What is Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce? I know with so much cooking a lot of us opt to buy the pre-made stuff. I had heard that making your own cranberry sauce was incredibly easy so this year I took the plunge and made the following recipe:
- 12oz of fresh cranberries
- 1 cup orange juice (no pulp)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. allspice
- dash of salt
- Heat orange juice in medium saucepan over medium heat. Dissolve sugar in orange juice. Stir in spices and cranberries. Cook cranberries, they will begin to pop, so watch those eyeballs! Let simmer 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a container and let cool. The sauce will thicken as it cools. If the sauce isn't smooth enough for you and your guests, take a potato masher or even a fork to your sauce. That's it ! See? Easy...
Sweet Potato Walnut Casserole
Every year since I can remember my mom made a sweet potato walnut casserole. It has become the star of our Festa family Thanksgiving meal. This year, my Aunt Annette called me in a panic Thanksgiving morning because she couldn't find the recipe and didn't want to disappoint the rest of the family expecting this side dish/dessert delight. To be sure, this is a popular dish and I've read many, many variations including the marshmallow topping and pecan streusel topping. Here's how we do it (keeping a few things secret):
- 2-3lbs. sweet potatoes - peeled, cut, boiled, and mashed
- 3 beaten eggs
- 1/2 pint regular whipping cream
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. allspice
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups crushed walnuts
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup butter
- 4 Tblsp. Molasses
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9"x 13" casserole dish or 2 smaller but total equal in size dishes with a cooking spray to grease. Peel, cut in quarters and boil the sweet potatoes until a fork easily goes through the largest pieces. Drain and put in medium mixing bowl. Add cream, beaten eggs, sugars, and spices and mix until smooth. Transfer contents to greased casserole dishes.
- In a small saucepan on low heat, heat molasses. Put flour into a small mixing bowl, set aside. Add brown sugar and melt into the molasses. Add butter, cut into tabs and slightly soften. Don't melt the butter all the way down! Pour the molasses mixture into the bowl with flour and add 1 cup of the crushed walnuts. Combine together just enough, don't over mix! Spread the mixture over your sweet potato dish or dishes. Take the remaining 1/2 cup of crushed walnuts and sprinkle evenly on top. Bake for 35 minutes and I promise this will not disappoint!
White Chocolate Bread Pudding (pictured cold here)
For desserts I wanted a challenge so I made two dishes I've never made before: white chocolate bread pudding and homemade apple pie with a cream cheese crust. Both came out much better than I expected but due to the amount of cooking, I didn't get any snaps of the pie! When I read ChiliCheeseFries.net's recipe for white chocolate bread pudding, I just had to try it! The only difference is I did not make the ganache to go on top because I simply ran out of time. However, I am proud to say that not only were both desserts a big hit (Peter couldn't get enough of the bread pudding), but there were also tons of invaluable lessons learned. And that is something I am truly, utterly thankful for!