Annika Noelle’s (Hope) Baked Acorn Squash
1 acorn squash
¼ cup water
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 pat of butter (if using dairy)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Take the acorn squash and cut it in half very carefully.
3. Clean out the seeds in the inside with a spoon.
4. In a baking dish, add a small amount of water to cover the bottom of the pan.
5. Place the two squash halves in the pan.
6. Pour ¼ cup of water on each side of the squash, along with the maple syrup, and add the pat of butter.
7. Place in the oven at 350 degrees for one hour or until squash is soft.
8. Serve and enjoy!
How did this dish become a holiday tradition? “My family knows how much I don’t like to cook, so they gave me this simple recipe to bring a little bit of New England back to Los Angeles with me.”
Why do you love it so much? “This recipe is special to me because it reminds me of home. It’s very comforting and it’s a somewhat healthy sweet treat.”
Do you eat it only at Thanksgiving? “I also love to make it on a cold night when I want to feel cozy.”
What would you like to say to the fans who will make this dish? “Consider it a little bit of love from my family to yours. Enjoy!”
Courtney Hope’s (Sally) “French Dressing” Stuffing
Quantity of mashed potatoes, depending on the number of guests: 9 potatoes per 6 people
2 lbs ground pork breakfast
sausage (Jimmy Dean’s is our brand of choice)
1½ cup sliced yellow onions
1 cup of celery: stalks and leaves
1. Boil potatoes to mash.
2. Brown the sausage in a separate pan.
3. Once browned, add celery and onions to sauté. Once sautéed, take off burner and put aside.
4. Take half of mashed potatoes and put in bowl. Thoroughly mix half of your veggie/sausage sauté into the mash.
5. Add the remainder of potatoes, and sauté and mix thoroughly.
6. Put mixture into a 9½ x 12-inch Pyrex-type dish.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
8. For extra flavor, take a baster with turkey drippings and squeeze over the top of the dressing every 10-15 minutes, at least twice.
9. Season with salt to taste.
10. Serve and enjoy!
Tell us about your choice. “My favorite Thanksgiving dish is my father Phil’s family’s famous ‘French Dressing’ that they stuff the turkey with — or make à la carte. This version serves six.”
How did this dish become a Hope family tradition? “My dad grew up with his mom making it during the holidays, and now he makes it for us every Thanksgiving. It just isn’t the same without it. It is so good!”
What would you like to say to the fans who will make this dish? “Enjoy — and welcome to the family!”
Lucas Adams’s (Tripp) Hot Corn
2 cans of whole kernel corn
1 Tbsp. of butter
1 whole block of ⅓ Less Fat Philadelphia cream cheese
Sliced jalapeños to taste (Adams notes, “I get a jar of jalapeños — usually Ortega — and use maybe ⅓ cup. But however many you use is up to you!”)
¼ cup of jalapeño juice from the jar of jalapeños
1. Drain both cans of corn, then pour corn into a microwave-safe bowl with a lid.
2. Add the butter.
3. Microwave for 2 minutes.
4. After microwaving is complete, add the entire block of cream cheese
(½ block per 1 can of corn).
5. Microwave again for 3 minutes.
6. Once microwaving is complete, stir the cheese and corn until fully mixed together.
7. Place back in microwave for 1 minute.
8. Once complete, stir in the jalapeños and juice.
Serve and enjoy!
Where did you get this recipe? “My mom taught it to me. Be ready: This one is so easy. You make it in the microwave, and your friends will want you to make it every time you’re together!”
Is this a staple on your Thanksgiving menu? “Of course, it is. It’s absolutely delicious and is constantly asked for, and almost every time someone makes it, is completely devoured.”
What do you like about this dish? “Absolutely everything!”
Do you have any tips to personalize this dish or for any ingredient substitutions? “Sometimes I’ll add a little garlic salt or some creole [seasoning] to add a little extra to it. You can use vegan cream cheese in place of the actual cheese and it still tastes great!”
Have you ever tweaked the recipe when you’ve made this dish? “Usually I’ll add more butter to it — you can never have too much!”
Does it make a good leftover? “Of course, it does! I usually heat it up, but it’s actually still pretty delicious cold!”
Carolyn Hennesy’s (Diane) Poached Pears In Sherry
6 large Bartlett pears, firm, cut in half with seeds removed
2 to 4 Tbsp. salted butter
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 cinnamon sticks, broken
10 whole cloves
1 medium bottle of sherry, dry or sweet, or Marsala
1. Using a large Pyrex baking dish, coat the inside with ½ Tbsp. of butter.
2. Lay the pears cut-face down, fitting together like puzzle pieces (they’ll shrink when baking).
3. Drop in cloves, cinnamon sticks and 3 Tbsp. of the brown sugar all around.
4. Pour sherry or Marsala into the dish until roughly ¾ of an inch of “hump” is showing above the liquid.
5. Rough-cut the remaining butter and place it between the pears.
6. Sprinkle each hump with more brown sugar.
7. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. As the pears shrink, the sherry/sugar/butter mixture will reduce to bubbling and thicken when cooled. It can be served as a side dish or a dessert. It’s delish over ice cream. Although the alcohol is burned off, kiddies may not be fond of the sherry taste … which means more for the adults!
What do you like about this dish? “To me, it’s very ‘old world’. The ingredients are few and earthy and simple. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Mayflower passengers brought this over from across the pond. My great, great (how many?) grandfather, Benjamin Rush, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and I can envision this on his holiday table.”
Is it a staple on your Thanksgiving menu? “It’s become a staple because I bring it every year; my family knows this is sorta my thing.”
