Updated: Nov 23, 2019
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday since I was a little girl but Thanksgiving is a very close rival these days. I love hosting Thanksgiving and cooking for my family. Feeding the people I love delicious food that I made warms my heart and gives me a lot of fulfillment.
I make a lot of the same recipes but these 3 I'm going to share with you are my absolute favorites! They each have a special story behind them that I'll share before each recipe if you're interested in reading.
WHIPPED JELLO SALAD
This recipe I actually started making when I was a teenager. It is a version of the icing for a cake I used to make and I made it into it's own little treat. My boyfriend, now husband, was obsessed with it and still asks for it to this day. I haven't made it in quite a few years but I dusted off my recipe book and pulled out this oldie but goodie to share!
1 large container of Cool Whip -- softened
1 packet of flavored jello (my favorite is raspberry)
1 can of fruit cocktail (I like the tropical one) -- drained
1 small container of mandarine oranges -- drained
1/4 cup of slivered almonds
1. In a large mixing bowl, empty the container of softened cool whip and sprinkle the dry jello over it. Stir until combined completely.
2. Stir in the very well drained fruit cocktail, mandarine oranges and almond slivers until combined.
3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hr to allow it to stiffen.
MAMA'S PECAN PIE
There are A LOT of bad pecan pie recipes out there and I will swear by this pecan pie until the day I die. I've been making this recipe for at least 10 years and it has always turned out beautifully. There was actually a time where my husband and I went through a baking spree trying to find the perfect pecan pie recipe. We made probably dozens of pies. Some of them were soupy because the inside didn't set properly, some even came out grey, yes grey, on the inside. THEN we found Mama's Pecan Pie recipe and I won't even try another recipe.
It. Is. Perfection.
16 oz. pecans 2 sticks margarine 16 oz. package light brown sugar 1 heaping tablespoon (serving tablespoon, not measuring spoon) self-rising flour 16 oz. bottle light corn syrup 1 tablespoon (serving tablespoon, not measuring spoon) imitation vanilla 6 eggs 3 regular size (not deep dish) frozen pie crusts --this is the only thing I do differently I make this recipe into 2 deep dish pies!
1. Melt margarine in the microwave for about 2 minutes or until melted and set aside.
2. Prepare your pecans. Remove any unwanted brown pieces from the pecan crevices and shake out pecan crumbs in a colander.
3. Place brown sugar in a large bowl. Work out any lumps with the back of a spoon. If the brown sugar is too hard, you can loosen it up in the microwave. Heat it for a few seconds and it will be fine.
4. Add a heaping serving tablespoon of self-rising flour and stir until the flour disappears into the brown sugar.
5. Add a bottle of light corn syrup. Then add 1 serving tablespoon of vanilla and stir until thoroughly combined.
6. Add melted margarine. Fold carefully into the mixture so it doesn’t splatter. Fold until the margarine is thoroughly worked in and disappears.
7. In a separate bowl, crack open six eggs. Remove the “roosters” and loosely beat the eggs with your spoon. (Roosters are the white "boogers" sometimes attached to the yolk)
8. Fold the eggs into the pie mixture until they disappear.
9. Add pecans and stir until completely coated.
10. Remove the pie shells from the freezer at this point and check for cracks. If you do have a crack, thaw and knead the crack together and refreeze.
11. Pour the mixture evenly into the three shells (or two). You’ll probably have a little bit leftover in the bowl. Tap tops with a spoon to check consistency and make sure there is the same amount in each pie. Redistribute pecans if necessary to make equal.
12. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour at 350. Cook pies until they swell and then fall. At that point they are done.
13. Remove and cool for about three hours. Store on the counter or in the refrigerator depending on how you like your pie.
PREPARE TO ENJOY THIS LIFE CHANGING PIE!
GRANDMA'S CHEESE BALL
I really don't know quite how long this recipe has been around but I know it has been for at least 30 years, but probably more. My grandma has made this cheese ball every holiday season for my entire life. It is my cousin and my favorite recipe. However, I have only known the recipe for the past few years because my grandma would never give it up until she passed away and left it to my cousin and myself. Now, I make it every Thanksgiving and every Christmas. This is a recipe that I have never shared with anyone before so you guys are the lucky few who have ever laid eyes on it. I hope you make it and enjoy as much as I have growing up and to this day.
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese -- softened to room temp
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple -- well drained
1/2 C chopped red bell pepper
1/2 C chopped green onions
1 teaspoon seasoned salt (Lawry's)
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (or more than 1 1/2 cups)
1. In a medium mixing bowl, whip cream cheese until smooth. Gently stir in pineapple, green pepper, green onions, seasonings and 1/2 cup pecans.
2. Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a ball.
3. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Before serving, roll cheese ball in remaining nuts and pat the nuts firmly into the roll.
4. Serve with crackers.
Thank you for taking the time to read about these recipes and why they are my favorites. Remembering the stories behind them makes me so reminiscent and brings me a new appreciation for them. They are near and dear to my heart and if you try any of them out, please tag me on instagram @olivegreyavenue. I would love to hear what you think about them!