Thanksgiving

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

make-ahead-mashed-potatoes

There is so much cooking to do on Thanksgiving Day which is why I like to do as much prep as possible the day before.  This way, I can enjoy the day and just pop things into the oven.  Peeling, boiling, and mashing potatoes, while trying to time all of the other dishes, is one of the most frustrating parts of preparing the Thanksgiving feast.  So, a few years ago, I started making these mashed potatoes and I haven’t looked back.

They are just as creamy and luscious as any potatoes I’ve ever made on the day and the cheesy parmesan crust makes these Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes even better than the standard version of mashed potatoes!

This recipe was inspired by Ina Garten’s Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes Recipe.

Ingredients:

Approximately 8 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters

Milk, to taste

1 bar cream cheese

1 stick of butter

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Grated parmesan cheese

Boil the potatoes in a large pot until soft all the way through.  Drain the potatoes in a colander and remove all of excess water.  Immediately put the potatoes back into the pot, add the cube of butter and bar of cream cheese.  Put the lid back on the pot and let sit for five to ten minutes, so the butter can melt and the cream cheese can soften.

Using a hand mixer, blend the potatoes until they are broken apart and well blended with the butter and cream cheese.  Add the milk in small parts and continue mixing until they are smooth and have very few lumps.  Make sure the potatoes are a little runnier than you like, as they will lose some moisture in the fridge overnight.  This way, they will be the perfect consistency when you serve them.  Also, the cream cheese helps prevent the potatoes from drying out.

Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Put the potatoes in a buttered 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.  Let cool completely, cover, and store in the refrigerator.  Take the casserole out of the fridge approximately one hour before baking time so they are at room temperature when you put them in the oven.

Sprinkle them generously with the parmesan cheese.  Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes or until the cheese is browned on top and the potatoes are heated through.  A good way to test this is to insert a knife in the center.  If a good amount of steam comes out, then they’re ready!

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Creamed Corn

creamed-corn

I was never a fan of creamed corn until I had Sharon’s Creamed Corn!  She made it for the annual family campout potluck and it was delicious.  This recipe is quick, easy, and inexpensive to make.  It calls for flour in the white sauce.  However, she only had Bisquick and that worked just a well (if not better because it added some extra sweetness!).

Thank you, Sharon, for sharing this recipe!

Ingredients:

2 – 16 oz. bags frozen corn (fresh or canned will work too)

4 T. butter

4 T. flour

2 cups heavy cream

2 T. sugar

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Black pepper, to taste (optional)

Salt, to taste (optional)

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and let it simmer for one minute.  Gradually whisk in the heavy cream.  Add the sugar and cayenne pepper.  Continue whisking until the white sauce is thick.  Turn the heat to low.  Stir in the corn with a wooden spoon until heated through.  If using frozen corn it will take awhile for the corn to thaw and the creamed corn to be warm, but it’ll be worth the wait.

Add optional salt and pepper, to taste.  Reheat right before serving or keep in a crockpot on the warm setting.  You’re ready for potluck time!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars with cream cheese and Heath Bar bits!  These moist, chocolately bars are simple to prepare.  The combination of pumpkin, spices, and chocolate chips make these perfect for any Fall-themed or holiday potluck dessert.

Joanna brought these yummy treats to a work potluck and they were a total hit.  Her addition of the cream cheese and Heath Bar to the original recipe puts these bars over the top (genius!).

Ingredients:

1 box of spice cake mix (dry)

1 – 15 oz. can of pumpkin

1 cup chocolate chips (I can’t lie. I added a little more than this.)

1 bar cream cheese, softened

1 bag of Heath Bar bits

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl with a mixer.  Don’t worry if there are some chunks of cream cheese after your finished mixing (bonus bites of cream cheese in these bars is a good thing!)

Grease a 9 x 13″ pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.  Let cool completely.  Cut into squares and store in an airtight container until potluck time!

