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 and pretty darn good straight out of the fridge the next day! Some people may even want to make it as dessert and serve with vanilla ice cream, but the Kolen family likes it on the table with dinner.  We always serve it as a side dish and it is awesome however you serve it. Thanks again, Karyn. Truly one of the best recipes ever!

I suggest reading through the entire recipe before making it.


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–melted

*for a larger crowd you can easily double this recipe — as is should serve 8 -10


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. Melt Butter and let it just cool for a few minutes then mix in with oats and brown sugar till nice 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. This can definitely be made ahead of time  so you can  make it way ahead and freeze it.  If you freeze it, take it out of freezer a day before you need it, and then heat it up the day of. (Make sure it’s completely defrosted before heating up)

When you re-heat , pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and cover with foil for first 1/2 hour and then remove foil for last 1/2 hour till it starts to bubble.


Thanksgiving Corn Bread Pudding

This has to be one of my all time favorite side dishes for Thanksgiving. It really would be great any time of year but for some reason it only gets made for Thanksgiving. It’s super easy and super delicious. My friend Audrey gave this recipe 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 our family. Can be doubled easily, just make sure your baking dish is large enough.



1/2 cup butter (unsalted) 1 stick

1 8 oz. sour cream (lite is OK  but not fat-free)

1 8 oz.  can sweet corn (drained)

1 8 oz. can creamed corn

1 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 with a good cooking spray like Pam or Bakers Aid ) 9 x 12 works fine, it’s not a very deep pudding.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

White Bean Soup with Turkey and lots of other good stuff

This soup recipe was inspired by Melissa Clark’s Lemony White Bean Soup with Turkey and Greens. I changed the recipe around to suit my taste by all means check hers out as well @nytimes.com/recipes .

I like my soups thicker so I pureed 1 can of beans with a little broth and this had the desired effect. Don’t skimp on the squeeze of lemon it brightens up the flavor perfectly.

I really enjoyed this soup and it was excellent as lunch the next day . I just added a little water and heated it up and it was perfection in a bowl.

You can freeze up to 3 months and when you defrost you’ll just add a little water or broth to bring it back to the perfect consistency.

I served with some very delicious corn bread that I made . ( just a suggestion)

This is what I did.


3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 large onion , diced

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

app. 1/2 bag baby spinach or regular spinach

1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste

1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin

1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

1 lb. ground turkey

3 minced garlic cloves

1 Tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

1 Teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 quart chicken stock– I used a little more to puree beans or just puree beans without broth — it will be fine. I happen to have some extra broth on hand.

2 15 ox. cans white beans, drained and rinsed — Cannellini or small white bean or Navy Beans

1/2 Lemon — squeezed


Heat a large soup pot ( Le Creuset) over medium-high heat for a minute or so and add the 3 tablespoons olive oil, heat for another minute or so. Add diced onion and carrot, saute until very soft and onions are translucent , app. 10 minutes. ( don’t burn)

When the onion is golden, add tomato paste, cumin and red-pepper flakes to the pot, saute until paste darkens, a few minutes more.

Add turkey, garlic, ginger and 1 teaspoon kosher salt, saute and break up the meat, until turkey is well incorporated , app. 7 – 10 minutes.

While this was cooking , I took 1 can of beans , ( rinsed and drained) and pureed along with a little broth in the food processor.

Keep the other can of beans whole after you rinse and drain.

Then add the stock and the whole beans and pureed beans and bring to a simmer. Let simmer until soup starts to thicken, tasting for salt as you go. I do this for at least an hour. I prefer a thicker broth and the pureed beans gave me this. You can always add more stock , a little water or even a splash of white wine to thin out the broth.

I like my soup to sit for a while and I kept it on a low simmer . Right before serving I added app. 1/2 bag of baby spinach. ( any greens will do but I prefer spinach because it’s soft and and takes no time. If you use Kale or a tougher green like collard greens it will take longer to soften up — maybe another 15 minutes or so.

I then squeezed 1/2 lemon into the soup pot, tasted for salt and it was done.

I served with a little grated parmesan cheese and next time I make this I think I will cook up some small pasta ( ditalini type ) and add to the soup bowl for a very filling meal.

