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All the right stuff for a Thansgiving meal

Thanksgiving is a day full of traditions that I cherish. From the traditional turkey menu, the gathering of family and friends joining together and giving thanks for all of life’s many blessings, to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I love it all. This week I am sharing a wonderful make ahead recipe for mashed potatoes, tasty gravy and Pumpkin Cheesecake. May your Thanksgiving celebration be a day full of joy, love and happiness!!!

Turkey Gravy

2 (1.2-ounce) packages turkey gravy mix

2 cups water

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups turkey pan drippings

Salt and pepper to taste

Place the turkey gravy mix and flour into a saucepan and gradually whisk in water, then turkey drippings until the mixture is smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and simmer the gravy until thickened; about 10 minutes.


Mashed Potatoes

You can make these ahead a day or two and store in the fridge. If baking cold, let stand at least 30 minutes.

Serving size: 12

5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed

2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese

8 ounces sour cream

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons onion salt

Ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place potatoes in a large pot of lightly salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash. In a large bowl, mix mashed potatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, milk, onion salt and pepper. Transfer to a large casserole dish. Cover and bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Serving size: 12

1 1/2 cups Graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, melted


24 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 can pumpkin

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

5 ounces evaporated milk

2 eggs


2 cups sour cream

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Additional ground cinnamon

In a bowl, combine crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 1/2 inches up the sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for five to seven minutes or until set. Cool for 10 minutes. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth. Add the pumpkin, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg; mix well. Gradually beat in milk and eggs just until blended. Pour into crust. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until center is almost set. Combine the sour cream, sugar and vanilla; spread over filling. Bake five minutes longer. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool for one hour longer. Chill overnight. Remove sides of pan; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before slicing. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Refrigerate leftovers.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Joy and happiness is not in things, it is in us.

GARY’S TIP: To keep marshmallows from drying out, store in the freezer. Also makes cutting them easier without the shears getting stuck.