From cheesy biscuits to gizzards, readers serve up their holiday favorites
November 1, 2007
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following are holiday recipes collected from Nevada Appeal readers. The favorites of those submitted were chosen by each of the Nevada Appeal’s regular food columnists and will run weekly in November.
My husband always requests Blue Cheese Muffins for Thanksgiving – my mother-in-law showed me how to do it and now it’s a tradition in our family. I’ve introduced it to some friends and we all agree that anything that starts with “1 stick of butter” is a keeper. Besides that, these are super-easy, really yummy and are even good cold.
Blue Cheese Muffins
1 stick of butter, melted
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1 canister of Pillsbury Grands Biscuits
1 container of crumbled blue cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Open the biscuits and use scissors to cut each biscuit into four equal parts. Spray an 11-by-7-inch pan with cooking spray. Dunk each of the little biscuits into the melted butter and then arrange the little biscuits into the pay so the fill up the entire pan. Pour the remaining butter over the biscuits. Crumble the blue cheese over the top of the biscuits.
Bake for 15 minutes – maybe less depending on how small you cut up the biscuits.
The cheese will melt and the biscuits should turn brown on the top.
My first memories of Holiday dinners (over 50-plus years ago) were at my Grandma’s house, which was almost “over the hills and through the woods.” They lived in the country. The closest town was Livermore, Calif. Their house has long since been engulfed by Livermore. Our Holiday feasts consisted of a large, golden brown turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, two salads, cranberry sauce, and for dessert – pumpkin and apple pies.
It’s the salads, one in particular, that is the focus of this article. One salad was a crab salad. My parents lived in the Bay area, so it was our duty to bring the crab. My dad would go to Spenger’s in Berkeley, which was a large seafood restaurant with a market attached. The crabs were fresh, not “previously frozen.” The remaining ingredients of this salad seem to change with whomever is preparing it, so I really can’t offer it as a family recipe. However, the other salad, I can.
The “other” salad was a green Jell-O salad that I considered gross looking and wouldn’t touch.
I don’t know where Grandma got the recipe – if she made it up herself or someone gave it to her. Maybe it was a depression-era recipe. It was certainly a filling salad and the ingredients were probably quite cheap back then.
My brother did not share my opinion of the Jell-O salad. He loved it. He would have seconds, thirds, even fourths. It quickly became known as “Dave’s favorite Jell-O salad.”
When fixing Holiday dinners became too much for Grandma, my mother an aunt took over, alternating holidays each year. Dave’s Favorite Jell-O Salad was on the table every time. Today, I, my brother, or his daughter have shared in hosting the Holiday dinners. And, yes, Dave’s Favorite Jell-O Salad remains the constant, even when I have prepared the dinner. In recent years the salad is put on the table in its place of honor – directly above my brother’s plate.
And, no, to this day, I have not eaten Dave’s Favorite Jell-O Salad. Although I’ve gotten over the “gross” look of the salad (it’s the shad of green, I think), I’m not fond of walnuts. However, here it is anyway, I seem to be the only one in the family that won’t eat it, but it is definitely a family holiday dinner tradition as well as relatively easy to prepare.
Dave’s Favorite Jello Salad
2 cups hot water
1 package lemon Jello-O
1 package lime Jello-O
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup cottage cheese
1 canned milk
1 cup crushed pineapple
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Dissolve Jello-O in hot water. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well and chill.
My mom’s pumpkin pie is kind of a tradition because we have it every Thanksgiving. Everybody loves her homemade pumpkin pie. We all fight when it comes to the last piece of pie and sometimes we play little games and whoever wins the game gets the last piece of pie.
Traditional Pumpkin Pie
1 9-inch unbaked pastry shell
1 medium sized pumpkin (about 2 cups)
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
Clean and skin pumpkin. Cut into small pieces. Add one cup of water, 2 cups sugar, 1 cup brown sugar. Cook low for about two hours.
Preheat oven to 425¼.
In large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except pastry shell.
Bake 15 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 350¼ and continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted one inch from the edge comes out clean. Cool. Garnish as desired.