We are heading into the Thanksgiving weekend here in beautiful Canada. And according to the forecast, we are gonna have an amazing fall weekend here in Calgary!
If you know me you will know I love any reason to cook a turkey and stuffing. And top that with cranberry sauce and gravy...well now you are after my own heart.
While turkey is the main character on many tables this weekend, I didn't want to forget about the sides. We tend to put so much effort and spotlight on the turkey, we forget how important sides are to round out the meal!
So fear not! Keep reading for my favorite side dishes....and of course the recipes
Right out of the gate is my Molasses Raisin Duff
Growing up in Newfoundland, this dish graced many a table for sure. But my fondest memories of this one are with my Grandfather Tom Penney - Grandy we called him. I was 18 and making a turkey dinner (yup I started when I was young) and Grandy asked me if I was making a Molasses "pudding" (aka Duff). Of course I had no idea how to make it, tho I had enjoyed it while growing up. So he decided he was gonna show me "how it's done".
We made the best Molasses Raisin Pudding ever, the two of us.
See a duff in Newfoundland, is served on your plate with the turkey and all the trimmings (aka Jiggs Dinner).
Where else do you get "cake with gravy on it?!?" Then later Sunday evening we would have a "mug up" and enjoy some leftover Duff warmed with jam on it and a cuppa Tetley Tea.
A duff is alot like a cake but it is steamed instead of baked.
So this recipe has such happy memories for me, as my Grandy passed in 1998. And I swear he is right there every damn time I make this telling me what to do :)
Molasses Raisin Duff
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butter melted and slightly cooled
1 cup Raisins
1.5 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup of milk
Grease a 7 cup steamer well. Bring to a low simmer about 2-3 inched of water
Mix the molasses, butter, vanilla and beaten egg.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder. baking soda and cinnamon. Toss the raisins in at this point. This will help keep them from sinking to the bottom.
Mix the flour alternately with the milk in the molasses mixture, ending with the flour.
Mix until just combined.
Pour into steamer.
Steam for 2.5-3 hours, checking the water to ensure it stays no lower than 2 inches, adding boiling water as needed. The pudding is done when you test it with a wooden skewer and it comes out clean.
Sweet Potato Casserole
Growing up in Newfoundland we NEVER had this. But when I moved to Alberta, Bills mom would often make a sweet potato casserole. Not quite like this, but, again if you know me even a little, you would know I would have to create something myself. This is my version :)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp orange rind
1 cup orange juice
1 cup water
¼ cup real butter
2-3 lbs sweet potato peeled, thinly sliced and steamed until tender
Mix together all ingredients, except potatoes, and cook until slightly thickened.
Pour sauce into greased casserole. Top with layers of sweet potato. Bake at 350 until bubbly. Sprinkle with some chopped pecans then serve.
Cranberry Orange Sauce
Now I can't remember the last time I bought a can of cranberry sauce. But the canned stuff is what I grew up with.
Bills parents don't get all the hype I make over cranberry sauce, but to me it is something that is needed with turkey and gravy. Plus its a great addition to Turkey sandwiches :)
3 tbsp Real Maple Syrup
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup of water
Combine Maple Syrup and cornstarch in saucepan. Add in cranberries, orange juice and water. Bring to a boil then turn heat back to a med low and let simmer, mashing the cranberries a bit. Once all thickened up and the berries are roughly mashed, place in serving dish. This can be served warm or cold.
How can we forget a sweet ending. However, after a heavy meal of turkey and all the trimmings, many times spending so much time on a grand finale dessert goes to the way side, as everyone is too full. BUT, after the kitchen is cleaned and the coffee (or tea) is brewed, it is nice to sit and enjoy a little nibble of something.
And this is where the Date Square comes in. Once again growing up in Newfoundland, given any reason at all, date squares were made. And I love having these readily available just for those sweet endings
1.5 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup real butter softened
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar (coconut sugar is delicious here)
pinch of salt
1.5 cups all purpose flour
2 cups pitted dates
3 tbsp brown (or coconut) sugar
1 cup hot water
Place dates, 3 tbsp brown sugar and hot water in saucepan. cook and mash the dates into a thick paste.
Mix the remaining ingredients together until crumbly. Press half of the crumb mixture in a 9x9 greased dish.
Top with the date mixture, spreading evenly. Sprinkle remaining crumbs on top pressing in a bit. I love a thick topping
Bake at 350 for 20-25 min. When cooled, cut in squares.
Certified Holistic Nutrition and Wellbeing Counselor