Recipes from Kaylin's Kitchen - Thanksgiving Edition

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In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies.

For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn't until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November. - History.com

To begin your Thanksgiving festivities, it is always nice to have an appetizer for your guests to munch on while you are making the finishing touches to the main course.

Bacon and Spinach Dip
Ingredients:
10 oz. prepared cheese log
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
4 oz. cream cheese
1 10-oz. can diced tomatoes and chilies (do not drain)
10 slices bacon, cooked and med. Chopped
Directions:
Melt cheese log in lightly greased, large saucepan over medium heat.  Add spinach, cream cheese, and tomatoes and chilies.  Stir until cream cheese is melted and mixture is well combined.  Add bacon and stir well.  Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Sweet potatoes grace many Thanksgiving tables. According to the Southwest University of Missouri Extension, they are native of tropical America: Caribbean islands, central and south America. However, sweet potatoes are also very common in Missouri gardens.  "Sweet potatoes are dug before frost, and are in prime condition to bake or boil at Thanksgiving," said Patrick Byers, a horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension. "Orange flesh types are excellent sources of beta carotene."

Sweet Potato Crunch 
Ingredients:
3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
½ cup solid vegetable shortening
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. butter
Topping:
½ cup solid vegetable shortening
1/3 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup chopped nuts
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°.  Mix potatoes, sugar, milk, shortening, vanilla, and butter.  Place in casserole dish.  Mix together topping ingredients in small bowl (shortening, flour, brown sugar, and nuts) and spread over top of mixture in dish.  Bake for 30 min.  Contributed by Jason Adams

When preparing your table, consider a tablescape rather than a single centerpiece.  A tablescape is an arrangement that graces the entire length of the table, not just the center.   First, start with a runner of some sort that is long enough for the entire table such as a strand of burlap or bunched autumn themed fabric.  Next, arrange various sized vases down the runner.  Fill the vases with small apples and pears, assorted nuts such as acorns, walnuts, hickory nuts, or almonds, and dried leaves and button mums.  Around the base of the vases and the rest of the runner arrange small bunches of wheat, mini pumpkins, butternut or acorn squash, apples, and sweet potatoes for a beautiful tablecape that is full of natural items. 

Zucchini Bread    Makes: 2 loaves
Ingredients:
3 cups shredded zucchini
1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. baking powder

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° and place oven racks low so that the tops of the loaf pans will be in the middle of the oven.  Grease the bottoms of 2 loaf pans with vegetable spray.  Mix zucchini, sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Divide batter evenly between two pans.  Bake 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.  Cool in pans 10 minutes, remove from pans.

Note:  ½ cup chopped nuts and/or ½ cup raisins may be added after flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder are added and combined well.

Thanksgiving Delights
On Thanksgiving Day we’re thankful for
Our blessings all year through,
For family we dearly love,
For good friends, old and new.
For sun to light and warm our days,
For stars that glow at night,
For trees of green and skies of blue,
And puffy clouds of white.
The list of all we’re grateful for
Would fill a great big book;
Our thankful hearts find new delights
Everywhere we look!
By Joanna Fuchs