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Thanksgiving 2020

This is a tough one for sure. Thanksgiving 2020 will definitely be very different than all my other Thanksgiving dinners. We’re going to make the very best of it and for us that means a very small holiday dinner with our daughter and our 2 grandsons. We will cook all our favorites on a small scale and maybe instead of a whole turkey we will make a turkey breast.

We need to get through these next few months and the upcoming holidays in a much smaller way. Perhaps a vaccine is right around the corner? Perhaps next Thanksgiving will be a more normal scenario? I for one am praying daily for that outcome to happen ASAP.

For now I will still post all my Thanksgiving favorites and even if you’re celebrating with only 2 people you can make something new or an old favorite and enjoy the meal .

Let’s be Thankful for our good health and happiness and what we do have. Remember be grateful not hateful in spite of the pandemic.

Let’s hope for a better 2021 and let’s be optimistic about our future.

Keep in touch with me on Instagram or email me or right here on my site.

Here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving Recipes, just put in the search box on my site or put in Thanksgiving . Or go to @cookingwithcandi or google the title of the recipe @cookingwithcandi.

Happy Thanksgiving .

Corn Bread Pudding

Butternut Squash Soup

Pumpkin Lentil Soup

Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts– I have 2 different recipes for the nuts and they are both awesome

Kale and Brussels Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad

Pumpkin Walnut Bread and Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Cremini Mushroom Pumpkin Lasagna

Pumpkin Penne Bake

Stuffing that will be on our Table or Cranberry Walnut Stuffing

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Candied Yam Souffle

Easy Peasy Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes

Aunt Pammy’s Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Karyn’s Famous Thanksgiving Cranberry Crisp

Joy’s Cranberry Sauce

Michele’s White Chocolate Jumbo Macaroon Cookies

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Apple Pear Crisp

Apple Crisp

Magnolia Banana Pudding

Corn Bread Pudding
pre marshmallow topping
Karyn’s Cranberry Crisp

Butternut Squash Soup
Prep and Ingredients for Corn Bread Pudding

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Here’s the thing– I love Stuffed Peppers but it’s a lot of work to make. This soup satisfied my yen for Stuffed Peppers without all the work. It’s really delicious and this is how I made it. I actually used a whole package of Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice which worked perfectly. I also used ground beef but obviously you can use ground turkey or chicken as well. I just wanted to stay as true to the recipe for Stuffed Peppers as possible. Of course you don’t need to sprinkle the cheese on top but it added another layer of flavor .

Enjoy this hearty and easy meal in a bowl.

Paired with a green salad and some nice crusty bread it’s perfect.

*probably 6 -8 servings and you can freeze leftover soup.


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

4 medium green bell peppers, diced. Mine were giant so I used 3

1 medium yellow onion, diced

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper or use coarsely ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

4 cups Beef Broth

14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes

14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes

3 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

1 package Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice you obviously don’t have to use ready rice but I did and I used Jasmine. Any Rice will do and if you don’t want 2 cups use 1 cup rice– you’ll want the rice cooked so if you have leftover rice use it!

Shredded Chedder for topping and serving


In a large soup pot ( think Le Creuset) a heavy stock pot which will be large enough for this soup. Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the diced peppers, onion, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper ( app. 1/4 teaspoon) you’ll get another chance at seasoning so just start out small. Cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies are soft. Approximately 10 minutes.

Add the ground beef and cook breaking up the beef as you stir with a large wooden spoon. Cook till no longer pink , approximately 5 minutes.

Add the minced garlic and oregano and cook for a minute or two. Add the 4 cups beef broth, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, Worcestershire Sauce, and add a little more kosher salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil . Reduce heat and simmer until all flavors are blended. I like my soup to simmer for a long time. At least a half hour and preferably longer. If you find it too thick add a little water. Mine was perfect and sat on stovetop for a few hours. Second hour just sat on warm.

Before serving I heated to a boil, brought back down to a simmer and added rice until warmed through. Taste for S and P but should be fine.

Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with some Chedder .

I held my breath because I wasn’t sure about Joel’s response to soup but he totally enjoyed and ate a big bowl.

Maple – Dijon Chicken with Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash.

Here’s a new recipe that I absolutely loved making and loved eating! Tasty and Easy and anyone can do it. All it took was a few pantry ingredients that almost everyone has in their home.

