For those of you who may not know, people here at iModerate love to cook…and are amazing at it! We can find an excuse to bring in food for any occasion—International Pasta Day (who knew?), Cinco de Mayo or to celebrate a beloved colleague – and our potlucks are legendary.
So, with Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I thought it would be fun to solicit our teams’ favorite holiday recipes (and one not so favorite recipe that I couldn’t help but include) to share.
Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at iModerate!
Client Services: Apple Cranberry Salad with Maple Dressing
Jen says: This is an apple and cranberry salad that we have every year with homemade maple dressing. My mom is from Vermont, and has high standards for recipes that call for maple. This recipe is a family favorite.
Maple Dressing – 1/4 cup mayonnaise (I use light mayo)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (important that its pure maple syrup, not just pancake syrup)
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar or other white wine vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Salad – 1.5 ounce bag mixed baby greens (about 10 cups lightly packed)
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into matchstick-size strips
1/2 cup cranberry flavored craisins (or dried cherries)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Directions: For dressing – Whisk mayonnaise, maple syrup, and vinegar, in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil until mixture thickens slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Dressing can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewhisk before using.)
For salad – Toss greens, apples, craisins, and 1/4 cup walnuts in large bowl to combine. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Divide salad equally among plates. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup walnuts and serve.
Baked Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese and Bread Crumbs
Jen also submitted this one: Here is a recipe for mashed potatoes that are out of this world! This is one from Giada De Laurentiis who is my cooking idol. I mean really, who does this woman think she is – she’s beautiful and makes mashed potatoes from heaven. I especially like it because you can do almost all of it the night before, then once the turkey comes out of the oven, I top it with the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes.
1 tablespoon butter
4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs
Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of butter and set aside.
Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until they are very tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; return the potatoes to the same pot and mash well. Mix in the milk and melted butter. Mix in the mozzarella and 3/4 cup of the Parmesan. Season to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking dish. Stir the bread crumbs and remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the mashed potatoes. Recipe can be prepared up to this point 6 hours ahead of time; cover and chill.
Bake, uncovered, until the topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Moderating Services: Broccoli Casserole
Kathy says: I haven’t had this in years, but it was a favorite recipe of my mom’s. Never one of my favorites, but it was a staple at Thanksgiving. This year my sister asked me to make it — we call it “broccoli crap.” How could I say no, even though it makes me gag just thinking about it! Guess I’m going to have to suck it up and have some!
2 pkgs. (20 oz. total) of frozen chopped broccoli
1/4 lb. Velveeta
1/3 cup milk
2 tbsp. minced onion
1 cup cream mushroom soup
1/2 cup buttered bread crumbs
Directions: Cook broccoli and drain well. Melt cheese with milk (don’t burn it!). Add onion and mushroom soup. Mix well. Place broccoli in a 1 1/2 qt. casserole and pour sauce over it. Top with buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 6-8.
Marketing: Cauliflower and Broccoli Make-Ahead Casserole
Bethany says: This creamy casserole can be made a day ahead, refrigerated and then baked just before dinner. Using frozen vegetables makes this dish a cinch.
Makes 10 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
1 package (16 ounces) frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1 package (16 ounces) frozen cauliflower florets, thawed
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
1 1/4 cups milk
4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese, cubed
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning in small bowl. Set aside. Cut up any large broccoli or cauliflower florets into bite-size pieces.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in flour, remaining 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, garlic salt and pepper. Add milk; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add cream cheese and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese; cook and stir until cream cheese is melted. Add vegetables; toss gently to coat. Spoon into 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle top evenly with crumb mixture.
Bake 40 minutes or until heated through and top is lightly browned.
Programming: Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Joan submitted this family favorite.
Directions: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut brussels sprouts in half and mix with olive oil. Roast for 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, mix a slurry of balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Mix the roasted sprouts into the slurry. Return to the oven for an additional 20-25 minutes.
Reporting: Bread and Butter Stuffing
Sonya says: I’m sending one of our staples—bread and butter stuffing. 1 1/2 lbs of butter. If that doesn’t say Thanksgiving I don’t know what does.
2 pounds white bread, sliced
1/2 pound wheat bread, sliced
1 1/2 pound unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 cup apple, peeled and chopped
3 cups chicken or turkey stock
8 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup dark raisins
30 leaves sage, stems removed
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
Directions: The night before cooking, spread all the bread out in a single layer on sheet pans or towels and allow to dry out overnight. The next morning, in a large bowl, break the bread into coarse 1-1/2 inch pieces (don’t worry about being precise).
Cut the sage leaves into thin strips.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat, making sure not to burn it. Add the celery, onions and apple and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the stock or water. Increase the heat to moderate and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 3 minutes.
Pour the mixture over the bread. Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs and add the leaves to the bread mixture. Add the sage to the bread mixture. Add the raisins, salt and pepper, and mix well.
Either stuff a 14-16 pound turkey with the mixture and roast immediately, or put the mixture in a large roasting pan and cover with foil. If baking separately, bake the stuffing in a 375 degrees F oven, covered for 30 minutes. Remove foil, bake for another 30 minutes and serve alongside roast turkey.
Sample: Pretzel Cookies
Al says: This is my Great-Aunt’s recipe. We have them for every Holiday occasion, every year. My Grandmother and other Great-Aunt moved here to be closer to my dad in 1977 and brought the tradition with them. I’ve never known a Holiday season without them – and recently my new wife made her first batch. It was heartwarming.
1/4 pound butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1 tbsp. powdered sugar
1/ 2 tsp. vanilla
1 to 1/ 2 tbsp. cold water colored sugars
Directions: Cream butter and then add sugar and cream together. Add egg and mix. Add flour and mix. Wrap dough and chill thoroughly. Preheat oven 375°F. Pinch off small piece of dough, roll into snake and make small pretzels (don’t put more on the pan than you can frost while still warm).
Bake for 12-15 minutes on slightly greased cookie sheet until slightly brown. Mix frosting (should be pretty thick) and lay out colored sugars. Remove from oven and, while still hot, dip in frosting and sprinkle with colored sugar (two people help with this).