Janet's Notebook
Celebrate Thanksgiving With Tasty Appetizers and Delicious Desserts

Mom's Special Pumpkin Pie

Last week I wrote about turkey and side dish recipes for your Thanksgiving menu. In case you missed it, read the post here. This week, I wanted to talk about two other necessities to the meal - appetizers and dessert. They start and end the day so make sure to serve memorable ones.

"These are always a great hit at parties and a wonderful way to get people who don't normally love spinach to eat it," says Roz Wenrich of her Eat Your Heart Out Popeye's Spinach Balls. "A walk around party hors d'oeuvre that can be made ahead of time to leave the hostess with more time the day of the party."

On a busy holiday, I love anything that can be prepared ahead of time. Quite delicious and easy to prepare, these are a great little appetizer. They're warm, chewy and crisp on the bottom. It's a yummy way to eat your veggies. Popeye would love these.

Baked brie is always a delicious appetizer option. Suzanne Larsen's Baked Brie Appetizer is a little different. She uses pizza crust rather than crescent dough or puff pastry. It makes this baked brie a bit more rustic.

Suzanne shared, "It went over gangbusters at a ladies' lunch at my house." It will at your Thanksgiving dinner too. In the Test Kitchen, we added the Grand Mariner to the apricot preserves and it was a great topping. The preserves are sweet and you taste a hint of the orange liquor and pair delightfully with the creamy brie.

When dessert time rolls around, on Thanksgiving I always serve a pumpkin pie. A favorite is Lucille Hoerle's (Summit, NY) Mom's Special Pumpkin Pie. This creamy pumpkin pie recipe is very easy and will not disappoint anyone during the holiday season.

"I have made this pie over the years and even those that do not care for pumpkin pie love this since it is spicy and not too pumpkiny," explains Lucille. It's a simple old-fashioned recipe full of pumpkin spices without being overpowering. Top with a little whipped cream... yummy.

If apple pie is a favorite, try Mary Louise's (Marshfield, WI) Apple Pie - The Best Apple Pie. "I love eating pie and I love baking pies," says Mary Louise. "When I bake a pie I believe that it starts with a good pie crust." The crust in this apple recipe is flaky and delicious thanks to the addition of lard.

I especially like how three types of apples are used. Mary Louise uses Granny Smith, Macintosh, and Cortland apples. The combination adds a sweet and tart taste to the filling and enhances the overall yumminess of the pie. Top with a scoop of ice cream and you have a scrumptious dessert.

Cranberries are a classic Thanksgiving flavor and Deb Justus' (The Villages, FL) Cranberry Cake with Warm Butterscotch Sauce will be spectacular on your holiday table. "I remember my mom making this cake when I was a little girl back in the 50's," reminisces Deb. "There's very little sugar in the batter and the cranberries make it very, very tart." The cranberries definitely give this cake a bit of tartness.

But, the magic happens when you pour the delicious butterscotch sauce on top. It is buttery, sweet and oh so good. Like Deb says, "Don't skimp though because the cake absorbs all that yummy, sticky sauce and the more you eat the more you'll want!"

If you're looking for a tasty start to your holiday meal or a sweet ending, definitely try one of these recipes. You can find more recipes in our Thanksgiving Table collection. It's full of classic and new favorites everyone will be thankful for. Happy Pinching!

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