Brussels Sprouts Bon Vivant

Brussel Sprouts Bon Vivant

Not a fan of brussels sprouts? This Brussels Sprouts Bon Vivant recipe will change your mind!  Tender brussels sprouts are layered with a swiss cheese white sauce, sausage, stuffing, water chestnuts, and topped with more swiss cheese.

We love brussels sprouts at my house and this casserole is a big hit!  It’s especially suitable for an Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas potluck.  But really, it’s delicious anytime.  Thank you to Joyce for sharing this recipe!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. brussels sprouts

2 tsp. grated onion

1 cup water chestnuts, sliced

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1 cup prepared poultry dressing (I used Stove Top chicken stuffing. It worked perfectly and only took a few minutes to prepare.)

1/4 lb. ground pork sausage

3 T. butter

3 T. flour

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

1/2 cup grated swiss cheese, plus extra for top of casserole

Additional nutmeg

Cook sprouts in salted water with grated onion and drain.

Make white sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and cook for one minute.  Whisk in milk and cream gradually, making sure that there aren’t any lumps.  Continue whisking and cooking until white sauce is thick.  Take off heat and mix in cheese until melted.  Add nutmeg.

Saute’ sausage and drain well. Add in cooked poultry dressing and chestnuts and sauté it with enough butter to coat it evenly.

In a buttered baking dish, put half the sprouts, half of the sausage mixture, and half of the sauce.  Repeat.  Top with additional cheese.  Sprinkle with more nutmeg.

Bake at 400 degrees for approx. 30 minutes or until cheese melts and is bubbly.

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup

This pumpkin soup is great for any Fall potluck!  The combination of pumpkin and cream cheese give it a rich, creamy texture and the cinnamon, ginger, and brown sugar provide just the right amount of sweetness.  The original inspiration for this soup came from The Joy of Cooking cookbook.  I omitted the ham and added a bar of cream cheese.

Ingredients:

1 T. butter or olive oil

1 cup minced onion

1/2 cup minced celery

3 cups canned pumpkin

3 cups scalded milk

1 bar of cream cheese

2 T. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

Heat the butter or olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and celery and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes.  Stir in the pumpkin, milk, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.

Heat through, but do not boil.  Use an immersion blender, or a regular blender, to puree the soup.

You can make this soup the day before your potluck.  Reheat the soup on low and then transfer to a crockpot for potluck time.  You can also serve it with a side of toasted pumpkin seeds or croutons for toppings!

Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Bars

These pumpkin bars are insanely delicious!  The combination of pumpkin and cinnamon, topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting make these bars a perfect dessert for any Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Fall potluck.  Thank you to Joyce, who got the recipe from Debbie, for sharing these!

Ingredients:

Bars:

4 eggs

1 cup oil

2 1/4 cup sugar

16 oz. can pumpkin

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup chopped nuts, optional

 

Frosting:

3 oz. cream cheese, softened

6 T. butter or margarine, softened

1 T. half and half or orange juice (which ever you have)

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Beat eggs, oil, and sugar.  Mix in pumpkin, then flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda. Stir in nuts.  Pour into a greased 12 x 11 inch baking pan (you can also use a 9 x 13 inch pan).  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Beat cream cheese with butter or margarine until creamy.  Add half and half or orange juice, powdered sugar, and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.

Spread the top with cream cheese frosting.  Cut into bars*.  Makes 40.  Refrigerate until potluck time.

*Alternate serving idea:  Use a 9 x 13 inch pan and serve it as a pumpkin cake instead!

Tater Tot Breakfast Strata

Tater Tot Strata

 

This Strata is one of my family’s favorites.  It is also a great dish for a breakfast potluck, especially at the office.

Ingredients:

1 Package Tater Tots

8 Eggs

2 cups milk or half & half

2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Grease a 9 x 13″ glass casserole dish.  Beat together the eggs and milk. Layer tater tots, cheese, and egg/milk mixture.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm with ketchup, salsa, or whatever you like with your eggs and potatoes!