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Fall Favorites Perfect for Thanksgiving!

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Flavors of Fall

By: Kerri-Lynn Swanson
Photo: Allen Carrasco
Recipes prepared by: Kerri-Lynn Swanson & Monica Mendez

With the holiday season quickly approaching, we already have visions of dinner parties dancing in our heads. With food on the brain, we took some of our favorite classic comfort food recipes and kicked them up a notch with a few special touches. Here, our take on holiday fare, from soup to nuts.

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Comfort in a bowl. This smooth, creamy soup is a fresh way to incorporate seasonal pumpkin and the perfect start to any holiday meal.


2 medium onions, diced
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
½ tsp. ground allspice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs. butter
14 oz chicken stock
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 cup milk
8oz cooked chicken, cubed
sour cream and chives, for garnish

In a large pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions, carrots, cilantro, ginger, allspice and garlic. Cover and cook 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Once cooked through, transfer vegetable mixture to a blender or food processor. Add 4 oz of the chicken stock and blend until nearly smooth.
In the same saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the remaining 10oz of chicken stock, pumpkin, and milk. Stir in the pureed vegetable mixture and the cubed chicken and heat through. Serve immediately with sour cream and  chives.

Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing

Sausage & Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing

Put the boxed stuff to shame with this dressed to impress gluten-free stuffing recipe.


For the Cornbread
1 cup gluten-free flour
1 tsp. guar
1 tsp. xantham gum
1 cup cornmeal
3 tbs. sugar
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
1 tbs. butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
¼ cup butter, melted

For the Stuffing
2lbs. sausage
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped onions
½ cup butter
4 bouillon cubes
1 ½ tbs. poultry seasoning
8 cups cornbread, cubed
3 cups granny smith apples, diced
3 eggs
1 to 2 cups chicken stock
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium bowl, stir together dry ingredients.
Add 1 tbs. butter to baking pan of choice and place in the oven for about 3 minutes, or until butter melts. Remove the pan from the oven and swirl the melted butter to coat the sides and bottom.
In another bowl, combine eggs, milk and melted butter. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Pour batter into hot skillet or pan and bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In large pan over medium-high heat, brown sausage with a wooden spoon to break it up. Cook until sausage is no
longer pink. Drain the meat, reserving the juices and set aside.Melt butter in large pan over medium-high heat. Sauté carrots, celery and onion until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add bouillon cubes and poultry seasoning to the mixture and stir to combine. Add apples, stirring for about a minute. Once combined, add the browned pork and stir until combined.In a large bowl, add bread cubes, and sausage mixture and stir to combine. In a small bowl, beat three eggs lightly, pour over bread mixture and stir to combine. Add chicken stock and toss lightly to combine. Place stuffing in a covered casserole dish and bake for one hour. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Pecan Coconut Yams

Pecan-Coconut Yams

Not your grandma’s yam recipe, these pecan and coconut decked spuds will please sophisticated palates and sweet-toothed eaters alike.


2 29oz cans yams, drained
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup pecans, chopped
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In baking dish, add yams and mash them with a handheld masher. In a separate bowl, combine brown sugar, coconut and pecans. Pour melted butter over pecan-coconut mixture and stir to combine. Spread mixture evenly over the yams. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until top is golden brown and bubbly. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Turkey Brine

Turkey Brine

Give your ordinary T-Day bird an upgrade with this flavorful, moist turkey brine.


1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup kosher salt
½ cup brown sugar,
½ navel orange zest
10-12 allspice berries, whole
½ tbs. whole peppercorns
2-3 bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
5-6 whole thyme stems
64 oz vegetable broth
64 oz ice water
1 whole turkey (10-12 lbs.)
1 large turkey bag

In a large stockpot, add apple cider vinegar. Whisk in brown sugar and kosher salt until it begins to dissolve. Add the next 6 ingredients along with the vegetable stock and stir to combine. Place whole turkey (giblets and neck removed) in the bottom of the turkey bag and pour the brine mixture in the bag. Add the water, close the bag and place the turkey in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.

Note: Placing the bag in the bottom of a roasting pan or in an empty crisper in your fridge will ensure any spills can be easily cleaned up.

To roast the turkey:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the turkey from the bag and discard the brining solution. Dry the outside of the turkey thoroughly with a paper towel. Place any desired aromatics in the cavity of the turkey and place in a roasting pan. Place the turkey in the oven,
covering with aluminum foil once the skin has browned if necessary. Cooking times will vary depending on the weight of your turkey; allow yourself 15-20 minutes per pound. Once the inner thigh of the turkey has reached 165 degrees, remove turkey from the oven and allow it to rest for several minutes before carving.

Maple Pecan Pie Maple Pecan Pie

End things on a nutty note with this decadent maple pecan pie.


For the Crust:
8 oz unsalted butter,
cubed and well-chilled
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
6-8 tsp. ice water

For Filling:
3 eggs
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup maple syrup
2 tbs. butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tbs. cornstarch
1 ½ cups pecans, halved and coarsely chopped

To Prepare Crust:
Add flour, salt, sugar and butter to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Alternately, you can cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or two forks.

Add the flour and butter mixture to a bowl. Begin adding cold water and mix together until the mixture begins to hold together like dough. Shape dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest and chill for 15 minutes. Once chilled, remove dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough out in an even circle and place over a pie plate. Trim and flute edges and place in the fridge again for 15 minutes.

While the pie crust is resting, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Once crust has rested, remove from the refrigerator, add beans or pie weights and blind bake for 10-12 minutes or just until the crust begins to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Meanwhile, increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

For the Filling:
Crack eggs into a large bowl and beat lightly with a wire whisk. Add brown sugar and whisk until incorporated. Add the maple syrup, butter, vanilla extract and cornstarch and stir until well combined. Place the pecan pieces in the bottom of the pie shell and pour the filling over top, being careful not to over-fill the crust.

Place in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the pie is set (the center will still be a bit loose). Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve a la mode with creamy vanilla ice cream or keep it simple with a dollop of whipped cream.

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