Easy Skillet Lasagna

This was truly one of the most epic meals! The whole meal in under an hour, and yes that’s lasagna folks. While I love a real lasagna I didn’t have the time to put the whole thing together and deal with it. Once you have the ingredients the prep time is minimal and you aren’t using store bought sauce , this is with sauce you make and I can’t say enough about the way it tasted! This can be done a few different ways and I invite you to play around with the ingredients and spices to your own liking. All I can say is Wow!  Delicious! Joel was very happy with our Sunday night dinner, I should have taken a picture of the big smile he had on his face when he saw this on his plate.  All in one pot is truly a great way to cook, no fuss, no muss and no having to deal with cooking lasagna noodles!!!!!! Yeah!

This can easily be made with ricotta cheese and spinach or any veggies you like. I would even try it with cut up eggplant!

*You’ll need a large oven proof skillet with lid


1 to 1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil–I used 1 1/2 you can start with 1 and add more to onions if you need it

1/2 lb. ground beef ( I used 80/20)

3 Italian sausage links, casings removed ( I used Hot Italian Sausage) use what you like , you can use turkey or chicken sausage as well

1 onion, diced

1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 8oz.can tomato sauce

*Italian seasonings , if you have Italian seasonings in a jar that’s great if not use a little dried oregano and dried basil. Italian Seasonings is available in the spice department of all food stores.

*1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

App. 1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt and more to taste

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

app. 10 lasagna noodles, broken into 1/4’s, if it breaks up differently don’t worry it’s a very loose recipe! 8 ounces Farfalle Pasta also works if you don’t feel like using the lasagna noodles. Un-cooked Noodles!!!!!

8 oz. mozzarella balls ( fresh) I used the small ones this time. Use whatever cheese you like but these worked out beautifully.  You can always use shredded mozzarella, or just cut a large ball of mozzarella into small pieces ( as much or as little as you’d like) if using shredded mozzarella, you’ll need about 1 cup

2 cups water

Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese for serving

*you can also use 1 cup Ricotta Cheese for a very cheesy version, I would use this if I was making it with spinach and going veggie.


Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook till translucent, add garlic towards the end of onion process. Add ground beef to the onions, stirring occasionally till browned. I removed with slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. I then cooked up the sausage making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooked.  I then removed sausage to bowl with meat , onions, and garlic and drained all excess fat from pan.

Pre-heat oven to Broil

Return meat to pan, add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, spices, add 1/4 tsp. kosher salt to taste, if you need more add it. Add in the meat mixture and stir, bring to a simmer and add in broken lasagna pieces and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13- 15 minutes for al dente. I stirred it gently a few times just to make certain that the noodles cooked through and didn’t stick together.

Remove from the heat . I placed my Mozzarella on top and placed in oven under broiler for about 5 mins. Check on it because you don’t want it to blacken. All ovens are different, in mine it needed about 6 minutes to just start browning without burning, but you don’t want to burn this up so set timer and keep an eye on it!

Remove from the oven and let it sit out for a few minutes. Plate it up and let everyone add their own parmesan cheese! Enjoy! you will.


Plated up and ready to eat


Finished Product



adding mozzarella before placing under broiler



placing un-cooked noodles into sauce



This would serve 4. It’s tough to double because you would need a super large pan.

This makes for an amazing leftover!





Kitchen Sink Soup with Hamburger

FullSizeRender (3) FullSizeRender (4) FullSizeRender (5) FullSizeRender (6) FullSizeRender (7) FullSizeRender (9) FullSizeRender (10) FullSizeRender (12) FullSizeRender (13) FullSizeRender (14) FullSizeRender (15) FullSizeRender (17)I had  about a pound of hamburger (ground chuck) which was 80/20(lean) and I had a bunch of awesome veggies so why not? You’ll need some Beef Stock, some tomato paste, some garlic and a few other ingredients and you get this warming wonderful soup for the cold days ahead. I also made awesome little parmesan crisps to serve with soup. It’s hearty enough to eat as a meal and very enjoyable. I love soup as a meal and when it contains protein and vegetables it’s a truly hearty enjoyable meal.

I used orange, red and yellow peppers but green peppers are perfectly fine. I really did use what I had in the house so you should try to do the same. Red Potatoes were perfect because they are thin-skinned and hold their texture and shape well.

