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Our Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes


We asked our staff to submit some of their favorite and best thanksgiving recipes, and we got a lot of great ones to share. Especially in the dessert department. We are hoping your Thanksgiving holidays are especially sweet this year.


Hash brown Casserole
Submitted by Patrice Williams, Communications Coordinator

32 oz package of frozen hash browns, thawed (or use the refrigerated ones)
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups cornflakes, crushed
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Mix cornflakes and melted butter and set aside.
  2. Mix all other ingredients, and spread into a 9 X 13 pan. Top with cornflake mixture.
  3. Bake on 350 for 45 minutes to an hour until golden bubbly.

Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls
Submitted by Meredith Martin, Director of Program Excellence (Source)

1 quart whole milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 packages active dry yeast, 0.25 ounce packets
8 cups (plus 1 cup extra, reserved) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 TBSP (heaping) salt
plenty of melted butter
2 cups sugar
generous sprinkling of cinnamon
For maple frosting:
1 bag powdered sugar
2 tsp maple flavoring
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup brewed coffee
1/8 tsp salt


  1. For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil. Set aside and cool to warm. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.
  2. Add 8 cups of the flour. Stir until just combined, then cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1 cup flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl. (Note: dough is easier to work with if it’s been chilled for at least an hour or so beforehand.)
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  4. To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the pan/bowl. On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches. The dough should be rolled very thin.
  5. To make the filling, pour 3/4 cup to 1 cup of the melted butter over the surface of the dough. Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly. Generously sprinkle half of the ground cinnamon and 1 cup of the sugar over the butter. Don’t be afraid to drizzle on more butter or more sugar! Gooey is the goal.
  6. Now, beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight. Don’t worry if the filling oozes as you work. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together and flip the roll so that the seam is face down. When you’re finished, you’ll wind up with one long log.
  7. Slip a cutting board underneath the roll and with a sharp knife, make 1/2-inch slices. One “log “will produce 20 to 25 rolls. Pour a couple of teaspoons of melted butter into disposable foil cake pans and swirl to coat. Place the sliced rolls in the pans, being careful not to overcrowd. (Each pan will hold 7 to 9 rolls.)
  8. Repeat the rolling/sugar/butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover all the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towel and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t allow the rolls to become overly brown.
  9. While the rolls are baking, make the maple icing: In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, butter, coffee, and salt. Splash in the maple flavoring. Whisk until very smooth. Taste and add in more maple, sugar, butter, or other ingredients as needed until the icing reaches the desired consistency. The icing should be somewhat thick but still very pourable.
  10. Remove pans from the oven. Immediately drizzle icing over the top. Be sure to get it all around the edges and over the top. Let sit for a few minutes, allowing the icing to fully absorb


Cranberry Salad
Submitted by Mariea Tountasakis, Grant Development Officer

2 (3 oz.) packages of cherry or cranberry jello
2 cups boiling water
16 oz can cranberry sauce
1 lb fresh strawberries
1 small can crushed pineapple (drained but not dry)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans


  1. Mix the jello, water, and cranberry sauce together until smooth.
  2. Add strawberries, pineapple, and nuts. Mix all together. Congeal.

Jeff Rogers Ultimate Five-Cheese Mac & Cheese
Submitted by Reynolds Cottage Parents (Source)

