JPG Top 5’s – Thanksgiving

We’ve already eaten all the Halloween candy in the house, the first snow has fallen, everyone is bundled up like Randy in the Christmas Story, and in less than a week it will be Thanksgiving! While we’re thankful for quality time with family and friends, we are especially thankful for stretchy pants and the mounds of food that will be on our table.

We’re assuming that everyone’s got a favorite bird preparation to fall back on, but in order to help round out the menu a bit, we’ve compiled another JPG Top 5, this time featuring our favorite Thanksgiving recipes.


♦ Apple Sausage Stuffing ♦

1 large loaf dense bread
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
6 T butter
2 tart apples, cored and chopped into large pieces (may leave skin on)
1 lb pork, turkey or chicken sausage (may use any mild flavor)
2 t. chopped parsley
2 t. rosemary
2 t. thyme
2 t. kosher salt
1 t. pepper
2-3 cups chicken broth


Cut bread into large cubes and let dry out for a couple of days. May also use 1 lb stuffing cubes.
Melt 2 T. butter in large skillet. Crumble sausage and cook till done. Remove from skillet.
Melt the remaining 4 T. butter in skillet. Add celery and onion and cook until they begin to soften. Add apple, parsley, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and cook until apples begin to soften. The vegetables should not be cooked until they are soft because they will continue to cook when baked.
Combine bread cubes, sausage, vegetables, and apples together in large bowl. Add chicken broth a little at a time to add moisture to mix. Add just enough chicken broth to make the mixture moist, but not so the bread cubes are saturated and break apart.
Put mixture in greased 3 quart casserole dish and bake uncovered at 350 for 60 minutes. Check baking at 45 minutes. If top is getting too brown, cover with aluminum foil for remaining 15 minutes of baking.


♦ Sweet Potato Souffle with Pecan Crumble ♦

Souffle Ingredients:
3 large sweet potatoes, cooked and whipped
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs beaten
½ tsp salt
½ cup evaporated milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
Pecan Crumble Topping Ingredients:
½ cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ stick butter, softened
½ cup pecans, chopped


Preheat oven to 325 F. Peel and cook potatoes until tender. Drain potatoes and whip. Add Sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk and vanilla. Mix well and put in a greased 1.5 Quart casserole dish.
Mix together flour and sugar in a small bowl. Cream softened butter into flour/sugar mixture. Mix in pecans. Sprinkle topping evenly over casserole. Bake at 325 F for 25 minutes.


♦ Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and Almonds ♦

Kosher salt
3 pounds green beans, trimmed of stem end
1/2 cup skin on sliced almonds
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, sliced thin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper


Fill a large high sided skillet with some water, adding enough to be just shy of the rim of the pan by about 1 inch. Place over high heat and bring up to boil; add a big pinch of salt and the green beans. Cook for about 5 minutes, the beans should still be crisp. Drain the beans and then run them under some cold water to stop them from cooking. Reserve the beans while you start the onions.
Return the skillet you cooked the beans in to the cook top over medium heat. Add the almonds and toast stirring every now and then until golden, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the almonds from the skillet and reserve. Return the skillet to the heat and add the butter and olive oil and heat until the butter has melted. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook stirring frequently until the onions caramelize, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the thyme, and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the cooked cooled green beans and almonds, and stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.


♦ Pear Cranberry Sauce ♦

2-1/2 cups cubed peeled ripe pears (about 3 medium)
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches), broken in half
1 package (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries
1 to 1-1/4 cups sugar


In a large saucepan, combine the pears, water, ginger and cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Stir in cranberries and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes or until the cranberries have popped and sauce is slightly thickened, stirring several items.
Discard cinnamon sticks. Mash sauce if desired. Cool. Cover and refrigerate until serving.


♦ Bourbon Pecan Pie Cheesecake Bars ♦

For the Crust
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar granulated
1/2 cup butter unsalted, melted


For the Cheesecake
16 oz cream cheese at room temperature (2 pkg, 8 oz each)
3/4 cup sugar granulated
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt


For the Pecan Pie Layer
1 cup light brown sugar packed
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup butter unsalted
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup bourbon, give or take depending on your preference.
2 cups pecans chopped


Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees. Line a 9×9 inch baking dish with parchment paper, spray it first with some cooking spray so that the parchment paper will stick to it. Set aside.
For the Crust
In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers with the sugar until fine crumbs form. Add in melted butter and pulse until well combined. Press this mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. You can use your fingers, but I find it easier to just use the back of a spoon to make sure it’s pressed evenly. Set aside.
For the Cheesecake
Add the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and salt to the bowl of your mixer. Mix on medium using the whisk attachment until smooth, should take about 5 minutes. Pour this over graham crust and smooth it out as much as possible with a spatula. Set aside.
For the Pecan Pie Layer
Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, butter, salt and vanilla extract to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue cooking for 1 more minute the remove from heat. Stir in the chopped pecans. Pour over the cheesecake layer, and smooth it out with a spatula if necessary.
Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, the pecan layer should start to get golden. Cool completely then cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Cut the cheesecake into slices before serving.