Parmesan Crisps are just delicious and pure perfection and all you need is some Parmesan Cheese and I used Silpat but you can use parchment paper which is important in the execution of this recipe. So either Silpat or Parchment.

Ingredients: for Soup

1 – 1 1/2 lbs. of ground chuck, I used the 80/20 mixture because I needed a little of the fat. 90/10 gives you very little fat and since I wasn’t using any other fats I figured it would have better flavor. You can always pour off after browning meat if there is too much fat.

1 small-medium yellow onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 can diced tomatoes , 28 oz.

4 cups Beef Stock, and you may need to add more liquid but you can use water

1 whole yellow pepper, seeded and diced

1 whole red pepper, seeded and diced

1 whole orange pepper, seeded and diced . Again I used what was in my house you can use any color peppers you like. Green is perfectly suitable and will give it a nice flavor

3 whole carrots, peeled and I sliced on the diagonal

4 whole red potatoes, depending on their size you may only use 3. I used 4 smallish ones. Cut into chunks

3 tablespoons tomato paste

Kosher Salt to taste, I used app. 1 teaspoon at the beginning and added as needed

Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste as well, I started out with app. 1/2 teaspoon and added more as needed

1/2 teaspoon ground oregano

1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper, more to individual taste


In a large Dutch Oven kind of pot ( Le Creuset once again) over medium-high heat, brown up the meat along with the onion, celery, and garlic. When meat is finished cooking and vegetables are soft, drain off as much as the fat as you can. I honestly had almost none. If you do which will depend on the fat content of your meat you will discard the fat . I used 80/20 if you use 90/10 you’ll have even less fat and the meat is a bit dryer. I prefer 80/20 and I had no fat.

Return the pot to the heat and add all of the other ingredients. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, then cover the pot and simmer the soup for a while, you’ll want potatoes to be tender to the fork but not mushy.

I made it in the afternoon, let it simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. I then refrigerated it till the night we were eating it.

Soup was rather thick, and I wanted it a little bit soupier so I added a mixture of extra beef broth and hot water and I heated through. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking, adding more salt if you need it.

Serve with Parmesan Crisps or sprinkle ground Parmesan into soup.

Parmesan Crisps:

these are as easy as 1 2 3. One ingredient. Wow!! you will just need a rimmed baking tray and I used silpat sheets but parchment paper will work just fine.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

add 1 heaping teaspoon of grated parmesan onto a silicone or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Pat down a little bit and space at least 1/2 ” apart. ( see picture)

Bake for 3-5 minutes till golden and crisp.

Allow to cool for a few minutes.



Vinaigrette with Maple Syrup – the new Salad Dressing you’ve been looking for

photo (5) photo (11) photo (8)photo (11)photo (5)I got this dressing from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook and it is very easy and very tasty.  Everyone is always looking for new dressing for their salad. The reason I was attracted to this one was because I had never used maple syrup in a salad dressing before. How bad can it be if it has maple syrup in it??? It’s delicious. This recipe was originally posted in 2011 when I discovered the recipe and has gone on to be an absolute staple in our house. Make it your new “go to ” salad dressing and you won’t be sorry. Using all staples that we all should have in our pantry.


2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (I use Grey Poupon and probably heap those teaspoons)

2 teaspoons real Vermont Maple Syrup

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons Canola or Vegetable oil

1/2 cup olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Whisk together the mustard, maple syrup, and vinegar in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the oils, and season to taste with salt and pepper. I probably add about 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and if it needs more I add a bit, and then a few turns of the pepper mill.

Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes are definitely not only for Thanksgiving! They are awesome all year round and make for a wonderful side dish during the Holiday Season. Christmas is right around the corner and this would be just perfect.  I like spicy but only added 1 Tablespoon minced Chipotle Chile into this. It has a slight kick but nothing crazy. These potatoes came about because I needed something that would travel well. Aunt Pammy’s Chipotle Sweet Potatoes are my usual “go to” but I needed to make something that would travel well. So this was born! Pretty easy and delicious — and no one said they were too spicy! Enjoy even if they are far from being diet food. It’s the Holiday — Enjoy!!!!