I just love one sheet meals — another reason to go out and buy a large sheet pan if you haven’t done so already. 18 x 13 is the size you’ll need because if you crowd the ingredients they end up steaming and not really roasting. Roasting is what you’re after here.

I chose Chicken Thighs because they can stand up to the cooking time along with the veggies. I didn’t use Drumsticks but you certainly can use both. If you insist on white meat you’ll have to remove chicken earlier than veggies or you’ll have dried out chicken for sure.

Enjoy this lovely sheet pan meal and I added Brown Rice.

Please follow my blog on Instagram @cookingwithcandi— thanks


2 Tablespoons Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce

4 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard, divided

3 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup, divided ( used 2 and 1)

6 large bone in chicken thighs, or use 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks or whatever pieces you’d like

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

app. 12 ounces butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4 inch cubes

app. 12 ounce Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved

6 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil


and you’ll need some cooking spray — you can use Olive Oil spray or just regular spray


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray an 18 x 13 inch large rimmed sheet pan

In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, 3 Tbsp. of the Dijon Mustard and 2 Tbsp. of the pure Maple Syrup

Season the chicken all over with Salt and Pepper and then arrange the chicken on the sprayed baking sheet

In a large bowl combine the Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, thyme, and olive oil, season with a sprinkling  of salt and pepper here too.

Arrange the vegetables on the baking sheet around the chicken. Pour the Dijon-Maple -Soy sauce over the chicken, turn to coat completely, and pour any remaining sauce over the veggies.

Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the veggies are tender, app. 35-40 minutes. Look at the chicken after 30 mins. I cooked for 35 minutes and it was browned up rather nicely.

Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 1 Tbsp. Dijon and 1 Tbsp. Maple Syrup and remove chicken from oven.

Brush the remaining mixture over the chicken. Bake a few more minutes till browned and perfect looking.

*next time out I am going to try this sauce on boneless , skinless chicken thighs — it’s gotta be good!

Serve alongside some brown rice or any rice you’d like.

Amazingly Delicious.

Maple Dijon Chicken with Brussels and Butternut Squash

Chicken Tortilla Soup


This soup has always been a favorite of mine and I usually try to order it when it’s offered on a menu. I am a big fan of Mexican Food and have always wanted to try to make my own Chicken Tortilla Soup .This is a super easy version using a store-bought rotisserie chicken and a packet of Taco Seasoning.  Now that the weather has turned super cold it’s a perfect time for heart warming meals. I started cooking soup in the afternoon, prep was pretty quick and I let it simmer for an hour and then turned off stove while we went out. When we got home I turned on the stove and continued cooking soup. I cut up avocado, chopped up some cilantro, put sour cream and cheese into some little bowls and in less than 1/2 hour we were sitting eating this delicious and tasty soup! Joel even ate the avocado!!!! This is big!!! He loved the soup. It’s very filling.

I use crispy tortillas if that’s what I have in the house. It is delicious with soft corn tortillas sliced up and added into the soup at the end also. I love when the crunchy chips go soft in the soup with the melted cheese– I could go on and on about this soup. Tonite I used soft tortillas.

If you have the time I suggest making this soup, it is so easy with a prepared chicken or you can make your own chicken .  The prep is about 15 minutes using store-bought chicken and cooking is about 1 1/2 to 2 hours for soup.  I just think soup tastes better the longer it sits. I prefer making it in the early part of the day and letting it sit on the stove for a while.

This is a big soup and will probably serve 6-8 nicely. I have a container in my freezer and 4 of us ate this soup.

Look for my slow cooker version also on my blog.



1 Rotisserie Chicken from your favorite supermarket

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Packet of Taco Seasoning — this is really easy , use whatever brand you like

1 cup diced onion

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 diced green pepper

1 diced yellow, red or orange pepper

1 10 oz. can  Rotel brand Tomatoes and Green Chiles–just a suggestion

1 can enchilada sauce– green or red ( in Mexican Food section of your supermarket) its a small sized can

1 15 oz. can of whole-kernel corn  – drained

32 ounces Chicken Broth

3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

4 cups hot water

2 cans Black Beans , drained and rinsed unless they’re organic and then you don’t have to rinse but I always do anyway

3 Tablespoons Cornmeal –mixed with water ( see instructions)

5 Soft Corn Tortillas (I use the small ones) cut into uniform strips or crunchy tortilla chips–use as many or as little as you like–or skip all together for a lighter version.