1 or 2 lbs. Mueller’s Elbow Macaroni
1 lb. Sharp cheddar cheese
1 lb. Mozzarella cheese
1 lb. Monterey Jack Cheese
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Pecorino Romano Cheese
1 1/2 sticks Land O Lakes salted butter
3 Cups Whole milk
4 large eggs
4 tsp. Sea Salt
3 tsp. white sugar
Dried basil
Hungarian paprika
Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Grate you sharp cheddar, mozzarella, and Monterey Jack cheeses. Keep them separated.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and then add 1 tsp. of sea salt. And 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  3. Add the elbow macaroni to the boiling water and stir frequently so that it does not stick together. Do NOT cook your macaroni until it is soggy. Cook it until it is just shy of al dente. When your macaroni is al dente, it still has a little bite and chew to it. This is good because it will cook further when you put the dish in the oven. The size of your dish will determine how much macaroni you will need. For my 3-quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven, 1 lb. was enough. If you are not sure, go ahead and use 2 lbs. You can always use the leftover for something else.
  4. Drain the macaroni and add about a 3/4 stick of butter cut into cubes, and stir until melted.
  5. Set macaroni aside and allow it to cool for 20 minutes or so.
  6. If cooking in cast iron, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. If cooking in glass, preheat to 400 degrees F.
  7. Generously coat the dish you are using with butter.
  8. Begin to build your macaroni and cheese. Add a single layer of macaroni. Then, add a light layer of mozzarella, then sharp cheddar, and then Monterey Jack cheese. I always do the sharp cheddar second because of the contrasting color with the white cheeses. It makes it easier to see where I’ve been when spreading the last white cheese.
  9. After the layer of cheeses, sprinkle a very sparse layer of dried basil.
  10. Repeat. Add a layer of macaroni followed by layers of mozzarella, sharp cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheeses. Follow again with the sparse layer of dried basil.
  11. Repeat one last time. On this last layer, the presentation layer, you want the cheeses to be a little more mixed. You don’t want all of the white cheeses on top. Should be a nice mix. So kind of alternate your cheeses so the top looks mixed – not all one color.
  12. Sprinkle on one last sparse layer of dried basil.
  13. Then, on the top only, sprinkle a light layer of Parmesan cheese followed by a light layer of Pecorino Romano cheese.
  14. Top the dish off with an ultra light layer of Hungarian paprika for color. Use a shaker so you don’t get clumps.
  15. In a blender, combine 3 cups of milk, 4 eggs, 3 tsp. sea salt, and 3 tsp. white sugar. Blend for about 15 seconds. How much of this you will need to make will depend on how large of dish you are using.
  16. Pour the milk/egg mixture slowly into the center of the macaroni. Pour slowly so that you do not disturb your layer of Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, and paprika. Keep an eye on the edges of the dish and fill to just below the top of the last layer of macaroni. The cheese should mound above the macaroni and milk/egg mixture.
  17. Cover the dish with a lid or foil, and put in the oven for 30 minutes.
  18. After 30 minutes, remove lid or foil and cook an additional 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it for the last ten minutes so that you DON’T scorch the top. The top should just be lightly browned. If the top begins to get too brown, put the lid back on or tent the dish with foil. It does need the full hour in the oven.
  19. After your macaroni and cheese has cooked for one hour, test the center for doneness. This dish should be relatively firm, not soupy or runny. Insert something like a bamboo skewer into the center of the dish, all the way to the bottom. If a runny liquid is released, your dish is not done. Cover and put back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes or so, then check it again. Time will vary on this dish depending on what you cook it in. Deeper dishes take longer to cook.
  20. Allow the dish to rest for 10 minutes or so before serving.

Potato and Apple Gratin
Submitted by Kelly Holbrooks, Director of Dietary Services

4 large baking potatoes
5 gala apples
1 1/2 cups swiss cheese
1 1/2 cups half & half
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel potatoes and slice in 1/4 inch slices.
  3. Place in a pot with cold water with a teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Drain off all water.The potatoes will not be done, we are just giving them a head start.
  4. Using an apple corer remove the core of the apples. Leaving the peel on, slice the apples in 1/4 inch slices.
  5. In a buttered casserole dish, do 2 layers of potatoes closing up the holes. Salt and pepper the potatoes. Then add 2 layers of apples closing up the holes with the second layer of apples.
  6. Then add a layer of 3/4 cup of swiss cheese.
  7. Then repeat 2 layers of potatoes, salt, pepper and apples. Hold off on the last layer of cheese.
  8. Gently pour the half & half over the layers.
  9. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and add the remaining cheese and bake another 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and getting golden.

Sweet Potato Casserole
Submitted by Abby Monclova, Director of Human Resources

3 cups of mashed sweet potatoes (from cans, drained)
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup of milk
1/3 cup of melted butter
1 tsp of butter nut flavoring
1 tsp sherry (optional)

For topping:
1/3 cup of self-rising flour
1/3 cup of melted butter
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of coconut


  1. Blend together mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, milk, melted butter, and flavoring.
  2. Pour into a buttered baking dish.
  3. For topping, mix flour, brown sugar, and coconut first.
  4. Then add butter.
  5. Sprinkle topping on mix.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, until brown on top


Grandma’s Banana Pudding
Submitted by Hailey Bullis, Cottage Parent

3 small packages instant vanilla pudding
5 cups whole milk
8 oz whipped cream
8 oz sour cream
5-6 bananas
1 box vanilla wafers


  1. Mix three packages of instant pudding with five cups of milk. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Fold in whipped cream and sour cream. Keep chilled until time to serve.
  3. Add chopped bananas and vanilla wafers just before serving.

