Paula’s Cranberry Relish

My Chris grew up the baby of 6 children. His oldest sister is 19 years older (though you wouldn’t know it looking at her, unless you think Chris is twelve!) and was married when Chris was about a year old. She and her husband could not have children for several years, so they often took Chris along to fairs and had him over for the night to get their “kid fix.”

 One of their traditions together was this one for Thanksgiving. She’d pull out her grinder and let Chris turn the handle. Together they made this marvelous dish. It is served at every Thanksgiving in the Smith home.

1 pkg. fresh cranberries
2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
2 t. orange zest
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 family size strawberry Jell-o (can use raspberry, cranberry or orange)
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 c. chopped pecans

In a blender (or grinder, if you’d like!), blend cranberries and oranges until smooth. Mix in orange zest, orange juice, jello and sugar. Mix until thoroughly blended. Pour into a bowl and stir in apples and nuts. Refrigerate overnight.

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Sweet Potato Casserole

This is the only one my Chris will eat.  It is his love language, plain and simple. He hails from the South, Texas to be exact, and this is just the RIGHT way to make this dish–and is his Mama’s recipe. I love that I have it on a card in her handwriting with a date of 11-95 on it.  That makes it so special to me!

2 c. peeled and cooked sweet potatoes, mashed
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. melted butter plus 2 1/2 T. separated
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1/3 c. milk
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. pecans, chopped

Combine cooked and mashed sweet potatoes with sugar, 1/2 c. melted butter, eggs, vanilla and milk in a mixer. Whip until smooth. Pour into a 2 quart dish.

Blend together 1/2 c. brown sugar, flour, 2 1/2 T. butter and chopped pecans in a bowl. Evenly spread this topping over the sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350 degree for 30-40 minutes until semi-firm in the center.

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Easy Apple-Berry Crumble Pie

I love apples, so apple pie at Thanksgiving is usually my go-to dessert.  Add a little Blue Bell French Vanilla Bean ice cream and this is amazing!  And it has oats, too, which are heart-healthy, right?

1 ½ cups quick oats, uncooked
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ tsp baking soda
10 tbsp butter, melted
1 – 21 oz can apple pie filling
¾ cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/3 to ½ cup whole berry cranberry sauce
1 ½ tsp lemon juice or ½ lemon
½ tsp ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray pie plate. In medium bowl combine oats, flour, brown sugar and baking soda. Add melted butter and mix well. Set aside ¾ cup oat mixture for topping. Press remaining oat mixture firmly on bottom and sides of pie plate. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Using same bowl. Stir together pie filling, cranberries, whole berry cranberry sauce, lemon juice and cinnamon. Pour over hot crust, spread evenly. Sprinkle remaining oat mixture evenly over filling. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. *Cooks Note: Do not cover pie so that the crust will stay crisp. From Jeno.

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Peanut Butter Pie

Mmm, this is very, very rich! I so love peanut butter and chocolate! It is such a respite from mincemeat and pumpkin pie at your Thanksgiving table.  I got this from Lone Star Legacy, my very favorite cookbook ever. And believe me, I have a lot of cookbooks.

1 c. crunchy peanut butter
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. sugar
2 T. butter, melted
1 c. whipped topping
1 T. vanilla
1 graham cracker crust, 9 inch
Hershey’s chocolate fudge topping to garnish

In a large bowl, mix together peanut butter, cream cheese, sugar, butter, whipped topping and vanilla. Pour into graham cracker crust. Refrigerate overnight. Top with hot fudge (Hershey’s that is heated for about 1-2 minutes in the microwave–stop often and stir).

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Cajun Fried Turkey

There is nothing better than a crisp, hot piece of skin from this wonderful turkey.  We love to make this every few years.  It isn’t an every year kind of turkey for us, but it IS very, very good. I love when we get to partake of it.  You could say I am THANKFUL for it.

2 t. salt
1 T plus 2 t. cayenne, divided
10-12 lb turkey (fresh, not injected with butter or other seasonings)
4 T. unsalted butter, melted
3/4 c. onions, finely chopped
1/4 c. celery, finely chopped
3 T. minced garlic
2 T. ground pepper vinegar
1 T. plus 1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
1/2 c. turkey (or chicken) broth
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
5 gallons peanut oil (can subst. vegetable oil)

Mix together 2 t. salt and 2 t. cayenne in a small bowl. Set aside this mixture to rub on turkey.

