We asked readers to send us their favorite Thanksgiving recipes and we were rewarded with more than 50 recipes that spanned everything from no-dairy pumpkin pie to lime Jell-O salad to wild rice with chanterelles and stuffed acorn squash. We don’t have enough space to print all recipes here, so we selected a dozen to feature. Of those, we declared five to be the newsroom favorites for this year’s reader- contributed Thanksgiving recipe section. We tested those five recipes in a home kitchen and found that the recipes will be sure winners for your Thanksgiving table. The authors of those recipes will receive cookbooks for their recipes.
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THE FIVE TOP NEWSROOM RECIPE PICKS:
New Mexico Baked Corn: This is a standard offering for the Thanksgiving table at Lisa Jones’ Tacoma home. Or, as Jones puts it, “It’s also good at Easter, Fourth of July, Saturdays, Tuesdays, etc.” And we agree. With a corn pudding texture, the sweet, moist, baked corn dish is almost a dessert, but has just enough of a savory element to pair up with other Thanksgiving sides. Although the cooking time is long – two hours – this recipe can be made a day ahead. It reheats in a low oven quite well.
Chanterelles with Bacon and Wild Rice: For Jan Pitman, her favorite Thanksgiving recipes can be modified for a Christmas meal by swapping out ingredients. For Thanksgiving, she makes the rice dish with chicken broth to pair with the turkey. For Christmas dinner, she swaps out the chicken broth for beef and pairs the rice with a prime rib. The baking time on this recipe is quite long, but it can be reheated. It tasted better fresh out of the oven, however.
Cranberry Chutney: The traditional holiday cranberry sauce from Georgia Lee Satterthwaite gets a modern Indian makeover with the addition of tomatoes, ginger and cloves. This dish is easily made a day or two in advance and tastes even better after a day in the fridge. Serve close to room temperature to fully develop the flavors.
Stuffed Acorn Squash: Margie Herring prepares acorn squash for her Thanksgiving dinner because it adds color to her table. Also, the recipe is easy and simple with fewer than five ingredients. It reheated well, but tasted better fresh out of the oven.
Bourbon Yam Purée with Buttered Pecans: Patti McFerran dresses up a typical Thanksgiving sweet potato/yam dish with bourbon and buttered pecans. It’s a time-saver recipe, too. Preparation is minimal, and this dish can be made a few days in advance.
New Mexico Baked Corn
Preparation time: 75-90 minutes of baking time, plus assembly. Can be made ahead.
2 eggs, beaten
2 cans creamed corn
1 box Jiffy corn meal mix
3/4 tsp garlic salt
1 4-oz can chopped green chilies
cup melted butter
1/2 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 375. Grease large bundt pan. Combine all ingredients in the order given. Pour into dish. Bake 45 minutes at 375. Lower temp to 325 for additional 30-45 minutes or until set in middle.
Source: Lisa Jones, Tacoma
Wild Rice with Chanterelle Mushrooms
Preparation time: 2 hours baking, plus assembly
2-3 slices Hempler’s Bacon (or subsitute your favorite brand)
1/4 large sweet onion cut into small pieces
1 garlic clove minced
4 cups chanterelle mushrooms cut into bite-size pieces
Morton’s Nature Seasons or other seasoning to taste
4 cups of either beef broth or chicken broth
1 cups rinsed wild rice
Cut bacon into small pieces and brown in large frying pan on medium to medium high heat. Drain all but a small amount of bacon grease. (If using Hempler’s bacon, there won’t be very much.) Add the onion and sauté with browned bacon until translucent. Add the garlic. Add the chanterelle mushrooms and season to taste.
When liquid starts coming out of mushrooms, raise the heat to high and cook until most of the liquid is gone, stirring occasionally. Lower heat and sauté mushrooms until dry. Note: Depending on how fresh or wet your chanterelles are, liquid may or may not be released from the mushrooms. If they remain dry in the pan and appear to be cooked thoroughly, remove and use as directed. If moisture is released, be sure to cook it off before moving on to the next step.
In a casserole dish, add 4 cups chicken broth (or beef broth if serving with a beef dish) and add rinsed wild rice. Add the prepared mushroom mixture (approximately 2 cups). Place in a 300-degree oven and bake 2 hours or until rice is tender and most liquid has been absorbed.