Where does the recipe come from? “I’ve been making it for years; I think an acquaintance gave me the recipe ages ago.”
Any tips for personalizing or tweaking this dish? “Add or subtract quantities, i.e., if you really like cinnamon, pile it on; if you don’t, don’t. Other than substituting apples for pears, I wouldn’t vary the ingredients; it’s just one of those perfect, simple dishes.”
Does it make a good leftover? “It’s actually kinda better the next day, when the flavors have really had a chance to marry. And the syrup itself over ice cream is just stupid good.”
Brytni Sarpy’s (Valerie) Louisiana Pecan Candy
3 cups sugar
2 cans condensed milk
2 sticks of butter
1 large bag or 2 small bags of pecans
vanilla extract (just a few drops)
1. In a nonstick pot, melt butter.
2. Add sugar, condensed milk and a drop of vanilla for taste (you can add an additional drop based on the taste and sweetness). Then, bring to boil.
3. Turn down heat to maintain a steady boil, stirring constantly, until you get a caramel color and the texture of the ingredients starts to thicken (in order to drop candy on wax paper when hard enough). Be careful not to burn it, and you have to continually stir! It takes about 20 minutes.
4. Add pecans toward the end, while still stirring.
5. Once you’ve achieved the right texture and color, drop the candy on wax paper, about half a fistful (same as you would cookie dough scoops), and leave to set (a few hours).
6. Enjoy!! Makes about 12 pieces (sized like a cookie).
Where does the recipe for the pecan candy come from? “This is my grandma’s recipe. It’s a popular dessert candy in Louisiana.”
What do you like about this dish? “Pecan candy — affectionately known by my family as just candy — is my favorite dessert. Goes back to my Creole roots, and is easy to make in theory, but tough to execute and perfect.”
Do you have any tips for someone who is making it for the first time? “My biggest tip is, be prepared to mess up. It is very easy to burn, and if you don’t stir consistently, you won’t get the proper consistency. It’s not uncommon to have to do a second batch. The color and texture is the hardest and most important part of the process!”
Does it make for a good taste the next day? “Yes, they are great to eat the next day … and the day after that … and the day after that….”
Sharon Case’s (Sharon) Wild Mushroom Soup
¼ cup butter
1½ lbs. of chopped mushrooms, any variety
1 small package of dried porcini mushrooms
1 tsp. salt
1 large onion, diced
1½ Tbsp. all-purpose flour
6 fresh thyme sprigs
¼ cup sherry wine
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1. In a small pot, heat water until nearly boiling. Remove from heat. Add dried porcini mushrooms. Cover and let steep for 30 minutes.
2. Melt butter in a large soup pot. Cook mushrooms on medium heat in butter with salt until golden brown. About 15 minutes. (Set aside a few mushrooms as a garnish for later.)
3. Add diced onion to the mushrooms and cook until translucent. About 5 minutes.
4. Add flour to the mushroom mixture and cook, stirring often, about 2
5. Add sherry wine and cook for 2 more minutes.
6. Pour in chicken stock and water/porcini mushroom mixture. Tie the thyme sprigs together with kitchen twine and add. Reduce heat to simmer; cover and cook for 30 minutes.
7. Remove thyme bundle and transfer soup to a blender or food processor in small batches and blend until smooth.
8. Return soup to pot and add cream, remaining mushrooms, which were set aside, then salt and pepper to taste. You can also add fresh thyme leaves if you choose to. If soup is too thick, add more water or chicken stock.
Where did you get this recipe? “From my mother and my grandmother. I’ve changed it slightly from their recipe; I like to add thyme and sherry, but it’s delicious either way.”
What kind of mushrooms do you prefer? “I use a mix of cremini, shiitake, and oyster or chanterelle.”
Do you serve this up at every Thanksgiving? “This soup has always been a staple in my family’s holiday menu, either for Thanksgiving or Christmas.”
What do you like about this dish? “It reminds me of my childhood. Because I grew up eating this, I think of it as ‘kid food’, but I guess a better name would be comfort food.”
Jason Canela’s (Arturo) Stuffed Turkey Cuban Style
22-23 lb. turkey
1½ Tbsp. onion powder
1½ Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 whole white onion
2 cloves of garlic
1½ cups naranja agria
(a bitter orange marinade available bottled in
1 cup white wine
½ lb. ground ham
½ lb. ground pork sausage
1 lb. ground beef
1 box of bread stuffing
1 lb. raw bacon
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Mix dry seasonings, then put in blender with whole onion, garlic, naranja agria and wine. Blend well.
3. Pour liquid over and inside the cleansed turkey.
4. Mix ham, pork, and ground beef together with parsley.
5. Cook bread stuffing on stove according to package directions (with butter and water). When soft, add meat mixture, cook until meat is evenly browned, then allow to thoroughly cool down.
6. Stuff the turkey with meat mixture/bread stuffing.
7. Wrap turkey in raw bacon and put on a cooking tray.
8. Put in oven, cover with aluminum foil and cook for 5-5½ hours. Turkey is done when a meat thermometer reaches at least 165 degrees. Serve.
Where did you get this recipe? “It’s my sweet mama’s own recipe, so shout-out to her for being so freaking amazing! I gotta say, this turkey is one of the reasons why Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.”
Have you ever tweaked this recipe with your own changes? “Oh, no. I don’t mess with my mama’s turkey. I have with some of her other recipes because I really enjoy cooking.
What’s your advice for someone attempting this recipe for the first time? “Don’t be afraid. Just go for it — and make sure you’re around amazing people when you’re doing it, because their energy will help the flavor!”
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