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Give Thanks

J and I hosted our 1st Thanksgiving last week. My parents drove in from Iowa on Wednesday evening, so we got cook, shop, and eat, eat, eat together for the whole weekend!

As far as the menu was concerned, I stuck with a few traditional favorites, swapped out some old recipes for healthier alternatives, and even found some new dishes to give a try! Here’s the rundown….

Autumn Salad with Pears and Gorgonzola: This was a brand new recipe that ended up being SO good! Very fresh and crisp with great fall flavors! Find the recipe here!

Red Hot Applesauce Salad: This salad appears at nearly every family gathering at the Olson house. It’s easy to prepare and is a great option to use in place of cranberries for picky eaters. (recipe at the end of this post)

Brining a turkey was a new experience. It went surprisingly well and added great flavor! We used a whole turkey breast instead of a traditional turkey since we were only feeding 4 and used a roaster in lieu of the oven.

Stuffing: I used a Chicken Sausage and Herb Stuffing recipe from SkinnyTaste. I opted for turkey sausage instead of chicken. Everyone really liked this dish – definitely a keeper! 

Mashed Potatoes: Stuck firmly to tradition with this one by preparing Joey’s Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes :)

Sweet Potatoes: I turned to Martha with help on this one. I’ve only recently started really enjoying sweet potatoes, so I wanted to make sure I found room for them on the menu. I opted for a Twice-Baked Sweet Potato recipe. They were an absolute bear to make. Sweet potato skins are way too thin to hold up after scooping and refilling. They tasted great, but totally weren’t worth the presentation value.

Roasted Parmesan Green Beans: Found this side on SkinnyTaste. Super easy and really good! Definitely prefer it to the standard green bean casserole!

Corn Casserole: I found a lightened-up version of one of our favorites. It uses Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. I actually think this version is even better! I can thank SkinnyTaste for this gem as well (yes, there is a pattern here)!

Caramel Apple Pie: This is my all-time favorite apple pie recipe. It’s absolutely amazing served warm with a side of vanilla ice cream! (recipe at the end of this post)

All that was left was gravy and some crescent rolls. My mom has a great recipe for butter horns, I’m definitely going to need to get that from her before I host another holiday meal!

The great thing about this menu was how much of it I could prepare ahead of time. I had the stuffing, mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes all ready to go on Wednesday. All that was left was to pop them in the oven before lunch!

How did your Thanksgiving go? Try any yummy new dishes?

And as promised, recipes……

Red Hot Applesauce Salad

2C water
1/2 C cinnamon red hot candies
1 – 6oz pkg cherry jello
2 C applesauce

Bring water to a boil. Dissolve red hots in boiling water. Mix in and dissolve jello. Transfer to a medium bowl. Mix in applesauce. Chill for 4 hours or overnight.

Caramel Apple Pie

Prepare a pie crust and place in bottom of pan
1 C sugar
1/4 C flour
1 tsp cinnamon
6 C peeled and cut up apples

Filling: In a large bowl, mix sugar, 1/4 C flour and cinnamon. Add apples and toss to coat. Place in unbaked crust.

Combine 1/2 C caramel apple dip (Marzetti’s) with 2 Tbsp milk. Drizzle over apples. Save some to drizzle over top of pie.

Topping: In mixing bowl, combine 1 C flour and 1/2 C brown sugar, 1/2 C cut butter. Cut in butter until course crumble. Sprinkle over apples.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pan on baking sheet. Cover edge of crust with foil to prevent overbrowning. Bake 30 minutes until golden, remove foil and bake 30 more minutes.

Cool, drizzle remaining dip mixture over top of pie. Cool on wire rack.

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