Lunchbreak: The Cooking Mom’s easy Thanksgiving recipes

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Amy Hanten
The Cooking Mom

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The Cooking Mom Cooks Up Memories: Recipes and Secrets to Get Your Family Back to the Table

Turkey Appetizer Platter

1 Cheddar, Bacon, and Beer Cheese Ball
curly green leaf lettuce
1 pound thinly sliced mushrooms
carrot sticks
celery sticks
assorted green, yellow, red, and orange peppers, sliced into thin strips
2 bunches scallions
1 zuchinni, sliced lenghthwise
1 summer squash, sliced lenghthwise
broccoli florets
cauliflower florets
1 red onion, sliced thin
assorted sliced cheeses
slices of summer sausage (optional)
3 whole sundried tomatoes or pecan halves
2 whole black peppercorns

Make my recipe for a Cheddar, Bacon, and Beer Cheese Ball. Wrap up and refrigerate a few hours or overnight. Save 2 Tablespoons of the cheese ball to use as “glue” to make the turkey. Use plastic wrap to help form the rest of it into a large ball. Cover the cheese ball with thinly sliced fresh mushrooms. Place cheese ball on a large tray or platter lined with green leaf lettuce. Use layers of fresh veggies like sliced radishes, scallions, sliced peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, zucchini and summer squash to create the look of feathers. Place pieces of sliced cheese and summer sausage up at base of the front of the cheese ball. Use a little of the reserved cheese ball mixture to “glue” a radish on the mushrooms for the turkey’s head. “Glue” with more of the mixture to attach whole black peppercorns for the eyes, and a thinly sliced carrot for the nose. Sun dried tomatoes or pecans halves make this guy gobble, gobble!

Cheddar, Bacon and Beer Cheese Ball

3 blocks (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons beer
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped scallions
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 Tablespoons pimiento, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or bacon bits

Use a mixer to beat together cream cheese, beer, garlic, and parsley. Mix until smooth. Stir in shredded cheese, scallions, bacon and pimiento. Mix well and form into a ball. Put on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Before serving roll in pecans or bacon bits. Serve with crackers and raw veggies for dipping.

Bacon Wrapped Green Bean Bundles

2 cans (14.5 ounces) whole green beans, drained
1 pound thick sliced bacon
1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups bottled catalina salad dressing

Bundle about 6 green beans together and wrap with a half slice of bacon. Secure them with a toothpick. Make several bunches and place in a 9 X 13 baking dish. Mix brown sugar and dressing and pour sauce over the beans. Bake uncovered in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 35 minutes until the bacon gets a little crispy.

Slow Cooker Stuffing

1 stick of butter
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
1 bag (14 ounces) stuffing cubes
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
3 to 4 cups chicken stock

Melt butter in skillet and sauté onion and celery for 3 to 5 minutes or until soft. Pour mixture over stuffing cubes in a very large bowl. Add parsley and poultry seasoning and stir well. Pour in 3 or more cups chicken stock to moisten. Pack lightly into a slow cooker that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover and cook on low 2 to 3 hours. Stir often. If too dry, add more stock. Having a big crowd, go ahead and double the recipe

Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfaits

18 graham crackers, crushed
1 stick butter, melted
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups pure pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 container (16 ounces) whipped topping thawed, divided

In a medium bowl, combine crumbs and butter. Spread mixture on a baking sheet. Toast crumbs in a preheated 350 degree oven for 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool. Divide the crumbs into the bottom of 6 to 8 pretty clear glasses. Gently press crumbs to form an even layer of crust. Save a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of crumbs for topping. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin, vanilla, powdered sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Beat until well combined and creamy. Use a spatula to fold in half of the whipped topping. Place some of the pumpkin mixture into each glass. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Before serving, top each with a generous dollop of the remaining whipped cream and sprinkle of graham crumbs on top.

Turkey Cupcakes

1 regular size box Devil’s Food cake mix, prepared according to directions
1 batch of my homemade Dark Chocolate Frosting or 2 cans chocolate frosting
1 bag candy corn
candy eyes or mini M & M’s

Bake 24 cupcakes according to box directions. Let cupcakes cool. Frost each cupcake by hand with Dark Chocolate Frosting. Use a piping bag to pipe on or a small ice cream scoop to scoop some of the frosting on each cupcake to make a “blob” of frosting for the turkey’s head. Put two candy eyes or M & M’s on the blob of frosting for the eyes. Place 6 to 8 candy corn in the back of the cupcake to look like feathers. Cut some of the candy corn just so the orange part is showing and use as the turkey’s nose.

Dark Chocolate Frosting

2 sticks softened butter
2/3 cup Hershey’s extra dark cocoa powder
5 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-4 Tablespoons heavy cream or milk

Sift or whisk together cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Beat together butter, vanilla, cocoa and powdered sugar mixture, along with 2 tablespoons cream or milk. Scrape sides and beat until light, fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add a little more cream or milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Makes enough to frost a 9 x 13 inch cake, an 8 or 9 inch layer cake or 24 cupcakes.


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