March 20 • 07:59 AM

From the Times' tables

Tri-City Times' staff say 'Happy Thanksgiving' with their favorite recipes

November 26, 2008
So what's cookin' in the kitchens of the Tri-City Times' staff?

Plenty, depending on how you look at it. We've got a saying around here that you can leave $20 bucks on the table in the coffee room and it'll still be there the next day, but all bets are off when it comes to food. Life expectancy of a plate of cookies? Five minutes. Loaf of banana bread? Ten. Leftover nachos? Blueberry pies? Don't know because they've never lasted long enough to actually clock it.

And as you'd imagine there are plenty of eclectic tastes in this conglomeration of people here—it might surprise you what a diverse group we are.

For starters, there's a hunter, a gourmet cook, a musician, a golf nut and a masterful gardener—those are the men.

As for the ladies, we have a nature photographer/master gardener, a tournament winning, crack shot pool player, a shaky handed poet, a cat loving and very proud grandma of two, a home remodeler/furniture builder, a bilingual interior decorator/force of nature, a community historian, an artist who teaches painting, dance and cheer coaches/board members, wives and moms.

So here's what's cookin' this Thanksgiving in the wide variety of wild kitchens this wacky bunch has to offer:

Randy's Morning Starter

1/2 box of Wheaties in mixing bowl

3 tsp. sugar

Pour cold milk (key ingredient is cold, Vitamin D milk) over all.

Use soup spoon; pour a cup of strong black coffee; eat in easy chair, feet up, and watch Sunday Morning on CBS.

—Randy Jorgensen, General Manager

Holiday Yams

6 large yams

1 stick butter

4 oz. evaporated milk

salt and pepper

1/2 cup walnuts, broken

1/2 bag miniature marshmallows

Prick yams with a fork and bake at 3500 until done.

Cool so you can pull off skins.

Cut up into a 9 x 12 glass casserole dish. Cut up the stick of butter into them, pour milk over. Only slightly mash with a fork to mix in the butter, milk, salt and pepper. Just before serving sprinkle with the walnuts, cover with the marshmallows and bake at 4000 until the top is slightly browned.

—Louise Woodley, front desk

Corn Casserole

1/2 cup margarine, melted

1-15 oz. can whole kernel corn, drained

1-14.75 oz. can creamed corn

1-8.5 oz. pkg. dry corn bread mix

Preheat oven to 3500. In a large bowl combine melted margarine, corn, creamed corn and corn bread mix. Transfer to a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until center is set and top is light golden brown. Let set five minutes before serving.

—Linda Wolgast, proofreader/jack of all trades

Cranberry Squares

1 can cranberry sauce

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup walnuts

Heat oven to 3500. Combine oats, flour, brown sugar and walnuts. Cut in butter. Cover 8 x 8 pan with 1/2 mixture, top with cranberries. Add remaining mixture and bake 45 minutes. Top with whipped topping or ice cream.

—Tom Kinzer, ad sales representative

Ham with Hot Fruit

Ham, prepared

1 large can peaches

1 large can pears

1 large can apricot halves

2-3 orange slices

1 tbl. orange rind

Drain peaches and pears, reserve apricot juice and combine with 2 tbl. cornstarch, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 c. light corn syrup and orange rind.

Cook mixture until clear and thick, stirring constantly. Add 2 tbl. butter, 2 tbl. lemon juice and one cinnamon stick.

Pour over fruit and bake at 3250 for 30 minutes or cook on low in crockpot for 3-4 hours. Serve with sliced ham.

This is my brother Jeff's favorite holiday dish made by our mom, Sharon Mulder.

—Maria Brown, assistant editor

Popcorn Cake

4 qts. popped popcorn

1 lb. gumdrop candies

1/2 lb. peanuts

1 lb. marshmallows

1 stick oleo

Mix popcorn, gumdrops, peanuts. Add marshmallows and oleo which have been previously melted. Put in an oiled angel food pan, press well. Refrigerate 24 hours.

—Rosie Ruby, front desk

Easy Oreo Truffles

1 pkg. (1 lb 2 oz) Oreo chocolate sandwich cookies, finely crushed, divided

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

2 pkgs. (8 squars each) semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted

Mix three cups of the cookie crumbs and the cream cheese until well blended. Shape into 42 one-inch balls.

Dip balls in melted chocolate; place on wax paper-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.

Refrigerate one hour or until firm. Store any leftover truffles in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

Rita Freidinger, printer

Stuffed Endive

Seasoned croutons, 1 box

green olives (with pits), 3 tall bottles

Black olives, 3 cans

Anchovies, 4 1/2 tins


Mushrooms (canned bits and pieces) 4 cans

8 to 10 endives (depending on how big they are.)

Olive oil


Parboil endive. Cut up olives (leave out pits), anchovies, parsley, canned mushrooms. Add croutons and enough olive oil to moisten. Can also add the oil from the anchovies.

As you notice, the amount of ingredients added is not listed. My mom doesn't measure so sometimes she has too much stuffing. (This is not a bummer because it is excellent fried in a little olive oil all on its own).

Take the endive leaves and fill with the above mixture. Roll the leaves up and tie the endive.

