Thanksgiving Family Recipes from Love Inspired Authors
Thanksgiving Dinner Rolls from Shirlee McCoy, author of The Christmas Target
This is the one recipe that never changes. My daughters and I make these every Thanksgiving.
2 packages dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp sugar
2 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
6 or 7 cups of all-purpose flour
In large mixing bowl, combine dry yeast and warm water. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar to proof.
In medium saucepan, combine the milk, butter, salt and sugar, and heat on low until the butter melts. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. Add the warm mixture and 2 eggs to the yeast and mix thoroughly.
Add 1/2 cup of flour at a time until a soft dough has formed. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let it sit in a warm place until the dough doubles in size. Punch down, re-cover and allow it to rise to double again.
Punch the dough down again and separate it into 36 2-inch dough balls. Place them close together in a greased and floured baking dish. Cover the pan and let the rolls rise a third time.
Preheat the oven to 375° and bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and brush the tops with melted butter.
Eat them warm with more butter (of course!).
Grandma’s Pumpkin Bread and “The Heart of Thanksgiving” from Cheryl St.John, author of Cowboy Creek Christmas
This month Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving Day, set aside for the fourth Thursday in November. Many of us gather with family and friends for an elaborate meal with all the trimmings. Mentioning Thanksgiving brings to mind turkeys, pumpkin pie, football and the Macy’s Parade. Many times over the years I packed the preceding week full of shopping and baking until I was so crazy busy that there was little energy or joy left for true thanksgiving when the actual day arrived. I’ve learned to spend less time cleaning and cooking and more time enjoying my family. I still make everyone’s favorites, like sweet potatoes, pumpkin bread and cranberry relish, but instead of all those pies that take hours to prepare, I buy pies, and they are eaten without complaint.
We have so much to be thankful for, and it’s a shame to get caught up in the tasks and not give God the thanks He deserves. I encourage you to celebrate the season rather than only the day. Talk to your children and grandchildren about the blessings of living in this country where they are free to vote and attend school and worship.
Encourage them to be generous with their time and their belongings. There are many opportunities in our communities to donate food, deliver groceries, serve meals, or simply to smile and take a few minutes to brighten someone’s day. Children emulate us, so take time to reach out to others who are less fortunate, to those without families or those who have recently moved to your area and are miles from their loved ones. Invite someone to dinner. And above all, give thanks.
Grandma’s Pumpkin Bread
4 cups sugar
1 cup virgin olive oil
1 large can pumpkin
Stir the above three ingredients together.
Sift together and add:
5 cups flour
4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
Chopped nuts, if desired
Mix well. Pour into greased bread pans.
Using 3 large loaf pans: Bake at 350° for 1 hour 15 min
Using 5 small loaf pans: Bake at 350° for approximately 1 hour
Serve warm and top with whipped cream.
Loaves will keep well if placed in plastic bags and stored in the refrigerator.
Sweet Potato Casserole from Sherri Shackelford, author of Cowboy Creek Christmas
On the fourth Thursday of November, millions of people across this great nation rise at dawn and set about preparing The Perfect Dining Experience. The turkey is roasted, the yams are candied and the table is set. By the time the guests arrive, soft music plays in the background and artfully arranged platters of crudité bathe in the glow of flickering candlelight.
I’ve never actually been to that Thanksgiving dinner. I think it’s a myth—like the Loch Ness monster and effortless weight loss. The one time I tried to emulate Martha Stewart was a disaster. That particular Thanksgiving has been dubbed: the Year of the Purple Turkey.
I was hosting and wanted to prepare The Perfect Dining Experience. All the cooking shows were touting the benefits of a brined turkey. Not wanting to be left out, I figured I better brine my turkey. I needed a recipe and I was going straight to the top for the perfect recipe—the pinnacle, the gold standard. Only Martha would do.
That afternoon I braved the grocery store, which I can only describe as the first fifteen minutes of Saving Private Ryan. By the time I reached the checkout line, I had devolved into a snarling and savage version of myself. I glanced at my list and discovered, to my horror, that I had forgotten an ingredient. Not just any ingredient. One of Martha’s ingredients.
I asked the guy behind me in line if he knew what “dry Riesling” meant. He said, “Some kinda white wine.” Much to my good fortune, there was an endcap of wines within arm’s reach. Except when I unpacked my groceries, I realized I’d hastily grabbed a red wine. Unwilling to enter the fray of battle once more, I figured the red wine would be diluted in so much salty water, it wouldn’t matter.
That evening I prepared the brine, dumped in the bottle of red wine [sparkling red grape juice], and went to bed. The next morning, I awoke to the gentle sounds of birds chattering outside my windowsill and a brined turkey in a stunning shade of lavender purple.
My husband said, “It can’t be that bad.” A moment later he yelped and said, “Nope. It’s worse.”
It’s not like you can run to the store for a turkey on Thanksgiving morning. I was pretty much stuck with a purple turkey.
With company on the way, we hatched a plan to cook and carve the turkey before the guests arrived. My husband couldn’t bear to look in the oven. Every time I basted the turkey, he cringed and said, “I feel like we’re roasting Barney.”
Thankfully, the turkey crisped into a beautiful tan with only hints of lavender in certain lights. That’s when I decided to own the turkey. It was my day and my turkey, and that turkey just happened to be slightly purple. I proudly displayed my creation and the Year of the Purple Turkey was permanently set into family lore.
I’m not giving you the recipe for “Purple Turkey.” We’ve decided it’s a family secret. Instead, here’s a recipe for sweet potato casserole that’s pretty good:
Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows
2 1/2 pounds yams—peeled, cut and boiled
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of ginger
1/4 cup cream
16 oz bag of miniature marshmallows.
Heat oven to 350°. Butter 1-quart baking dish.
Mash yams in a large bowl and add brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and enough cream to reach desired consistency.
Place 1/2 mixture in baking dish.
Top with a layer of marshmallows, then add remaining mixture.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and top with remaining marshmallows.
Bake for another 10 minutes or until marshmallows are lightly browned.