So the Thanksgiving Holiday has come and gone. I found myself caught in a whirlwind of traffic, shopping, cooking, baking, and trying to settle in with friends and family for my short weekend spent at home in Connecticut. I wasn’t sure what the long Holiday weekend would bring, but I can tell you now, that I was not disappointed.

As happenstance would have it, one of my aunts was unable to attend Thanksgiving dinner due to the flu. Poor Aunt Kathy was in charge of the ever-popular Sweet Potato Casserole. Without it, no Thanksgiving dinner is complete. After we got the phone call at 10am that Kathy was a no-go, we got to work. I looked up a recipe, sent my sister out for some sweet potatoes, and got to work.  We had to use a recipe that was quick, yet packed full of flavor. I settled on a recipe from the Food Network, and doubled it.

Sweet Potato Casserole

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the preparing the pan
2 tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp.  kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and pierce each one 2 or 3 times with a fork. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until tender. Set aside to cool.

Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F. Scoop the sweet potato out of their skins and into a medium bowl. Discard the skins. Mash the potatoes until smooth. Add the eggs, butter, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and the pepper to taste. Whisk the mixture until smooth.

Butter an 8-by-8-inch casserole. Pour the sweet potato mixture into the pan and sprinkle the top with the pecans. Bake until puffed, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Sweet Potato Casserole

As you can tell from the photo, I had to omit some nuts for Grandma! The potatoes were delicious and creamy, and full of bold Fall flavors. It tasted like a delicious combo of sweet potato and pumpkin pie. We were a little short on the pecans, so I chopped up some walnuts and threw those on as well.  The extra crunch was a great touch!

I also had the opportunity to make some cranberry sauce. I have been wanting to do this for a while, as I heard it was unbearably easy. I found a great recipe from Real Simple, but you can feel free to find your own.

Apple Cranberry Sauce

1 lb. cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup apple cider
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar

In a saucepan, combine cranberries, apple cider, and  sugars.

Simmer until the cranberries begin to pop and the sauce thickens, approximately 12-15 minutes.

Let sit for about 15 minutes before serving.

Apple Cranberry Sauce

For a less sweetened version, substitute water for the apple cider. This went great along side my grandmother’s famous Cranberry Relish.

The Table Spread

The dinner was a hit, aside from the fact that it was dad’s first time roasting a turkey on his own. The whole family contributed a dish, dessert, or appetizer, making it a huge success!  After watching all of the hard work put in by my dad and my family, this year I was thankful that I only had to cook two dishes instead of the whole meal!