Worrying about the big holiday meal has apparently been passed on to me from many generations before. My mother, grandmother, and aunts started planning their holiday dishes far in advance. Everything had to be exceptional, and it seemed to take them days to cook and prepare for the feast. Don’t get me wrong; they did a fine job of it too! In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had any better meals than those in my memories.
I am still going to start planning weeks in advance but after years of fretting I have figured out that every dish does not have to be painstakingly hard or time-consuming. Nevertheless, it can be every bit as delicious.
These days there seem to be fewer casseroles on holiday tables compared to years past. I have noticed at my family gatherings alone; we now have asparagus, Brussel sprouts, and green beans. I never saw those on Thanksgiving and Christmas tables when I was growing up. Sure, there will always be the sweet potato casseroles and a few of the other classics. However, with our society being more health conscious, and fresh produce more readily available, fresh vegetables have become increasingly popular side dishes for holiday feasts.
Thanks to Berry Farms in Lyons I have these wonderful fresh organic green beans. These fabulous green beans are not only delicious, but they are very easy to prepare as well. You may find that this becomes a year round side dish because they are so yummy!
Balsamic and Garlic Green Beans
- 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Cook beans in boiling salted water to cover over high heat for 6 minutes; drain. Plunge into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process; drain.
- Saute garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the beans and saute 3 to 4 minutes. Add vinegar, salt, and pepper; saute 1 minute.
If you make chocolate, they will come! Yes, it’s true, for me anyway. I will go for anything chocolate on the dessert table above anything else, any time of the day, any day of the year.
These fabulous little nuggets of heaven taste amazing, and they are super easy to make. Aren’t they pretty on this beautiful serving tray too?
If you are looking for something just a little bit different for this year’s dessert table, give these delicious truffles a try. Then grab a cup of coffee and devour away!
Pecan Pie Truffles
- 2½ c. pecans, toasted and finely chopped
- 1 c. graham cracker crumbs
- 1 c. light brown sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- ¼ c. light corn syrup
- 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 pkg. Candiquik candy coating, white chocolate or chocolate or combination
- In a medium bowl combine the pecans, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and salt.
- Add maple syrup, corn syrup, and vanilla and mix well.
- Refrigerate mixture for 15 minutes.
- Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Remove pecan mixture from the refrigerator and roll into 1-inch balls. (I use a scoop to get all of the truffles the same size.) Place on the wax paper and return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Melt Candiquik according to package directions.
- Coat truffles with chocolate and return to the wax paper. Return to the refrigerator to allow the coating to harden.
If you search my website, you will find very few recipes with condensed creamed soup listed as an ingredient. I usually try to make a homemade version. It’s easy to make, the recipe can be found easily with a Google search, and it is lower in sodium.
However, just like you. I sometimes struggle to get food on the table for my family. I just don’t have it in me to cook or to clean up a mess in the kitchen. Those nights would be pizza delivery nights if only I lived in a pizza delivery area! Or maybe we would pick up take-out. If only I were close enough to a restaurant where I could actually make it home with warm food.
I keep a few cans of condensed cream soups on hand for roast or emergencies. I was having one of those uninspiring nights recently. Greg was grilling steaks, which was great, but we needed something on the side. I threw this casserole together in no time, and the results were awesomeness in a casserole dish! I found this recipe on the Taste of Home website and it’s going in my book of favorites!
The casserole has the taste of a French Onion Soup. It would be a great side dish to accompany any meat. It is different from anything I have every seen on a Thanksgiving table, but I believe it would be great with turkey and dressing!
If you want to include this on your holiday table, saute the onions a day or two ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator. Assemble and bake the casserole the day of your holiday meal.
Cheesy Onion Casserole
- 2 - 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 4 large yellow onions, sliced into rings
- 2 c. shredded Swiss cheese
- 1 (10-oz.) can Cream of Chicken soup, undiluted
- ⅔ c. milk
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- Sliced French Bread (sliced about ½-inch thick)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Melt butter in a large skillet, over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent (a little brown in okay too). Add some freshly ground black pepper and stir.
- Pour the onions into a shallow 2-quart casserole dish. Top with ⅔ of the Swiss cheese and set aside.
- In a medium bowl add the soup, milk, and soy sauce. Whisk together until well blended. Pour over the cheese and onions. Top with French Bread slices.
- Bake in 350° F oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and gently push the bread down into the sauce. Top with remaining cheese. Return to oven and bake uncovered, 15 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Thanksgiving is four weeks away, and the pressure is on.
My mom has had a few health scares this year. The latest being just a few weeks ago. So this year I will be taking on the Thanksgiving meal by myself. I will go to mama’s house early to start preparing the feast. Even though I cook all of the time, and I’ll have her there for support, I already know that the meal will not hold a candle to anything mama cooks. Why is it that mama’s food is always the best? Maybe it’s the love that goes into it.
The plan is to start with a few of mama’s tried and true recipes. After all, the traditional dishes are part of what makes the holidays special. One of my favorite desserts is her French Coconut Pie. She has been making this pie for as long as I can remember and it is the best! It’s a no fuss recipe that can even be made the day before.
As I plan the rest of our Thanksgiving menu, I would love to hear from you. What are the traditional dishes that you want to see on the table this Thanksgiving? Share your ideas and even recipes with me at email@example.com.
French Coconut Pie
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 lg. eggs
- ¼ c. buttermilk
- 1½ c. flaked coconut
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 unbaked pie shell
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer. Add flour, eggs, and buttermilk and blend well. Stir in coconut and vanilla extract. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until set.
I think I missed the memo…No Cooler Weather this Fall. Here is Georgia there are signs of fall but it sure doesn’t feel like fall! I am still wearing shorts and t-shirts, and our air conditioner hasn’t had a break yet.
Since it still feels like summer, I thought I would share this “summer-like” recipe. This recipe for Tender and Easy Ribs will blow you away. It’s super easy, and you can tell by the picture that the meat just comes right off the bone.
This is more of a guide than a recipe. Use the amount that you desire and just follow these simple directions. Here are a few links to barbecue sauce recipes and Greg’s Butt Rub right here on Not Just Sunday Dinner.
Greg’s Butt Rub
Smoky Barbecue Sauce
Three Barbecue Sauce Recipes
Root Beer Barbecue Sauce
Tender and Easy Ribs
- Baby back pork ribs, number of racks desired
- Your favorite barbecue rub, amount to cover the ribs with a thin layer
- Wide heavy duty foil
- Favorite barbecue sauce
- Twenty-four hours before you plan to cook the ribs, remove the silverskin from the back of the rack of ribs.
- Working on a large rimmed baking pan, sprinkle the barbecue rub on the ribs, top, bottom, and ends. Rub well, a minute or so, until the ribs are covered well. Lay each rack of ribs on an extra long piece of heavy duty foil, Bring the long ends up and fold the foil down close to the ribs. Fold up both sides of the ribs, then wrap again with a second piece of foil. Make sure that you don't puncture the foil with the bones.
- Place the foil-wrapped ribs on a large baking pan and place in the refrigerator.
- When you are ready to cook preheat oven to 300°.
- Remove the ribs from the refrigerator. When the oven is preheated place the large rimmed baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 2½ hours. Carefully check the ribs after 2½ hours to see if the meat is tender and done. You should be able to remove the bone just by pulling it with your fingers. If they are still tight, rewrap and cook for another half hour or so checking often.
- When the ribs are tender and done carefully transfer to a preheated grill. Baste each side with your favorite barbecue sauce and finish them over high heat for about 10 minutes, but be careful not to burn or let stick.