp peas in the pod, but you could serve it with traditional holiday sides for an intimate Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
Rock Cornish Game Hens with Cranberry-Orange Glaze
12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 rock Cornish game hens, completely thawed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a roasting pan or thick baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup.
- Combine the cranberries, sugar, orange zest and orange juice in a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir gently until the sugar is dissolved.
- Bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low, cover and simmer until the berries have popped, about 5 minutes. You will hear a popping sound if you are nearby, otherwise you will see that they have broken open.
- Cook 2 more minutes, then remove from the heat.
- Halve the rock Cornish game hens. Using a sharp knife, cut through the hen at the center of the breast, continuing to cut through the soft breast bone. Grab each side of the breast and pull apart and backwards to crack the backbone. Then, cut through the hen at the cracked bone. You will have two halves, one slightly larger than the other. If you prefer, you can remove the backbone by cutting it from the larger half, leaving you with two equal halves. Repeat with the other hen.
- Rinse the hen halves and pat dry with paper towels. Salt and pepper the cavity side.
- Place the hens onto the prepared baking sheet, skin side up.
- Brush the sauce evenly over the hens. Leave the cranberries in the pan, just brush with the juices of the cranberry sauce, coating generously.
- Roast the hens at 400 degrees until they are done and the juices run clear when pierced with a fork in the thick part of the thigh. It will take about 30 to 40 minutes depending on the size of your hens, but check them after 25 minutes and brush again with more sauce.
- Reheat the sauce again if needed and spoon over the hen halves on the serving plate. Garnish with an orange slice if desired.
By Rachel Paxton
If you’re looking ahead to the holiday season and wondering how you’re going to get all your baking done, consider freezing your cookie dough or fresh baked cookies ahead of time. When the holidays get closer you can get that last bit of shopping done or last present made instead of spending all your time in the kitchen.
FREEZING COOKIE DOUGH
Cookie dough will freeze well for 4 to 6 weeks. Rolls of dough should be sealed tightly in plastic wrap (chill in refrigerator first before freezing). Other kinds of dough should be stored in airtight containers. Drop cookies (unbaked) may be frozen on cookie sheets and transferred to freezer bags. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking.
Don’t try to freeze soft meringue-type cookie dough. Chocolate chip, brownies, peanut butter, and sugar cookie dough (or anything similar) freezes well. Let the dough defrost in the refrigerator (about 2-3 hours). Make sure to label the container with the date and type of cookie dough.
FREEZING BAKED COOKIES
Almost any baked cookie freezes well. Let cookies completely cool before freezing. Wrap cookies individually in plastic wrap then store them in a ziploc freezer bag or storage tin (coffee cans or holiday tins work great). You can also just layer the cookies between layers of waxed paper in the container, but the individually wrapped ones will store longer.
Freeze frosted cookies uncovered first until they are firm. Then pack them in airtight container lined with plastic wrap or foil. Make sure to label the container with the date and type of cookies. Unfrosted cookies can be frozen up to 6-12 months (frosted, about 3 months). Frozen cookies thaw in about 10 minutes at room temperature (if you can wait that long). If cookies should be crisp when thawed, remove them from the container before thawing.
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter
3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 c. molasses
In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter. Add eggs. Stir in flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Add molasses, stirring well. Refrigerate dough for an hour or two to chill. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in a little sugar and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
1 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 3/4 c. flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and eggs. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Refrigerate dough for an hour or two to chill. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
Peanut Butter Crackles
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. peanut butter
Chocolate kisses or stars
Mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix together butter, peanut butter, and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and press chocolate kisses firmly into cookie.
About the Author: Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom. For more recipes, organizing tips, home decorating, crafts, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative Homemaking at http://www.creativehomemaking.com
A Victorian cake recipe that is truly exceptional. The perfect cake to take to gatherings…it’s easy, freezes well, serves many, and it doesn’t actually contain any hummingbirds!
Hummingbird Cake Recipe
3 cups All-purpose flour
2 cups Sugar
1 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 8oz Can crushed pinapple with juice
1 cup Cooking oil
3 large Eggs well beaten
2 cups Bananas (3 bananas) chopped
1 cup Walnuts or pecans finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1 tblspoon Butter or margarine melted
1 cup Sifted powdered sugar
Reserved pineapple juice
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease a 10″ tube or a fluted tube pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
- Remove 2 Tablespoons of juice from the can of pinapple. Set this juice aside for the glaze.
- To the flour mixture, add the can of pinapple, the oil, eggs, banana, nuts, and vanilla. Stir until just blended. Do not beat.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the 325 degree oven for about 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack and remove the pan from the cake. Cool completely.
To make the glaze:
In a small bowl combine the melted butter or margarine with the powdered sugar. Add enough of the reserved pineapple juice to make a glaze thin enough to drizzle over cake. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake. For a glaze with a whole new dimension, try substituting rum for the pineapple juice.
