With great joy, Tom and I began hosting Thanksgiving for his family 10 years ago when Aunt Helen “retired.” She had prepared it for many, many years and she was truly a tough act to follow. Not only was her food always wonderful, she took such care to set a beautiful and elegant table. She graciously passed down to me her seasonal accessories and serving pieces, that I still use each year.
The first two recipes are "must-haves" at every Thanksgiving celebrated by our family. I suspect they date back to the 1950’s or 60’s, maybe before. Both were completely new to me when I became a part of the family back in 1984.
2 cans whole kernel corn, drained
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
2 Tblsp. melted butter
2 Tblsp. sugar
¾ can evaporated milk
Mix all ingredients with the exception of the corn. Once well blended, stir in the corn. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. (Serves 6)
Aunt Helen’s Cranberry Salad
1 pkg raw cranberries (washed, dried, and lightly frozen for easy grinding)
2 pkgs lemon gelatin
2 cups sugar
3 apples (unpeeled, but quartered and cored for easy grinding)
3 oranges (1 peeled, 2 unpeeled, quartered and cored for easy grinding)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
Mix gelatin with three cups of boiling water. Let cool completely before mixing with rest of the salad. Run cranberries, apples and oranges through food grinder or processer (you can chop the walnuts and celery separately or process them with the fruit). Combine chopped ingredients with sugar and finally, combine all with the gelatin. Once well blended, pour into an oiled mold and chill until firm (takes approximately 24 hours to become solid) (Serves 10)
This last recipe is one I added a few years ago. It was from my friend Judy…a phenomenal cook, and it became an instant hit. It’s a beautiful, colorful dish on the table and you don’t have to be a bean-lover to enjoy it…I promise! The best part? You can make this as a casserole or you can cook it all day in the crock pot (my method of choice since oven space is greatly limited on Thanksgiving!)
Harvest Beans (aka Five Bean Bacon Bake)
1 pkg bacon
2 large onions, thinly sliced
¾ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ cup vinegar
1-16 oz. can each: butter beans, green lima beans, dark red kidney beans, baked beans, green beans
Fry bacon until done, but not crisp, drain and set aside. Reserve 2 Tblspns bacon drippings in the skillet. Reduce heat and add onions, brown sugar, vinegar and garlic powder. Stir well. Cover and cook for 2 minutes or until onions are slightly soft.
Drain and combine all varieties of beans EXCEPT Baked Beans. Then, stir in undrained baked beans and onion mixture and ½ of the bacon (crumbled). If baking as a casserole, pour into 2 qt casserole (or crock pot) and top with remaining bacon (crumbled). Bake uncovered for 1 hour at 350 degrees, or cook on low 4-6 hours in crock pot. (Serves 8-10)
I’d love to hear if you try any of these for your family!
Have a wonderful weekend! I'm extra thankful (along with countless other college parents) because my boy is coming home! Can't wait!