November 16, 2023 // Diocese

Homemade With Love for the Holidays

Thanksgiving is not only about giving thanks to God for all we have and all He does for us; it is also a time we spend with family enjoying food and fellowship. We at Today’s Catholic asked our readers to share a favorite recipe of their most loved Thanksgiving dish. We are so grateful for the numerous responses, and we hope you enjoy (and maybe try out) these wonderful recipes!


– Carolyn Helman


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup shortening such as Crisco

1/3 cup chilled butter

5 tbsp. cold water


Cut shortening into the flour to a grain like corn meal. A pastry knife is very good for this.

Cut butter into flour-shortening mixture coarsely, perhaps pea size lumps.

Sprinkle water onto mixture and knead to blend water into dough. Dough should just hold together in a tiny ball.

Divide dough into two equal balls. Place one ball between two sheets of wax paper then roll to size and shape of crust.

This recipe is for one 9-inch double crust pie and allows a generous lattice.


– Carolyn Helman


4 cups fresh or frozen gooseberries

1 tbsp. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp. quick cooking tapioca (heaping)

1 tbsp. butter


The berries should be picked at their prime, firm and only a few turned red. They should be cleaned. Remove stems and flower ends. They may be frozen and thawed just before use.

Mix sugar, cornstarch, and tapioca as dry ingredients. This reduces lumping. Add to berries and mix all together. Let sit while preparing the pie crust. Line 9-inch pie dish with one rolled crust, fill with berries, cover with second rolled crust. A lattice of half inch strips for the top crust is a nice touch and little additional effort is needed.

Cool before serving.

“We have had Gooseberry Pie for Thanksgiving and other special family dinners. It was a favorite pie of my husband. He liked it so well that he planted Gooseberry plants wherever we lived. But picking the berries is an act of love because of the thorns. We like to use the frozen berries because you do not need to cook the berries to soften them. Plus, a ready-made pie crust works great.”


– Jean Mettler


1 cup butter

2 cups chopped onion

2 cups chopped celery

2 8-oz. cans mushrooms, drained

12-13 cups dry bread cubes

1 tsp. poultry seasoning

1 ½ tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

3 ½ to 4 ½ cups turkey or chicken broth

2 beaten eggs


Melt butter in skillet; add onion, celery, and mushrooms. Sauté. Pour over bread cubes in large mixing bowl; add all seasoning and toss well. Pour broth over this; add eggs and mix well. Pack in crock pot. (Do not stir.) Cook on high 45 minutes and then low for 4-8 hours.


– Sandra La Violette


1 large can pumpkin

3 beaten eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup sugar

2 tsps. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. cloves

1/2 tsp. salt

1 pkg. yellow cake mix

1 ½ sticks oleo, melted

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts


Mix first seven ingredients well and pour into 9×13 greased pan. Sprinkle cake mix over top. Drizzle oleo over that. Sprinkle nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 ½ hours. Serve with whipped cream.


– Sharon Minick


9-inch cornflake crumb crust:

1 cup cornflake crumbs (easy to make your own)

2 tbsp. sugar

1/3 cup margarine or butter softened


Combine and put into bottom and up sides of 9-inch pie pan.



1 8-oz. pkg. regular cream cheese (not light or low fat) softened and then whipped

1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk (not light)

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 tsp. vanilla


Beat together first two ingredients. Add in lemon juice and vanilla. Pour into crust and chill in refrigerator. Top with chilled can of cherry pie filling (not light). Serve and enjoy.

“This recipe has been used in our family for 40+ years. It is requested frequently for birthdays or just because. One time, when camping with our camping group, we shared a pavilion with another camping group. We had made two of these pies; when it came time for dessert, folks were almost fighting in order to get a piece of Cherry-O-Cream Cheese Pie. The cornflake crumb crust really makes this pie.”


– Julie Strack


2 lb. stew meat

2 cups onions (chopped)

2 cups carrots

2 cups potatoes (chopped)

2 cups celery

1 small can mushrooms, drained

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. pepper

5 tbsp. tapioca

3 cups V-8 juice


Combine all ingredients and bake at 250 degrees for five hours.

“This was my mom’s recipe. She was a good cook. I’ve given it to many people.”


