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Monday, November 16, 2009

The Tradition of A "Traditional" Thanksgiving

I love experimenting and coming up with new recipes and new concoctions....that is every day of the year except Thanksgiving.  When it comes to cooking a Thanksgiving dinner my family and I stick to the basics.  Granted we do add a first course of home-made lasagna...we are italian after all!  But when it comes to Thanksgiving we stick to the tradition of a "traditional" Thanksgiving meal.  I have included some of our recipes on this post....don't forget to check out our italian addition of home-made lasagna in the upcoming weeks!
*Photo courtesy of Good Housekeeping


• 1 loaf of artisian or a very hearty bread (cut into ½ 
  inch pieces stale or lightly toasted)
• 1 lb. bulk pork breakfast sausage
• ½ stick melted butter
• 1 medium onion chopped
• 1 ½ cups of celery chopped small (not fine, but not
  large pieces either)
• 2 TB. Fresh sage – chopped fine
• 1 TB. Fresh thyme – chopped fine
• 4 eggs (lightly beaten)
• ½ cup of milk
• 1 cup chicken broth ( add a bit at a time until you
   reach desired consistency of stuffing)
• Salt and Pepper to taste

  1.   In a large skillet cook the sausage breaking it up into little pieces.
  2.  When the sausage is done cooking remove it with a slotted spoon as to reserve the oil and bits and pieces from the sausage in the skillet.
  3.  Add the butter to the same skillet with oil and sausage bits.
  4.  Add the onions, celery, sage ,thyme salt and pepper. Cook until onions and celery have softened.
  5.  Place the stale or lightly toasted bread cubes in a large bowl. Pour the onion and celery mixture over the bread and lightly toss to coat.
  6.  Add the cooked sausage to the bread mixture.
  7.  Add the eggs and the milk to the bread mixture and toss to coat.
  8.  A little at a time add the chicken broth or stock to the bread mixture. If you are stuffing the bird with the stuffing it can be a bit more dry as it will absorb the moisture from the bird while cooking. If you are making the stuffing in a casserole pan you will want it to have more moisture. If you are doing both make the whole batch a bit dry. Then the stuffing that you put in the casserole pan drizzle about a ½ cup or so more of chicken broth over the top to make it more moist.
  9.  Mix it all together and stuff the turkey or put in casserole dish.
  * If you stuff the bird it will take a bit longer cooking time then if you did not stuff it.

 ** Photo courtesy of Taste of Home


I have never been a huge fan of cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving.  A few years ago my mother in'law brought me a gift: William Sonoma Ceramic Mold ( The mold came with a Molded Cranberry Sauce recipe.  We made that recipe that was great!  I made it for my family the next year and they loved it!  This is now a tradition in our family.  It has a nice, crisp, sweet and tart flavor that compliments well with the heavy sides that accompany Thanksgiving dinner.  If you cannot find this exact cranberry mold that was sold at William Sonoma back then I am sure they have more.  You would need a 32 oz. mold.
  • 1 lb. fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup - plus 2 TB. sugar
  • Zest of 2 large oranges
  • 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup  - plus 2 TB. cold water
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  1. Lighlty coat the inside of the ceramic mold with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cranberries, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, salt and the 2/3 cup water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and the cranberries have burst, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, pour the 2 TB. water into a msall bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin.  Let stand until the gelatin softens and swells, 5 - 10 minutes.
  4. Spoon off the 1/2 cup of the accumulated juices from the cooked cranberries.  Pour the juices over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin has dissolved.  Pour the gelatin mixture into the cranberry mixture and stir to combine.  Pour the cranberry mixture into the prepared mold and let cool to room temp.
  5. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to overnight.
  6. To unmold, dip the mold into a large bowl of warm water so the water reached almost to the rim of the mold.  Remove from the water and run a small pairing knife or spatula around the inside of the mold to loosen it.  Place a serving platter upside down on top of the mold, invert the platter and mold together and shake gently.  Then lift off the mold.
* Picture & Recipe courtesy of William Sonoma


I love anything pumpkin!  This is the time of year to make pumpkin desserts, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin ravioli...the list can go on and on. is Thanksgiving...and we are traditionalist and you cannot get more traditional then Libby's Classic Pumpkin Pie.  A Thanksgiving without this pie would end in disaster!

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
  • Whipped cream (optional)

  1. MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
  2. POUR into pie shell.
  3.  BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

  * Recipe courtesy of Libby's

 *  Photo coutesy of E-how

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