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In A Last-Minute Panic About Thanksgiving Dinner?

   By: Susan Dunn

Well, the big day is almost here! I just received an article through my list saying you should've had it all planned out 10 days before, and that's past, of course, so – as a former giver of events, and a long-time hostess, chef and bottle-washer for the Thanksgiving Feast, let me help you out!

Be completely traditional. Having just attended several early Feasts at offices I visit, let me assure you, there's nothing like it. Yes, that deep-fried turkey is great (so I'm told), and some Emeril creation is designer-impressive, but what people love is the same old traditional things, so here goes.

1. Get a frozen Butterball. You can't beat it. Extensive directions on the label, and also on their website. Everyone wants to help you with your turkey!

2. Stuffing – well, in the south it will be cornbread, and in the north, white bread, but Pepperidge Farm sells them both in packets to which you add chicken broth (buy it in a can, or like I just did – in a box, free range chicken and fat free) . Start by sautéing 1 medium onion and 2 stalks of celery, cubed, in about 2 T. of butter. Then follow the directions on the bad, and add to the sautéed veggies. Add pecans or walnuts if you like, at the end, water chestnuts, whatever strikes your fancy. Raisins I've seen! (Plenty of recipes on the Internet.)

3. Mashed potatoes. With that great turkey gravy you can even get by with mashed potato flakes. I saw a woman in the office break room the other day mixing it up right there with nothing but a microwave, and they were great.

4. That green bean casserole. All it takes is opening cans – a can of mushroom sauce, a can of those French onion rings.

5. The pies? Many people buy them frozen, or from Marie Callenders or a caterer, but I encourage you to make your own. It's a real treat. Pie crust is the easiest thing in the world if you use more shortening than is required, and make the 2-pie crust recipe for just one. Then you don't have to worry about making the crust on the edges nice and high. Get a can of pumpkin pie mix with the evaporated milk. Grocery stores now batch these items so you don't have to hunt. For the crust, use the extra dough. Roll it out again and use a cookie cutter to cut out some shapes and place them on top – I use fall leaves!

6. Buy two pints of whipping cream and make your own. Makes all the difference. Recipe on carton. All you need is an electric mixer. Use vanilla in it, nothing else. Far, far better than cool whip.

And now, my two favorite recipes for the sweet potatoes, or yams as they're called in the south.


Bake 3 large yams in the oven at 350 till tender. Test with a knife. When it goes through without resistance, they're done.

Mash with 4 T. butter, ¾ C. brown sugar, and a dash of cinnamon. Put into a greased casserole. Put marshmallows all over the top. Put back in the oven at serving time until marshmallows are brown, and casserole is heated. You can add raisins and nuts if you like – about ½ cup of each should do it, but we like it plain.

And the piece de resistance (the best part) my Special Topping for Apple Pie. I should add that I fix pumpkin and mincemeat pies, but this apple pie is the one that everyone eats. Instead of putting regular crust on top sprinkle the following on top and bake the usual way.


1/3 cup butter
¾ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup sifted flour

Cream butter till soft, blend in brown sugar. Mix in flour till mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle these crumbs over the top of the apples.

p.s. If the gravy panics you, I'd don't recommend you buy the canned or packaged product. Rather shop around town for a caterer that sells it. It will be worth every cent. Likely it's frozen and you can stop by tonight. If you need help, give me a call – 210-496-0678.

And don't leave out the most important ingredient – the gratitude!

©Susan Dunn, MA, EQ coaching,, Individual coaching, business programs, EQ Alive! #1 rated program to increase your EQ – simple, no memorizing, it works. Email for information, and free ezine.

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