Source: Jan Pittman, Gig Harbor
Prep time: 45 minutes-1 hour. Can be made a day in advance.
2 cups cranberries
2 small tomatoes, peeled seeded and cut
1/2 cup golden raisins, chopped
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar (or to taste)
Pinch salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
Combine water, raisins, tomatoes and cranberries. Cover and cook until berries pop. Stir in brown sugar, salt, pepper, ginger and cloves. Cover and cook 30-40 minutes, stirring several times.
Note: For a sweeter chutney, double the sugar to a cup. For a more tart version, use a half cup or less.
Source: Georgia Lee Satterthwaite, Lakewood
Stuffed Acorn Squash
Preparation time: 45 minutes of baking, plus assembly.
5 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed
1 pound mushrooms
Butter for sautéing mushrooms
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Lime slices for garnish (optional)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place squash halves cut side down in a large baking pan. Add a little water to keep from sticking. Cook for 45 minutes or until tender. Place squash on a serving platter. While squash are cooking, sauté the mushrooms with a little butter until nicely browned. Add the thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fill the squash with the mushrooms. Garnish with a slice of lime, if desired.
Test kitchen note: When we cooked down the mushrooms in The News Tribune test kitchen, there was only enough mushroom filling to fill five acorn squash, which could have been due to the size of the squash we used (medium to large). If making this recipe with larger acorn squash, consider doubling the stuffing to completely fill all squash, or buy the smallest acorn squash available.
Source: Margie Herring, Lacey
Bourbon Yam Purée with Buttered Pecans
Preparation time: 1.5 hours of baking time, plus assembly. Can be made up to two days in advance and be reheated just before serving. Serves 4.
2 large or 3 medium yams
3 tablespoons bourbon (or brandy)
1/4 cup softened, unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup pecan halves (about 4 ounces)
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
Prick yams with a fork, and bake at 400 degrees until tender, about 45 minutes.
When cool enough to handle, peel and place in food processor with bourbon and three tablespoons of the butter. Puree until smooth, about 30 seconds. (You may have to do this in batches, adding salt and pepper to taste.) Place puree in 1 quart gratin dish or other shallow pan. Yams can be made up to this point and refrigerated up to two days ahead.
Spread pecans on baking sheet and toast in a preheated 325 degree oven until fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes. Toss hot pecans with remaining 1 tablespoon butter and salt to taste. May be prepared two days ahead and kept in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Arrange pecans on top of purée and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake at 325 degrees until heated through and pecans are slightly browned, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Source: Patti McFerran, Gig Harbor
Sweet Potato Rolls
1 cups warm milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
5-6 cups flour
Pour the 1/2 cup warm (not hot) water into a 1 cup measure and sprinkle in the yeast and sugar. Stir well and let sit 5-10 minutes until foamy. In the meantime, combine the hot milk, oil, salt and sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Stir until smooth and add the eggs. Now add the yeast, softened in water. Add the flour 1 cup at a time, beating well with wooden spoon until the dough is no longer sticky. Save out enough flour for kneading and turn onto floured board. Keep working in the flour just until the dough is smooth and satiny (50-100 strokes should work). Place in a greased bowl and cover with a dish towel until double in size. Punch dough down and turn out to form into balls about size of walnut. Grease a muffin tin and place 3 balls in each cup. Cover and let rise again until double. Now bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Brush tops with butter while still warm.
Source: Sandra Miller, Olympia
Gramma’s Scalloped Oysters
2 jars extra-small fresh oysters (available in the fresh-seafood section)
3 sleeves Saltine crackers, coursely crushed
1/2 cup melted butter
2 cups whole milk (approximately)
Generously butter a 11/2-quart shallow baking dish. Layer half of the cracker crumbs in casserole, then oysters plus juice over the top. Add remaining crumbs. Pour milk until it barely reaches the top of the crackers. Drizzle with melted butter. Grind fresh black pepper evenly over the top. Sprinkle with paprika. (Gramma didn’t – I do)
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until set and nicely browned.
Note: Our Thanksgiving dinner would not be complete without this wonderful oyster-lovers’ dish. I just wish I could get our grandsons to try it.
