Cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 7 people in a little tiny kitchen…

We’re having Thanksgiving at our new mountain vacation home. My parents, my in-laws, my dear hubby and daughter. Usually we do thanksgiving at my in-laws, Christmas at my parents (husband’s family’s Jewish, we’re Christian, so it makes more sense). We’re kind of excited about the new home, so we negotiated big time, and convinced them to come here this year. Now we have to negotiate the cooking of THE MEAL. I cut out these great recipes from “Cooking Light” magazine. Mom offered to help me out. I had to run to the store for eggs so she mashed the sweet potatoes for me. In her defense, she wanted to make them taste good, so she doubled the butter. So much for the “Light” part of the recipe!

But so far, so good. Everyone is getting along, and it’s great to all be together. I’m waiting for the pie crust to cook so I can go to bed, everyone else is sleeping.

Tomorrow, we sleep late, eat a good breakfast, set up H’s new basketball goal and try to cook with 4 cooks in a tiny little kitchen. At least the Turkey is being cooked by the club…

Here are the best recipes we tried. Half of the guests don’t like turkey, so we’re roasting some turkey sausage for them.

Roasted Garlic, Sun-Dried Tomato, and White Bean Dip

Prepare a day ahead; bring to room temperature before serving. Serve on bagel chips garnished with rosemary sprigs.

1 whole garlic head
1 cup water
1 (3.5-ounce) package sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil
2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (15.8-ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained

Preheat oven to 375°.

Remove white papery skin from garlic head (do not peel or separate the cloves). Wrap head in foil. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes; cool for 10 minutes. Separate cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp. Discard skins.

Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add tomatoes; cover and remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Drain tomatoes in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup liquid.

Place garlic pulp, tomatoes, 1/4 cup reserved liquid, oil, and remaining ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.

Yield: 2 cups (serving size: 2 tablespoons)

Bread Stuffing with Caramelized Onion, Bacon, and Apples

Cook the pearl onions in boiling water for 20 seconds and plunge them into ice water to make the skins slip off easily. Substitute cipollini, another small onion, if you can find them.

1 (1 1/2-pound) loaf sourdough bread
8 bacon slices, chopped
2 cups pearl onions, peeled (about 8 ounces)
1 tablespoon sugar
Cooking spray
3 cups chopped peeled Granny Smith apple (about 2 large)
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
2/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400°.

Remove crust from bread; cut bread into 3/4-inch cubes to measure 8 cups. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on 2 jelly-roll pans. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted; cool. Place bread in a large bowl.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°.

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan. Drain bacon on paper towels. Add onions to drippings in pan; cook 3 minutes or until soft, stirring often. Sprinkle sugar over onions; cook for 3 minutes or until onions begin to brown, stirring frequently. Add bacon and onion mixture to bread.

Return pan to heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add apple and celery to pan; cook 6 minutes or until lightly brown, stirring frequently. Stir in parsley and next 4 ingredients (through pepper); cook 1 minute. Add apple mixture to bread mixture; toss to combine.

Combine broth and eggs, stirring with a whisk. Add egg mixture to bread mixture; toss to coat. Spoon bread mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until browned.

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup)

Traditional Sweet Potato Casserole

To prepare this a day ahead, cook the sweet potatoes; combine with brown sugar, butter, and vanilla. Before baking, stir in half the pecans, place in a baking dish, and top with the remaining pecans and marshmallows. If you’re toting this dish to a Thanksgiving celebration, assemble the casserole and bake at your host’s home while the turkey stands.

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, divided
Cooking spray
2 cups miniature marshmallows

Preheat oven to 375°.

Place the sweet potatoes in a Dutch oven, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until very tender. Drain; cool slightly.

Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add sugar and next 3 ingredients (through vanilla). Mash sweet potato mixture with a potato masher. Fold in 1/4 cup pecans. Scrape potato mixture into an even layer in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup pecans; top with marshmallows. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until golden.

Yield: 16 servings

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