• Make Ahead Creamy Mashed Potatoes

    This is the perfect side dish to prepare ahead of time. Tastes like delicious twice baked potato filling.


    • 4-5 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
    • 8-10 garlic cloves, peeled
    • 2-3 TBSP olive oil
    • 1/2 c. butter, melted
    • 3-4 oz. cream cheese, softened
    • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1 c. sour cream
    • 1/2 – 3/4 c. milk
    • 1/2 c. green onions, thinly sliced (reserve some for garnish)
    • 2 tsp. onion powder
    • 2 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. pepper


    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. Place the garlic cloves on a sheet of foil large enough to enclose the garlic; then drizzle garlic with olive oil. Seal foil tightly and roast for 15-20 minutes, until garlic is soft and creamy. Remove from oven and mash garlic into a paste.
    3. Meanwhile, cut potatoes and add to a pot and cover with water. Boil over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes, or until soft, and then drain.
    4. In a large bowl add all of the ingredients and mash until creamy. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
    5. Either bake for 45 minutes or cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. If baking later, remove from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, then bake for 45 minutes, or until heated through.

    Make Ahead Creamy Mashed Potatoes:

  • Apple Crumb Pie


    If you like apple pie and if you like crumb topping, you’ll love this apple crumb pie!  This pie will have its place at our Thanksgiving feasts.

    Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.


    • 1/2 recipe of No Fail Pie Crust (or make a full recipe and make tarts with the leftover crust….yum!)
    • 6 c. apples (Fuji, Jazz, Braeburn, Granny Smith mix), sliced ¼ inch thick
    • 1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
    • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
    • 2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

    Crumb Topping:

    • 1 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 c. packed light or dark brown sugar
    • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 8 TBSP (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces


    1. Make the pie crust according to directions, roll it out into a 9-inch pie plate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before filling with the apples.
    2. Preheat the oven to 375*. Peel, core and slice all the apples to about 1/4-inch thick. It doesn’t have to be exact – just try to get them all about the same thickness so the apples cook evenly.
    3. Toss the apples in a bowl with the lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the apple mixture to the chilled crust.
    4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the butter pieces and cut in with a fork, your fingers or a pastry blender until the mixture is coarsely combined and makes a streusel-like consistency.
    5. Lightly press the crumb mixture on top of the apples. Place the pie on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes until the apples are tender and the crust is golden brown. If the crust edges are getting too dark during the last 30 minutes of baking, you can cover them with foil for the remainder of baking.
    6. Serve warm or at room temperature. This pie is delicious with a bit of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

    Apple Crumb Pie:


  • Apple Pie Perfection!


    Apple pie…just like Grandma’s…I just love apple pie!  The search is over…this is the best apple pie!


    • No Fail Pie Crust
    • 6-8 c. apples (Fuji, Jazz, Braeburn, Granny Smith mix), sliced ¼ inch thick
    • ¾ c. sugar
    • 3 TBSP all purpose flour
    • 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
    • ½ tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/8 tsp. salt
    • 1 TBSP butter, cut into small pieces
    • 2 tsp. sugar
    • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon


    1. Preheat oven to 425*.
    2. Combine apples through salt in a large bowl.  Let stand for at least 15 minutes, stirring several times, so the apples soften slightly.
    3. Pour mixture into the bottom of the crust and gently level with the back of a spoon.
    4. Top with butter.
    5. Brush the overhanging edge of the bottom crust with cold water.  Cover with the top crust, then seal the edge, trim, and crimp or flute.  Cut steam vents in the top crust and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
    6. Bake for 30 minutes with a baking sheet underneath.  After 30 minutes, reduce temperature and bake until fruit feels just tender when a knife is poked through the vents, about 30 to 45 more minutes.  For the filling to thicken, the pie must cook on a rack for 3 to 4 hours.

    Apple Pie:


  • Perfect Pie Crust


    In my opinion, my Grandmother makes the best pies in the whole wide world…I’m not kidding!  Her crust is flaky and buttery and delicious.  I’ve seen her make pies, so I’ve always had an idea of what goes into it, but I never could get it just right, because in true Grandma form, she has no recipe…she makes it by feel.

    This is the perfect pie crust.  I. am. not. kidding.  It’s just like Grandma’s.

    Recipe from the November 2012 issue of Food Network Magazine.