– Pearl Hinora


1 cup uncooked regular rice

1/4 cup canola oil

1 small onion finely chopped

1 tsp. salt

2 cups cold water


Brown rice and onion in oil. Add salt and water. Heat rice water to boiling. Stir once or twice. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. (Do not lift lid or stir.) Remove from heat. Let stand for 15 minutes and serve.


– Pearl Hinora


2 sticks butter softened

8-oz. cream cheese

2 cups flour

Apricot jelly


Mix butter, cream cheese, and flour by hand. Blend until it forms soft dough. Refrigerate until firm. Roll out on lightly floured surface to 1/8 in thickness. Cut into 3-inch squares. Spoon 1 tsp jelly in center of each square. Fold and place 1-inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush with beaten egg (Optional). Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle with powdered sugar (Optional).


– Phyllis Himschoot


3/4 cup brown sugar

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ginger

3 slightly beaten egg yolks

3/4 cup milk

1 ¼ cups canned or mashed cooked pumpkin

3 egg whites

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 9-inch Graham-cracker crust (regular pie crust works too)


In saucepan, combine brown sugar, gelatin, salt, and spices. Combine egg yolks and milk; stir into brown-sugar mixture. Cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in pumpkin. Chill until mixture mounds slightly when spooned. (Test every now and then – don’t let it get too stiff.) Beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gradually add granulated sugar, beating to stiff peaks. Fold pumpkin mixture thoroughly into egg whites. Turn into crust. Chill until firm. Garnish with whipped cream; drizzle with vanilla caramel sauce.


– Linda Glaze


1 large pkg. strawberry gelatin

2 cups boiling water

1 large container of frozen strawberries (partially thawed)

1 can crushed pineapple drained (20 oz.)

2 large bananas

1 small (8 oz.) carton of cool whip

8 oz pkg. cream cheese (softened)

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla


Dissolve gelatin into boiling water. Add strawberries with juice, pineapple, and bananas. Pour half of this mixture into an 8×12 dish and chill until set. Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add cool whip into this mixture. Place over gelatin that has chilled and set up. Carefully pour remaining gelatin mixture over the cream cheese layer. Chill to set. Enjoy!


– Linda Glaze



30 graham crackers

1/4 lb. melted margarine


Crush the graham crackers and save some for topping. Mix rest with melted margarine and press into 9×13 pan or dish. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden.



1 small pkg. lemon Jello


Dissolve lemon Jello in 1 cup boiling water. Refrigerate until it begins to gel.



1 large can of chilled Milnot

8 oz pkg. cream cheese

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla


Mix cream cheese with sugar and vanilla. Add to whipped Milnot and then add the Jello. Mix well but DO NOT beat. Pour into crust and sprinkle remaining graham cracker crumbs on top. Enjoy!


– Linda Glaze


1 stick of margarine

15 oz. whole kernel corn

15 oz. cream corn

8.5 oz. Jiffy cornbread mix

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

2 tbsp. sugar

Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8×8 dish. Melt the margarine. Combine in a bowl all ingredients, mixing well. Pour mixture into pan and bake for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown and a knife inserted in center corners comes out clean. *Double this recipe for 9×13 pan or dish.


– Linda Glaze


2 cucumbers peeled and sliced thin

1 onion sliced thin

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. celery seed


Place cucumbers and onions in a glass dish. Combine dressing ingredients and pour over vegetables. Cover and refrigerate. *This recipe can easily be doubled.


– Linda Glaze


3/4 cup ranch dressing or any dressing you prefer

8 oz. any type of pasta

1 cup broccoli florets

1 cup carrots

1 cup radishes

1 cup bell peppers

1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)

1 cup cucumbers

1/2 diced red onion

1/2 cup thawed frozen peas

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese or your preference of cheese

1/4 cup black olives


Cook pasta according to package directions. Place in cold water to cool. Draine thoroughly. Combine remaining ingredients. Add the dressing of your choice and toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. *Any combination of vegetables may be used – whatever you and your family enjoy.


