The holidays are associated with two important things – tradition and food. Typically, food is a big component of seasonal traditions, which is why every family has a few recipes that are “must-haves” for the holiday season. You can simply say “Thanksgiving,” and mouths will start watering, as people think of their favorite dish.
It doesn’t matter if your family prepares traditional or nontraditional foods, the recipes are passed from generation to generation. For instance, the star of the day might be a turkey, but it could be ham, duck, fish or even a tofurkey. More than likely, the preparation of your main dish has had only slight variations over the years, because it has become a tradition.
In addition to the main entrée, side dishes are crucial. Whether it’s your grandmother’s dressing or your sister-in-law’s green bean casserole, sides are important, because they balance out the main dish. It is easy to dress up canned veggies to make it appear like you slaved over them for hours.
For instance, pour four cans of cut green beans, including liquid, into a large pot. Add half a stick of butter and ½ cup of sugar. Cover with water and cook on high until the water reduces, and the butter and sugar are absorbed. Cover with water again and add more butter and sugar. Cook until reduced a second time. Repeat process once more, then taste. In a small frying pan, brown sliced almonds in a little butter, and stir into the beans just before serving.
Finally, no holiday meal is complete without dessert. Desserts usually have their own table, because there are so many of them. Remember to consider the amount of food that will require refrigeration versus how big your refrigerator is. It’s always a good idea to have a few dishes that do not require refrigeration, such as gooey butter cake.
Family recipes are important, and should be preserved. If you’re asking folks to bring dishes to your get-togethers, ask them to jot down their recipe so you can save it. Another great idea is to photograph each person holding the dish they made, and save it in your holiday photos. No matter what you do to celebrate the holidays, make certain you take the time to celebrate those you hold near and dear to your heart.
– Tiffany Hughes, an Acworth resident and is volunteer coordinator/scheduler for the Booth Western Art Museum.
Gooey Butter Cake
• One box yellow cake mix
• 3 eggs
• One stick butter, melted
• 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
• One pound powdered sugar (or 3 ¾ cups)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the cake mix with the melted butter and one egg, then press into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan coated with cooking spray. In a separate bowl, combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and two remaining eggs, and beat with a hand mixer until well blended. Spread across the cake mix and bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Note: The middle still will wiggle, but it is done when golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving.
• 8-pound turkey or turkey breast, thawed
• One stick butter, cut into pieces
• 2 tablespoons seasoned salt
• One large sweet onion, quartered
• One navel orange, quartered
• 3 apples (such as Gala or Red Delicious), halved with seeds removed
Place onion and apple pieces in the bottom of a slow cooker. Pat turkey dry, then sprinkle with salt. Insert slices of butter under the skin of the turkey, paying particular attention to the breast. Sprinkle with additional salt, then insert the orange pieces into the cavity of the turkey. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 7 hours. When the turkey is done, it literally will fall apart. Save the juices to drizzle on leftover turkey. Reminder: If you’re cooking meat in a slow cooker, a tabletop fryer or a roasting pan, it’s always a good idea to check the size before you take the meat out of the package. Once you’re certain your meat will fit, then you can proceed as planned.