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Tried and True Thanksgiving Recipes

Every Thanksgiving thousands of cooks across American scratch their heads and say, "What am I going to make this year"? The pressure is on to come up with different dishes every year. Sometimes the best thing to do is to go back to the tried and true family recipes that everyone enjoys.

If you're a real beginner, read our tips on How to Plan Thanksgiving Dinner , then return here for some great recipes.

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Here are a few of our family favorite recipes for Thanksgiving dinner. I hope you like them as much as we do. Now all you have to do is add a few of your own dishes and you're on your way to another successful Thanksgiving family dinner.

Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives

Recipe can be made ahead and doubled.

Serves 8


9 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
6 ounces cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup snipped chives
1 pinch ground white pepper
salt to taste


1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil; add potatoes, and boil until soft, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain well and place in a large bowl.

2. Combine potatoes with sour cream, cream cheese, butter, salt, and pepper. Mix with an electric mixer or potato masher to your desired consistency. Gently mix in the snipped chives.

If you are making this dish ahead, omit the chives and refrigerate for up to two weeks. When ready to serve, put the potatoes in a casserole dish, dot with butter and bake in a 350 deg F oven for 30 minutes.

After the potatoes are baked you can mix in the chives and a little milk to thin if needed.

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Boston Creamed Spinach

Serves 4. Amount may be doubled.

1 can cream celery soup
1 tablespoon flour
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic
1 - 20 ounce package frozen spinach, cooked, drained and well chopped.
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste

In a saucepan, on medium heat, melt the butter. Saute the onions in the butter until translucent in color. Whisk in the flour, garlic powder, salt and soup. Continue to whisk until smooth and piping hot. Combine with spinach. Add pepper to taste. Place in a casserole dish. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.

Elegant Cream of Pumpkin Soup Served in a Pumpkin Shell

"Served it in a pumpkin shell and there you'll keep it very well."
The presentation of this savory soup is spectacular!


1 large fresh pumpkin (about 12 inches in diameter)  for serving the soup in.
2-1/2 cups fresh, cooked pumpkin or canned pumpkin
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup dry sherry (optional)
4 tbsp. butter
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 cup diced celery
1 sprig of fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp of salt
Toasted pumpkin seeds for a garnish
Fresh cracked pepper


Cut the top (one third) of your pumpkin to create a lid for your pumpkin serving bowl. Scoop out the seeds and strings, cleaning the inside well of any debris.. Clean the seeds and place them on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle the seeds with a little salt. Roast in a 200 degree oven until lightly golden brown. Set them aside to be used as a garnish.

In a large soup pot, melt 2 tbsp of butter over a medium heat. Sauté the onion, celery and garlic, about 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin, sherry and chicken broth. Blend in well with a whisk. Add the thyme sprig. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Remove thyme sprig.

Remove the mixture from the heat and puree in a blender. Be careful to puree small amounts of the hot mixture with the blender top on to avoid having the mixture burst out of the blender. Return the mixture to the pot.

Melt the remaining 2 tbsp of butter in a separate sauce pan. Whisk in 2 tbsp of flour. Whisk in the cream. Blend well. Cook for one minute. Whisk the flour, butter and cream mixture into pumpkin puree. Simmer for 5 minutes more.

Heat the pumpkin shell in a 200 deg F oven for 10 to 15 minutes before adding soup to keep the soup warm for a longer period of time.

Pour soup into your hollowed-out pumpkin serving bowl. Serve the toasted pumpkin seeds on the side for garnish and plenty of fresh cracked pepper.

Pumpkin Pie



4 eggs
3 cups canned pumpkin
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups evaporated milk

1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup of melted butter
1 cup of chopped walnuts

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Mix the first nine ingredients together in the order given. Pour the mixture into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle the mixture evenly with the dry cake mix. Drizzle the batter with the melted butter. Sprinkle the walnuts on top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours. Cover with foil if it browns too quickly. Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Frosted Pumpkin Spice Cookies

So easy and so delicious!

1 package spice cake mix
1 cup of canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cups currants or regular raisins
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
1/4 cup of butter, softened
1 can of ready-to-spread cream cheese frosting

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet and set it aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, pumpkin and butter. Blend well. Add the currents and nuts. Stir well to distribute.

Drop one generous tablespoon of dough for each cookie onto the cookie sheet at two inch intervals. Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until cookies are set and golden brown on the edges. Cool on a wire rack.

Frost with cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle with a hint of nutmeg.

Copyright 2002

thanksgiving vegetablesAbout the Author

Martha Matthews ( is the Editor of, a web site with resources dedicated to Christian homemaking. She also has a free monthly newsletter for Christian wives called The Wives of Excellence Newsletter. To subscribe send a blank email to Or visit

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