    • 12 TBSP very cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
    • 3 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1 TBSP sugar
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1/3 c. very cold vegetable shortening
    • 1/2 c. ice water


    1. Cut the butter in 1/2 inch dice and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture.
    2. Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix
    3. Add the butter and shortening.  Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas.  With the machine running, pour ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball.
    4. Dump onto a floured board and roll into a ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes (if refrigerate longer be sure to let it warm up a bit before you try and roll the dough out).
    5. Cut the dough in half.  Roll each piece on a well floured board into a circle at least 1 inch larger than the pie pan, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough so it doesn’t stick to the board. You should see bits of butter in the dough. Fold the dough in half, ease it into the pie pan without stretching at all an unfold to fit the pan.
    6. With a small paring knife, cut the dough 1 inch larger around the pan.  Fold the end under and crimp the edge with either your fingers or the tines of a fork.
    7. Makes 2 (9-11 inch) crusts.

    Perfect Pie Crust:


  • Cranberry Sweet Potato Casserole

    Not the prettiest dish to photograph, but it is so delicious!  Everyone LOVED this…even -s, who’s not too crazy about anything sweet potato.  Both kiddos requested that I make this again, and it will definitely be made at Thanksgiving.

    Adapted from Tara McConnell’s Hot Recipes in Cool Dishes.

    Filling Ingredients:

    • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
    • 1 c. Craisins (reduced sugar)
    • 1/2 c. brown sugar
    • 4 TBSP butter, melted
    • grated zest and juice of 1 orange
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. allspice
    • 1/2 tsp. salt

    Topping Ingredients:

    • 1/2 c. brown sugar
    • 1 c. flour
    • 1 c. chopped pecans
    • 1/2 c. butter, melted


    1. Preheat oven to 400*.
    2. Add potatoes to a large pot of water; bring to a boil and cook until tender.
    3. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine Craisins through salt.
    4. In another mixing bowl, combine the topping ingredients.
    5. When potatoes are tender, drain and return to pot; add Craisin sauce and mash with a potato masher.
    6. Spray a 3 qt. baking dish (7 x 9 ish) with cooking spray and add potato mixture and spread topping over the potato mixture (may want to take a knife and spray with cooking spray to more easily spread the mixture).
    7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the topping has browned.

    Cranberry Sweet Potato Casserole:

  • Cranberry Jello Salad


    Jello salads and molded jello salads were all the rage in the 70’s and they still are for my family in the Pacific Northwest.  Most jello salads I don’t particularly care for, but I eat enough to be polite.  There is one exception.  My Great Aunt Arlene makes this wonderful raw cranberry jello salad every Thanksgiving.  It’s bright, cold, and refreshing, which is a nice contrast to the heavy hearty Thanksgiving meal.

    Since I’m not with my family for Thanksgiving this year, I emailed Aunt Arlene for the recipe and made it for my family.

    It didn’t disappoint.

    My son said “this is the best jello I’ve ever had. And he had 3 helpings!

    I think what makes this jello salad so delicious is that it has all fresh fruit…none of the canned stuff.

    Try it…you’ll really like it!

    Ingredients Option 1:

    • 1 c. raw cranberries
    • zest of 1 orange
    • orange segments and juice from 1 orange
    • 1/2 c. sugar (or Stevia)
    • 1 small box of sugar free raspberry jello
    • 1 1/2 c. boiling water
    • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced

    Ingredients Option 2:

    • 1 c. raw cranberries
    • zest of 1 orange
    • 6 oz. can of pineapple juice
    • 1/2 c. sugar (or Stevia)
    • 1 large box of sugar free raspberry jello
    • 1 1/2 c. boiling water
    • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced

    Directions for Option 1:

    1. Mix sugar, jello, and boiling water in a bowl; cool slightly.
    2. Combine the cranberries, orange zest, orange segments and orange juice in a food processor and pulse until all is ground into small pieces.
    3. Combine cranberry mixture, jello mixture, and apple pieces in a bowl. Chill until set.

    Directions for Option 2:

    1. Mix sugar, jello, and boiling water in a bowl; cool slightly.
    2. Combine the cranberries, orange zest, and pineapple juice in a food processor and pulse until all is ground into small pieces.
    3. Combine cranberry mixture, jello mixture, and apple pieces in a bowl. Chill until set.

    Cranberry Jello Salad:


  • Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


    We went to Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house this year and we were tasked with desserts.  We brought a traditional pumpkin pie, chocolate chip cheesecake bars, and pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting.  The pumpkin cake was pretty good, especially if you love pumpkin and spice cakes, and for that reason I would give this recipe 4 stars, but since our house isn’t a fan of either, we likely won’t be making this dessert again.