Thanksgiving has always been a big traditional holiday in my family. Friends and family from far and near gather to give thanks for all of God’s gifts. We celebrate with a big feast. My memories of thanksgiving center around the time I spend in the kitchen cooking with my mother and my own kids. We work all day to create the feast, but the conversations we shared are more important than the food.
It is so many times easier to do the cooking yourself, rather than ask for “help” from children. However, I encourage you to avoid taking the easy way out. Cook alongside your children, teach them not only to cook, but also to love.
I hope this menu helps you plan your own Thanksgiving feast. While this menu has quite a bit of cooking to be done, I will do some of it the day before. You can downsize it to fit your family and time available or ask the guests to bring one dish each. I am serving smoked turkey this year, it is so much easier, but I have included links for Roasted Turkey and Deep Fried Turkey for your conveniece. If you are roasting your turkey, consider brining it, if you have the time. All the recipes are posted her on Easy Southern Cooking. Enjoy! Diane
Toasted Pecans / Deviled Eggs
Smoked Turkey , Roasted Turkey or Deep Fried Turkey
Giblet Gravy or Turkey Gravy
Sausage Apple Pecan Stuffing
Creamed New Potatoes
Grated Sweet Potato Pudding
Green Beans with Bacon and Onions
Baked Squash Casserole
Holiday Cranberry Salad
Sweet Potato Pie / Pecan Pie
This recipe can be used with any type of potato, but my family prefers small red potatoes or Yukon potatoes. I also use this recipe to make a delicious potato soup by adding enough chicken stock to make a thick soup. You want some mashing to occur, but most of the potatoes should remain in whole chunks.
Creamed New Potatoes
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes
4 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup whole milk, more or less as desired
salt and white pepper to taste
1. Scrub and dice potatoes. You want the chunks to be large bite size. Cover potatoes with lightly salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until done.
2. When potatoes are done, drain well. Add 4 tablespoons butter and put back onto low heat. Add just enough milk so that it covers the bottom of the pan and comes up halfway through the potatoes.
3. Simmer and stir until the butter is melted and all is mixed. The potatoes will mash slightly, thickening the milk and butter. You can add more milk, if desired, to get the amount of creaminess desired.
4. Remove from heat and season with salt and white pepper to taste.
I was raised on southern sweet tea. More than any other food or drink, sweet tea embodies the soul of the south. For those who were not raised in the south, I will reveal the secrets here to a good pitcher of sweet tea.
The secret, contrary to the belief of most restaurants, is that sweet tea cannot be sweetened by the glass. It is essential that the tea is sweetened hot and then allowed to cool. The sugar actually “inverts” – a chemical alteration that changes the taste of the drink, actually producing a sweeter drink on less sugar than could be achieved when adding sugar to a cold glass.
Another reason for the less than acceptable tea that you sometimes get in restaurants is that the pitcher, etc. must be scrupulously clean. Restaurants sometimes add to the dispenser, rather than cleaning it between each fill. This allows the tea to ferment slightly and gives an off flavor. If you drink a lot of tea, you immediately identify this off flavor.
Choose a brand of tea that you like. I prefer Luzzianne, as it is specially blended for iced tea. Lipton is acceptable, but has an astringent flavor that I don’t like. Some of the store brands make good tea. Try a few and find the flavor that you prefer. There is no need to buy expensive teas for this recipe, save those for savoring by the cup.
To Make A Pitcher of Classic Southern Tea – Sweet Tea Recipe
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add 4 – 5 family sized tea bags to the boiling water and turn off the heat. Let the tea steep while the water cools, approximately 10 minutes.
- Remove the tea bags, pressing them with the back of the spoon to get out all the liquid. Add 1 – 2 cups of sugar and stir until it is dissolved. Growing up, we used 2 cups, but now I use 1. If you are looking for a traditional sweet flavor, start with 1 1/2 cups.
- Add the concentrated tea to a gallon pitcher and fill with cold water. Serve over ice. Refrigerate leftovers.
Sometimes the tea will turn cloudy when refrigerated or poured over ice. This is due to the sudden chilling, some particles precipitate out of the liquid. This is ok and does not affect drinkability. You will find that some brands are cloudier than others, and some water supplies are more prone to this as well.
The flavor of tea changes with time and refrigeration. Some people prefer their tea strictly fresh, others like the flavor better after refrigeration. The tea actually gets a little sweeter as more sugar inverts over time.
I like to serve this with lemon, and sometimes add a spoonful of lemonade concentrate to the pitcher. (The flavor with lemonade is good, but its not traditional.) Garnish with a sprig of mint if desired.
This recipe is traditionally made with yellow summer squash, but you can also use zucchini or a mixture of the two. I like to use fresh squash, but frozen will also work.
Baked Squash Casserole Recipe
1 lb diced yellow squash
1 large onion chopped
1 c. grated cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoon butter
1/2 c. cracker crumbs
1. Cook squash and onion in salted water untill tender, drain.
2. Add butter, milk and 1/4 cup of the cheese. Mix well, and spread remaining cheese on top.
3. Add cracker crumbs on top of the cheese, then dot with small pieces of butter. Bake at 450 degrees until crackers brown.