4 pounds Sweet Potatoes or Yams

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

1 Tablespoon minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce , with seeds (available in supermarket–Goya and Casa Fiesta–in aisle with most of the Mexican Food (see photo)

1 Tablespoon adobo sauce (from the can of chiles)

1/4 cup Grade A maple syrup

4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I sprayed a sheet pan with cooking spray. Pierce each potato a few times with a small knife.

Place the sweet potatoes on the sprayed sheet pan ( or use aluminum foil) we don’t want bubbling sweet potatoes all over the oven!

Roast for 1 – 1 1/2 hours depending on the oven and the size of your sweet potatoes. They should be very tender inside when tested with a fork. When finished set them aside and allow them to cool off till you can handle them without getting burnt.

Leave the oven on .

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them, discard the skins and place the potatoes in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment.

Meanwhile place the milk, cream, chipotle chile and adobo sauce in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. I whisked it a few times while it was cooking. Lower the heat once it comes to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. ( it may look curdled)

With the mixer on low-speed, add the milk mixture to the sweet potatoes. Be careful if milk mixture is very hot. Add the maple syrup, butter and 1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt. Mix until the potatoes are coarsely pureed. Pour into a 9 x 12 oval or any baking dish you would like, just make sure that the baking dish is an oven to table type of dish. Bake for app. 30 minutes, until heated through, you may cook a little longer depending on your oven and the dish you used.  Taste for salt and pepper and you can always sprinkle a little more in at this point.img_3119img_3030

Serve Hot. ( although these were pretty good cold the next day) . They heated up in microwave rather well also.

*if you want to prepare ahead. Prepare the sweet potato mixture , place into the baking dish and cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until hot.









Banana Pudding from Magnolia Bakery – One of my Top Ten Desserts that you don’t even bake

Completely decadent and totally ridiculous in calories and richness, and I love it. It’s so very delicious. My daughter Jennifer has made this dessert numerous times over the last few years. It is actually a subtle taste of bananas, but I wouldn’t make this if I didn’t like bananas.

I happen to just adore bananas and I absolutely love this pudding. I cannot have it in the house because I will continually find an excuse to go into the fridge and eat it till it’s pretty much all gone. As full as I was and swearing I wasn’t going to eat another thing for at least a week, when I saw this  pudding I knew I was going to eat it. I find it impossible to resist, and I know others who suffer from this same fate. If you’re in the market for a purely decadent rich over the top dessert then this is it for you. Probably up there in my top ten desserts ever. This is from the More from Magnolia Cookbook so how could it be bad?

*this recipe really needs time , so you must start the day before to let initial pudding set, and then you’ll need at least 4 more hours minimum before serving. So you must factor time into your preparing of this awesome pudding.

*** sorry for the lack of pictures maybe this Thanksgiving I’ll remember to take more.


1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 1 /2 cups ice-cold water

1 3.4 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix ( preferably Jell-O brand)is there another brand?

3 cups heavy cream

1 12 ounce box Nabisco Nilla Wafers ( no substitutions) is there another brand?

4 cups sliced ripe banana


In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and cold water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more.* Cover and refrigerate for 3 – 4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer , whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remains.

To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl ( preferably glass) with a 4 – 5 quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, over-lapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding . ( Just crush up a few remainder cookies in food processor) Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for *4 hours–or up to 8 hours, but no longer! Serve and behold the love!

Serves anywhere from 12- 15

It’s a large dessert and a substantial one. It stands alone beautifully!

Cremini Mushroom Pumpkin Lasagna – Seasonal and Savory for Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Roux

My daughter, Kerri, has been a vegetarian (not vegan) since she was about twelve. It is always a challenge, especially on holidays, to make delicious and savory food for her to choose from that she will like. While she loves all the sides, I wanted to give her something that would always be on our table and be a tradition for her. She’s not a huge mushroom eater which is why I use cremini. They are somehow less “mushroomy” for her, and she hates anything like “fake meat.” This lasagna is sort of my own concoction. There are a lot of recipes out there, but I find this one works for me. I also need to explain a basic Bechamel (white) sauce or Roux which is at the heart of this recipe.  It consists of butter, flour, salt, pepper, and milk.  Sometimes it takes nutmeg; and in this recipe I add pumpkin, but the 5 basic ingredients are always present in various amounts, depending on the recipe.  This lasagna is always on our Thanksgiving table. And even the meat eaters enjoy it! All that being said, this is not an “easy peasy” recipe. It has a lot of moving parts, but it’s so worth the effort, as all lasagnas are. Everyone who’s ever made a lasagna and starts with their own sauce, knows how much work goes into it, but it’s so worth it–especially for your family and friends.

