Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Cheesecake in a Gingersnap Crust

In my family, we all love the flavor of pumpkin,  and are big fans of pie.  But pumpkin pie? Not really a favorite around here, but for many Thanksgivings growing up, pumpkin pie would be made and served along with one or two other pies as part of our family tradition. If you didn’t include pumpkin pie, it felt wrong, I guess?

Well, when all of the other pies were quickly finished and the pumpkin pie remained in the fridge barely touched, it seemed to me something needed to change.

So one year, when it was my turn to host the Thanksgiving feast at my house, I decided to make a bold move and replace the traditional pumpkin pie with a recipe that I had been developing: Pumpkin Cheesecake in a Gingersnap Crust.  At first, the idea of cheesecake after a heavy meal sounded ridiculously rich, but once everyone tried the first bite and realized how light and fluffy it was, they were hooked. We have made this cheesecake every year since, and have not looked back.

I included this dessert in a fall menu taught in my cooking classes a while back, and know many of  those people make this every year too.

I like the recipe so much, I even included it in my cookbook, Friends at the Table.

Why not share it here on my blog too?

So go ahead and drive to the store to  tackle your grocery shopping (if you haven’t already started!) and pick up the ingredients to make this cake. You can make it tomorrow and have it ready to go in the refrigerator on Thanksgiving day! No one will notice the pumpkin pie is missing from the table….I promise.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Pumpkin Cheesecake in a Gingersnap Crust

 Serves 8 to 10

1/4 cup of sweetened coconut
8 ounces of gingersnap cookies
2 tablespoons of sugar
4 tablespoons of melted butter
2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese
3/4 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 (1-pound) can of pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon of maple syrup

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until golden brown. In the bowl of a food processor, place gingersnap cookies and pulse until the cookies are finely crushed. (You will need 1 3/4 cups of crumbs.) In a medium bowl, combine the gingersnap crumbs, toasted coconut, sugar and melted butter. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan with a removable bottom. Press the crumb mixture about one inch up the sides of the pan. Bake the crust until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
For the cheesecake: With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and maple syrup; mix until well blended. Pour mixture into the pan.
Bake until the center barely jiggles when the cake is gently shaken, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Cover and chill until cold, at least 2 1/2 hours or up to 24 hours. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and remove the pan sides. Top each piece with whipped cream.


Turkey Roulade with Fennel, Sausage, Dried Cherries & Chanterelle Marsala Sauce Recipe

Did you notice that the very next day after Halloween the advertising world took a giant leap into Christmas? Door busters,  one- day sales, special can’t miss offers….really? Already? Do we really need to hurry up and buy those perfect gifts for everyone on our shopping list?

I love the Christmas season, don’t get me wrong, and there may only be 50 days until Christmas, but guess how many until Thanksgiving? 20!

Christmas, you will have to wait a little while for me to get into the spirit, right now I am still enjoying everything I love about fall.

The turning of the leaves, the cozy feeling of my Uggs on my feet on a crisp chilly night, and the approach of the season when we welcome friends and family into our homes to celebrate all we are thankful for.

Sorry advertisers, I’m not ready to hear Christmas music, I’d rather think about turkey.

What are you doing for Thanksgiving at your house? Do you take the traditional route? Or do you try mixing in new recipes each year?

I kind of do a little bit of both. This year, I think we will cook one turkey on our Big Green Egg (for the traditional carving of the whole turkey pic) and I am thinking of making this too: Turkey Roulade (stuffed with sauteed fennel, shallots, dried cranberries, and sausage) & Chanterelle Marsala Sauce. I made this for dinner the other night and my family agreed this one goes into the make again and again category.

You can prepare the filling and stuff the turkey breast one day ahead and keep in the fridge until you are ready to pop in the oven, which is exactly what I did after a busy day. Great as a weeknight dinner, elegant enough for dinner party fare, and would make a nice alternative to cooking a whole turkey on Thanksgiving.

Hungry yet? Here’s the recipe:

Turkey Roulade with Fennel, Sausage, Dried Cherries, and Chanterelle Marsala Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons minced shallots

1 small fennel bulb, finely chopped (should have 1 cup)

3/4 pound mild Italian sausage (removed from casing, crumbled)

1/2 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 cup toasted bread crumbs (from a few slices of French bread)

One 3-pound boneless, skinless turkey breast

Olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup chicken broth

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add shallots, fennel, and sausage and cook; stirring frequently, until vegetables have softened, and sausage has browned, about 5-7 minutes. Add dried cherries, chicken broth, salt, and pepper; simmer 2 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a large bowl; add toasted bread crumbs and toss well to combine and absorb liquid.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butterfly the breast and lay flat open, pounding with a meat mallet to create even thickness throughout. You should have somewhat of a rectangular shape. Spread the filling over the butterflied turkey breast, leaving a 1/2 -inch border on all sides. Roll up tightly and secure with butcher’s twine in 1 1/2-inch intervals.