This was delicious and I served with freshly made corn bread.

Thanksgiving 2021

It’s Thanksgiving time again — and I will be posting my tried and true recipes for all of you who follow me and for anyone new who is looking for some thanksgiving inspiration. This list can be found on my site @cookingwithcandi. If you put the name of the recipe into the search box the recipe should come up. Alternatively if you google the name of the recipe along with cooking with Candi it should come up. Any problems, questions, ideas , new recipes etc. get in touch with me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi just drop me a line and I promise I will try and get back to you ASAP . I am open to any and all suggestions, questions, etc. You can also email me @cmk55@sopris.net.

It’s truly my favorite holiday of the year and this year we will be joining my family in DC and I am very much looking forward to having our daughter host us.

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

Brussels and Kale 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

Baked Rice with Mushrooms

This is an oven baked rice with mushrooms which turned out so perfectly and so delicious I just had to share. The rice was garlicky , with a hint of butter and the mushrooms were golden brown and juicy. Very little prep and very few ingredients and very tasty. Perfect accompaniment to poultry or fish.

Give it a go.



1 lb. Mushrooms, I sliced them but you can quarter them as well , I just used regular white button mushroom. Cremini would be fine here as well

2 Tbsp. butter, melted

3 large garlic cloves

Kosher salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1-2 Tbsp. Olive Oil– I started with 1 Tbsp. and then added a little more because mushrooms seemed a little dry — don’t soak them in oil but if they seem dry add a little


1 cup long grain rice — I used Jasmine –Basmati would also work perfectly or long grain white rice

1 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian

3/4 cup Water

3/4 tsp. dried thyme

3/4 tsp. garlic powder

Green Onions to top it off after it is completely cooked


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Place Mushrooms in a large bowl, pour hot melted butter over mushrooms , add minced fresh garlic, and about a teaspoon of kosher salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill– you can taste raw mushrooms for salt and pepper add to your own discretion

Place all the rice ingredients in a baking pan ( app. 9×13)

Stir the rice around so its evenly spread out over the bottom of the pan

Spread the mushrooms over the rice–they may be partially submerged but should pretty much cover the whole surface of the rice

I cooked for app. 45 minutes and made sure all water was absorbed and rice was perfectly cooked I then removed from oven and let it rest for a few minutes then topped it off with some chopped up green onions.

Lemon Garlic Chicken with Green Beans and Potatoes

photo 5 (59)photo 1 (3)photo 3 (2)photo 1 (2)

photo 2 (2)I love one pot meals. I think they have become my most favorite kind of meal to make. This one is so delicious and perfect. Chicken was cooked perfectly and the lemons caramelized in the pan adding a delicious flavor to the chicken and potatoes and beans. We thoroughly enjoyed this and it is a perfect recipe for all year round. I made it with 2 chicken breasts for the 2 of us, this recipe should serve 4 beautifully according to directions with 4 breasts. You will need a large baking dish or you can make in a cast-iron skillet. The prep is pretty quick and the shopping is easy. Nothing exotic here just good old cooking with easy ingredients.

The other night I made it with 2 thighs , 2 legs and 1 breast and it was just perfect! IMG_0634


Olive Oil– 6 Tablespoons, divided 1 and 5

2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced and 1 you will juice

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 pound trimmed green beans

8 small red potatoes, quartered

4 chicken breast, bones in and skin on or chicken thighs with skin on bone in — this time I made with breasts but I like both


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. I always spray my baking dishes with cooking spray for easy clean-up. Then coat your baking dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer in the bottom of the dish.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining 5 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper; add the green beans and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the lemon slices. Add the potatoes to the same olive-oil mixture and toss to coat. Using tongs or slotted spoon again, arrange the potatoes along the inside edge of the dish or skillet on top of the green beans. Place the chicken in the same bowl and coat with the olive-oil mixture. Place the chicken , skin side up in the dish or skillet. Pour any of the remaining olive-oil mixture over the chicken.

