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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Thanksgiving Shopping and Preparation Begins Now With Great Buys on Turkeys

By Sherrie Norris,

Well, folks, much of the televised hype regarding Thanksgiving food shortages we’ve been hearing in recent weeks seems to be, well….just  that.

 Hype, described as “ extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion,” has put many moms and dads in a frenzy, with concerns over feeding their family a sumptuous holiday meal.

At least, my early morning glance through this week’s sales at local grocery stores assures me that we will, in fact, be able to afford a turkey for Thanksgiving this year.  I’m seeing that the usual 29-and-39-cents-per-pound frozen turkeys are available this week, and I couldn’t be happier.

 So, with that said, let’s start planning around the bird and put away the anxiety that has been forced upon us. Let’s use these coming days to prepare not only our menu, but also our hearts and minds, for a time of thanksgiving. Regardless of our present state, there is still much for which to be thankful, even if sometimes we have to look a little deeper than usual for it.

Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish  

1 (12 oz.) pkg. fresh cranberries

1 orange (save zest)

Put washed, drained cranberries in a food processor with 1 orange (plus zest) which has been peeled and quartered with all seeds removed.

Pulse for a few seconds, just until coarsely chopped. Stop and scrape down sides of bowl, if necessary, to chop evenly.

Add 3/4 to 1 cup of sugar and taste adjusting sweetness as desired.

Stir well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

May be frozen for a couple of weeks.

Mixed Vegetable Casserole for a Crowd 

1 lg. bag frozen mixed vegetables (or 2 small boxes/bags)

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 cup mayo

1 can cream of celery soup

1 stick butter

1 stack Ritz crackers, crushed

Preheat oven 350. Cook veggies until tender.  Drain well.  Mix in celery, onion, cheese, undiluted soup and mayo. Season to taste. Melt butter and mix with crumbled crackers for topping.

Spread vegetable mixture in 9×13 baking dish.  Spread cracker/butter mixture on top. Bake 30-40 min at 350 F.  Serve hot.  

Easy Corn Casserole  

1 16 oz. can whole corn, drained

1 16 oz. can cream style corn

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup sour cream or plain Greek style yogurt

1 stick butter

salt and pepper, to taste

1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix

Combine first 6 ingredients. Mix well. Add muffin mix and stir until combined. Pour batter into a greased casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes-1 hour at 350°F, watching closely the last few minutes to prevent burning.

Pumpkin Dump Cake  

1 (29 oz.) can pumpkin

1 cup sugar

1 (13 oz.) can evaporated milk

3 eggs

4 tsp. pumpkin pie spices

1/2 tsp. salt

1 box yellow cake mix

1 ½  cubes (3/4 c.) butter, melted

1 cup pecans, chopped

Combine pumpkin, sugar, evaporated milk, eggs, pumpkin pie spices and salt in mixing bowl. Beat well. Pour into greased and floured 9 x 13 inch glass pan. Sprinkle cake mix over pumpkin mixture, then sprinkle on the pecans. Pour melted butter over all.

Bake at 350°F for 50 to 60 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Watch closely near the end as it tends to brown quickly.

Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

1 can (15-16 oz.) pumpkin puree 

¼ cup sugar 

1½ to 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, depending on taste

1 qt. vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, softened 

1 (9-inch) prepared graham cracker pie crust 

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.

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.