* I usually make this early in the week and then cook and refrigerate it. It tastes better like that anyway. Then, I heat it up before serving, which usually takes another 45 minutes on top of what the recipe calls for. I always remove from refrigerator and bring it to room temperature before heating it up. It can also certainly be frozen, as any lasagna can be. I’m a big fan of freezing the leftovers.


2 boxes of no-boil lasagna noodles (You need about 18 sheets of noodles and I don’t like them all broken so I like to start out with as many as possible. It’s okay if they are broken though. No harm.)

1 1/2 lbs. cremini mushrooms, chopped roughly

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (If you don’t want to use this, you don’t have to. It’s for sauteing the mushrooms, which you can also do using olive oil.)

Bechamel Sauce (Roux):

8 tablespoons (1 stick ) unsalted butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon nutmeg (you can use whole or grated)

4 cups whole milk

1 1/2  – 2 cans pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)–I like the organic one and I usually end up putting both cans in because what am I going to do with half a can anyway?

*1 tablespoon minced fresh sage ( optional)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

For the white sauce (Bechamel/Roux,) bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan (not a full on boil.) Then, set aside the hot milk. Melt the stick of butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook for about one minute, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture all at once. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and sage if you’re adding it, and continue cooking over medium-low heat, stirring all the while. I start with a wooden spoon and as it thickens (about 5 minutes,) I switch to a whisk, until it is thick. Then I add the pumpkin and continue stirring but at this point, turn off the flame and remove from heat. Set aside off the heat.

Roughly chop up mushrooms. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan. When the butter melts, add half the mushrooms, sprinkle with a little kosher salt, and cook over medium heat for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and release their juices. If they become too dry, add a little more oil. (Toss occasionally to make sure the mushrooms cook evenly and remember that cremini cook pretty quickly.) Repeat with the remaining mushrooms, then set all the mushrooms aside in a bowl.

Lasagna Assembly:

To assemble the lasagna, spray a nice, deep 8 x 12  baking dish, then spread some of the bechamel/pumpkin sauce in the bottom of baking dish. Arrange a layer of noodles on top of this. (No-boil noodles are not soft so it might feel strange to lay them down but just put them down, usually 3 to a layer. No need to overlap because they grow as you cook.) Then add 1/3 of the mushrooms, and 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese. Then, begin to alternate. Start with another layer of noodles with Bechamel /Pumpkin Sauce on top; then noodles with mushroom and parmesan cheese; noodles with pumpkin/bechamel sauce; noodles with mushroom and parmesan cheese. Top with a final layer of noodles and sauce, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan Cheese. Bake the lasagna for 45 minutes, or until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly and hot. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes .

This recipe includes about 6 layers of noodles total, which is about 18 lasagna noodles.

Pumpkin Penne Bake

IMG_9874IMG_9875I love pumpkin as you all well know by now. That’s why it’s odd that I only make it in the fall and mostly only on Thanksgiving. I suppose that’s what keeps the ingredient so special plus it’s hard to find at the supermarket after Thanksgiving. I always buy a few extra cans of pumpkin so when that pumpkin urge hits I am ready.

I like to have a pasta dish every year at my Thanksgiving dinner. Usually I make my cremini mushroom and pumpkin lasagna. This year I am making this delicious baked pumpkin penne. I am going to make it Monday and cook and freeze. I will take out of freezer Wednesday night and Thursday will pop in oven just to re-heat. I will keep aluminum foil on it to re-heat and take off foil for last 10 minutes. To re-heat it will probably be 1/2 hour with aluminum foil on for the first 20 minutes. It should start bubbling and put a fork right in the middle to test for readiness. If it needs more time and is getting too browned put foil back on and continue heating it up. You will cook it at 350 degrees as directions state.

One of the best things about baked pasta dishes is that they freeze so well. Making them some of the easiest dishes to prepare ahead. This whole thing including chopping up sage took maybe 1/2 hour to prep. My kind of dish!

as a side dish it will serve about 10-12, as a main dish figure about 8.