– Sandy Celmer


1 to 2 heads broccoli (cut stems off)

2 tbsp. minced onion

2 tbsp. butter

1 ½ cup dairy sour cream

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. white vinegar

1/2 tsp. poppy seed

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. salt

Dash of cayenne pepper

1/3 cup chopped cashews


Cook broccoli until just tender and drain. Sauté onion in melted butter. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream, sugar, vinegar, poppy seed, paprika, salt, and cayenne pepper. Arrange broccoli on heated platter and pour sour cream sauce over top. Sprinkle with cashews. Yields 6-8 servings.


– Sandy Celmer

Great recipe for leftover turkey!


1 ¾ cubed, cooked chicken or turkey or 2 (5 oz.) cans boned chicken, drained

1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded cheddar or American cheese

8 oz. can Pillsbury refrigerated crescent rolls (or Italian flavor)

10 ½ oz. can condensed cream of chicken soup

1 cup milk


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In small bowl, combine chicken and 2 tbsp. cheese. Separate crescent dough into 8 triangles. Place about 3 tablespoons chicken mixture on a wide end of each triangle. Roll up.

In medium saucepan, combine soup, milk, and 1/4 cup cheese. Heat until cheese melts.

Pour half of soup mixture into ungreased 8 or 9-inch pan (reserve remaining soup mixture for sauce). Arrange filled crescents over hot soup mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp. cheese. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes until the cheese is melted. Serve with remaining sauce. Makes 4 to 5 servings.


– Salli Strack


8 oz. macaroni

1/4 cup margarine

1/4 cup flour

2 cups cheddar cheese

2 cups milk


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook and drain macaroni. Melt margarine and remove from heat. Alternate adding flour and milk, stirring between. Remove from stove. Add cheese reserving 1/4 cup for topping. Bake for 20 minutes.


– Irmhild Niederholtmeyer


1 lb. (6) medium carrots

1 chicken bouillon cube

1/2 cup boiling water

4 tbsp. butter or margarine

3 medium onions sliced (about 2 cups)

1 tsp. all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

Dash of pepper

3/4 cup hot water


Dissolve bouillon cube in 1/2 cup water. Add carrots and cook covered for 10 minutes. Melt butter in skillet. Add onions and cook covered for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Add 3/4 cup hot water. Bring to boil. Add carrots and chicken stock. Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes. Add a pinch of sugar before serving.


– Cathy Leonard


1 large (29 oz.) can of sweet potatoes

3/4 stick melted margarine

1 ¼ cups sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

2 eggs


Mash potatoes. Add other ingredients. Mix well and put in 2 qt. casserole dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.



3/4 cup corn flakes crumbs

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 stick margarine


Mix all ingredients together and spread over potatoes. Bake for another 10 minutes.


– Mary Lou Fewell


1 cup butter (softened)

1 ½ cup sugar

4 squares (1 oz. each) Bakers unsweetened chocolate (melted)

2 tsp. vanilla

4 eggs

1 9-inch cooked pie shell (cooled)


Beat butter and sugar together well. Add one egg at a time and beat 5 minutes for each egg with mixer. Add cooled melted chocolate and vanilla. Mix well. Turn mixture into pie shell then chill in refrigerator for 8 hours. *Garnishing with whip cream and nuts on top of pie is optional.


– Mary Heiden


1 cup chopped cranberries

1 cup chopped apples

1 cup sugar


Chop cranberries and apples in the blender. Mix together with sugar. It is best when made one day ahead of dinner so it has a chance to sit and get all the flavors mixed.


– Mary Heiden


2 cans cherry pie filling (can use blueberry if preferred)

1 can drained, crushed pineapple

1 box cake mix – white or yellow

3/4 cup flaked coconut

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 ¼ sticks margarine


Spray a 9×13 pan with Pam. Spread pie filling in the pan. Spread the drained pineapple next. Sprinkle cake mix next. Thinly slice the margarine and place on top of cake mix. Layer the coconut and nuts. DO NOT STIR!! Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.


– Mary Haiden


2 ½ pounds Hershey milk chocolate bars (can substitute chocolate chips or even almond bark)

2 oz. unsalted peanuts

4 oz. shredded coconut

16 oz. large or small marshmallows


Melt chocolate in double boiler. When completely melted, add the peanuts, coconut, and marshmallows. Mix well until coated. Pour on wax paper to cool. Cut or break into pieces and store in covered container. You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave. Use half-power and watch carefully so that it doesn’t scorch. Microwave in small intervals to prevent scorching.


