Recipes for a crowd: Something to be thankful for

November 27, 2013 

Thanksgiving -- or Thanksgivukkah this year -- is tomorrow, and the countdown to the big feast has begun.

Some efficient cooks already have begun their preparations, having made side dishes and some desserts ahead of time and frozen them, only to have to thaw and reheat.

I'm not that good. I have done some baking, but that's it. I am making my side dishes today; my ace master of the grill and smoker, my father-in-law, is smoking the turkey. No one barbecues or smokes meat like Hubert Yeager Sr. He even bought a new smoker, bless his heart. Of course, he has had plenty of practice; he owned meat markets and barbecue restaurants in Texas and Mississippi for more than 40 years.

Our gathering will be small, so I won't have to spend hours in the kitchen, unlike those hosting large crowds for dinner.

Sue Meyers of Picayune, Miss., asked for readers' help with recipes that feed more than 25, and Nedra Baldwin flipped through her files and came up with quite a few. Some of these came from Taste of Home magazine in 1999 and 2000, others from "The Louisiana Proud Collection of Sweet Things" and the 2014 Susan Branch calendar. I will share some today and more next week.

Here are some of the recipes that are perfect for Turkey Day.

SPINACH PARMESAN

8 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup butter or margarine

6 eggs, lightly beaten

1- 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs

1-1/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Drain spinach, reserving 1 cup liquid. Saute onion in butter until tender. In a bowl, combine spinach, eggs, bread crumbs, 1 cup Parmesan cheese,

Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, onion mixture and reserved liquid. Spread in 2 greased 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dishes. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until set. Yield: 40-48 servings.

-- Submitted by Nedra Baldwin from Taste of Home, October-November 2000

APPLE SPICE CAKE TRIFLE

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) spice cake mix

1-1/4 cups cinnamon applesauce

3 eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 can (21 ounces) apple pie filling

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

7 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided

3 cups cold milk

1 package (5.1 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix

1 envelope whipped topping mix

1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup English toffee bits or almond brickle chips

In mixing bowl, combine dry cake mix, applesauce, eggs and oil; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into a greased 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. In a saucepan, cook pie filling, butter and 1 teaspoon cinnamon until butter is melted; stir until well blended. Cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine milk, pudding mix, topping mix and remaining cinnamon. Beat on high until thickened, about 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Spread a third of the topping in a 6-quart bowl. Cut cake into cubes; place half over topping. Top with half of the fruit mixture, walnuts and pudding mixture. Repeat layers, ending with remaining topping mixture. Sprinkle with toffee bits. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Yield: 20-24 servings.

-- Submitted by Nedra Baldwin from Taste of Home October-November 1999.

BAKED MACARONI 'N' CHEESE

1 package (16 ounces) elbow macaroni

2 pounds process American cheese, cubed

8 ounces Swiss cheese, cubed

1 medium green pepper, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 jar (2 ounces) diced pimientos, drained

4 eggs

4 cups milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water, Add cheeses, green pepper, onion and pimientos. Combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper; pour over macaroni mixture and mix well. Pour into 2 greased 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dishes. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly and browned. Yield: 18 (3/4 cup) servings.

-- Submitted by Nedra Baldwin from Taste of Home, 2000

GLUTEN-FREE FOR THANKSGIVING

Maureen Broussard knows first-hand how difficult dealing with a gluten-free diet can be. She was thoughtful enough to share a couple of her favorites in time for Thanksgiving. Here are a couple of her recipes that could be used on any Thanksgiving table.

GLUTEN-FREE FRENCH APPLE CRISP

3 cups apples, washed, peeled and cored, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon ground Saigon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup Arrowhead Mills Organic Gluten-Free Baking Mix

1/2 cup organic unsweetened almond milk

Pinch of sea salt

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon canola oil

2 organic eggs

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Topping:

1/3 cup Arrowhead Mills Organic Gluten-Free Baking Mix

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces

1/3 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, prepare 9-by-9-inch porcelain or glass baking dish using organic shortening. In a medium bowl, combine apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest, spread evenly in prepared baking dish.

Whisk eggs into bowl, add almond milk, oil, salt and baking mix; combine well. Pour mixture over apples.

In small bowl, mix topping, use pastry blender or fork until ingredients resemble crumbs; sprinkle on top of apple mixture.

Place baking dish in center of oven and bake 45-50 minutes until apples are bubbling. Then move dish to top rack and broil for 5-6 minutes until lightly golden, careful to not burn.

Remove, cool on wire rack and, using your finger, sprinkle top with turbinado sugar. When slightly cooled, serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla gelato. Store in refrigerator if there is any left.

-- Submitted by Maureen Broussard from Arrowhead Mills

UDI'S GLUTEN-FREE CRANBERRY WALNUT STUFFING

Olive oil to coat casserole dish

Juice of 1/2 orange

1/2 cup water

2 cups whole cranberries, fresh or frozen

1 loaf Udi's Gluten-Free Millet-Chia Bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable stock

2 medium celery stalks, diced small

1/2 cup onion, diced small

1/4 cup walnut pieces

10 fresh sage leaves, minced

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried

2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil, for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a large casserole dish with a little olive oil. In a small saucepan combine the orange juice and water and bring to a boil. Stir in the cranberries and simmer over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened. Set aside. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl. Add cranberries (with some of the liquid), stock, celery, onion, walnuts, sage, thyme, rosemary and salt and pepper to taste. Stir gently to combine and transfer to the prepared casserole. Drizzle the olive oil over and bake for about 30 minutes or until heat through and golden and crispy on top. Serve immediately or keep warm in a low oven until ready to serve.

-- Submitted by Maureen Broussard from Udi's Gluten-Free; recipe created by Stephanie Clairmont of the Clairmont Digestive Clinic

SATSUMA CAKE

This is certainly the season for Terrie Martin Walker to ask for a Satsuma cake recipe. My husband has brought some home; friends, too, have been gifted with Satsumas. They are in abundance.

Lupe C. Hawes-Krieger and a reader named Fred sent in the same Satsuma cake recipe. It is a flourless cake for those who need gluten free.

"Glen Merritt, a Satsuma farmer on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, came up with this wonderful recipe," Hawes-Krieger said. "I usually make a glaze with orange juice and powdered sugar for the cake."

The recipe that Fred sent came from a South Mississippi Living in 2007 that said: "This is a wonderfully damp, dense and aromatic flourless cake: It tastes like one of those sponges (cakes) you drench while cooling, with syrup, only you don't have to. Once you try it, it will become part of your Christmas cookery."

KILLER SATSUMA CAKE

4-5 Satsumas (about 1 pound total weight)

6 eggs

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2-1/3 cups ground almonds

1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

Put the Satsumas in a pot with some cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 hours. Drain and when cool, cut each Satsuma in half. Dump the Satsumas -- skins, pith, fruit and all -- into a food processor or blender and give a quick blitz. Then tip in the remaining ingredients and pulse to a pulp.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Butter and line an 8-inch springform pan.

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared pan and bake for an hour, when a skewer will come out clean. You'll probably have to cover with foil after about 40 minutes to keep the top from burning. Remove from oven and leave to cool, on a rack, in the pan. When the cake is cold, you can take it out of the pan.

-- Submitted by Lupe C. Hawes-Krieger and Fred

Andrea Yeager, who can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net, takes contributions or requests at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.

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