*optional and use whatever you like — these are just some suggestions

Sour Cream


Grated Cheese –Monterey Jack is a good choice here or Mexican Blend Grated Cheese

Cut-Up Avocado

Salsa or Pico De Gallo

Diced Red Onion

Diced Fresh Jalapeno

Hot Sauce like Cholula is my favorite go to sauce


I took skin off chicken and shredded most of the chicken meat.

Heat 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil in a large Pot –dutch oven is great here (Le Creuset) add onions, peppers, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the packet of Taco Seasonings if it’s very dry and hard to stir you can add a little more olive oil. Add in the shredded chicken and stir it all up.

Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, enchilada sauce, water , black beans and corn. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for app. 45 minutes to an hour, uncovered.

In a little bowl mix 3 cornmeal with a small amount of water , just enough to mix it into a paste like consistency. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes at least, I cooked for another hour. I always believe the soup is best when it sits for a long time.

Check seasonings, adding more salt if you need it , I added kosher salt because I felt it needed it. Taste has to be your guide but be sure not to undersalt, you don’t want this to be bland. Turn off heat and allow to sit for about 20 minutes.

Five minutes before serving, gently stir in the tortilla strips if you’re using them.

Ladle into bowls, then top with your favorite toppings and there you go! I think the chips/tortillas make this soup along with the cilantro and avocado. Let your taste be your guide here.









Butternut Squash with Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup

It’s Fall and it’s my favorite time to start making soup. This soup came together rather easily because I had all the ingredients in the house and it really is that easy! I even had a little piece of ginger which was exactly what I needed. The potatoes give this a little different flavor than just plain butternut squash soup which is always one of our most favorites (check that one out as well @cookingwithcandi ) .And don’t omit the ginger but if you have to use powdered ginger that’s fine. It def adds the extra layer of flavor. This soup tastes rich and creamy even though there is no butter or cream in it.

*and the perfect thing is that you can get the sweet potatoes and butternut squash pre-cut in 1 lb. containers at Whole Foods and probably most supermarkets


2 Tablespoons Canola Oil

1 yellow/white onion chopped

1 Tablespoon fresh minced ginger, I peel the ginger with a peeler and then put into mini food processor to get the right consistency , you can use a zester but easier to use mini processor. Also if no fresh ginger use about 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger.

1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and diced

1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 medium sized Russet Potato, peeled and diced ( you can use Yukon Gold as well)

6 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock and you may need more.

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground or course Black Pepper to taste


Heat the oil in a heavy pot ( Le Creuset always is my favorite) over medium heat. Add the onions and cook down until tender — probably 6 minutes or so. Add the ginger and stir together for another minute or so. Add the squash, the potato, sweet potatoes, and add the 6 cups of stock . Make sure the stock covers the vegetables and if necessary add more. Bring to a simmer. Add salt to taste. Reduce the heat , cover and simmer for about an hour. You want all ingredients to be tender.

I used an immersion blender but if no immersion blender you can use a regular blender and just be careful handling the hot ingredients. Once you’ve blended the soup taste for Salt and Pepper to taste.

This was delicious as an appetizer for dinner and I ate for lunch the next day and it was super delicious. I froze the extra and if you do that it’s good for about 3 months and you will need to add water or stock once defrosted .

I loved this soup!!!!

Apple Pear Crisp

It’s Fall and this is the most perfect dessert . Baked with brown sugar and oat topping served warm with vanilla ice cream and it’s perfection on a plate. This is what I did and it really is pretty easy and not very technical for those of you who want to bake a great dessert but don’t want to fuss with cakes and frosting etc. and special equipment. Most perfect!!! Can be made ahead of time and even frozen .


Fruit Mixture:

3 ripe firm pears peeled, cored and thinly sliced

3 apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced

3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons flour

3/4 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1 cup old fashioned rolled oats

2/3 cup all purpose flour

2/3 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

*Vanilla ice cream for serving — obviously optional but in our house it’s a must


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I spray a 9 – 10 inch deep dish pyrex type of dish or any baking dish you like — set aside

In a large bowl combine pears, apples, orange juice, sugar , flour , cinnamon and vanilla — All the fruit mixture ingredients

Dump all the ingredients into your prepared baking dish.

