Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thanksgiving Favorites

Welcome to my Holiday Food Fest post for this week. Six different bloggers have joined together and are taking turns hosting a Holiday Food Fest recipe swap, to be held Thursdays during November and December. My pumpkin pie post last week fit perfectly into the weekly theme of Thanksgiving Desserts; this week's theme is favorite non-dessert Thanksgiving dishes. I'm recycling two recipes I posted last year--because they're favorites, after all!

First up is Cranberry Relish; made from fresh cranberries and oranges, it's a sweet/tart addition to any holiday meal, and quite a departure from the usual canned jelly-like stuff most of us are used to. It's made in the food processor, and is super easy. The cayenne pepper adds a bite that just compliments the other flavors.

  • 2 large navel oranges
  • 1 1/2 lbs fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 2 T minced mint leaves

Cut off the peel and all of the white stuff from the oranges. All you want is the flesh of the orange, no membranes or peel. I do this right over the bowl of my food processor to catch all of the juice. (You might want to save some of the orange peel and make orange zest to use in other recipes. Or make some little curly things to garnish the serving dish. Or not.)

Put everything into the food processor, and chop. Refrigerate until serving, and that's it.

Note: the last time I made this, it was super tart, I think because the cranberries weren't ripe enough, so I added an additional 1/4 c of sugar. Always apply the taste test!

And my next recipe is Sweet Potato Casserole. This is not your typical Thanksgiving-day-yams-with-marshmallow-topping sweet potatoes. This dish has a yummy topping made with brown sugar, pecans, and butter that melts together into a praline flavored crust on top of soft and sweet mashed sweet potato souffle.


  • 6 c mashed sweet potatoes
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 c melted butter or margarine
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 t vanilla

If you're using canned sweet potatoes/yams, drain and mash. If using fresh sweet potatoes, bake these ahead of time, then scoop out the insides. Add the sugar & melted butter. Beat eggs separately, and add after the butter has cooled a little. Add vanilla, and beat with mixer until ingredients are well blended. You will probably still have some lumps, unless you run it through a food processor, that's okay. You can mix by hand, but the batter will not be as smooth. Pour this into a greased or cooking-sprayed 9 x 13 pan or equivalent casserole dish.

(Note: the pictures below are a half recipe)

In a separate bowl, mix together :
  • 1 c chopped pecans
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 5-6 T melted butter or margarine

Mix together the nuts & flour, then add the brown sugar and stir together. Add the melted butter last, and stir until everything is moistened. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the sweet potatoes.

If I use especially fine chopped pecans, and for special occasions when I want the finished product to look especially pretty, I add extra pecan halves on top.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, (longer if you make this ahead and refrigerate overnight) or until topping is melted together and browning on the edges.

There's something that happens when I add the pecan halves on top that's more than the sum of the separate ingredients--the nuts take on a completely different taste, with a smoky, roasted flavor, which combines with the brown sugar and butter to a make a candied pecan taste that is out of this world.

This recipe is linked to:

Holiday Food Fest, hosted this week by Tasty Eats at Home

Foodie Friday at Desgins by Gollum

Recipe Swap at the Grocery Cart Challenge

Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!


  1. Ooh, I love the pecans topping your sweet potatoes! Yum! Thanks for linking up.

  2. Both of these sound so delicious! I was looking for yummy pecan topped Sweet potatoe recipe:)

  3. I like the addition of the mint in the first recipe. The mint certainly gives it a nice new twist. I will try this recipe. Now who does not like a sweet potatoe recipe for the upcoming holidays to remind them of home:)

  4. Well, you can bet your sweet 'taters that this is the one I will make for my family. It sounds delicious. Any time the word praline is mentioned, I know I'm gonna love it.
    I like your vintage corningware bowl...I have 3 but not a lid one!!

  5. This sounds so good...I am ready for a new sweet potatoe recipe..this sounds great. Thanks!

  6. I love your variations on old time favorites. I can't wait to try cranberry relish with cayenne added to it. I love a little heat with my sweet. Thanks!

  7. That looks so good Charlene! I'm going to have to invite strangers in from off the street, so I can try out all the delicious recipes you all are posting lately!


  8. What a GREAT!!! recipe for cranberries and the sweet potatoes sound AWESOME!!! with pecans.
    I have become a follower of your blog, I love to share recipes and ideas. Come by and visit my blog and maybe do the same.

  9. Wow, two good recipes. I'd definitely go for the sweet potato casserole. I've had one similar, but I like your description of the smoky roasted flavor!


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