Your Thanksgiving Menu? Check!

Stressing over your Thanksgiving menu? No worries — from soup to dessert, we’ve got it right here, for a meal even your mother-in-law will love.  

These new-to-you recipes help you join forces with the tried-and-true standards of other local cooks, and even a pro chef, to serve up a Thanksgiving feast with a bounty of pizzazz.  

The Menu

Starter: Eastern Shore Butternut Squash Soup with Blue Crab

Entrée: Turkey, your way

Sides: Dad's Oyster Stuffing with Homemade Bread Crumbs

Cranberry Conserve

Corn Soufflé

Dessert: Apple Betty Pie

And now, the recipes!

Eastern Shore Butternut Squash Soup with Blue Crab
5 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 ounces butter
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
1 large white onion, diced
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
2 cups heavy cream
4 ounces lump crabmeat
salt for final finish
sour cream to garnish

Sauté onions and apples in the butter until soft. Add squash, chicken stock, water and Old Bay seasoning. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.

When squash is soft, remove soup from heat and let cool to room temperature. When cool, place in blender or processor and puree.

Return soup to pot and add heavy cream; heat slowly until hot. Add crabmeat and adjust salt or Old Bay to taste. Bring to low boil and serve. Serves 10.

By Chef Randall Goldberg, The Matthews House, Cary

Cranberry Conserve
4 cups fresh cranberries
2/3 cup cold water
1 orange, unpeeled and thinly sliced
1 cup raisins, chopped
3 cups sugar
1 cup pecans, optional

Wash and pick over cranberries. Cook in water until skins burst, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking. Add orange slices, raisins and sugar. Simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir in nuts, if using.

Put into 2 pint jars. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in freezer for up to 6 months.

By Amber Keister, Cary; original recipe from Virginia Hospitality by the Hampton Roads Junior League

Corn Soufflé
1/2 stick butter
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, cubed
1 15.25 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
1 14.75-ounce can cream-style corn
1 8.5-ounce package Jiffy corn muffin mix
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Microwave butter in medium to large microwaveable bowl on high 30 seconds or until melted. Add cubed cream cheese; continue microwaving 15 seconds or until cream cheese is softened; stir until well blended. Add both cans of corn, muffin mix and eggs; mix well.

Pour into greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan; sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 16.

By Jennifer Hunt, Apex

Dad's Oyster Stuffing
1 cup finely chopped celery

½ cup chopped yellow onion

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 pint shucked oysters, drained and chopped

1 tablespoon snipped fresh sage, or 1 teaspoon ground sage

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

8 cups homemade dry bread crumbs, recipe below

¼ to 1/2 cup chicken broth

In medium saucepan, cook onion and celery in butter until tender but not brown. Add oysters; cook and stir 2 to 3 more minutes. Stir in seasonings. Place dry breadcrumbs in a very large bowl. Add the onion mixture. Drizzle with enough broth to moisten. Toss lightly to combine. Use to stuff turkey, or place in a casserole dish and bake, covered, at 325 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes or until heated through. Serves 14 as a side dish.

Homemade Bread Crumbs

8 cups bread, or 12-14 slices

Cut bread into ½-inch cubes; do not remove crust. Place in a baking pan or spread on cookie sheets. Bake at 300 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, or until dry. May have to stir or turn once or twice.

By Kristy Pickurel, Cary

Apple Betty Pie
4 cups Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apples, chopped
1/4 cup orange juice; freshly squeezed is best
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Mound apples in a buttered 9-inch pie plate and pour orange juice over apples.

In a bowl, combine sugar, flour and spices using a fork. Cut in butter until crumbly. Scatter over apples. Pat down.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until topping is lightly browned or crisp. Top with homemade whipped cream, caramel or vanilla bean ice cream. Serves 9.

By Lisa Springsteel, Cary

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