Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What's on your Thanksgiving menu?

By Cheryl Brooks

Not long ago I self-published a book in which the heroine's favorite day of the year was Thanksgiving. Why? Because she loved to cook.

So do I. I love the excuse to get out my grandmother's china and her silver turkey platter. I like being able to pull out all the stops and use a tablecloth and matching napkins. Granted, my feasts are small ones, with only my husband and two sons to cook for, but I make enough food to feed at least eight. Considering the fact that I've inherited enough plates to feed a football team--second stringers and all--on china, I could probably handle more than that.

Gram's silverware was an old set, and she used it every day. I use it once a year, but knowing it's up there on top of the cabinets waiting to be dusted off and used is comforting somehow.

My Thanksgiving menu doesn't vary much from year to year. We all like turkey. Sam always asks for crescent rolls--like we couldn't have those more often! Mike wants cranberry sauce. Bud asked for a pecan pie, which is one of those things I've never been any good at making. They always end up hard as a rock or soupy. If anyone knows the secret, please let me know! Pumpkin pie, however, I'm pretty consistent with. I never carve my Halloween pumpkin, but leave it whole, sitting out on the deck where I can see it through the kitchen window. Last week, I baked it, pureed it, and put it in the freezer. Now I'll thaw out some of it and use it to make pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and the pumpkin casserole I recently invented. If you're curious about the pumpkin casserole recipe, here's the link! http://cherylbrooksauthor.blogspot.com/

My other standby is potato casserole, the recipe for which I also I inherited from my grandmother. It works best if you use the hash brown patties and mush them up after they've thawed. The shredded kind in the bag just aren't the same. However, I'm faced with having to use them this year. My trusty grocery store failed me this time.

That being said, here's the recipe. It's easy to make and just plain good!

1 pkg Ore-Ida hash brown patties (27 oz) thawed and crumbled up
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup chopped onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

Mix all together and spread in greased 9 X 13 pan
Mix one stick melted butter with 1 ½ cups of crushed cornflakes and spread over the top.
Bake @ 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

That's what we're having. What's on your Thanksgiving menu?


  1. My family looks forward to my homemade egg noodles. They're labor intensive, but I think that's what makes them taste like love. ;-)

  2. I have no idea because I don't cook. I imagine my mom has pumpkin pie on the menu. I hope so!

  3. I bet your table is beautiful, Cheryl! Pumpkin pie from real pumpkin, not canned, is always so tasty. Happy Thanksgiving to your house from ours!
    Husband's pecan pie (I taught him well) is the recipe from the DARK Karo bottle. Mama had a couple of secrets that seems to work for us. First is chop the pecans very fine (We have her old hand turned chopper) and the second is to always use dark Karo...never another brand because it will make the pie soupy and never light Karo.

  4. Turkey, potatoes and gravy and I'm happy. :) At son and DIL's for Christmas 2nd year in a row. :)

  5. I'm doing something new for desert this year chocolate mousse.

  6. Thanks, Carolyn! Should've known you'd know the secret!

  7. Ooh! Chocolate mousse! I used to make one with rum from a recipe in Joy of Cooking. Hmm.... Might make that for Christmas!

  8. I hear you, Terry! I used to make several other things, but I've trimmed it down in recent years. Too many leftovers!

  9. LOL! I'm sure your mom will make a pumpkin pie for you, Shana!

  10. I used to make noodles, Mia--have a pasta machine and everything--but you're right. Too labor intensive, but they are delicious! I'm sure your family appreciates your efforts!

  11. Cheryl, there ain't no such thing as a bad pecan pie. It's wonderful eaten with a fork; it's wonderful eaten with a spoon; bottom line, it's just plain wonderful!

  12. I make a casserole similar to yours but potato chips on top and just the cubed or shredded ore-idas. I don't make it for Thanksgiving though because I have the stuffing, sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes and rolls - enough starches lol. Then usually frozen gr. beans with dried cranberries and olive oil, asparagus and a large salad with pumpkin pie for dessert (bought lol). I do miss the days when my grandmother added her Italian dishes and stuffed artichokes but I do all the cooking myself and it's just too much.

  13. OMGoodness, I'm sooo hungry after reading your post! ;)

    I do have a really great recipe for Buttered Pecan Pie--you roast the Pecans ahead of time and the flavor is totally yummy.

    I'll email you the recipe :)

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  14. True, Carolyn, but I've made some pecan pies you had to eat with a hammer!

  15. @catslady. I'm doing a Caesar salad this year, which is new. I hear you on the starch overload. The potato casserole is the reason I don't fix mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes!

  16. I make turkey and homemade gravy. I love inherited recipes!!

  17. LOL! You and my son are on the same wavelength, Brooklyn. I believe his request was for gallons of gravy!

  18. I want to dive face first into all this food! I'm a pumpkin pie baker...yum! Happy Thanksgiving all :)