Dishing about the feast

Apologies to my online readers: This blog was supposed to post on Nov. 16, but for some reason — neglect on the part of its writer, I guess — it didn’t get put up online.

The countdown is on: Just eight days until the big Thanksgiving feast — and only seven (or less) until preparations for such feast must be in full swing.
At our abode — as I assume it is at most Thanksgiving dinner venues — there are certain dishes that must make it to the table. At the top of our list is the Crockpot Stuffing. Since DotMom first printed this recipe a number of years ago, I have convinced a few people that it really is the best — and easiest — method for stuffing preparation.
I continue that mission today by reprinting the recipe once again (and you can likely put it on the agenda for next year’s blog, too). Even though it isn’t “stuffed” inside the bird, I can justify calling it “stuffing” because I sometimes make such a big batch that it has to be “stuffed’ into the slow cooker … or maybe because Hubby Bryan and I stuff ourselves full of it every year.

Crockpot Stuffing

In 1 cup butter, sauté 1 cup chopped onion and 2 cups chopped celery. Remove mixture from stove and stir in 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning and 2 teaspoons sage.
In a large bowl, combine 12 cups dried bread pieces with the butter-vegetable mixture. Beat 2 eggs and combine with 3 cups chicken broth; pour over bread and stir well to combine.
Place mixture in slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours. (I turn it up to high for about 1 hour in order to get the crispy stuff around the edges.)

While some dishes are mandatory for Thanksgiving, there are a few areas in which the cook can take some liberties— usually in the side dish and dessert categories — so we delve into the realm of alternatives. In response to my last blog’s plea for Thanksgiving fare, Lola Geisendorfer offers this sweet potato recipe acquired from daughter Becky Sitarchuck, an avid cook who lives in Philadelphia. The recipe came from Becky’s gourmet club.

Sweet Potato Casserole

To 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (boil and mash 4 large whole sweet potatoes), add ½ cup sugar, 2 beaten eggs, ½ cup butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/3 cup milk. Place this mixture in a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.
For topping, combine 1/3 cup melted butter, ½ cup flour, 1 cup light brown sugar and 1 cup chopped pecans. Sprinkle over top of sweet potatoes.
Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
This dessert recipe received rave reviews during a recent Daily Globe potluck event. It was contributed to the lunchtime buffet by Laura Bosma of Ocheyedan, Iowa, who credits it to celebrity cook Paula Deen, via the Food Network. Because it’s made the day ahead, it’s a great alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving pumpkin pie and will satisfy both the pumpkin lovers and pumpkin not-so-muchers.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

Bake two 14-ounce packages gingerbread mix according to package directions; cool completely
Meanwhile, prepare one (5.1-ounce) box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix according to package directions and set aside to cool. Combine one 30-ounce can pumpkin pie filling with ½ cup packed brown sugar and 1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon; stir pumpkin mixture into the cooled pudding. Thaw a 12-ounce container frozen whipped topping.
Into the bottom of a large glass bowl or punch bowl, crumble 1 batch of the gingerbread. Pour ½ of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of whipped topping. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding and whipped topping. Sprinkle the top with ½ cup crushed gingersnaps, if desired. Refrigerate overnight.

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