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Holiday Traditions

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on November 21, 2011


Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. Maybe it’s because I was born on Thanksgiving Day, and my mother said she got me on a platter instead of a turkey. That notion tickled me. Regardless, the traditional meal appeals to me as does the sentiment. This special day of giving thanks for what we have applies to everyone. Sometimes we get so lost in our own worlds that we forget to pause and be grateful for the good things that come our way. It’s a day for families to get together and share some intimacy before the hectic rush of Christmas, Hanukah, and New Year’s.


Starting the day before, I’ll prepare a menu of comfort foods: roasted turkey with gravy, mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows, cheesy broccoli or spinach casserole, and cranberry sauce. Our kids nix the stuffing, so I don’t bother to make it anymore. My husband and I don’t need the extra calories. Usually I’ll buy a pumpkin pie. These days, our gatherings are small as our extended family only meets for religious holidays. But this is fine. We can watch movies on TV during the afternoon or just hang out and relax.

turkey dinner

Here’s my menu. Please feel free to share your favorite recipes here, too!


1 whole bone-in turkey breast (6-7 pounds)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp dry mustard
1 Tbsp rosemary
1 Tbsp sage
1 tsp thyme
¾ cup dry white wine

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place the turkey breast in a roasting pan, skin side up. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, mustard, rosemary, sage and thyme. Rub over turkey. Pour the wine into the bottom of the pan. Roast uncovered for 1-1/2 hours or longer until meat thermometer registers 165 degrees in thickest part of breast. Cover breast with foil if overbrowning during cooking time. When done, cover with foil and allow to cool for fifteen minutes or so then carve into slices. Reserve pan juices for gravy. Serves 6 to 8.


(2) 40-ounce cans sweet potatoes or yams
1 bag mini marshmallows
½ cup light corn syrup
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain and mash potatoes. Stir in melted butter and corn syrup. Put into greased baking dish. Sprinkle marshmallows on top and bake until marshmallows are browned and bubbly. Option: Add a 20 ounce can of drained crushed pineapple to potato mixture. For a larger crowd, add extra cans of yams. Serves 8-10.


2 10-oz packages frozen chopped spinach
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 cups sour cream
2 4-1/2-oz jars sliced mushrooms
½ tsp curry powder
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook spinach according to package instructions. Drain liquid. In a bowl, mix spinach and remaining ingredients. Put into a 2-1/2 quart greased casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Serves 6.


8 Responses to “Holiday Traditions”

  1. Mare F said

    Nancy, I’m adding your spinach casserole to my menu. This must be the reason I’m not done with my Thanksgiving marketing.

  2. Fresh nutmeg makes the difference. It’s so wonderfully fragrant. After we saw nutmeg growing on trees all over Grenada, I’m sold on the fresh product.

  3. I always use fresh nutmeg with a grinder. Yup, this spinach casserole sounds yummy!

  4. So do I, Mary. I love my little grater.

  5. Jeanne Meeks - said

    Yum! Can you come to my house to cook?

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