1 lb. box of penne pasta, cooked and drained well

1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling

3 – 4  cups shredded mozzarella, divided , I used about 3 cups in pasta and another 1 cup on top. ( 2 packages 8 oz. shredded cheese) you’ll have a little left over

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried sage

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine cooked penne, pumpkin,  2  cup- 3 cups mozzarella, heavy cream, sage, salt and garlic powder. Stir to combine. Taste for salt.

Transfer mixture to a greased or well sprayed 3 quart baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.

Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted. Since I was freezing I pulled it out after 20 minutes, cooled it down and wrapped it tightly and put in freezer.

Thanksgiving Corn Bread Pudding

My friend Audrey gave this to me many years ago, and it has become a staple on our thanksgiving table ever since. It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it. It is a favorite in the Kolen household. Can be doubled easily.


1/2 cup butter (unsalted) 1 stick

8 oz. sour cream (lite ok but not fat-free)

8 oz.  can sweet corn (drained)

8 oz. can creamed corn

8 oz. pkg. corn muffin mix

2 eggs, lightly beaten


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter, mix in beaten eggs, then add the rest of the ingredients.

Pour into glass baking dish (Pyrex is good and I spray it first.) 9 x 12 works fine, it’s not a very deep pudding.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Karyn’s Cranberry Crisp- Thanksgiving

Fully Cooked Cranberry Crisp

This recipe has been around pretty much my whole married life. If there is a turkey on the table, there is cranberry crisp next to it.  It originated from my friend Karyn, and we even make it for Passover with matzoh farfel.  It’s so sweet and delicious that it could really be a dessert. We love it with our meal; love the sweet and savory thing. You can’t eat too much of it, it is so rich. It is also very dangerous to have in the fridge the next day, so try to give it to everyone who wants to take home leftovers. This tastes good either hot out of the oven or at room temperature. Some people may even want to make it as dessert and serve with vanilla ice cream, but the Kolens don’t. We always serve it as a side dish, but it is awesome however you serve it. Thanks again, Karyn.


*you def want to double this recipe

4 medium apples ( I use all different kinds)

1 can (1 lb.) whole cranberry sauce

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup uncooked quick rolled oats

1/2 cup flour

1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup unsalted butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 9×13 baking dish with Pam.

Peel apples, slice them, then arrange in baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Spoon cranberry sauce over the apples.

Separately, stir rolled oats, flour, and brown sugar together. Cut in butter until it’s mixed in and crumbly. Sprinkle this over cranberry layer. Bake at 350 degrees until apples are cooked and top is lightly browned. The entire mixture will be bubbling and your house will smell divine. You will bake about 40 minutes to an hour. You can make ahead of time, and then on the day you need it, just heat it up until it bubbles. I usually make this a few days ahead, because it’s that much less that I’ll have to do the day of. You can freeze this also, so make it way ahead and freeze it. If you freeze it, take it out a day before you need it, and then heat it up the day of. 350 degrees with foil for first 30 minutes and then uncover for 10 or so minutes.

*Hint — the butter is easier to fold into to the oats if it’s melted, so that’s what we do . Then use your clean hands to squish it together. It is easier to work with this way. If you d0 it the other way , it’s OK, it will all come out the same,  just easier to melt first, sorry I didn’t suggest that from the get go.


Thanksgiving 2016

Fully Baked Cremini Pumpkin Lasagna

Fully Baked Cremini Pumpkin Lasagna

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photo 5 (7)

Fully Cooked Cranberry Crisp

Fully Cooked Cranberry Crisp

Karyn's Cranberry Crisp and Fresh Cranberry Sauce

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Magnolia Banana Pudding

Thanksgiving pictures 013

Sweet and Spicy Nuts

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Hurricane Sandy Cranberry Bread