Roast for 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dish or the skillet. ( you may want to cut into chicken to make sure it’s ready, I roasted for about 55 minutes) then place the beans and potatoes back in oven for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender. I covered the chicken with aluminum for that 10 minutes.

When potatoes are ready, place a chicken breast on the plate and plate up the beans and potatoes. Serve Warm from the oven.

White Chicken Chili

This is so my kind of meal once the weather starts to turn a little colder. It’s made with a store bought rotisserie chicken and this chicken chili is all made in one pot on the stove-top. It’s filling and the different peppers add a wonderful mix of flavors to the chili. You’ll need a large dutch oven sort of pot for this and you’ll have some left overs for sure depending on how many people you’re cooking for.

I crumbled some tortilla chips on top of my chili and added a dollop of sour cream which added to the flavor. Cheese is also a wonderful topping here.

Of course if you hate cilantro you can eliminate it and be careful cutting the peppers, the seeds and ribs in the pepper hold all the heat. It’s your call how spicy you’d like it. I like spicy but don’t really use the seeds and I keep it mild and more family-friendly because you never really know how spicy it can get adding the seeds and ribs. I also use rubber or latex gloves while cutting and be careful not to touch your eyes till you’ve completely washed your hands. If I want heat I can add a shot of Chohula to my own.

This chili does thicken considerably as it sits. If you make it ahead of time, you may want to add broth or water depending on how thick you like it.

Leftovers are great and this chili can be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat it on the stovetop over medium-low heat and you may want to add some broth or water to it as well.



4 cups chicken broth, divided

2 15 oz. cans white beans (cannellini)–drained and rinsed

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 jalapeno pepper , seeded and minced

2 medium poblano peppers, seeded and diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

Kosher Salt to taste

1 Rotisserie chicken, skin removed and shredded

3/4 cup frozen corn

1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice, from one lime

*1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro –we like it a lot but not everyone does I know so just omit it

Optional Toppings:

Sour Cream

Crushed Tortilla Chips

Shredded Pepper Jack or Cheddar Cheese

Lime Wedges


Get all ingredients chopped and ready to cook.

In a food processor , blend 1/2 of the beans (1 can) with 1 cup of the chicken broth and set aside with the remaining drained beans

Add the olive oil to a large pot or Dutch Oven and heat it over medium high heat. Add the onions, jalapeño pepper and poblano peppers and cook, stirring frequently until soft about 4-5 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so, then add the cumin, coriander and ancho chili powder and continue to cook, stirring frequently for another few minutes. Add the Chicken Broth, pureed beans and app. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes.

Stir in the shredded chicken, reserved whole can of beans, corn and lime juice; bring back to a simmer and cook until everything is heated through, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust salt . Stir in the chopped cilantro. It will be somewhat soupy still and that’s OK. The longer it sits the thicker it will get. I let it cook for probably an hour or so and If it’s too thick you can add a little water. It’s really a chili so I like it thick but it’s totally up to you how you like it.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

This is a staple in my Chinese Restaurant take out , I love it. It’s sort of on the “lighter” side of most Chinese main entrees. It is usually in the appetizer section of the menu. img_2523


It’s super easy to make but contains a lot of ingredients that you may not have in the house so some grocery shopping may be involved.  I highly recommend this recipe for a lovely lunch or delicious dinner!! I didn’t even use salt or pepper because it had so very much flavor it didn’t even need it. I would taste for it though since everyone’s taste is a little different where salt and pepper is concerned. 

This recipe literally cooked in less than 1/2 hour and it really was delicious. This is a dish the whole family may enjoy.

I like my chicken lettuce wraps in a bowl with lettuce , some rice and some Sriracha sauce. ( see pic of last nights dinner)


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound ground chicken or turkey–I prefer dark meat because I think it’s more flavorful use whatever you prefer

2 cloves garlic minced

app. 1 medium onion (yellow), diced

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

2 Tablespoons soy sauce –I use low sodium

1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1/2 -1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger–you can use a full tablespoon if you really love ginger, it was fine with 1/2 — in this particular recipe I really only like fresh ginger

*1 Tablespoon Sriracha, totally optional. This didn’t make it super spicy just gave it a little kick. You can use Sriracha on the table if you like.

