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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Giving Thanks on One of America’s Favorite Holidays

By Sherrie Norris

The calendar pages have rapidly turned this year and within sight now is one of America’s favorite holidays.

Thanksgiving Day is just around the next corner, evidenced in large part by this week’s supermarket circulars. Turkeys (at a very attractive price, I might add), celery, stuffing mix, sweet potatoes, etc., are all a part of the plan. A good cook knows that one cannot wait until the day before the big day to begin preparations.

I hope that for at least this one day we all might enjoy a peaceful time with family and friends as we pay tribute to the occasion for what it was designed – to give thanks for our many blessings.

Perhaps these side dishes will add to the flavor of your family table.

Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours.


Pumpkin Fluff Dip

1 (5 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding mix

1 (15 oz.) can solid pack pumpkin

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 (16 oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

In a large bowl, mix together instant vanilla pudding mix, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Fold in thawed whipped topping.

Chill in refrigerator. Serve with regular or cinnamon graham crackers.

Great to have on hand while the crowd is coming in or for later during the games!


Easy Cranberry Sauce

1 cup orange juice

½ – 1 cup granulated sugar, depending on taste

1 (12 oz.) bag fresh cranberries

Zest of one orange

(I add diced apples and nuts to this and it’s wonderful!)

Place orange juice and sugar in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Add cranberries, stir, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst and sauce thickens. Add more sugar if necessary. Stir in orange zest.

Cool and serve.

Can be prepared and refrigerated up to a week in advance.


Fruit Salad Surprise

1 pkg. coconut cream pudding mix (instant)

1 can crushed pineapple, drained

2 or 3 bananas, sliced

Sliced maraschino cherries

1 (9 oz.) container of Cool Whip

Whole cherries for topping (optional)

Place pudding mix in a large mixing bowl. Add pineapple, bananas, sliced cherries; fold in the Cool Whip. Top with whole cherries and serve.


Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

½ cup melted butter

1/3 cup canned milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Dash salt

Mix all ingredients together and put in a square baking dish. Recipe may be doubled and baked in a larger baking dish. Cover with topping:


1 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup flour

1 cup chopped nuts

1/3 cup butter

Mix well and sprinkle on top of sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

(I often mix in coconut, too, with a little more butter)


Just Like Granny’s Stuffing

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1 to 2 Tbs. rubbed dried sage (may need more, depending on personal preference)

4 cups crumbled bread (can be combination of cornbread, loaf bread and packaged stuffing mix)

2 eggs, beaten

About 2 cups chicken broth, or enough to moisten mixture well

About ½ cup butter or margarine

Sauté onion and celery in butter; combine with bread crumbs, sage and egg in a large bowl. Add enough broth to moisten mixture and hold together. Stuff turkey or bake separately in large pan for about 30-45 minutes.


Frozen Cranberry Salad

1 can whole cranberry sauce

1 small can pineapple, drained

3-4 bananas, mashed

1 cup sugar

1 (8-oz.) container Cool Whip

1 cup chopped nuts

Mix well and freeze. Cut into squares to serve.


Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

1 can (15 to 16 oz.) pure pumpkin puree

¼ cup sugar

1½ to 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, depending on your preference for “spice”

1 quart vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, softened

1 (9-inch) prepared graham cracker piecrust

Whipped topping, if desired

Mix pumpkin, sugar and spice until well blended.

Quickly mix pumpkin mixture with the softened ice cream.

Pour into crumb crust and freeze, uncovered, for about two hours, or until firm.

When pie is frozen, cover with plastic wrap and then cover with freezer-quality foil or place in a freezer bag and squeeze out the air. Thaw pie slightly before serving. Top with whipped topping, if desired.