Thanksgiving

I have to admit, Thanksgiving is not one of my favorite Holidays. I’m more of a “let’s skip right to Christmas from Halloween kind of girl”.  My favorite “Thanksgiving” food, is my Nannie’s pasta and meatballs.  But this past weekend I celebrated my first Friendsgiving. Six couples, all friends from college gathered and feasted on a delicious meal. Everyone brought a little of their own traditions, I tried new foods, and was very stuffed by the end of the night. I would like to thank everyone who was there and shared their recipes with me. An especially big thanks to the hosts, who welcomed us all into their home and made a beautiful table arragement!

  

THE MENU

Appetizers

The main event

Dessert

  
 

Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Ingredients

  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup pecans

Steps

  • In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, blue cheese, and dried cranberries until smooth. Dampen hands to prevent sticking and form cream cheese mixture into about 24 tablespoon-sized balls. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours
  • In the meantime, toast the pecans by spreading out on a sheet pan and baking in a preheated 350 degree oven until lightly toasted for 7-10 minutes. Allow pecans to cool and finely chop them
  • Roll chilled cheese balls in  chopped pecans, pressing nuts so that they adhere. Keep cheese balls refrigerated until ready to serve

Cheese Plate

Cheeses

  • Cranberry Chevre
  • Gruyere Cheese
  • Double Cream Brie
  • Wisconsin Extra Sharp Cheddar

Crackers

  • Pita Bite Crackers
  • Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps

Additions

  • Sweet and Spicy Pecans
  • Dried Apricots
  • Greek Olive Medley
  • Grapes Red and Green

  

Gourmet Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients 

  • 5 sweet potatoes-cooked, peeled, and mashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Set aside
  2. In a large bowl, mix together mashed sweet potatoes, salt, 1/4 cup butter, eggs, vanilla, ground cinnamon, sugar, and cream. Pour into prepared baking dish
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine 1/4 cup butter, flour, and brown sugar. Mix together with a pastry blender or fingers until it resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle over potatoes
  4. Bake for 30 minutes

 

I made the roasted butternut squash side dish. I doubled the recipe listed above, minus the feta cheese. My husband by mistake added the crushed pecans to this dish, instead of the pie! Oh well, it had a little extra crunch!

  

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries

 Ingredients

  • 2 large butternut squash, peeled, and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste
  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 3 tablespoon honey
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Fresh parsley

Steps

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees, lightly spray a baking sheet, set aside. I used two, since I doubled the recipe
  2. Add cubed squash to the sheet along with a drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle with a light layer of salt, pepper, and garlic powder
  3. Roast for 25 minutes. At 25 minute mark pull out the oven rack and add your fresh cranberries. Return to oven for 10-15 minutes, until the cranberries have started to soften and burst
  4. Remove from oven and add a sprinkle of cinnamon and honey. Garnish with fresh parsley

Cranberries seemed to be a theme throughout almost all the dishes. They are a great way to sweeten up a dish and give a nice pop of  color!

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Cranberries

Ingredients

  • 1/4 lb bacon, diced
  • 2 medium shallots
  • 2 lbs Brussel sprouts, halved
  • 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Steps

  1. Cook bacon until crispy, remove from pan, but leave fat
  2. Add shallots and cook until brown, add Brussel sprouts
  3. Sprinkle in brown sugar, saute until tender
  4. Add cranberries and remove from heat after 1 minute
  5. Transfer to baking dish and drizzle honey, toss to coat. Bake in oven for 10 minutes prior to serving

See above for the link for the cornbread recipe. There’s just something about homemade cornbread, that’s much, much better than the boxed kind. Plus this cranberry honey butter is amazing!

  

Dried Cranberry Honey Butter

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup cranberries, chopped

Steps

  1. Add butter, honey and cranberries to a mixing bowl
  2. With a speed mixer, whip items together until smooth
  3. Serve along side cornbread