Thanksgiving Recap and Recipes

I love Thanksgiving. I love a holiday that’s centered around my favorite things — family, food and cooking. No gift-giving. Just good, old-fashioned eating and enjoying the day.

My Thanksgiving started out with sleeping in (thank you, Sophie) and the annual viewing of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I don’t know why, but I love the Thanksgiving Day parade and now Sophie loves it too. It was so neat to hear her say, “Mommy, can we watch the parade now?” and she would dance to all the performers. My Sister Sari hates parades and even blogged about her despise of them. It’s a good thing she doesn’t wake up Thanksgiving morning at my house. Then there’s the “turkey trot” walk around the neighborhood with the dogs. That’s their Thanksgiving treat.

Bryan, Sophie and I headed to my parents house for the big Thanksgiving meal. My sisters were all there and I love that we all make the side dishes now. It really makes all of us feel a part of the holiday.

Our Thanksgiving feast this year included: appetizers (Mom and Sister Kayli); brined turkey, sausage cornbread stuffing and green bean casserole (Mom); bleu cheese bacon biscuits and burgundy mushrooms (Sister Sari); sweet potato casserole (Sister Ellye); and I made creamed corn, smashed potatoes, and cranberry zinfandel sauce. And for dessert there was pumpkin cheesecake (Costco, courtesy of Dad); apple pie and ice cream (Costco, courtesy of Bryan), and my pumpkin roulade with ginger buttercream creation.

If these dishes sound incredibly good, let me assure you, they were. The creamed corn and cranberry zinfandel sauce are written out below for you to enjoy.

I hope you had a healthy, happy and filling Thanksgiving!

Sophie helping me make cranberry sauce. She loved hearing the berries pop.
Cranberry Zinfandel Sauce
Parmesan Smashed Potatoes close-up
Creamed Corn
Pumpkin Roulade Cake with Ginger Buttercream
Dessert Close-up
Sophie and Mr. Turkey


Cranberry Zinfandel Sauce

This recipe is from Phyllis Carey’s Wine Country Thanksgiving class I took at Great News Cooking School. I love this twist on basic cranberry sauce.

1 3/4 cups red Zinfandel

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

6 whole cloves

6 whole allspice

2 cinnamon sticks

1 (3″ x 1″) strip orange peel

1 (12 oz.) bag of fresh cranberries

Combine all except cranberries in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugars. Reduce heat and simmer until reduce to about 1 3/4 cups, about 10 minutes. Strain syrup into large saucepan. Add cranberries to syrup and cook over medium heat until berries burst, about 6 minutes. Cool, cover and refrigerate until cold. Keeps one week in the refrigerator. I always make this the Monday or Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Creamed Corn

This recipe is from Diane Phillips’ Do-Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner class, also from Great News Cooking School. I’ve been making this dish for years and there is never any leftovers. So I’m warning you now — double the recipe. You won’t be sorry. It’s incredible!

2 bags (16 ounces) frozen white kernel corn (defrosted)

1 1/2 cups whipping cream (use half-and-half or whole milk for a “lighter” version)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon sugar

3 Tablespoons flour mixed with 3 Tablespoons softened butter

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Butter or spray a baking dish. Sprinkle dish with 2 – 3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, tilting the pan to distribute the cheese. Bring the cream to a boil. Reduce the heat and add corn. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in salt and sugar.

Make a paste with the butter and flour, and stir into the corn and cook until the mixture boils and thickens. Turn corn into the baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Refrigerate up to four days. Bake at 350-degrees for 30 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.

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