Combine melted butter with onions, celery, garlic, pepper vinegar, 1 T. salt, 1 T. cayenne, black pepper, broth, and Worcestershire sauce. Inject into turkey (with this). Rub salt/ cayenne mixture on the outside. Refrigerate overnight.

Fry the turkey, using a turkey fryer (like this), according to instructions and with the peanut oil. Heat oil to 400 degrees. Lower the turkey into the hot oil. Adjust the flame slightly down to maintain a temperature of 350 degrees. Oil should be hot enough to bubble during the frying, but not so hot that the turkey burns. Make sure that the turkey remains submerged or turn very carefully every 10-15 minutes. Let the turkey fry until the juices run clear–about 3 minutes per pound (about 35-45 minutes). The turkey will look very dark brown when it is done. Don’t be afraid that it has burned; this is the right color. Carefully remove the turkey and place breast side down on the platter with paper towels. Let drain about 5 minutes, turn over and drain and cool for 15 minutes more before slicing. From Bessie Gartman.

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Oyster Dressing

You need to know this about me.  I was born in the north–lived there for 10 years–and then we moved to the south–lived there for 24 1/2 years. Now we are in Colorado and have been for the last 5 years.  So you could say I have had the experience of northern, western and southern Thanksgivings.  I would say this dressing is a northern dressing.  My southern husband will not touch it.  But I LOVE it.  It is rich and delightful to my taste-buds.  So perhaps you will like this…perhaps not. Give it a try!

Turkey giblets (Don’t know what they are? Click here.)
1 loaf of your favorite bread
1 medium onion, minced finely
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. sage
3 eggs
1/8 t. pepper
1 container oysters, drain and reserve 2 T. of this liquid
1/2 c. drippings from the cooked turkey (drippings are the liquid at the bottom of the turley pan–the oils and juices from the turkey)

Boil giblets from turkey. Using the broth from this, lightly wet a loaf of bread and add, 1 finely minced onion, 1 t. salt, 1 1/2 t. sage, 3 eggs and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly. Gently add in 1 container of oysters with 2 T. of the liquid. Divide mixture in half and cook in two pie pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

In the middle of cooking, drip some turkey drippings on it to make a nice crust. A family Thanksgiving favorite!!

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Harvest Cranberry Sweet Potato Casserole

To help you plan early, I am providing the Thanksgiving edition of our family favorites.  This wonderful side dish is a great twist on sweet potato casserole.  Of course, my Chris, a good ol’ southern boy, loves his Mama’s version best.  I will share that one this week, too!

3 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 large onion, diced
olive oil or vegetable oil cooking spray
1 1/2 c. fresh cranberries (or frozen–do not thaw, if frozen)
2/3 c. light brown sugar
2 T. butter, melted
1/4 c. orange juice
3/4 t. salt
1 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. ground ginger
3/4 t. cinnamon
1 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray two shallow baking dishes (about 9 X 13 each) with oil. Mix sweet potatoes and onions and place half in each prepared baking dish. Spray lightly with oil and bake until sweet potatoes are just tender about 20-25 minutes. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Stir in sweet potato mixture. Place mixture in two freezer bags. Freeze, using freezer bag method.

On serving day, slightly defrost or thaw to a slushy state. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place potato/ cranberry mixture in two 9 by 11 inch baking dishes. Bake uncovered about 30-40 minutes or until tender and slightly sticky. Stir once during cooking. From Don’t Panic More
Dinner’s in the Freezer

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Broccoli Rice Casserole

When we lived closer to our families, this was my designated dish to bring to family gatherings.  It is a wonderful combination of textures and flavors! If you haven’t tried it before, do make it this year.  It will make your meal so complete and very good!

3 T. butter
1/2 c. celery, finely chopped
1 – 8 1/2 oz. can water chestnuts, drained and chopped finely
1 c. Vidalia onion, chopped finely
2 pkgs. (10 oz. each) frozen chopped broccoli
1 c. rice, cooked
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 jar (8 oz.) Cheez Whiz

Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Sauté onions, celery and water chestnuts for about 5-8 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Prepare broccoli according to package directions; drain. Prepare rice, according to package directions.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into a buttered casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. (May be prepared in advance and frozen before baking. To cook it frozen, bake at 300 degrees for one hour.)

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