I started my cooking today, so I wouldn't be overwhelmed and have to get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow. Okay, so I really DO have to get up at the crack of dawn to put the turkey in the oven, but I don't have to STAY up!
First off, in order to be admitted in the door by my mother-in-law, I must bring TWO cranberry dishes. I've made them for years. First, Brooke's favorite:
1 package fresh cranberries (but stick them in the freezer at least the day before making this dish)
1 medium naval orange
1/2 - 2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp brandy (optional - brandy is not something I have on hand and it's too expensive to buy for a tablespoon)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (also optional - we don't like it with nuts - we're nutty enough)
Coarsely chop cranberries in a food processor. Remove to a bowl. Take ends off the orange, cut into eighths, remove seeds, and process until chopped fine. Add to cranberries. Stir in remaining ingredients. This tastes better if made at least one day before serving.
4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups sugar (or less)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1 cup water
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 large apple, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
Place cranberries, raisins, sugar, spices, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce and simmer, 15 minutes or until berries pop. Add onion, apple, and celery; simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. SO good and very different.
Chutney on the left, Relish on the right
from River Roads Recipes Volume 1
2 10-oz packages chopped frozen spinach
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp finely chopped onion
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup reserved vegetable liquor (this is a Southern way of saying the water left over when you drain the spinach)
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp celery salt
3/4 tsp garlic salt
6 oz jalapeno cheese, grated or cut into cubes (I use pepper Jack)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
red pepper to taste
Cook spinach and drain, reserving liquor. Melt butter in a large, nonstick skillet. Add flour and stir until blended and smooth. Do not allow to brown. Add onion and cook until soft, but not browned. Slowly add vegetable liquid and milk, stirring over low heat until smooth and thickened. Add seasonings and cheese. Stir until melted. Combine with spinach. Taste and add salt and red pepper as needed.
You may serve immediately or turn into a buttered casserole dish and top with plain breadcrumbs. Heat in the oven until bubbly and hot.
Mama's Sweet Potato Casserole
This is one of those "to taste" recipes. I'll try to approximate.
4 large sweet potatoes, baked until soft, then removed from the skins
about a cup of brown sugar (I start with 1/2 cup and add more if I need it)
1/2 - 3/4 cup of light cream
1/2 cup softened butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp (or more) of cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg - you should taste a hit of nutmeg, but it shouldn't be overpowering
a dash of cloves
Mash the whole bunch together until (kinda sorta) smooth. If you want it to be perfectly smooth, toss it in the food processor. I used to process, but this year I simply used my trusty ol' potato masher and it was perfect. Taste it and adjust sugar and spices if necessary.
For topping, either marshmallows or a brown sugar/pecan topping. I prefer the brown sugar/pecan, DH prefers the marshmallows. We alternate for marital peace.
If you're doing marshmallows, bake at 350° for 30 minutes, THEN top with marshmallows and pop it back into the oven until the marshmallows are puffed and golden brown on top.
If you want brown sugar/pecan topping, with a pastry blender (or a fork or your fingers) mix 1 cup roughly chopped pecans, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, and 6 tbsp softened butter. Sprinkle over the top of the unbaked sweet potato casserole and bake at 350° for 30 minutes.
You can make this ahead and just not bake it until the day you're serving it.