Combine thyme leaves, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Drizzle turkey roulade with olive oil and sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over all sides of roast.

Place in a small roasting pan and roast, basting with chicken broth every 15 minutes or so, and until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. Rest 10 minutes before slicing into 1-inch slices. Serve with Chanterelle Marsala Sauce (recipe follows)

6 servings

Chanterelle Marsala Sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound fresh chanterelle mushrooms, brushed clean, end trimmed

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup marsala

1/3 cup chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

Heat a large skillet over high heat until hot. Add the olive oil, mushrooms, and shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are golden brown (about 7 minutes). Reduce the heat to medium high and add the shallots, garlic, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute more. Add the marsala and simmer until mixture is reduced by half. Add the stock and cream and simmer until thickened, 3-4 minutes more.  Adjust seasoning.


Turkey Leftovers


Now that Thanksgiving is a mere 5 days away, you have your menu all squared away, right? What about after the big event? What will you do with all of the turkey leftovers?

I am kind of funny about leftovers…I am okay with re-inventing the leftovers into a new dish, but eating the same exact meal 2 (or more)days in a row…I just can’t do it. So when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, I prepare enough of the side dishes to last through the meal(not too many leftovers in the side dish department). I do plan for leftover turkey however, and with the turkey leftovers, I like to create brand new dishes, with completely different flavors than what we experienced at the Thanksgiving table.

Virginia This Morning (our local morning show),  asked me to share some of my turkey leftover ideas on their show, airing live,  the day before Thanksgiving at 9:00am. If you are local, set your Tevo, or tune in while you are at home baking pies.

Here’s what I will be sharing on the show:


Turkey Tortilla Soup

4 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 3×1/2-inch strips

Corn oil for frying

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup finely chopped white onion

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 14.5 ounce can peeled, chopped tomatoes

1 ½ cups tomato puree

2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

6 cups chicken stock

2 cups cooked turkey, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 14.5 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup chopped cilantro

¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1 ripe avocado, diced

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

In a medium cast iron skillet, add enough corn oil to come up 1-inch in the side of the pan. Heat oil over medium heat; when hot, add the tortillas and cook, in batches if necessary, until they are crisp and golden. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels; set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat; when hot add the onion, cook about 5 minutes, then add the garlic, cooking an additional 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato puree, chiles, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper and cook about 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock,turkey, black beans, and ¾ cup of the cilantro; lower the heat, and simmer until slightly reduced, about 20 minutes. Add the lime juice, taste, and adjust seasonings.

Divide soup among bowls. Garnish with avocado, remaining cilantro, and tortilla strips

6 servings


Turkey, Brie, and Cranberry Panini

This is one of my favorite sandwiches. The combination of smooth creamy brie, savory turkey, and tart cranberries …grilled on a panini press, this sandwich is hard to beat.

8 1/2-inch-thick slices good crusty bread (I like to use rosemary bread from the bakery)

1/4 cup olive oil

8 ounces brie cheese, rind removed sliced into thin slices

1/2 cup of your favorite cranberry sauce

3/4 pound cooked turkey breast, sliced

Brush one side of each slice of bread  with olive oil. Place oiled side of bread down, and top with brie. Spoon cranberry sauce over brie, spreading evenly. Add turkey slices, and place remaining slice of bread, oiled side up on top of turkey.

Place sandwiches in a heated panini grill pan, and cook until bread is golden brown, and cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Remove from grill and let cool a few minutes before slicing in half ( so all of that delicious cheese doesn’t run out!).

Makes 4 sandwiches

Turkey Pot Pie with Apples and Cheddar Biscuit Crust
I found this recipe over at Sippity Sup ( a blog I frequent, and love!) Greg was kind enough to let me share it with you.  —I like the fact that you can make the filling for the pot pie ahead of time (and even freeze if you wish), before finishing the dish in the oven. The cheddar biscuit crust is made with drop biscuits, which makes them a breeze to put together. You will find the recipe here.
So what will you be making with all of your turkey leftovers? Share your ideas with me here, and feel free to link your recipe in the comments field.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!