Source: Donna Casper, Gig Harbor
Hazelnut-Crusted Turkey Breast
1 3-5 pound turkey breast half with bone
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup orange marmalade
Garnish: Sliced oranges; whole, small kumquats; bay leaves
Remove skin from turkey breast. Place on lightly greased rack in shallow roasting pan.
Mix oil, garlic and salt; brush over turkey breast. Insert meat thermometer in thickest part of breast, not touching bone. Roast for 45 minutes in a 375-degree oven. Mix hazelnuts with coriander, pepper and cinnamon.
Remove turkey from oven and brush with marmalade. Sprinkle with nuts and press gently so they adhere to turkey. Roast for 45 to 60 minutes more or until thermometer registers 170 degrees.
Cover breast and let stand for 15 minutes. Slice and garnish with oranges, kumquats and bay leaves. (Fresh bay leaves should not be eaten.)
Source: Patti McFerran, Gig Harbor
My Italian Thanksgiving Stuffing
1 loaf Italian bread – plain, garlic, or cheese, sliced extra-wide.
1/2 loaf seeded whole-wheat bread, sliced extra-wide
1 pound low-fat or regular ground sausage
1/2 pound spicy Italian sausage
1 onion, large, yellow, 1-inch dice
3 stalks celery, 1-inch dice
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes in 1-inch slivers, rinsed well if in oil
1 clove minced garlic
cup prunes, each cut into 4 pieces
cup dried apricots, each cut into 4 pieces
1 large cored apple, peeled or not, 1-inch dice
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 eggs, lightly beaten
11/2 cups chicken or turkey broth, plus an additional 1/2 cup
1/4 cup melted butter (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Several grinds of fresh black pepper
1/4 cup pesto – store-bought is fine
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan
1 tablespoons dried sage plus 4 fresh sage leaves, chiffonade cut
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, minced
Dice bread and leave out in large open bowl over night to air dry.
Sauté meat in large pan, drain well when half-cooked and crush into small chunks.
Add vegetables (except garlic) and olive oil to meat and continue cooking for five minutes.
Add garlic, fruit and nuts to the meat for five more minutes. Grind in black pepper.
Allow meat mixture to cool, then add to bread and toss together to further cool it.
Mix should be cool enough so that the eggs won’t cook. Mix eggs with 11/2 cups broth and the pesto and add to the mixture. Mix in rest of seasonings. Stuffing should be well moistened but not drippy. Stuff your cleaned and dried bird and begin roasting. I roast mine at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower temp to 350 degrees and baste/roast about 1 hour for every 3 pounds of bird.
For any remaining stuffing mixture: Add additional broth and melted butter so that the mix is very moist. Turn out into a bread pan bottom-lined with lightly oiled parchment paper. Tap down lightly. Cover with foil and refrigerate until 1 hour before roast is done. Bake 11/2 hours at 350 degrees, uncovered for last half hour.
Note: This recipe, refined at least 15 years, started one Thanksgiving when I mistakenly bought Italian sausage for my stuffing and decided to go with it. Makes enough to stuff a 12- to 14-pound turkey plus a small pan of stuffing.
Source: Patty Kennedy, Gig Harbor
Walnut Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
1 pound whole mushrooms
1 8-ounce container soft cream cheese, with chives and onions added
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wipe mushrooms clean. Remove stems from mushrooms and reserve for another use. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Spoon into mushroom caps. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes
Source: Rhonda Divina, Graham
Aunt Ginny’s Thanksgiving Cranberry Bake
3 cups chopped apples
2 cups cranberries
11/2 cups sugar
11/2 cups oats
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Mix together the apples, cranberries and sugar and pour into a greased casserole dish. Combine oats, butter and pecans and top cranberry mixture with the oat mixture. Cover and bake one hour at 350 degrees.
Source: Jeannie Walker, University Place
No Cow Pumpkin Pie
1 29-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon xylitol (optional)
11/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh grated ginger root
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups soy or almond milk
1/4 cup ground hazelnuts
2 9-inch pie shells, uncooked
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly beat eggs. Add pumpkin, sugars, spices and soy milk. Pour into pie shells. Sprinkle ground nuts over top. Bake 15 minutes, then decrease heat to 350 degrees for one hour. If crust starts to burn, place foil over crust perimeter.
Source: Tina Tyler, Tacoma