mamas stuffingThanksgiving holds a special place in my heart.  The Wednesday before Thanksgiving was the big prep day. My mom would enlist my help to make her mom’s dressing or as we call it Mama’s Dressing.  I loved spending time with mom, so this was a great way to kick off the Holiday weekend. We would spend hours peeling the potatoes, so many potatoes!! It reminds me of the scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, where the mom is peeling all the potatoes for what is suppose to be a “small” family gathering, but it turns out everybody is coming!!! Our family was no different. We always made plenty of food to be prepared for all the cousins, aunts, uncles and everyone else who showed up!

I would wake up early on Thanksgiving, and meet my mom in the kitchen. I’d still be sleepy eyed, but I’d attentively watch as she stuffed the turkey with mama’s stuffing.  Finally into the oven it would go! The turkey was always prepared very early so that we could feed everyone an early dinner.

One Thanksgiving, my oldest daughter woke up and started, to my surprise, washing and then peeling the potatoes. (We didn’t have time to make the stuffing the night before!)  Soon I could smell the onions sauteing  in the olive oil, and the house smelled so good! Before I knew it the stuffing was done! This is a recipe that will stay in the family for many generations to come and for that I am grateful! I hope you try Potato & Thyme Stuffing aka Mama’s Stuffing for your Holiday gathering.

breadstuffing-recipeAs a child we celebrated Thanksgiving with my cousin’s family.  My uncle would make this stuffing and I always loved it. My cousin gave me the recipe and I cherish it because it reminds me of all the fun family gatherings, laughs, and special bond we all have. This recipe will always be dear to my heart. It is made with sausage, ground chopped meat, onion and thyme. It is a nice stuffing to stuff your turkey with during Thanksgiving or for any Holiday gathering. Here is the link for the recipe. Traditional Sausage and Herb Stuffing.

 

 

Another delicious side dish is my Cauliflower, Chick Peas & Thyme Recipe. This is a nice gluten-free option to the Traditional bread stuffing.cauliflower, chick peas and Thyme

Here’s what you will need:

Serves: 4

½ large cauliflower or one small, cut off the large stems

¼ red onion, diced

¼ white onion, diced

5 stems (white and light green parts) scallion, diced

1 teaspoon minced garlic (store bought is fine)

Fresh thyme, 5 stems

Fresh basil, 5 leaves

Sea salt

A good quality extra virgin olive oil

1 large can Goya Chick peas drained (you’ll need roughly 2 cups)

¼ cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

You’ll need a large frying pan. Start by adding a few drizzles of extra virgin olive oil to the pan and heat it up. Dice up the yellow and red onions, and scallions. Add these to the pan and saute on low heat and add a few sprinkles of ground sea salt. Let these cook about 5 minutes on low heat.

onions-and-scallions

In the meantime, rinse the cauliflower, cut out the stem and chop up the cauliflower into bite size chunks. After the onions have cooked for five minutes, toss in the cauliflower. You can also add the garlic and stir. Keep the heat on low. Add in a few more drizzles of olive oil.  The cauliflower needs a few heavy drizzles to start to cook through.  If you prefer, add a few tablespoons of water to cut down on the oil. Let this cook about 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.  Taste it to check. Once it is tender, you can grate in about 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.

In the meantime, drain and rinse the can of chick peas (I like Goya!). Measure out about 2 cups, and add it to the pan. Stir and add in a few more sprinkles of sea salt. At this time you can add the fresh thyme leaves. Takes them off the stem and toss in the pan.  Also, chop the basil and add this to the pan as well. (I have skipped the basil before, still amazing!).

Let it simmer on low heat just until the chick peas are warm. The onions should be caramelized at this point and the cauliflower should be tender.  Your guests will love it!

Now we can’t sideline the sides! A family favorite is roasted asparagus, but really the possibilities are endless with the sides. You can do candied yams baked with marshmallows, broccoli, creamed corn, peas and carrots, petite carrots and pearl onions, the list goes on and on. Just remember some sides like the yams you can prep a day or two before.

asparagus

 

I think everyone has a fond Thanksgiving or Holiday memory they cherish. If so, keep those going and share them with the next generation. That is how we keep our family traditions alive and going strong. My brother keeps a frozen turkey in his freezer during the winter months and during the first snowstorm of the season, he thaws it and cooks it!  A great idea, and a fun family tradition. What is yours!??? If you don’t have one, start one!

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