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It’s never too early to plan for holidays

Even though we are still in the middle of football season it’s time for me to start thinking about the holidays, specifically Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Now that I have married children, I have to start a little earlier to figure out who is going to be where on what day. Thanksgiving is always a little topsy-turvey at my house. For years we would eat lunch in Jackson with my parents at the University Club and then Matthew and David would head to the Egg Bowl. Then the Egg Bowl changed days, and we began having Thanksgiving with family friends. Last year Matthew and Lizzie headed to Kentucky for Thanksgiving and then headed to Oxford for the game while Emily and I headed to Dallas to celebrate with Holly and Parker.

This year’s plans are still being worked out, but I’m already pulling out recipes. These are two recipes that I’ve shared before, but I have to bring them back out. They are always on my list for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not only are they both delicious, but they are connected to my heart as most good recipes usually are.

This first recipe came to me before I was married. During high school, my best friend Michelle’s mom made this for Thanksgiving every year. Miss Becky, as I knew her, shared the recipe with me, and I’ve made it ever since. She always baked her own sweet potatoes and would probably have a fit if she knew I used canned, but it sure is easier.

 

Sweet potato casserole

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes

1 cup sugar

1/2 stick butter, melted

2 beaten eggs

1 cup shredded coconut

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix well all of these ingredients together and pour into a buttered 9-by-13 baking dish.Then mix together the following:

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

This mixture will be crumbly.Just spread it out over the potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes until casserole is heated through.

 

This next recipe was a staple on my mother-in-law’s table for every holiday gathering. The year they quit making the rolls of Kraft garlic cheese I almost had a stroke trying to figure out how to replace it. My daughter Holly and I finally had the ration of Velveeta and garlic powder worked out, and then we found a replacement in the grocery store. In the grocery section by the cheese is a roll of garlic cheese by the brand name Parker’s. It works perfectly in this recipe, and I keep a few in my freezer at all times.

Also, this recipe is great as a dinner casserole. I’ve added cooked rice and chopped chicken breast before baking and served with a salad for an easy dinner.

 

Broccoli casserole

1 large white onion, chopped

1/2 stick butter

3 boxes of frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and the extra moisture pressed out

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 package garlic cheese

1 small can of sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

Mix together everything except the almonds and bread crumbs, and pour into a buttered 9 by 13 baking dish. Sprinkle the almond and bread crumbs on top. Bake at 300 degrees until bubbly around the edges and heated through.

 

Christina Hall writes a weekly food column for The Democrat. She can be reached at christina.hall@natchezdemocrat.com.

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