debbiThroughout history, every society has celebrated the end of the harvest.  Many have set aside a day of thanks.  In 1941, Thanksgiving Day became a national holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.  It’s the one day of the year that we Americans can consume an abundance of food without a second thought about calories!  The recipes this week are all Thanksgiving side dishes.  Team a couple (or all) of them with a roasted turkey for a modern twist on a traditional Thanksgiving menu.  All you’ll need to add is a pumpkin pie topped with sweetened whipped cream for a grand finale.  Happy Thanksgiving!


Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

1/4 cup butter, softened, divided


Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 pound bacon

2 large yellow onions, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup dry white wine

7 to 8 cups vegetable stock

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Sour cream


Cut squash in half lengthwise.  Remove and discard seeds and strings.  With a knife, score the cut surface and rub with 3 tablespoons of the butter.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place cut side down in a large, shallow pan.  Roast, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Turn squash cut side up; roast, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes more, until tender and slightly caramelized.  Let cool.  Use a spoon to remove squash pulp (about 3½ cups); discard shells.  In an 8-quart stockpot, cook bacon until crisp.  Drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in pot.  Crumble bacon and reserve for garnish.  Add remaining butter to the bacon drippings and cook onions over medium-low heat, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and wine; bring to a boil.  Cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat for 5 to 6 minutes or until liquid is almost evaporated.  Carefully add squash and 7 cups of stock.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes.  Cool squash mixture slightly, about 30 minutes.  In a food processor or blender, puree soup in small batches until smooth; return soup to pot.  Stir in Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and additional stock to desired consistency. Heat through.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Ladle into individual bowls and garnish with crumbled bacon and sour cream.  Serves 8.


Walnut-Sage Potato Bake

2 pounds potatoes (about 6 medium)

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 and 1/2 cups milk

3 tablespoons snipped fresh sage

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese, divided

1/2 cup broken walnut pieces, toasted

Peel and thinly slice potatoes. In a covered medium saucepan, partially cook potatoes in boiling water for 5 minutes; drain. For the sauce, in a medium saucepan, cook onion and garlic in hot oil over medium heat until tender but not browned. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in sage. Grease a 2-quart casserole. Layer half of the potatoes in casserole. Cover with half of the sauce. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Repeat layers with the potatoes and sauce. Cover and chill remaining cheese until needed. Cover casserole and chill for up to 24 hours.  To serve, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes. Uncover. Bake for 25-30 minutes more or until potatoes are just tender. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and walnuts. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. If desired, garnish with additional fresh sage leaves. Serves 8.


Crab Stuffing

1 cup sliced leeks

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup butter

1 (6.5-ounce) can lump crab meat, drained and flaked

1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

8 cups dry white bread cubes

4 ounces smoked Gouda cheese (1 cup)

1 to 1 and 1/4 cups chicken broth


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, cook leeks, pepper and garlic in butter over medium heat until tender. Stir in crab meat, Old Bay seasoning and crushed red pepper. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, cheese and crab mixture, tossing to combine. Gradually add enough of the broth to moisten, gently tossing to combine. Transfer stuffing to a 1½ quart casserole. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more or until lightly browned and heated through. Serves 12.


Spinach and Artichokes

12 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1/2 cup butter, melted

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2  teaspoon salt

1/2  teaspoon pepper

1/2  teaspoon seasoning salt

1/2  teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 (8-ounce) cans sliced water chestnuts, drained

2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

1/2  cup grated Parmesan cheese


Grease a 3-quart casserole dish.  In bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Reduce speed to low, beat in spinach, butter, lemon juice, salt, pepper, seasoning salt, and nutmeg until thoroughly combined.  Stir in water chestnuts.  Arrange artichokes on bottom of baking dish.  Pour spinach mixture over artichokes.  Cover with foil.  Cut several slits in the foil to vent.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese.  Bake until golden brown about 15 minutes more.  Serves 12.


Thanksgiving Fruit Salad

1 large green (Granny Smith) apple, cored and chopped

1 medium red apple (Red Delicious), cored and chopped

1/2 cup seedless red grapes, halved

1/4 cup diced cranberries

1/2 cup blueberries

1 cup mandarin oranges, drained

2 cups chopped pecans, toasted

1/4 cup honey

1/2  teaspoon apple pie spice


Combine first 7 ingredients in a serving bowl.  Mix the honey and apple pie spice in a small bowl and drizzle over apples and fruit.  Serve immediately.

Serves 6.


The writer owns Catering by Debbi Covington and is the author of the cookbook, Dining Under the Carolina Moon. Debbi’s website address is She may be reached at 525-0350 or by email at


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