Heat oil and garlic in a frying pan, add the endive and steam until heated through.

Note: This item was made by Nonni Minolli at Thanksgiving.

—Catherine Minolli, Editor

Pumpkin Cake

2 c. sugar

1 c. vegetable oil

2 c pumpkin

2 tsp. baking soda

4 eggs

2 c. sifted flour

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

handful of chopped nuts

Mix sugar and eggs together, pour in oil, mix on medium speed until no trace of oil (success of cake). Add flour and spices, add pumpkin, beat at slower speed.

Pour into a greased angel food pan. Bake at 3500 for 35-40 mins.


1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese, room temp.

1 stick butter, softened

2 tsp. vanilla

1 lb. powdered sugar

—Sally Cornell, ad sales representative

Napoleon Cremes

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg slightly beaten

2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs

1 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup butter

3 tbsp. milk

1 (3-3/4 oz.) pkg. vanilla instant pudding mix

2 cups sifted confectioners sugar

1 - 6 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate morsels

2 tbsp. butter

Combine first 4 ingredients in top part of double boiler. Cook over simmering water until butter melts. Stir in egg. Continue cooking and stirring, until mixture is thick, about 3 minutes. Blend in crumbs and coconut. Press into 9'' square pan.

Cream 1/2 cup butter well. Stir in milk, pudding mix and sugar. Beat until fluffy. Spread evenly over crust. Chill until firm.

Melt chocolate and the butter over simmering water in the top of a double boiler. Cool. Spread over pudding layer. Chill. Cut in 2x3/4'' bars. Makes about 44 candies.

This recipe is a Cowell family favorite from Cathy Cowell's mother-in-law.

—Cathy Cowell, production department

Easy Sausage Dressing

2 Pkgs "Stove Top" Stuffing Mix

1 lb. Spicy/Zesty/Hot Ground Pork Sausage

8-oz mushrooms quartered or halved

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced green apples

1 cup diced onions

½ cup finely diced carrots

½ cup diced water chestnuts

½ dried cranberries

1-2 teaspoon poultry seasoning

salt-pepper to taste

1 stick of butter

Prepare stuffing according to directions. Brown sausage in large skillet, remove and drain. Add ½ stick of butter to sausage drippings and give all vegetables a quick sauté, season with poultry seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Combine cooked sausage, stuffing mix, sautéed vegetables and cranberries and pour into a 13x9 lightly greased pan. Divide ½ stick of butter evenly and dot top of stuffing. Bake uncovered 30-45 minutes in a 3500 oven. (If you prefer a moister stuffing chicken stock can be added and cover while cooking). Vegetables can be altered to meet individual taste.

This is always a big hit at "hunting camp" and for the past decade it's been a tradition at Delores Heims' Thanksgiving dinner.

—Tom Campbell, Editor, Wood-N-Water News

Quick Candied Yams

1 can (40 oz) yams

1/2 cup of the liquid from yams

1/4 stick of margarine or butter

1/2 cup light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 3500. Drain yams, reserve 1/2 cup of liquid. Discard the rest. Put yams into a small casserole dish.

In sauce pan, bring 1/2 cup of yam liquid, margarine or butter and light brown sugar to a boil. Reduce heat.

Stir about one minute, until slightly thickened.

Pour onto yams in casserole dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover. Bake for 30 minutes at 3500.

—Jeni Wood, Creative Services

Bacon Twice-Baked Potatoes

2 med. baking potatoes

2 tbsp. butter

1/4 cup 2% milk

1 bacon strip, cooked and crumbled

1 tbsp. finely chopped onion

1 tsp. snipped chives

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dash pepper

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Bake potatoes at 3750 for 1 hour or until tender. When cool enough to handle, cut a thin slice off the top of each potato and discard. Scoop out pulp, leaving a thin shell.

In a small bowl, mash the pulp with butter. Stir in the milk, bacon, onion, chives, salt, pepper and 1/3 cup cheese. Spoon into potato shells. Top with remaining cheese.

Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 3750 for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted. Yield: 2 servings.

—Susie Hyde, Director of Creative

Services, computer systems guru

Mini Pepperoni Pizzas

3 1/2 oz pepperoni, quartered

1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded

1 tomato chopped

1 sm. onion chopped

1 tsp dried basil

2-10 oz. tubes refrigerated biscuits

Heat oven to 3500. In bowl combine all ingredients except biscuits. Cut biscuits in half and place each half into greased mini-muffin cups, pressing gently to fit cups. Spoon 1 tbsp. filling into each. Bake 20-25 mins.

Note: The biscuits will fit better if you squish them flat first.

—Kevin Kissane, Sports Editor

Cinnamon Rolls

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and let stand for about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the yeast with 3/4 cup warm water, 1/4 cup white sugar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1egg, 2 1/2 cups flour and stir well.

When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (about 8 minutes).

Roll dough out on a highly floured surface. Smear the dough with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or let rise at room temperature. Preheat oven to 4000 and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

—Tom Wearing, reporter

For more favorite recipes from the Tri-City Times staff kitchens, visit our Web site at

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