Room for 1 more: Pie, dessert, side dishes, even a pumpkin dish

News-DemocratNovember 25, 2013 

You've got about 48 hours to get your act together, if you already haven't. What you'll find here are last-minute Thanksgiving Day recipes you can turn out with no fuss or muss. Plus, some advice to help the approach to the finish line go more smoothly. And, well, if you've got the notion, a few ideas on what to do with leftovers.

Last-minute Thanksgiving Day tips

* Away from home and trying to get in the Thanksgiving spirit as a beginner cook? Try this simple recipe to go with your turkey (or rotisserie chicken). Get a container of mashed sweet potatoes and thaw. Scoop into a bowl and add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Spread into a shallow casserole and top with pecans and a handful of mini marshmallows. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Janet Keeler, Tampa Bay Times

*If you air-dry a fresh or brined turkey, uncovered, overnight in the refrigerator, its skin will be crisper after oven-roasting.

* Make more cranberry sauce than you need; it can be used to stuff a boneless pork loin, to flavor a buttercream frosting and as a chutney base -- add chopped nuts, crushed red pepper flakes, chopped dried and fresh fruits.

* To make mashed potatoes creamy and flavorful without using dairy, Maine food writer Kathy Gunst recommends adding roasted cloves from a large head of garlic and 1/2 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil to 3 pounds of peeled, boiled potatoes. (Pass the potatoes and garlic through a ricer, then add the oil and mash. Season with salt and pepper.)

The Washington Post

Here are some quick dishes to serve Thursday.

Swiss Corn Bake Cups

1 (16-ounce) package frozen whole kernel corn

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

2 eggs

1 1/3 cups evaporated milk

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup shredded process Swiss or Gruyere cheese (4 ounces)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease six 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups; set aside.

Cook frozen corn and onion together, according to package directions for corn. Drain well.

2. In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs with a fork.

Stir in drained corn and onion, evaporated milk, garlic salt and pepper.

Stir in 3/4 cup of the cheese.

Pour into prepared ramekins. Place filled ramekins in a 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan.

3. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese over corn mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 side-dish servings, each with 247 calories, 11 grams fat, 104 mg cholesterol, 26 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 13 grams protein, 437 mg sodium.

Better Homes & Gardens

PUMPKIN DIP

2 cups confectioners sugar

1 can (16 ounces) pure pumpkin

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Beat with electric mixer at medium speed until combined. Cover and chill. Serve with gingersnap cookies, graham crackers or apple slices.

"Flavors of Kentucky Holiday Cookbook"

RICE CASSEROLE

1 stick butter

1 cup Uncle Ben's converted rice

1 small jar (4.5 ounces) mushrooms, whole or pieces, drained

2 cans (10.5 ounces each) French onion soup (do not use cream of onion soup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet, melt butter and add rice. When rice is brown, pour into a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Stir in onion soup, minus 1/4 cup, and mushrooms. Cover and bake for 45 minutes.

Here's slow cooker cranberry dish that is minus any hassles and perfect for a beginner. It's from Blogger Jessica Walker.

Slow Cooker Apple-Cranberry Sauce

4 medium apples, peeled, chopped

1 bag (12 oz) fresh cranberries (3 cups)

1/2 cup packed brown sugar, or more to taste

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

1/4 cup orange juice

Spray 3-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In slow cooker, mix all ingredients.

Cover; cook on High heat setting 5 hours (or on Low heat setting 8 hours).

Leave sauce chunky, if desired, or stir well to break down apples and cranberries more. Serve warm.

And, if you're called upon to make a last-minute dessert, consider thinking outside the pie.

Caramel Apple Bars

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/4 cup shortening

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

4 1/2 cups coarsely chopped peeled tart apples (3 medium)

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 bag (14 ounces) caramels

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix brown sugar, butter and shortening in large bowl. Stir in 1 3/4 cups flour, the oats, salt and baking soda. Reserve 2 cups oat mixture; press remaining oat mixture in ungreased 13-by-9 pan.

2. Toss apples and 3 tablespoons flour; spread over mixture in pan. Heat caramels over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted; pour evenly over apples. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture; press lightly.

3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender. For 36 bars, cut into 6 rows by 6 rows while warm. Store covered in refrigerator.

Betty Crocker

Fudgy Pecan Pie Bars

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup baking cocoa

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

2/3 cup dark corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups chopped pecans

1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Beat flour, 3/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup sugar, the cocoa and 1 teaspoon vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed until crumbly. Press in bottom of ungreased 15-by-10-by-1-inch pan. Bake 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, beat eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons butter, the corn syrup and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in medium bowl with wire whisk until smooth. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips. Spoon evenly over baked crust.

3. Bake about 15 minutes more, or until set. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

For bars, cut into 8 rows by 4 rows. Makes 32 bars, each with 190 calories, 12 grams fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 50 mg sodium, 19 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 1 gram fiber. Exchanges: 1 Starch. Carbohydrate choices: 1.

Slab Pie

All-purpose flour, for dusting

Enough pie dough for a triple crust

2 1/2 pounds fresh mixed berries, such as blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries (about 6 cups)

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to an 18-by-13-inch rectangle. Fit into a 15-by-10-inch rimmed baking or jelly-roll pan with a 1-inch lip, pressing into corners (pastry will hang over sides). Chill while assembling filling.

In a large bowl, stir together berries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and salt. Spread mixture over chilled pie shell.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out remaining piece of dough to a 16-by-11-inch rectangle; drape over filling. Fold edge of bottom dough over top dough. Pinch edges to seal. Prick top dough all over with a fork. Brush entire surface of pie with cream, and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 40 to 55 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let pie cool until it is just warm to the touch, about 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into 12 pieces.

Slab pie is best eaten the same day it is baked, but it can be kept at room temperature, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for up to 2 days.

Makes 1 10-by-15-inch slab pie, but also could make two 12-by-7 rectangular pies.

Adapted from a recipe on "The Martha Stewart Show," 2006

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