Holiday Side Dishes are almost as important as the Center Stage Turkey

Thanks 8 2012THANKS 4 2012

Thanksgiving is my most favorite Holiday of the year.  I love to cook the entire dinner by myself.  I love setting a beautiful table using all my special things that were handed down through my family and those that are cherished Wedding gifts.

I LOVE this holiday because it is all about sharing a special meal with loved ones and a chance to reflect on all of God’s Richest Blessings HE has bestowed on each and every one of us.  No presents to buy and wrap, no too tired or over stimulated little ones wishing they were still home with their new toys…..just the family gathered to eat, have meaningful conversations and to watch FOOTBALL, of course.

Here is a not too pretty picture of last year’s table of too much food!

Thanks 2012-13Thanks 10 2012 Liz

The cranberry relish in the forefront was made by my sister Doria….the one on the other side of the turkey platter is the one with the lines on it….a must for my kids!

Here is our {almost never changing) traditional dishes:

Herb Roasted Turkey with Giblet Gravy

Uncle Frank’s Oyster Dressing pg.37

Mardella’s Country Cornbread Dressing (previous Blog)

Noni’s French Fried Sweet Potatoes pg.36

LeSeur Green Petit Pois Peas  (No recipe necessary!)

Cauliflower and Broccoli au Gratin pg. 172

Robyn’s Potato Gratin (Recipe to follow)

Pineapple Casserole (Recipe to Follow)

Homemade Parker House Dinner Rolls

Plantation Pecan Pie (Posted on previous Blog as Bourbon Pecan Pie)

Traditional Pumpkin Pie  pg. 198    or

Pumpkin Cheese Cake with Chantilly Cream and Praline Garnish (Recipe to follow)

Caramel Apple Pie (Recipe to  follow)



My youngest son, Ben loves this so much he requested it for his wedding reception buffet.  His friends said they didn’t know what it was but kept going back for seconds!


3 cans pineapple chunks, well drained
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbsp. all purpose flour
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 sleeve RITZ crackers, crushed
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine first four ingredients and mix well. Place in a 13×9” Pyrex dish that has been sprayed with Pam. Mix cracker crumbs in the melted butter and sprinkle evenly over the pineapple mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes until bubbly and well browned.

Left partially uncovered with crumbs to see what it looks like underneath the topping.


Covered completely with the buttery crumb topping ready for the oven.  This can be made ahead and frozen!
Excellent served with turkey, ham or pork.

Robyn’s Potato Gratin


4 to 6 servings

2 cups heavy cream

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 teasp. Chopped fresh Rosemary

2 garlic cloves, minced


2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano

1/2 Cup Grated Cheddar Cheese

1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large saucepan, heat up the cream with a sprig of thyme, chopped garlic, and Rosemary.  While cream is heating up, butter a casserole dish. Cook potatoes in the cream for 10-15 minutes over low heat to prevent over boiling of the pot.  Potatoes should be almost fork tender.  Layer the  potatoes in an overlapping pattern.  Pour a little of the cream, a little sprinkle of the Romano or Parmesan Cheese,  then repeat until all potatoes and cream is used.  Make 2 more layers.   PLACE DISH ON A SHEET PAN LINED WITH FOIL.  Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes.  Top with the cheddar cheese and a few bread crumbs if desired;  return to the oven until the cheese melts and the crumbs browns, about 5-7 minutes.


CARAMEL APPLE PIE OK Y’all…..Here is the recipe for the BEST apple pie I have eva eaten in my life.   It is a must for your holiday dining table. Now, please note that this is NOT a low-cal dessert…but it’s not like you’re gonna eat it everyday…right?  But you could if you wanted to;  I made this pie once and it stayed good for 5 days.

Here’s the pie.. Perfect Pie Crust See Bourbon Pecan Pie Blog

9 or 10-inch double pastry crust, prepared and rolled

6 to 8 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced*NOTE: I used 6 Rome apples and 2 granny smith.

FOR THE SAUCE: 2 tablespoons cornstarch 2 teaspoons cinnamon (I used Penzey’s Vietnamese cinnamon.YUM!) 1/2 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons sugar 6 tablespoons melted butter 2/3 cup light corn syrup 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 tablespoon lemon juice, Fresh of course

