Give a Recipe, Get a Gift: Share How You Define “Turkey with all the Trimmings

Writing blogs for The Field Position allows me to meet the most hospitable farm families and to also learn about popular regional fare like runza in Nebraska and Wisconsin Beer Cheese Soup.

Yesterday one of my blogger friends, who’s a native Minnesotan, posted a picture on Twitter with this copy: “It’s always cheesy potato hot dish time.” As a native Iowan, her tweet brought a smile to my face as I thought about how a North Central Iowa potluck or family holiday wouldn’t be complete without “cheesy potato casserole.”

3141902576_fb6ded751e_zThoughts of cheesy potato casserole quickly shifted to traditional Thanksgiving holiday recipes. Quite honestly, I assumed every American family must feast on turkey, potatoes, corn, cranberries and pumpkin pie like the Pilgrims and Indians. Then my inquiring mind started to wonder what the pilgrims even ate at the first Thanksgiving…

Wildfowl venison, as well as grain in the form of bread or porridge absolutely were part of the harvest celebration shared by the Pilgrims and Wampanoag at Plymouth Colony in 1621, according to the Smithsonian. Governor William Bradford described the autumn of 1621 as follows: “And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys.” He also mentions that they’d begun eating Indian corn after the harvest.

Correspondence written by the colonists prove they planted gardens in the spring of 1621. In later documents, the colonists mention growing turnips, carrots, onions, garlic and pumpkins. Historians interested in researching the first Thanksgiving meal also studied foods served at traditional English celebrations during this same period.

4035387329_1a344ff6fa_z“You see lots of pies in the first course and in the second course, meat and fish pies. To cook a turkey in a pie was not terribly uncommon. But it is like, no, the pastry isn’t there.” The colonists did not have butter and wheat flour to make crusts for pies and tarts, according to the Smithsonian. (While the Pilgrims didn’t have pumpkin pie, there’s a chance they enjoyed pumpkin pudding.)

Knowing that people tend to make the most of what they have available – like Lobster Mac & Cheese in Maine and Clam Dressing in Massachusetts – I’m curious about what recipes your family enjoys for Thanksgiving. It will be fun to hear about “iconic Thanksgiving recipes” by region.

The team at Latham Hi-Tech Seeds will send a complimentary wooden spoon, spatula, cutting board or hand towel to anyone who shares his/her favorite Thanksgiving recipe by Nov. 22! Simply e-mail us your hometown, state and recipe to Marketing@LathamSeeds.com.

Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Because I enjoy meal planning so much, I’ve linked to enough recipes to make a complete meal:

Thanksgiving Casserole

Ingredients: 

  • 3 pounds of butternut squash (peeled, seeded and cut into ¾-inch chunks)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1½ tablespoons butter
  • 6 cups peeled, sliced apples (click here for tips on choosing apple varieties for baking and cooking)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1½ cups crushed corn flakes cereal
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup brown sugar

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place squash in sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook about 15 minutes until squash is tender.
  3. Drain squash and then pour it into a food processor. Add ¼ cup of butter, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and pepper. Process until smooth; set aside.
  4. Melt 1½ tablespoons of butter in a large frying pan. Add apples and the white sugar. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until apples are tender, Spread apples in a 3-quart casserole dish. Spoon the pureed squash over the top.
  5. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small frying pan. Add corn flakes, pecans and brown sugar, stirring until cornflakes and pecans are thoroughly coated. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
  6. Bake about 15-20 minutes and serve warm.