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Posted Nov 19 2012 12:02pm

We all have our favorites at Thanksgiving.  I think my family has had the same menu for as long as I can remember.  When my husband joined the family we added macaroni and cheese for him.  Now it is a staple at the Thanksgiving meal.  I am hosting this year, and while the menu is close to the traditional, same foods, I am exchanging a few with some new recipes.  I cannot tell my mother this because it might just send her to the moon!  I think that at certain times a little change is good, and a new twist on an old favorite can be a good thing!

The first recipe is a fresher, lighter version of the old standard, Broccoli Rice Casserole, truly one of my favorites!  However, the frozen broccoli and Velveeta Cheese don't make the cut in this version!  I'm excited to try it this year.  This comes from a great site, Salad in a Jar.  The website is below.

Broccoli Rice Casserole (with no condensed soup!)

▪ 4 cups (10 ounces) fresh broccoli florets and stems, chopped (stems should be VERY finely chopped)
  ▪ Juice of ½ lemon
  ▪ ¼ cup chopped onions
  ▪ 1 clove garlic, minced
  ▪ 1 stalk celery, chopped
  ▪ 2 tablespoons butter
  ▪ ¾ cup minced mushrooms
  ▪ 1 tablespoon flour
  ▪ 12-ounce can 2% or regular evaporated milk
  ▪ ½ teaspoon salt
  ▪ ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
  ▪ 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (can use any cheese you like here, I like to use some smoked Provolone or Gouda if available)
  ▪ 1¼ cup cooked rice


1. Steam or microwave (about 3 minutes on HIGH) chopped broccoli and stems until tender but still bright green. Squeeze lemon over broccoli.

2. Melt butter in skillet. Add onions, garlic, celery and mushrooms and saute until softened. Stir in flour and cook about one minute to take away the raw flour taste. Whisk in milk and continue whisking until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1½ cup cheese and stir to melt.

3. [Microwave directions for Step 2] Add butter, onions, celery and mushrooms to 2 quart batter bowl. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes. Add flour to vegetables and stir. Whisk in milk and cook uncovered on HIGH for 6-7 minutes. Whisk after 4 minutes and once a minute thereafter to even out the cooking. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1½ cup cheese and stir to melt. Sauce will thicken more as it sits.

4. Combine broccoli, rice, and cheese sauce. Turn into 1½ quart greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F until bubbly.

 If this is going to be sitting for any length of time before baking, add at least ¼ cup of milk (maybe more) to make up for all the moisture the rice absorbs.

Amount Per Serving: 1 Cup 
 Calories 259;  Calories from Fat 114; Total Fat 12.7g; Saturated Fat 7.8g; 
Cholesterol 40mg; Sodium 324mg; Total Carbohydrates 25.7g; Dietary Fiber 1.4g; 
Sugars 4.4g

The next recipe is a Winter Citrus Salad from the November Cooking Light Double Issue.  Yes, I am still using it for recipes!   We normally had the old fashioned, very Southern Layered Salad that has tons of  mayonnaise, iceberg lettuce, bacon, english peas and water chestnuts.  It is not one of my favorites, and I thought the citrus, tanginess of this salad would be good with the Turkey and decadent sides we always have.  So, I am going to experiment with this salad this year and see how it goes.  
  • 6 cups torn escarole
  • 2 cups thinly sliced Belgian endive (about 2 heads)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced radicchio
  • 1 cup pink grapefruit sections
  • 1 cup navel orange sections
  • 3/4 cup blood orange sections
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • 2 tablespoons pistachios, toasted
  1. 1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Add grapefruit, orange, and blood orange sections; toss gently.
  2. 2. Combine the shallots and next 6 ingredients (through pepper) in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to coat. Divide salad evenly among 6 plates. Divide the pomegranate arils and toasted pistachios evenly among servings.
I'm also doing a different Beer Brined Roasted Turkey this year.  I'm stopping there at any  more changes.  I know when to stop  pushing my luck!

Here's to looking forward to a wonderful day of family, friends and feasting for you all! Do you all have the same menu every year?  Any new and different things this year for the Holdid
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