    Recipe from the November 2009 issue of Cooking Light.



    • 10.1 oz. all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
    • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1 c. packed brown sugar
    • 1/4 c.  butter, softened
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
    • Cooking spray


    • 2 TBSP butter, softened
    • 1/2 tsp.  vanilla extract
    • 1 (8-ounce) package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
    • 2 c. sifted powdered sugar


    1. Preheat oven to 350°.
    2. To prepare cake, weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
    3. Combine brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, to sugar mixture; beat well after each addition. Add pumpkin; mix well. Fold in flour mixture. Spread batter into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
    4. To prepare the frosting, combine 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cream cheese in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until combined. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until well combined. Spread frosting evenly over top of cake.

    Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting:


  • Cranberry Relish with Grapefruit and Mint


    This cranberry sauce was delicious!  Recipe comes from the November 2008 issue of Bon Appetit.


    • 2 large pink grapefruits
    • 1 c. sugar
    • 1 c. water
    • 2 1/2 c. cranberries
    • 2 TBSP mint (I didn’t add this because the store didn’t have any)


    1. Remove the zest from one grapefruit in 2 inch strips; then cut the strips so they are 2 inches by 1/8 inch.
    2. Juice both grapefruits.
    3. In a medium saucepan, stir sugar and water over medium heat until sugar dissolves.  Add grapefruit peel; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until peel is soft, about 15 minutes.
    4. Add grapefruit juice and cranberries; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until berries start to burst, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in mint.

    Cranberry Relish with Grapefruit and Mint:


  • Cornbread Stuffing


    This cornbread stuffing can be made in the oven or in the crockpot, and it tastes really yummy. This recipe is adapted from the crockpot lady.  It reminds me a lot of my family’s stuffing recipe.

    • 1 recipe of cornbread
    • 5-6 c. sliced bread or equivalent in dried/stale bread cubes/chunks
    • 1/4 c. butter
    • 2 c. celery, chopped
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 TBSP poultry seasoning
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 3 eggs
    • 3 – 4 c. chicken broth (add more if like wetter stuffing, and can add an additional 1/4 after it finishes cooking if you like wetter stuffing)


    1. Preheat oven to 300. Cut cornbread and bread into 1 inch cubes.  Place cubes on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the cornbread and bread are toasty and dry.
    2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat, add the butter. After butter is melted add celery and onion and cook until veggies are soft, about 10 minutes. Then add the poultry seasoning, salt and pepper; toss to combine.
    3. Place toasted cornbread and bread into a large bowl, add veggie mixture, eggs, and broth; toss to combine.
    4. Spray a large baking dish (9 x 13) with cooking spray and add stuffing.
    5. Cover and bake for 45 minutes (take foil off toward the end to brown), or until top is browned and cooked through.

    Cornbread Stuffing:


  • Chicken-and-Corn Pie with Cornbread Crust


    Here’s another casserole that uses leftover chicken or Turkey from Thanksgiving. It was good, but I liked the chicken tamale casserole better…-s said he really likes both and will definitely eat both. It’s quick and easy to prepare, which is always nice. This recipe comes from the October 2008 issue of Southern Living.


    • 1 (10-oz.) can enchilada sauce
    • 1 (10-oz.) can Mexican diced tomatoes with lime juice and cilantro, drained (I forgot to drain)
    • 2 cups frozen whole kernel corn
    • 1 tsp. chili powder (I used ancho chili powder
    • 3 c. chopped cooked chicken
    • 1 (6-oz.) package Mexican-style cornbread mix
    • 2/3 c. milk
    • 1 large egg
    • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
    • 1 c. (4 oz.) shredded Mexican four-cheese blend, divided
    • Toppings: sliced pickled jalapeno peppers, sour cream


    1. Preheat oven to 375°. Stir together enchilada sauce and next 3 ingredients in a 3 1/2-qt. saucepan over medium heat until combined; cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Stir in chicken.
    2. Whisk together cornbread mix, next 3 ingredients, and 3/4 cup cheese in a small bowl just until blended.
    3. Pour chicken mixture into a lightly greased 11 x 7 pan. Spoon cornbread mixture over hot chicken mixture. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
    4. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Serve with desired toppings.

    Chicken-and-Corn Pie with Cornbread Crust: