Must-Have Thanksgiving Dishes

November 13, 2020

#1: Brown-Butter Blondies With Caramel Almonds

Mary’s Thanksgiving Favorite!

“The topping of caramel almonds sells it, but it’s the rich, complex flavor of brown butter in the base that makes this update on classic blondies unforgettable”


Blondie Layer

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 ¾ cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt

Carmel Almonds

  • 3 cups sliced almonds
  • ½ cup butter, cut in cubes
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream

Make the blondie layer: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper, or butter pan and dust it with flour. In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Continue cooking until butter is a brown-gold and smells like hazelnuts, around 5 minutes. Pour brown butter into a heatproof bowl and let it come to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Use an electric mixer to beat brown butter with brown sugar until well combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Continue beating until smooth. Use a rubber spatula to fold in flour and salt. Do not overmix. 

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Pre-bake blondie layer until middle is no longer liquid, 25 minutes. While the blondie layer is pre-baking, prepare the caramel almonds: Toast almonds on a baking sheet in the oven until just starting to turn golden, 5 minutes. In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine butter, sugar, honey and cream. Cook, without stirring, until mixture reaches 116 on a candy thermometer or comes to a boil, about 7 minutes. Taking care in case of splatters, add nuts and stir to coat. Remove from heat. Immediately cover pre-baked blondie with an even layer of caramel almonds. Bake for 10 minutes more. Let cool to room temperature.

#2: Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Leila’s Favorite!

INGREDIENTS – serves 4

  • 2 lbs potatoes 
  • 1 garlic head 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter 
  • milk, if needed 
  • salt & pepper

Separate garlic into individual cloves. Toss in olive oil and wrap tightly in a small piece of aluminum foil. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes. When the garlic has cooled to the touch you should be able to squeeze it out of their shells. Mash the roasted garlic with a fork.  

Peel and boil potatoes in salted water until tender. Mash the potatoes by your usual method. Put the potatoes, garlic, sour cream, butter, and salt and pepper in a mixer bowl, and whip at medium speed until smooth. Add milk to adjust consistency!

#3: Cranberry Pineapple Salad


1 package (6 oz) of raspberry/strawberry gelatin

1 ¾ cup boiling water

1 can (16 oz) whole cranberry sauce

1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, undrained

¾ cup orange juice – I use the frozen can undiluted

1 tbsp lemon juice

½ cup chopped walnuts

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Break up and stir in cranberry sauce. Add pineapple, orange juice, and lemon juice. Pour into the jello mold of your choice. Chill until partially set and then stir in walnuts.

#4: Sweet Potato Casserole with Praline Topping

Susan’s Thanksgiving Staple!

This is hands down the BEST recipe for sweet potatoes. They are so rich and delicious. It is like dessert. A must for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

INGREDIENTS – serves 12

  • 5 lbs fresh sweet potatoes, boiled, drained and mashed
  • 3 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ⅔ cup melted butter
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp allspice

Mix together and place in 9×13 baking dish


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • ½ cup pecan halves for garnish
  • ⅓ cup butter, cut into small pieces

Blend ingredients with a pastry blender. Sprinkle over potatoes. Bake 60-70 minutes at 350 degrees until the top is brown and bubbly. Remove and garnish with pecan halves. 

#5: Scalloped Yukon Gold & Sweet Potato Gratin 

Gabby’s Thanksgiving Favorite!

INGREDIENTS  – 12 servings

  • 1 1/2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced in half moon shape
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups (packed) coarsely grated Gruyère and/or Asiago cheese (about 5 ounces)

Fill a large bowl with cold water. Working with 1 Yukon Gold potato at a time, peel, then cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds and place in a bowl with water. Repeat with sweet potatoes. Combine cream, butter, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to simmer. Remove from heat. Mix all herbs in a small bowl. Mix sea salt and black pepper in another small bowl. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Drain potatoes, then pat dry with kitchen towels. Transfer half of the potatoes to prepared baking dish. Use hands to distribute and spread evenly. Add a layer of sliced onions.Sprinkle with half of salt-pepper mixture, then half of herb mixture. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Repeat with remaining potatoes, salt-pepper mixture, herb mixture, and cheese. Pour cream mixture over gratin, pressing lightly to submerge potato mixture as much as possible. DO AHEAD Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Remove plastic wrap before baking.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cover gratin tightly with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until top of gratin is golden and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes; serve.

#6: Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

Christine’s Specialty! 

Here’s my recipe for a fall favorite cheesecake. It’s a hybrid of several other recipes out there – I took all the best parts – and made it my own. Serve a slice with whipped cream or caramel ice cream. Enjoy!


  • 1 cup crushed gingersnap cookies (about 20 cookies)
  • ⅓ cup pecans, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 can (15 oz) pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar 
  • 5 eggs

For Crust
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs, pecans and butter. Press crumb mixture into bottom of pan. Wrap foil around the outside of the pan to prevent drips. Bake crust 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool 5 minutes at room temperature. Refrigerate about 5 minutes or until completely cooled. 

For Filling
Meanwhile, in another small bowl, whisk flower, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and pumpkin. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth. On low speed, beat in 1 egg at a time just until blended. Gradually beat in pumpkin mixture until smooth. Pour filling over cooled crust. Bake 1 hour 25 minutes or until set but the center of cheesecake still jiggles slightly when moved. Turn the oven off and open the oven door at least 4 inches. Let cheesecake remain in a warm oven for 30 minutes. Run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake. Cool in a pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight before serving. To serve, run knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cheesecake. Carefully remove the side of the pan before cutting cheesecake. Store over in the refrigerator.