Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Two for Tuesday: Thanksgiving Favorites

Let's be honest. Everyone has certain dishes that just must be on the table in order for Thanksgiving to feel real.

Yeah, yeah, it's all about stopping and counting our blessings. We do that. I promise.

And then it's all about eating.

Here are two of my must haves. (Other than a smoked turkey, which the Jedi is forever more obligated to provide for me. This year, he's adding burnt ends to the meat menu as well. Mmmmm....burnt ends......)

Sweet Potato Casserole


  • 6 whole sweet potatoes ~3 lbs
  •  3/4 cup sugar
  •  1/3 cup milk
  •  1/4 cup butter  (melted)
  •  1 tsp vanilla
  •  1/2 tsp cinnamon
  •  1/2 tsp nutmeg
  •  2 whole eggs (lightly beaten)


  •  1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  •  1/3 cup chopped pecans
  •  2 tbsp flour
  •  2 tbsp soft butter


  1.  Boil sweet potatoes for 30-40 minutes. Let cool, peel and mash. (I generally do this the day before. It's just easier. You can store them as is. Or you can mix up the casserole, put it in the fridge, and then bake it the day you need to serve it.)
  2.  Combine mashed sweet potatoes with sugar, milk, melted butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg (ie--everything except the topping ingredients). 
  3. Spoon into greased 2 quart casserole.
  4. Combine topping ingredients, cutting in the butter until crumbly. (I might be guilty of doubling the topping amounts when I bake this. Twice the sweet stuff. Yum. Yum. Knowing that not everyone is enlightened enough to want a dessert item on their dinner plate, the amount given in the recipe above is for the more moderate version.) Sprinkle over casserole before baking. 
  5. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes (casserole should be steaming hot in center). If you're pulling it out of the fridge to bake it, plan for a 40-50 minute bake time.

One year, I accidentally put the spices for pumpkin pie (1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1/2 tsp nutmeg) in the casserole and Vaya liked it better this way. More recently, I've been leaving out the nutmeg altogether because Toa of Boy likes it better with just cinnamon. So, feel free to adjust the spices some.

The second Thanksgiving must have is a pumpkin pie. Like, cook it from a pumpkin, pumpkin pie.

I'll include the cook it from the pumpkin directions after the pie recipe.

I'm all about logic. Ask Sweetling. She'll vouch for me on that.

Deep Dish Pumpkin Pie


  • 1 - 3/4 cup flour
  •  1/3 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
  •  1/3 cup sugar
  •  1 cup cold butter/margarine (cut into pieces)
  •  1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans, but why would you pick walnuts over pecans?)
  •  16 oz pumpkin (or 1-3/4 cup of real pumpkin, baby!)
  •  1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
  •  2 whole eggs
  •  1 tsp ground cinnamon
  •  1 tsp ground allspice


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour and sugars. Cut in butter or margarine until crumbly. Stir in nuts.
  3. Reserve 1 cup of the crumb mixture. Press the remainder firmly on the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 12 x 7 inch baking dish. (Or a deep dish pie pan, but it has to be really deep dish.)
  4. In a large mixer bowl, combine remaining ingredients (except reserved crumb mixture, dur!) and mix well. Pour into prepared dish. Top with reserved crumb mixture.
  5. Bake for 55 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Cool. Serve with vanilla ice cream if you'd like. (You'd like, trust me, you'd like.)
 Ok, And, because I said I would, here's how, in the past, I've cooked my pumpkin. The Jedi's mom taught me this method. I like it better than boiling the pumpkin, but I don't like how it makes my house smell. You have been warned.

Baking a Pumpkin

  1. You need a pie pumpkin, a baking dish, and a cup of water. Rinse the outside of your pumpkin. Scrub off any dirt.
  2. Cut your pie pumpkin in half. I'm not sure it matters how you cut it in half, but I find it easiest to let it sit on it's pumpkin bottom and then I saw it in half close to its stem on top.
  3. Scoop out the seeds and pulp.
  4. Lay the pumpkin cut side down in the baking dish. Pour enough water into the baking dish to have about a quarter inch or so in the bottom.
  5. Bake at 350 for about an hour. It needs to be tender when you stick it with a fork. 
  6. Remove it from the oven and let it cool.
  7. When its cool, scrape the soft meat out of the pumpkin skin.
  8. Now, some instructions will tell you to send it through the food processor. Like I'm going to climb up on the counter to drag that thing out of the top shelf of the cupboard. I don't think so. I just mash it up like I would a potato and use it as is. 
  9. You do need to store it in a plastic container in the fridge till you need it for a recipe. It also freezes well. 
I have two pumpkins sitting on my kitchen floor. One of them is going into a pie. I think the other wants to go into some dough for cinnamon rolls sometime after Thanksgiving.

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