Gather ‘Round the Table and Give Thanks
Nov 22, 2011 | 2075 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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By Venita Fritz

Tribune-Courier General Manager

vfritz@tribunecourier.com

No holiday brings us together around the dinner table quite like Thanksgiving. We plan for weeks to come up with the perfect menu, constantly search for new ways to prepare the Thanksgiving bird and re-invent the green bean casserole in ways our grandmothers never thought possible.

From the traditional roasted turkey, to the more recently derived grilled, deep fried and flavor injected versions, we have conjured up infinite possibilities for making certain the centerpiece of our Thanksgiving tables is as handsome as it is tasty.

Carving the bird is no longer as important a skill as finding the most creative way to cook it.

There’s no shortage of side dish alternatives, either. If you are a regular viewer of The Food Network you know that Paula Deen has come up with at least a hundred ways to infuse massive quantities of butter into a sweet potato recipe and Alton Brown has no doubt figured out the science behind the melting of the marshmallows on top of it.

Many of us have turned away from the traditional cookbooks to internet searches for new recipes and while we are bound to include some family favorites, many of us are tempted to take a stab at a new-fangled version of a casserole that will be a premiere for guests around our tables.

Whatever your meal plans, enjoy the company of your family, for our gatherings come far too seldom these days.

If your menu isn’t complete yet, consider some of these recipes we’ve put together for you. There’s a chance some of the newer versions of old classics will become the traditions of tomorrow.

Recipes:

-Sweet Potato Casserole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup salt

1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 cup cream or milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Topping

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup flour

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup chopped pecans

3 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup mini marshmallows

Mix the casserole ingredients together until well blended. Combine topping mixture and place in buttered casserole dish. Bake for 35 minutes. Top with mini marshmallows and return to oven for 5-7 additional minutes.

-Kicked -up

Corn Bread Dressing

9X11 pan of cornbread, baked and cut into 1 inch cubes

14.5 oz. can red kidney beans

15 oz. can of whole kernel corn

1 medium Vidalia or other sweet onion chopped

1 medium green pepper chopped

3 large tomatoes

2 cups grated sharp Cheddar

1 8 oz. bottle Ranch dressing

Layer cornbread and vegetables in a trifle dish. Top with cheese and finally, the ranch dressing. Refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours before serving.

-Classic Corn Pudding

1/2 cup butter

2 eggs, beaten

1 can whole kernel corn

1 can cream style corn

1 8 oz. container sour cream

1 8 1/2 ounce box Jiffy cornbread mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl combine butter, eggs, corn and sour cream. Add the cornbread mix and stir well. Pour into shallow baking dish and bake for 45 minutes.

-Green Bean Casserole Minus the Campbells Soup

2 medium onions, sliced

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon salt

1 lb. fresh green beans or 2 small cans

2 tablespoons butter

12 ounces mushrooms-

trimmed and sliced

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup half and half

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Combine flour, panko crumbs and salt in large bowl. Coat a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and spread the onions on the pan. Place in over and bake until golden brown or about 30 minutes, tossing a couple of times while roasting. When browned, reduce the oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare the green beans by blanching in boiling water for five minutes, then submersing into a bowl of ice water. Drain and set aside.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook until mushrooms are tender. Sprinkle flour over the mixture and stir, cooking for one minute. Add the broth and simmer for another minute. Decrease heat and add the half-and-half. Cook until mixture thickens.

Combine green beans, 3/4 of the onions and sauce. Top with remaining onions and bake for 15-20 minutes.
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