Thanksgiving is coming up quickly (next week!) and I am getting very excited for holiday cooking. Every family has their own traditions and favorite recipes, and I love sharing them so that other families can create new traditions. For example, we have a funny tradition of making cherry Jell-O at every holiday because we have a ton of picky children whose eyes light up at the sight of it!
For those of us not at the kid’s table, here are two of my favorite flavorful recipes for the holidays (one savory, one sweet!).
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese has long been a favorite of mine, and I just recently started bringing it to Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving every year! It’s a special treat to get to make it from scratch, too.
8 oz. macaroni or other medium pasta (I like Cellentani for a fun shape!)
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika (Smoked paprika has a bit more flavor than regular.)
2 1/2 cups 2% milk
3 cups Kraft fat free shredded cheddar cheese
8 servings. 358 calories per serving.
- Boil the pasta until al dente.
- Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking, and return to the pan you boiled it in. Set aside. (Mix in a little butter to keep the noodles from sticking if it’s going to be a while before you make the sauce.)
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Over medium heat, melt the butter. Then add the flour, salt, dry mustard, pepper, and smoked paprika.
- Stir constantly over medium heat for about three minutes.
- Stir in the milk. Keeping on medium heat, whisk constantly for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
- Remove from heat, and stir in 2 cups of the cheese, stirring until melted.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and toss gently until all noodles are covered.
- Add half the noodles to a two-quart casserole dish.
- Sprinkle on half the cheese. Add the rest of the noodles.
- Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese, and dust lightly with smoked paprika.
- Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until it starts getting a slightly dry and a tiny bit brown on top.
Pumpkin Spice Cake
I first made this cake for my mom’s September birthday when we were scrambling for a great idea for a fun cake. It was a huge hit – the pudding in the mix really makes this cake outstanding! It’s a great alternative to pies, which tend to steal the show on Thanksgiving.
1 package spice cake mix (I use Duncan Hines)
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 package (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Cream cheese frosting
12 servings. 460 calories per serving. (Treat yo’ self. Or split a piece with a friend!)
- In a large bowl, combine the dry cake mix, eggs, pumpkin, water, oil, pudding mix and cinnamon.
- Beat at medium speed for 5 minutes.
- Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. cake pan.
- Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Frost cake with icing.