1 8 oz. can whole water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped. I had sliced in the house and I just gave them a rough chop

2 green onions ( scallions) green and white, sliced thinly

*Kosher Salt and Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 head butter lettuce or large leafs of iceberg lettuce– either one is fine


Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add ground meat and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Make sure to crumble the meat as it cooks, drain any excess fat.

Stir in garlic, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce , rice wine vinegar, ginger and Sriracha until onions have become translucent, a few minutes.

Stir in the chopped water chestnuts and green onions until tender, another few minutes. Now taste for salt and pepper, as I said I didn’t use any salt and pepper at all.

For serving, spoon meat into the center of a lettuce leaf.

If you’d like you can serve with hoisin sauce and sriracha on the side.

You can also add a vegetable if you like — frozen peas work well or bean sprouts, mushrooms or anything you’d like.



Sausage and White Bean Soup



It’s Soup Season time again and I find myself craving a nice hearty soup either for lunch or dinner. This soup will satisfy that craving for sure.

This was an absolutely delicious dinner soup I made the other night. I like my soups to simmer for a while on the stove top, I made this soup about 2 hours before we were going to eat it. This soup can be made rather quickly or you can allow it to simmer for a few hours. It’s even better the next day. If serving the next day you will most likely need to add liquid, I added a little bit of water or you can add stock. Just add a little at a time.

There is a little effort involved here but mostly chopping and prepping.

I used my mini-processor for chopping carrots because I wanted them finely chopped.

The fresh herbs tasted wonderful and I wouldn’t omit.

You can use turkey or chicken sausage or any kind of sausage you would prefer.

I served alongside a crusty bread,  manchego cheese and a beautiful red wine.

*this soup can easily be frozen

*will serve 6-8 easily

Enjoy this !


2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 pound spicy turkey sausage, Italian sausage (casings removed) chicken sausage, whatever you prefer, chopped.

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

3 carrots, finely chopped– to obtain this chop I used my mini processor

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 Tablespoons finely chopped sage

1 Tablespoon finely chopped rosemary

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt –which was enough

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes–clearly this is optional but it adds a little kick

4 cups Chicken / Vegetable Stock –low sodium or regular it’s you’re call

1 14-ounce can petite diced tomatoes

3 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

app. 1/2 lb. baby spinach–or any greens you’d like. You can eyeball it to see how much you’d like to use. You could use heartier greens, like kale or collard greens–just be certain to cook them in the soup for at least 5 minutes prior to serving. You want them to wilt and break down a bit.


In a large stockpot heat the olive oil over medium-heat.

Cook Sausage, stirring occasionally and breaking up any large pieces as it cooks. Cook until browned, app. 10 minutes or so. Transfer sausage with a slotted spoon to another plate.

Add onions, carrots, and garlic to pot and cook in the oil from sausage. Stir frequently, until onions are tender. App. another 10 minutes.

Add sage, rosemary, salt , pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir in chicken stock, tomatoes and their juices, and reserved sausage. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until flavors have melded together, at least 15 minutes. I let it sit and simmer for about 2 hours on a very low simmer, stirring occasionally.

Before you’re ready to serve you will do this next step: this will add 15 minutes more of cooking time, you can always simmer longer.

Coarsely mash beans from 1 can of rinsed , drained beans. You can use a fork for this or a potato masher. Then add this mash to soup. Stir in the almond milk and remaining 2 cans of rinsed, drained beans. Let simmer for another 15 minutes at least. Taste for salt and pepper at this point. I didn’t need to add any.

I added the spinach a few minutes before serving, just eyeball out about 1/2 cup of baby spinach or whatever greens you are using. The heartier greens like kale will take a little longer to break down.

You can top soup with freshly grated parmesan if you’d like.




Easy Skillet Lasagna

This was truly one of the most epic meals! The whole meal in under an hour.  While I love a real lasagna I didn’t want 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.  You will be making the sauce and it will all cook together in the pan .  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! Perfect Sunday night dinner and I am planning on making this tonight again.   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

*perfect for freezing leftovers


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 the 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!