Easy Peach Cobbler
Submitted by Grace Cottage (Source)

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar, divided
1 TBSP baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup milk
4 cups fresh peach slices
1 TBSP lemon juice
Ground cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)


  1. Melt butter in 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt; add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter (do not stir).
  3. Bring remaining 1 cup sugar, peach slices, and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Pour over batter (do not stir). Sprinkle with cinnamon and/or nutmeg if desired.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or cool.

Autumn’s Spicy Bourbon Pecan Pie
Submitted by Autumn Holbrooks, Commissary Manager

For Crust:
4 TBSP unsalted butter, cubed
3.5 oz pecan halves or pieces
6 oz all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 TBSP ice water
2 TBSP bourbon, chilled (optional, can add extra ice water instead)
For Filling:
3 large eggs
3.5 oz sugar
6 oz golden syrup
4 TBSP unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 TBSP bourbon (or water)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
8 oz sliced pecans (recipe follows; coarsley chop 6 oz and leave remaining 2 oz whole)
For Spiced Pecans:
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp dried orange peel
1 pound pecan halves
4 TBSP unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 TBSP packed dark brown sugar
2 TBSP water


To make crust –

  • Chill the butter in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Pulse the pecans 6 to 7 times in a food processor or until finely ground. Add the flour and salt, and pulse an additional 4 to 5 times. Add the butter and pulse 6 to 7 times, until the texture looks mealy. Remove the lid of the food processor, add the water and bourbon, and pulse 5 to 6 times until the mixture holds together when squeezed and feels like dough. Transfer the dough to a gallon-sized zip-top bag, squeeze together until it forms a ball, then press into a rounded disk and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • To assemble and bake the pie: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Whisk the eggs, sugar, golden syrup, butter, bourbon, vanilla and salt together until combined. Set aside.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Cut along two sides of the zip-top bag, open the bag to expose the dough and sprinkle both sides very lightly with flour. Cover with the bag and roll out with a rolling pin to an 11-inch circle. Open the bag again, and sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Place the dough into a 9 1/2 to 10-inch tart pan that is 2 inches deep. Gently press the dough into the sides of the pan, crimping and trimming the edges as necessary.
  • Evenly sprinkle the 6 ounces of chopped pecans in the crust and pour the filling on top. Bake for 20 minutes. Place the remaining 2 ounces of whole pecans in a border on the edge of the filling. Bake 10 minutes, until the center of the pie should reach 200 degrees F, and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a cooling rack to room temperature before serving, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

To make spiced pecans –

  • Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Mix the salt, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and orange peel together in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Place the nuts in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes until they just start to brown and smell toasted. Add the butter and stir until it melts. Add the spice mixture and stir to combine. Once combined, add both sugars and water, stirring until the mixture thickens and coats the nuts, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Transfer the nuts to the prepared sheet pan and separate them with a fork or spatula. Allow the nuts to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container for storage. Can be stored for up to 3 weeks. Yield: 1 pound.

Easy Blackberry Cobbler
Submitted by Grace Cottage (Source)

4 cups fresh blackberries
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 large egg
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 TBSP butter, melted
Whipped cream (optional)
Garnish: fresh mint sprig


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place blackberries in lightly greased 8-in square baking dish; sprinkle with lemon juice.
  3. Stir together egg, sugar, and flour in a medium bowl until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle over fruit.
  4. Drizzle melted butter over topping.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees. for 35 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes.
  6. Serve warm with whipped cream, if desired. Garnish with fresh mint sprig, if desired.

Cheesecake Pie
Submitted by Holly Solomon, Director of Communications

1 graham cracker crust
1 container cool whip
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup of sugar


  1. Cream sugar and softened cream cheese together.
  2. Mix in cool whip.
  3. Pour in pie crust and refrigerate overnight.

Frost-on-the-Pumpkin Pie
Submitted by Mariea Tountasakis, Grant Development Officer

1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 24 squares)
3 TBSP sugar
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/3 cup butter, melted
For Filling:
1 can (16 oz) vanilla frosting
1 can (15 oz) solid-pack pumpkin
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
1 to 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 to 1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup whipped topping


  1. In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Set aside 1 TSBP for topping.
  2. Press remaining crumb mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-in pie plate.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes or until crust just begins to brown. Cool on a wire rack.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine frosting, pumpkin, sour cream, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
  5. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon mixture into the pie crust.
  6. Sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture.
  7. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.