What I am cookin’ for Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving plans have been all over the map this year.  We were staying home, going to my sister’s, going to Mr. G’s aunt’s, etc. etc.  Well, it finally shook out that we are going to Mr. G’s aunts’ house tomorrow morning and then coming home tomorrow evening.  We decided that we didn’t want to take LuLu so we decided a come and go trip was the best plan. 
Which means that I don’t have to cook a whole lot.  In fact, it would be perfectly OK if we didn’t bring anything at all, but that is not going to happen.  🙂 
So, I decided to make pecan pies, green bean casserole, and strawberry jello salad.  And, here’s the recipes…

I am not a big fan of pecan pie.  Given a choice between pumpkin and pecan, I generally pick pumpkin.  However, I saw this recipe on Pioneer Woman’s blog and it looked really good.  In her pics, it didn’t have jelly like center, which is what is yucky to me, so I thought I would give it a shot. They just came out of the oven, so we haven’t tasted them yet (I’ll post our critiques, tomorrow) but they look GORGEOUS!


■1 whole Unbaked Pie Crust (I Use “sylvia’s Perfect Pie Crust” Recipe

■1 cup White Sugar

■3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

■½ teaspoons Salt

■1 cup Corn Syrup

■¾ teaspoons Vanilla

■⅓ cups Melted Butter (salted)

■3 whole Eggs Beaten

■1 cup (heaping) Chopped Pecans

Preparation Instructions

First, whip up your pie crust using “Sylvia’s Perfect Pie Crust” found on Tasty Kitchen.
Next, mix sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, eggs, and vanilla together in a bowl.
Pour chopped pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell.
Pour syrup mixture over the top. Cover top and crust lightly/gently with foil. Bake pie at 350º for 30 minutes. Remove foil, then continue baking for 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust or pecans.
NOTE: PIE SHOULD NOT BE OVERLY JIGGLY WHEN YOU REMOVE IT FROM THE OVEN. If it shakes a lot, cover with foil and bake for an additional 20 minute or until set. Required baking time seems to vary widely with this recipe.
Allow to cool for several hours or overnight. Serve in thin slivers.

Notes from me:****I used the Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts this time.  I can, have, and do make my own pie crusts but that just wasn’t going to happen today for a variety of reasons. This recipe makes one deep dish pie.  This is important to know because if your pie crusts are standard, you are going to have filling leftover.  Also, I chop my pecans up for this.  I don’t like trying to slice a pecan pie with whole nuts because then the pie looks like you are cutting and serving it with your thumbs.  However, if you prefer whole nuts, make yourself happy.  Chopped or whole will make absolutely no difference in this recipe.

I also don’t like the standard green bean casserole–you know the traditional with cream of mushroom soup and fried onions.  But, again from Pioneer Woman, this one looked so good that I had to try it. 

■2 pounds Fresh Green Beans, Ends Cut Off

■4 slices Bacon, Cut Into 1/4 Inch Pieces

■3 cloves Garlic, Minced

■½ whole Large Onion, Chopped

■4 Tablespoons Butter

■4 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour

■2-½ cups Whole Milk

■½ cups Half-and-half

■1-½ teaspoon Salt, More To Taste

■Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste

■⅛ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper

■1 cup Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

■1 jar (4 Ounce) Sliced Pimentoes, Drained

■Extra Milk For Thinning If Necessary

■1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs

Preparation Instructions

Cut green beans in half if you like pieces to be a little smaller.
Blanch the green beans: drop them into lightly salted boiling water and allow green beans to cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain beans once they’re cool and set aside.
Add bacon pieces to a skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon for two minutes, then add diced onion and garlic and continue cooking for 3 to 5 minutes, or until bacon is done (but not crisp) and onions are golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a separate skillet or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle flour into the pan and whisk immediately to evenly mix it into the butter. Cook for a minute or two, then pour in milk and half and half. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, while sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne then add the grated cheddar. Stir while cheese melts. Turn off heat.
Add pimentos to pan, then add bacon/onion mixture. Stir to combine. Pour over green beans and stir gently to combine. Pour into a baking dish and top with panko crumbs.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and panko crumbs are golden.

Notes from me:****** I have got mine all ready up to adding the panko crumbs and baking.  I covered my casserole dish with foil and put it in the fridge until tomorrow.  I did taste the beans once they were mixed with sauce—YUM!!!! I can only imagine that they will be even better tomorrow—I will let you know.  🙂

Finally, I am making strawberry jello salad.  This is a recipe that my sister in law used to make.  However, she didn’t make it often enough to suit the family, so it got passed along to me.  It is our favorite jello and is a must have recipe whenever we have a large family gathering.

2 small boxes of strawberry jello
2 C of boiling water
2 C of icy water
1 can of crushed pineapple, drained
1 box of sliced, frozen strawberries, thawed and drained
1 8 oz pkg of cream cheese, softened
1 C of sour cream
1/3 c of sugar
1 small container of cool whip

Mix one box of jellow with a cup of boiling water for appx two minutes til dissolved.  Add one cup of cold water, mix together and pour into a 13/9 glass casserole dish or similar sized glass casserole dish.  (glass is important here because the jello will firm faster in glass then it will in plastic)  Place in refrigerator and chill for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until jello is slightly firm. Add crushed pineapple to jello.  You can either mix it in or just plop it over the top.  Re-place in refrigerator.  Mix together sugar, cream cheese, and sour cream.  Spread over the top of the jello pineapple mixture.  Re-place in fridge.  Mix second box of jello with remaining 1 C of boiling water, stirring for 2 minutes.  Mix in cold water.  Pour over the top of the cream cheese.  Refrigerate until partially set.  Add strawberries to top jello layer and return to refrigerator.  Before serving, spread Cool Whip over top. 

Note:****This is not at all difficult to make.  It just takes alot of time because of the refrigerate, re-refrigerate, process.  But it is worth it.  I promise it is very yummy and everyone in my family, even the picky eaters love it. 

Tasty goodness all around, scout’s honor! 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving friends. I hope that you and yours have a day of blessings, happiness and fantastic food!


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