FOR THE TOPPING: 3/4 cup brown sugar 3 tablespoons flour 6 tablespoons light corn syrup 4 tablespoons melted butter 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped and lightly toasted Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a 9″-10″ glass or metal Deep-dish pie pan with Crisco shortening. Place bottom crust in large deep-dish pie pan. Combine ingredients in sauce mixture and pour evenly over apples Pour mixture into prepared crust. Combine ingredients for topping mixture. Put about 1/2 cup of the topping mixture on top of the apples and sauce mixture. Sprinkle with half the nuts. Cover with top crust. Crimp and seal the edges tightly. Make several slits for steam. Place pie on a cookie sheet that has been lined with foil…this pie will probably bubble over a bit. Place on center rack in oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until apples are tender and juices are bubbling. Remove from oven. Spread the rest of the topping mixture and the rest of the chopped nuts over the warm pie, being careful not to break the crust. Return to oven for 10 minutes or until topping is bubbly. Make sure you don’t overcook, or the nuts could burn. Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting. Get ready to sample a bit of heaven!! This pie stayed great tasting for 5 days!!!!!! You’ll want to share it with company cause it is very ladened with calories!!


Pumpkin Cheesecake with Cinnamon Chantilly Cream and Praline Garnish

Chiqui Collier

Be sure to have all your ingredients at room temperature before starting.

Makes one 10-Inch cheesecake


2 cups crushed ginger snap cookies 1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 teaspoon gr. Cinnamon

1 tablespoon sugar


3 pounds cream cheese

15-ounce can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) 1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 3 tablespoons cornstarch 5 eggs 1/2 cup heavy cream

Sour Cream Topping:

8 ounces sour cream

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To make crust: Combine cookie crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter; press into bottom and up sides of a buttered 10-inch spring form pan. Bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven.

When completely cooled, wrap the bottom of the outside of the pan and up the sides with aluminum foil just to the top edge of the pan. Place foil-wrapped pan in a large roasting pan and set aside.

To make topping: Combine 8 ounces sour cream with 2 tablespoons light brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside.

To make filling: In a large capacity food processor or a stand mixer, process cream cheese to soften. Add pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, all the spices and corn starch and process till well combined. Add eggs and cream and process about one minute. Scrape sides of bowl and process again about 1 minute or until fully combined.

Pour into prepared spring form pan. Place roasting pan with the filled cheesecake into the oven on the middle baking rack. Carefully fill the roasting pan 1 inch deep with very hot tap water to form a water bath.

Bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees. After 10 minutes, lower oven heat to 350 and bake one hour longer. Cake should be soft but set. Spread the sour cream topping over the cheesecake and return to oven for 10 more minutes. Turn off oven and leave door ajar, leaving cake in oven about 30 minutes. Chill at least 4 hours before serving.

Serve with Cinnamon Chantilly Cream (follows) and sprinkle with praline garnish

Praline Garnish (optional)

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon cream

Combine pecans, sugar, butter and cream in a small saucepan. Cook for 5-7 minutes on medium-low heat. Make sure sugar is melted and mixture is nicely thickened.

Spread out onto a sheet pan covered with foil or parchment. It’s ok if mixture is in little clumps. Cool completely. Break up to use as a garnish around the top edge of the chilled cheesecake. Or use it to top swirls of whipped cream on each serving of cheesecake.

Cinnamon Chantilly Cream

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

3 heaping tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place whipping cream in a chilled mixing bowl and beat with a wire whisk until slightly stiff. Fold in vanilla and cinnamon. Add confectioner’s sugar, one tablespoon at a time, whisking until stiff peaks are formed. Chill until ready to use.

Parker House Rolls

(This is a double recipe)  Can easily be cut in half.


2 tabsp. Yeast

3 cups warm water (115*)

pinch sugar


Proof for 10 minutes.


10 cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

3 teasp. Salt

1 cup butter flavor Crisco, melted

4 large eggs, room temp, beaten

1 cup salted butter, melted

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour



Combine 8 cups flour, salt and sugar in a sifter. Sift into a large bowl. Stir in yeast mixture, beaten eggs and 2 cups sifted flour. Stir vigorously until well blended. (Dough will be soft and sticky.)


Brush dough with oil. Cover loosely and let rise in a warm place for 1 ½ hours.


Butter the baking sheet or 8” round cake pans.


Sift 1½ cups flour over the work surface. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Sift another cup of flour over the dough. Roll dough to ½” thickness.


Cut rolls using a floured 2” biscuit cutter.   Pull each round into an oval shape and dip one side in melted butter. Fold the roll butter side in. Place side by side in the round pan…..10 on the outside ring, five on the next one, then one in the center. Cover lightly and allow to rise 1 ½ hours.

***Chiqui Note:  I make so many of these that I now use a half-sheet pan lined with parchment paper and just line them up in rows (not touching) leaving room to rise.


Bake at 400* 12 – 15 minutes.

Brush with melted butter as soon as they leave the oven.

These can be cooled and stored in Zip-Lock bags and frozen for later use.


Yields 110 – 120 rolls




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