It’s hard to believe that in just a few weeks, we’ll be making the trek to gather with family and friends to give thanks. I’m left with that, “Where did this year go?” feeling again. I’ve always been told the older you get, the more quickly time passes. The problem is until you get older, you just don’t have the perspective to realize how very true that statement is.
And while the food gracing your table is important, the connections you’ll share with loved ones holds even greater significance. If you’re doing the cooking, prep all you can in advance. Opt for dishes that won’t have you in the kitchen all day so you’ll actually have time to spend with your family.
This recipe for classic Southern Cornbread Dressing is one my mother and grandmother have been using for a long as I can remember. But there are a few things to keep in mind. The recipe calls for 2 cups of chicken broth, some of which can be turkey drippings if you’re roasting one this year. You can just add enough chicken broth to equal the 2 cups you’ll need. Also, there’s no sage in this recipe. That’s not an omission. I never saw any member of my family add sage to dressing. I know that can be a little controversial, so you’re welcome to add some in. About 1 teaspoon of ground sage works just fine.
In all honesty, I’m not sure where I came across Pineapple Cheese Casserole for the first time, but it has stayed a staple on our Thanksgiving menu ever since — at the request of my wife. It’s one of her favorite things. This version is heavy on the pineapple and cheese and is the perfect sweet and savory component to add to the list of casseroles for your Thanksgiving spread.
Another dish that just has to be on the table this time of year is my mom’s recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole With Pecan Praline Topping. While folks often vary in their love between pecan topping and marshmallow topping, most of my family firmly rests on the pecan team. That said, I’ve been known to make this casserole where half has the pecan praline topping and the other half is topped with toasted marshmallows — just to make everyone happy.
It’s certainly not Turkey Day without dessert! For us, that dessert has to be pecan pie. Rather than the traditional pie, switch things up this year, and try my Kentucky Pecan Pie. The original version of this pie found its fame in being associated with a famous horse race up in Kentucky, but this version has been a family favorite since my wife brought it to a gathering back when we were dating. We love this served slightly warm with a big ol’ scoop of vanilla ice cream.
As the year draws to a close and these special holidays bring families from near and far together again, I hope we all set aside some time to take stock of the gifts we’ve been given in the past 365 days. In doing so, we will surely be blessed with the perspective of seeing what a gift it truly is to find ourselves surrounded by family and friends. Y’all enjoy!