Make the topping in a separate bowl . Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add in the melted butter and stir until combined, using your clean fingers crumble the mixture over the fruit. You’ll want to press some of it together to form clumps.

Bake for 45-60 minutes until topping is golden brown, and fruit is tender and it is bubbling all around the edges.

Serve warm with ice cream.

*I put into oven when we sat down to dinner and let it cook so it was ready for dessert. Let it sit for awhile to set.

You can also make ahead and then just re-heat for 45 minutes to an hour . I cover with aluminum when re-heating.


White Bean Chicken Chili

When you feel that little bit of chill in the air it’s the perfect time for making chili.

Delicious chili recipe made with rotisserie chicken . It’s hearty and healthy and yummy. And did I mention fast? Yes comes together from start to finish in about an hour with a store bought chicken and a few delicious ingredients.

Follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi


2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained

4 cups Chicken Broth, you’ll be using 1 cup with beans and the other 3 cups in the broth

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 yellow onion, diced

1 jalapeno pepper. seeded and diced

2 poblano peppers, seeded and diced — if you like it spicy keep some of the seeds

4 minced garlic cloves

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon chili powder

Kosher Salt — app. 1 teaspoon and then more to taste

1 Rotisserie Chicken, skin removed and shredded

1 cup frozen corn

juice of 1 lime plus more to taste

*1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro if you like it

For Serving:

sour cream — crushed tortilla chips–Shredded Cheddar or Pepper Jack or Mexican Blend Cheese


In a food processor, blend 1 can of the white beans with 1 cup of the chicken broth. Set aside both the beans and the remaining drained whole beans.

Add the oil to a large pot or Dutch Oven ( Le Creuset) and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion, jalapeno pepper and poblano peppers and cook, stirring frequently until softened.

Add the garlic and cook down for another minute or so.

Add the cumin, coriander and chili powder and continue to cook stirring frequently .

Add the chicken broth, pureed beans and start with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low, and simmer uncovered for about 1/2 hour.

Then stir in the shredded chicken, other can of whole beans ( drained and rinsed) corn and lime juice.

Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Add in the cilantro if you’re using it.

Broth should be a little soupy. It will thicken as it sits. The longer it sits the thicker it will get.

Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with sour cream , cheese, crushed chips and if you like lime wedges.

*the chili will thicken as it sits or if you freeze or refrigerate. You can thin it out with a little water or broth.

This is also perfect to freeze for 3 months. Re-heat on the stove top until hot and it would also be most perfect with some cornbread or cornbread muffins.

Chicken Shawarma

I got this recipe from Pamela Salzman’s cookbook Kitchen Matters. I absolutely loved it. I made the chicken and then proceeded to turn it into a rice bowl. The rice bowl accompaniments can be whatever you like. I use Tzatziki Sauce instead of Tahini white sauce. You can also serve over salad which is quite delicious as well. Greek Salad in particular would be great! Add some delicious pita or Naan bread and it’s perfection! I made a side order of roasted peppers and onions and you can add mushrooms as well. I did this in the oven about an hour before dinner. (cut up peppers and onions add a little olive oil to coat and salt and pepper and 400 degrees for about 45 minutes )Big thumbs up on the peppers and onions in the rice bowl. Feta cheese is a must here! (buy a good one) and pepperoncini in mine! and whatever kind of rice you like.

I cooked on my outside grill but this can be cooked indoors on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes. Or use a grill pan which would probably cook faster — either way it is delicious.

I also highly recommend marinating for as long as possible. I prepared the chicken in the morning and probably marinated for about 7 hours. Minimum of 1 hour and you can do overnight as well. This marinade was very flavorful.

Thanks to


1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice– I used 2 average sized lemons

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon — I used a heaping 1/8 teaspoon

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper– I used a heaping 1/8 here too

Several grinds of freshly ground black pepper –probably 1/4 teaspoon as well

4 minced garlic cloves

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs


prepare the marinade– Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large glass bowl. Add the raw chicken and toss to coat. Marinade in the fridge for as many hours as you can — this was key. Remove the chicken from the fridge about 1/2 hour before cooking.

I cooked on my outside grill for about 7 minutes on each side. I like the outside edges a little crispy and since I don’t have a revolving spit to cook my chicken on so this is as close as I could get.