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Corn Bread Pudding

Set Table

pre marshmallow topping

pre marshmallow topping


Michele’s White Chocolate Jumbo Macadamia Cookies


Butternut Squash Soup–No Cream

Rome and Thanksgiving 077 More October 088 More October 082 More October 081 More October 078 DSCN4489 DSCN4470 DSCN4466 photo 2 (9)photo (37)It’s right around the corner and before you know it November 24th is here and happening. It’s my most favorite holiday to celebrate with family and friends. So it’s November 17th and I think it’s time to lay down a few menu guidelines. We have a new baby coming in our family so I will be making my Thanksgiving at my daughter’s house and she may or not be  in the Hospital. We’re winging it this year but I am still going to make a few of our beloved dishes.  If anyone out there has any great suggestions for me please do email me, I’d love to see them. I can’t promise to make them this year but I will certainly try and look them all over. My menu is almost always the same and if you’ve been a faithful fan you’ve probably gotten to taste Karyn’s Cranberry Crisp, Corn bread Pudding, and my favorite stuffing just to name a few “oldies but goodies”. Check out the recipes on my blog: cookingwithcandi.com subscribe for free and fun and get my emails. Once you’ve successfully subscribed just enter a recipe into the search and that’s it! and go through my blog you may find something you want to add to your Thanksgiving Table that isn’t on this post. Hopefully this will be helpful in your planning your Holiday Meal. Look for some new recipes in enough time to try out for this year’s table. I will be posting all weekend for Thanksgiving! So time to put on the fat pants!

Happy Cooking Thanksgiving 2016 and remember Gratitude not Attitude!

Thanksgiving 2016

for starters I always make my Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts. I have a few variations but they are always delicious and I try not to serve too many appetizers because it’s really an overwhelming meal.

I always do a Baked Brie served with Fig Jam and you know what? I buy it at Whole Foods and keep it in the freezer till I bake it, super perfect and you have to budget your time some how. Whole Foods makes a great one and I expend enough energy on the meal without doing this too.


Seasonal Salad:   whatever you like and I have to say salad is really not necessary with all of the other sides. So use your judgement here . I love a simple green salad with some pears, nuts and my most favorite Mustard Vinaigrette which tastes just about perfect on any salad. Kale and Brussels Salad is great as well but a little filling. Checkout my new Autumn Salad that is now posted as well– can be made a few hours ahead and is a winner!

Two Soups for Thanksgiving:  Butternut Squash (no cream) always wins out in my family. My Pumpkin Lentil Soup is also super inviting . Both soups can and should be made ahead of time. I usually make it 3 days prior to serving , it can keep in fridge. You can also freeze it and just add some liquid when heating up. I also make a delicious Butternut Squash Soup with Chipotle Cream for a little twist on a standard.

Pumpkin Walnut Bread or Hurricane Sandy Pumpkin Cranberry Bread:

Cremini Mushroom Pumpkin Lasagna ( vegetarian), Ultimate Comfort Food Macaroni and Cheese ( vegetarian) and this year I may make a Roasted Vegetable Lasagna. Obviously you don’t need this choice if everyone is good with eating meat but if you’d like to offer a vegetarian choice one of these is perfect and can all be made ahead of time. Look for the Roasted Vegetable Lasagna which will be coming soon. I always add a pasta , don’t ask my why.

Stuffing that will be on our table: This is my stuffing that I always make. Look for it under this title. This is my tried and true. Worth the work.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes: when I’ve tried to eliminate I always get caught so they will be here again this year.

Candied Yam Souffle: East Peasy. Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes, Aunt Pammy’s Chipotle Sweet Potatoes which are nothing short of A-mazing!!

Fresh Cranberry Sauce, Karyn’s Famous Thanksgiving Cranberry Crisp ( also nothing short of amazing) and Joy’s Cranberry Sauce. If you haven’t made Karyn’s Cranberry Crisp you’re really missing out on something wonderful.

Fresh Green Beans with Lemons and Almonds

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Corn Bread Pudding–this is a must , one of the best Thanksgiving recipes ever!

Roast Whole Turkey and a Turkey Breast: if you’re family prefers white meat a turkey roast is just perfection. We also have dark meat lovers so I do both.

Michele’s White Chocolate Jumbo Macadamia Cookies, Pumpkin Cheesecake The cookies will always make an appearance and I think this year an Apple Crisp is in order because Joel has made a personal request for this. Magnolia Banana Pudding is another strong contender.

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Creamy Mashed Potatoes

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Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes

Like I said just a guide line to help with your shopping, menus, and hopefully some new ideas for you. Enjoy and please do reach out if you have some suggestions.