Easy Recipes for Thanksgiving Dinner & Dessert

This week we have more Thanksgiving recipes for you, from appetizer to dessert.

If you have a favorite recipe, send it in! Recipes, with photo (and a short story/history), if available, can be submitted to ads@thedrummer.com.


Cheese-Stuffed Dates with Prosciutto


Level: Easy

Total: 8 min

Prep: 8 min

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


1/4 c. (2 oz.) goat cheese, at room temp.

1/4 c. (2 oz.) mascarpone cheese, a room temp.

1/4 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

16 Medjool dates (12 oz.), pitted

8 thin slices prosciutto, halved lengthwise


In a small bowl, mix together the cheeses and basil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Gently pull the dates apart and stuff with about 1/2 teaspoon of the cheese mixture. Close the dates around the filling. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around each date and secure with a toothpick.

Arrange the stuffed dates on a platter and serve.


Roast Turkey Breast with Gravy


Level: Easy

Total: 2 hr 55 min

Active: 20 min

Yield: 6 servings


1 (6 lb.) fresh turkey breast, on the bone, patted dry

2 T. unsalted butter, softened

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

1 stalk celery, cut into 2” pcs.

1 sm. carrot, peeled & cut into 2” pcs.

2 sm. onions, peeled & quartered

3 c. turkey or chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium store-bought

1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Rub the turkey all over with the butter, including the cavity of the breast. Season generously with salt and pepper. Scatter the vegetables on the bottom of a roasting pan just large enough to hold the turkey. Set the turkey breast-side up in the pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast registers 160 degrees F, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and tent loosely with foil for 30 minutes. (The breast temperature will continue to rise to 170 degrees F as it rests.) 

Pour any pan drippings into a fat separator or small bowl. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the fat; discard the rest or the fat. Add the pan juices to the broth. Add the reserved fat to the roasting pan and place on a burner over medium-high heat. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in the broth and continue to stir. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. Strain the gravy, discarding the vegetables, and season with salt and pepper to taste.


Potatoes au Gratin with Chives and Gruyère


Yields: 6 - 8 servings

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 1 hour 5 mins

Total Time: 1 hour 25 mins


Salted butter, for the dish

1-1/3 c. heavy cream

1/3 c. whole milk

2 T. all-purpose flour

1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Black pepper, to taste

2-1/2 lb. Russet potatoes (about 4), peeled & cut into 1/4” pcs.

1 bunch scallions, trimmed & thinly sliced

1/3 c. roughly chopped fresh chives, plus more for topping

1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme

1-1/2 c. grated gruyère cheese


Preheat the oven to 400°. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish. Whisk the heavy cream, milk, flour, salt and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl until the flour is incorporated. Add the potatoes, scallions, chives and thyme and stir. Pour into the baking dish and press the potatoes down until they are mostly submerged in the cream.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the potatoes are tender and the sauce has reduced and clings to the potatoes, about 20 minutes more. Sprinkle on the gruyère and continue baking until the cheese is browned and bubbly, 5 to 7 more minutes. Top with more chives.


Brioche-Pear Stuffing With Italian Sausage and Almonds


Level: Easy

Total: 1 hr 25 min

Prep: 10 min

Cook: 1 hr 15 min


Brioche bread

1 stick plus 2 T. unsalted butter

2 c. chopped onions, leeks or scallions

2 c. diced celery

1 T. minced fresh sage

1 T. minced fresh thyme

Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

3 c. low-sodium chicken or turkey broth

2 lg. eggs

1/4 c. chopped parsley

Pears, cut into small chunks & sauteed in butter

1 lb. Italian sausage, cooked & crumbled

1 c. roughly chopped almonds


Chop the brioche bread into 1/2-inch cubes to make 16 cups. Stale bread works best for stuffing-if yours is fresh, spread out the cubes on baking sheet and dry in a 300 degrees F oven, 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat 1 stick butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, sage, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth; bring to a simmer and remove from the heat.

Beat the eggs and parsley in a large bowl; stir in the bread cubes, the vegetable-broth mixture, the prepared pears, sausage and almonds.

Transfer the mixture to a buttered 3-to-4-quart baking dish and dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees F, 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden, about 20 more minutes.


Dump-and-Bake Corn Casserole


Level: Easy

Total: 1 hr 30 min

Active: 10 min

Yield: 8 to 10 servings


Nonstick cooking spray, for the baking dish

1 (15.25 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained

1 (14.75 oz.) can cream-style corn

One 8 oz. package corn muffin mix, such as Jiffy

1 c. sour cream

4 T. unsalted butter, melted

6 oz. smoked ham, diced

4 scallions, chopped, plus more for garnish

1-1/2 c. freshly grated sharp Cheddar


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch square baking dish with nonstick spray.

Stir together the whole-kernel corn, cream-style corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream and butter in a large bowl. Stir in the ham and scallions until just combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake until golden brown, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Sprinkle evenly with the Cheddar and continue to bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with scallions before serving.


Maple-Baked Sweet Potatoes


Active: 20 mins

Total: 1 hr

Yield: 6 servings


4 med. sweet potatoes (3 lbs.), peeled & sliced 1-1/2” thick

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

3 T. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2” pcs.

1/3 c. pure maple syrup

1/3 c. water


Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large saucepan, cover the sweet potato slices with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well.

Arrange the sweet potatoes in a large gratin dish. Season with the salt and pepper, then dot with the butter pieces. Drizzle the maple syrup over the sweet potatoes, sprinkle with the water and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the sweet potatoes over and bake for about 25 minutes longer, until they’re tender and lightly browned. If necessary, broil the sweet potatoes for a minute or two before serving.


Perfect Cranberry Sauce


Level: Easy

Total: 37 min

Prep: 15 min

Cook: 22 min


Empty a 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries into a saucepan and transfer 1/2 cup to a small bowl. Add 1 cup sugar, 1 strip orange or lemon zest and 2 tablespoons water to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the reserved cranberries. Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste and cool to room temperature before serving.


Pecan Squares


Level: Easy

Total: 55 min

Prep: 10 min

Cook: 45 min

Yield: 20 large squares


1-1/4 lbs. unsalted butter, room temp.

3/4 c. granulated sugar

3 extra-large eggs

3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

4-1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt



1 lb. unsalted butter

1 c. good honey

3 c. light brown sugar, packed

1 tsp. grated lemon zest

1 tsp. grated orange zest

1/4 c. heavy cream

2 lbs. pecans, coarsely chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, beat the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 18 by 12 by 1-inch baking sheet, making an edge around the outside. It will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.

For the topping, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, and zests in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the heavy cream and pecans. Pour over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Cut into bars and serve.


Quote of the Week:

“Give thanks not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day of your life. Appreciate and never take for granted all that you have.”  

~ Catherine Pulsifer 



The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313


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