I sliced up chicken served it in a rice bowl and we each used different accompaniments. The peppers and onions were perfect with it. Highly recommend it and you can buy store bought tzatziki which would be just fine. Would be good with some delicious toasted pita or naan bread.

Chicken Shawarma

Mushroom Barley (egg noodles)- Side Dish

cookingwithcandioct7 003this is an old recipe of mine that I’ve played around with and it makes a perfect side dish anytime of the year. not too difficult to make , takes a little playing around but pretty easy . I used Manischewitz egg noodles in a toasted barley shape this time. you can use pearl barley which is available in almost every supermarket out there. i have to say this product worked very well. Not exactly Mushroom and Barley?? but barley shape egg noodles


1/4 cup butter or margarine

1  3/4 cup Pearl Barley or any kind you can find ( I used Manischewitz egg noodles in a toasted barley shape) it doesn’t have to be toasted it can just be regular barley shape noodles. I love to use this product , it’s usually found in kosher section.

1 lb. fresh mushrooms sliced

1/2 spanish onion chopped

2 – 3 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper


I use a very little bit of vegetable oil ( maybe 1 tablespoon) and saute onions, then mushrooms till cooked down. I salt and pepper generously here. I remove the mushroom/onion mixture from saute pan, wipe the pan clean with a paper towel . melt butter or margarine in pan, brown the barley/noodles for about 4 – 5 minutes, move it around as you brown it. in the meantime transfer mushroom/ onion mixture to a 9 x 13 baking dish (spray with pam) when barley/noodles is browned place in dish with mushrooms and onions and mix well. add 2 cups of chicken broth. cover with aluminum foil, and bake in oven covered at 350 degrees for app. 45 minutes. remove from oven, and add a little broth, depending on how dry it is, i would say i added about 1/2 cup , you may need to add more, add the 1/2 cup and mix well and see if you need more, not too watery, keep it dryer. cover, and i put it back in oven for 10 to 15 minutes. taste for salt and pepper. and there it is. very delicious.

Fried Rice with Chicken

This recipe has a lot of ingredients but it really is pretty easy to execute. I have to say this just tasted down right delicious and pretty healthy as well. The chicken was yummy along with all the other ingredients. I used 2 pouches of Basmati Rice from Uncle Ben’s ( they’re the 8.5 oz. bags) you can also make your own rice but I opted for the easy route. I like a long grain rice and you can use brown rice if you’d like. The pouches save time and I made a few hours ahead and let it sit out to cool off. Of course you can add any vegetables you like. This really was delicious.


4 cups cooked rice — like I said I used 2 pouches of Basmati Rice made it a few hours ahead and let it sit in pouch on counter . You’ll want the rice completely cooled off. Leftover rice works well here too. Or use white, long grain or brown rice.

2 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil or peanut oil

2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil

1 cup chopped onions — yellow or white onions

3 green onions, trimmed and sliced into thin rounds

1 cup frozen peas and carrots — I don’t thaw I use straight from freezer

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into small pieces — cut up and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1/4 cup Hoisin Sauce

1/4 cup Oyster Sauce– if no oyster sauce use soy sauce

2 tsp. garlic/chili paste– worth buying Sambal Delek ground fresh chili paste — available in most supermarkets or specialty stores you can omit if you can’t find but it adds a wonderful layer of flavor

1 1/2 tsp. Sesame Oil

Mix all the ingredients with a whisk or a fork and set aside.


In a large non-stick skillet or wok ( spray with cooking spray) add the Sesame Oil and Canola Oil and heat up ( medium high) and cook chicken. Flip chicken around so all sides get cooked evenly. Cooking time will vary depending on thickness of your chicken. When chicken is finished cooking remove with a slotted spoon allowing oil and cooking juices to remain in skillet. Put chicken in a bowl and set aside.

With pan on medium low to high add the peas, carrots, green onions and onions cook for a few minutes, or until vegetables soften , stirring occasionally.

Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute or so, stirring.

I scrambled eggs in a separate pan but if you’d like to use 1 pan push vegetables aside and add the eggs to the other side and cook to scramble.

Add the chicken and rice mix all ingredients and then add the sauce. I cooked through for another few minutes and didn’t think it needed any additional Salt and Pepper, but everyone has their own taste so taste for S and P. Cook for a few more minutes till chicken is warmed through. Serve it up!

*leftovers will keep for a few days or freeze . Re-heat gently — I think the microwave works best for re-heating.