Thanksgiving Menu 2013

There were a total of 17 family members at our Thanksgiving table this year! My sister Angela, her husband Troy and their 2 children. My sister Zandria and her fiance Paul from Buffalo. My Mom. My 2 brothers. My Aunt Annette and her fiance G.K….and her daughter Jacquelyn and her new husband Shawn. My Dad. And the three of us!

Zandria and I:

Zandria and I

Isaac, Ben and Devin:

Isaac, Ben and Devin

G.K., our dog Walter and Travis (I’m pretty sure this was after they ate!):

GK, Walter and travis

I went by this checklist as I was cooking (which started on Tuesday!).

my menu checklist

Thanksgiving Menu:


  • mini crab cakes
  • Plate of Baked brie w/ misc crackers
  • veggies/dip tray

Main meal:

  • Cornbread stuffing with fennel, celery, onions and shiitake mushrooms
  • Butternut squash, goat cheese and mushroom risotto
  • Marinated carrots
  • Cauliflower and potato mash w/ buttermilk
  • Roasted brussel sprouts
  • A 23 pound Turkey: followed these instructions. I added tons of rosemary, lemon, salt, pepper and buttered under the skin and on top before roasting!
  • gravy
  • Roasted Cabernet and Citrus Cranberry Sauce
  • 5 cheese mac-n-cheese (my sister Angela)
  • Sweet potato casserole (Aunt Annette)
  • Collard greens (Mom)
  • Yeast rolls (Mom)


Grandma's pound cake

  • Grandma’s pound cake (sorry – secret fam recipe! And it’s baked in a cast iron bundt pan!!)
  • Pumpkin Oatmeal White Choc Chip Cookies (Angela)
  • Pies: Buttermilk, pumpkin and sweet potato (Mom)
  • chocolate cherry cake and buttermilk pie (Aunt Annette)

*All made by me unless noted otherwise.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Sweet Potato Biscuits

If you have a leftover sweet potato and like biscuits you have to try these! I never, like ever, make biscuits. I think the last time I made them from scratch was when I was a kid and we would make them for dinner sometimes.

You don’t even taste the sweet potato but it adds a beautiful color and moistness to the biscuits!

Sweet Potato Biscuits

  • 3/4 cup mashed sweet potatoes (1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes), baked and chilled in the fridge
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting if needed
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes


  • Preheat oven to 425º F. Mix the sweet potato purée with the buttermilk and honey. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and the salt, stirring to mix. Add the butter. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until crumbly. Incorporate the sweet potato mixture until a soft dough is formed.
  • Form the dough into balls with your hands using a little flour if sticky. Place in a lightly greased baking pan and press down gently to flatten a little.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until tops are just turning a golden brown along the edges. Remove from oven. Serve warm with extra butter and honey, if desired.
  • Makes 12-14 biscuits.

Recipe Slightly adapted from Food For My Family


Blueberry Lemon Muffins

Blueberry Lemon muffins

Here I go again. Making breakfast in advance. With 164 calories, 4 grams fat and 3.5 grams protein they are not bad for you and along with a small banana or cup of yogurt would make a great breakfast I think. Especially when you’re in a hurry to head of to school (or work). I stored the 10 that were left (after Devin and I sampled one) in a large ziplock bag and put in the pantry cabinet where I keep bread.

The sugar on top makes the tops crisp and slightly sweet. The cornmeal and berries together are AMAZING. The lemony flavor added another hint of yummy flavor. I’ll make these again for sure.

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I used white wheat flour)
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup organic blueberries (I used frozen)
  • 1 cup low-fat organic buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract (I actually didn’t have any lemons…this never happens!)
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 muffins liners (I used Reynolds StayBright baking cups…they help keep the muffins fresher versus not using liners and just spraying the pan with baking spray)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium bowl. Stir in blueberries; make a well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk, butter, rind, and egg; stir well with a whisk. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moist.
  • Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pans immediately; place on a wire rack.

Recipe Slightly Adapted from Cooking Light

Pasta with Asparagus, Mini Tomatoes and Buttermilk Cream Sauce

Light, summery, bikini ready pasta and a cream sauce at that!! This recipe was a total experiment from my kitchen and it was delish! Fresh vegetables, comforting pasta and a slightly tangy, very creamy sauce that is good for you due to the buttermilk, whole wheat pasta, part skim ricotta and just a little bit of grated cheese. The guys in my house loved it….of course it was served with grilled burgers and there is a chance they loved the burgers more. But, I will say, later that night when there was pasta leftovers and a leftover hamburger Travis went for the pasta and left the hamburger there! Enough said!

I like to call cherry tomatoes, “mini” tomatoes because it’s cuter. It makes me think of mini chocolate chips and I get excited and want to eat more mini tomatoes 🙂

Pasta with Asparagus, Mini Tomatoes and Buttermilk Cream Sauce


  • 8 ounce package whole wheat thin spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 package asparagus, ends trimmed and pieces cut into thirds
  • 1 pint mini (cherry) tomatoes, halved
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup hot pasta cooking water, reserved
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • zest of one lemon


  • Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat for the pasta. Salt the water and add the pasta once it boils. Cook the pasta slightly less than al dente because it will finish cooking after being added to the sauce. In the meantime prepare vegetables. Trim the ends from the asparagus and slice into three equal pieces. Slice tomatoes. Mince shallot and garlic.
  • Once all the vegetables are ready, heat oil over medium heat in large skillet. Add the shallots and garlic to the skillet, season with salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally. Add asparagus and cook for 6-8 minutes stirring every minute or so. Add buttermilk to a small saucepan and heat but do not bring to a boil. Add tomatoes to skillet, then add cooked spaghetti noodles, about 1/4 cup of the pasta water and the heated buttermilk. Toss together with tongs. Let simmer on medium-low heat for a minute or two then add the ricotta and the grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese and stir again. If pasta sauce is too thick add a little more of the reserved pasta. Check seasoning to see if any salt and pepper are needed. Top with the grated lemon zest. Serve warm.