Happy Thanksgiving Week - Tuesday

It's Tuesday or "Day Two" of our Thanksgiving dinner preparations, and so far it is going great.  The goal here is to do whatever can be done to make Thursday a relaxing day.  If your family is like mine, they start showing up at the house on Wednesday, so I am trying to get everything I can do today.  

1.  Wash and iron linens.
2.   Make sure special dishes are ready.
3.  Make sure your final grocery list is complete ( I will make a late night run to avoid the crowds).
4.  Make Sweet Potato Casserole.....

Sweet Potato Casserole

8 to 10 Sweet Potatoes
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
1/2 Cup Butter
1 Can Evaporated Milk
1 + 1 Cups Brown Sugar
 2 + 2 Teaspoons Saigon Cinnamon
1 Teas. Vanilla
1 1/2 Cups Chopped Pecans

Peel and dice sweet potatoes into 2 inch chunks and place in a baking dish.  Sprinkle with olive oil and sea salt.  Bake at 350 degrees until the potatoes are fork tender.  Bring out of the oven and place in a large mixer bowl.  Add 1/4 cup of the butter, 1 cup of the brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, vanilla and evaporated milk.  Beat together mashing the potatoes and incorporating the ingredients together.  I personally like to leave some chunks whole in the mix to add a little "bite" to the casserole.

Spoon into a well buttered baking dish.  To make the topping, mix together 1/4 cups of softened butter, chopped pecans, the rest of the sugar and cinnamon.  Spread this mixture over the top of the mashed sweet potatoes.  Cover the dish with a lid or tin foil until Thursday.  

When you are ready to bake the casserole, heat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  Just before you take it out of the oven, sprinkle a couple of cups of mini-marshmallows over the dish and place under a low temp broiler to melt and slightly brown the mallows.  It takes just a few minutes, so watch them closely.

Serves 15 to 20 people.

The other task for today is to chop the onions, carrots, celery, and herbs for the turkey and stuffing.  I place them in separate containers and refrigerate until needed.  I love doing this ahead of time because it saves time, and my boys don't get realize they are doing little bits of Thanksgiving Day dishes every day...instead of all at once.  It's a "mom" mind game!

My family's favorite appetizer on Thanksgiving is the Cranberry Cheese Ball.  Again, it is super easy to make and tastes much better when it is made a few days ahead of time.  

Cranberry Cheese Ball

2 Packages of Cream Cheese, softened
1 Bunch of Chopped Green Onions
1 Package of Dried and Sweetened Cranberries
2 Cups of Sharp Grated Cheddar Cheese
2 Teaspoons of Worcestershire Sauce
3 Cups of Chopped Walnuts

In a mixer add all of the ingredients except for the chopped nuts.  Using a cookie paddle, mix together the ingredients until everything is incorporated together.  Using a spatula press the mixture into a ball....you may need to use your hands to form a good ball.  For today, place the naked cheese ball in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until Thursday.  Before serving, pour the chopped walnuts into a medium size bowl and roll the ball in the nuts, pressing the nuts into the surface of the ball.  Serve with crackers or crisp breads.

If you are serving a jello salad, today would be a good day to make it and get it in the fridge....mine is in there chilling till the big day.

Tomorrow is pie day!!!!!  I have a few of my grown-up kids coming to help...and I can't wait to spend time with them.  Get some sleep!

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