Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Healthful Twist on Thanksgiving Favorites!

My Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Okay, so not really, but
Thanksgiving food was the hot topic this afternoon as I spoke with my Aunt Gwyne about our plans surrounding next week’s BIG day. It’s not unlike any of us to focus our utmost attention on a meal we get to eat once a year. I, for one, relish a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey and ham as the centerpieces surrounded by warm goodness rivaled only by what the ladies in our church might offer as a buffet feast on Wednesday nights.

While on the phone with Auntie, she mentioned she had been for her quarterly check up today. When asked how everything turned out, she said in her always calm, positive manner, “Everything’s fine.” Though she did say her doctor had reminded her of the upcoming holidays and offered fair warning. Now mind you my aunt is the survivor of the century. It started with a broken ankle that led to a heart attack which lended itself to the discovery of diabetes then breast cancer. Heck, that’s just been in the last six years. Apparently her doctor shook a firm finger in her direction and reminded her she could only cheat on two days – Thanksgiving and Christmas. Otherwise, she had to mind her diet. We giggled a little as we both know Auntie cheats a bit whenever she feels like it. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?

Then, we talked about the meal. She will have the cherished turkey and ham, green beans and corn. I don’t know what everyone else is planning to contribute. All in all we will have about 25 for dinner at my aunt’s. Here is what I am planning to take:

Broccoli and Cauliflower Casserole

2 bags frozen broccoli
2 bags frozen cauliflower
1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 sleeve Town House Crackers
1 stick butter

Method: Cook the broccoli and cauliflower according to package directions pulling from the stove a couple of minutes early so as to finish in the sauce in the actual casserole. In a large bowl mix soup, sour cream, mayonnaise and cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fold in the broccoli and cauliflower. Pour mixture into a large casserole dish (9x13) sprayed with cooking spray. Top with crushed crackers. Drizzle butter over the top to finish. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Get ready to taste heaven (yes, that was a casserole-eatin’ choir of angels you just heard).

My Better than Soufflé Sweet Potatoes

3 pounds sweet potatoes (peeled and cubed)
Salt and pepper

Method: Nothing is easier. Boil sweet potatoes until they are tender. Remove from stove and drain. Return to pot. Mash potatoes the best way you know how – potato masher, mixer, whisk – they all work fine. Add a few tablespoons of butter while they are hot. Mix well and check consistency. Add honey; about half a bear. Then salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and serve. Simple, pantry-friendly.

Sugared Pecans

1 pound pecans
1 cup sugar

Method: Another, oh so simple recipe. Put pecans in a medium-sized saucepan. Cover with water. Add sugar. Bring to a boil and continue to boil until the water begins to thicken slightly and turn a nice dark caramel brown. Drain. Toss boiled pecans onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Spread them evenly so they don’t stick together. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake at 200 degrees until the pecans and the sugar dry out a bit and form a nice crust. Depending on your oven, 30 minutes to an hour. Let the pecans cool in the pan. Transfer to a bowl and serve. This will be the happiest crowd of people you have ever seen.

Enjoy all of the kudos on your contributions. Don’t over indulge. Celebrate you and your family. Be thankful for all that you have, even the fleas. And, have a Happy Thanksgiving! 


Pam Asberry said...

Your centerpiece is beautiful, Lindy! The broccoli-cauliflower recipe sounds yummy; I have a feeling Casey will like that, too! Healthy as they are, your sweet potatoes will never take the place of mine, but I might try your candied pecans recipe, too, since I have never made those before. Hope you and yours have a happy, healthy Thanksgiving!

WritersLiPP said...

Thanks Pam. I hope you enjoy your trip! Now that's how you should spend Thanksgiving! Travel safe and know you are a blessing to me. - Lindy

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

I think the broccoli-cauliflower recipe sounds totally decadent. Yum, yum! I too, am a fan of that sugared pecan recipe. Thanks!

Lindy said...

Thanks Carol. The casserole is an all-time favorite of mine and makes for a little something different than green bean casserole. Hope you and yours had a terrific Thanksgiving.