– Mary Haiden


2 8 oz pkgs. cream cheese (softened)

1/4 cup chopped green olives with pimento

2-3 tbsp. chopped onion (a dash or two of onion powder works too)

2 tbsp. olive juice


Combine all ingredients together and mix well. Put into a small serving dish and chill. Garnish with parsley if desired. Serve with crackers (Triscuits or Wheat Thins are delicious with this) or potato chips. It especially looks ‘Festive’ at Christmas time with the green of the olive and the red of the pimento.


– Mary Heiden

The clue to this mix is sweet, salty, and spicy.


1 pkg. vanilla baking morsels

Peanuts, cashews, or honey roasted nuts (any amount)

Cheerios, Fruit Loops, or Cocoa Puffs (any amount)

Plain M&Ms (any amount)

Plain and/or flavored Goldfish crackers (any amount)

Pretzels either sticks or little braids (any amount)


Mix nuts, cereal, M&Ms, crackers, and pretzels. Melt vanilla baking morsels and pour over the mixture. When thoroughly mixed, spread on wax paper and let cool. When cool, break apart and put in a covered container. It is best to not do a large batch at one time. It is easier to do smaller batches.


– Mary Heiden


2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup margarine or butter

4 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1 1/4 cups raspberry jam/preserves

1 1/3 cups flaked coconut

1 cup chopped nuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for glass dish.) Mix melted butter, sugar, and crumbs together. Press firmly into a 13×9 baking pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumbs

Chill for 10 minutes. (This is very important – 10 minutes – no less.) Layer on raspberry jam/preserves. Top with remaining ingredients and bake 15 – 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Chill if desired. Cut into bars and serve.


– Mary Heiden


1 cup margarine

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg yolk

2 ½ cups flour

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

1/2 cup raspberry jam


Cream margarine and sugars. Add sugars, vanilla, and egg yolk together. Beat until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt. Mix well. Divide dough in half. Place one half in refrigerator. Make 1-inch balls with the other half and roll them in nuts.

Roll chilled dough to 1/8 thickness. Cut with a scalloped cookie cutter. Place on greased cookie sheet. Add 1/2 teaspoon jam to center of each cookie. Put a nut covered ball of dough on top of jam. Make a small indentation in center of each ball and fill with a dab of jam. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until straw colored. Let cool slightly before removing from pan.

“These were always a favorite cookie at holiday time, and I can still remember mom and grandma going through all the time and trouble to make these for me. They are delicate and delicious.”


– Mary Heiden


1 cup peanut butter (plain or crunchy)

1 large package either butterscotch or chocolate chips


Melt together in a double boiler (or melt in microwave) until thoroughly melted. Pour into a pan or dish or onto a cookie sheet in a really thin layer. Let cool and harden and then cut into pieces or break into chunks. Keep refrigerated.


– Carole Jaroch


3 cups fresh cranberries

1 large apple

2 ½ cups crushed pineapple

3/4 cups sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

2 cups miniature marshmallows

Chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

2 cups whipped topping

1/2 cup sour cream


Coarsely grind cranberries and apple. Add drained pineapple, sugar, salt, and marshmallows. Cover. Chill overnight. Just before serving, mix whipped topping and sour cream. Fold into salad. Add nuts, if you want them. Freezes well.

“This recipe comes from a 1970 Lutheran Brotherhood book I received as a bridal shower gift.  There are many good recipes in it that I have used. Enjoy!”


– Mary Heiden


1 cup friendly words

2 heaping cups understanding

4 heaping teaspoons time and patience

Pinch of warm personality

Dash of humor


Measure words carefully. Add heaping cup of understanding. Use generous amounts of time and patience. Cook with gas on front burner. Keep temperature low – DO NOT BOIL! Add a dash of humor and pinch of warm personality. Season to taste with spice of life. Serve in individual molds.


– Paulette Davis


1 pound box cavatappi pasta

1 pound package bacon

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups 2% milk

1/2 tsp. onion flakes

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup blue or gorgonzola cheese (or 1/2 each)

8 slices American cheese


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 3-quart broiler safe baking dish with butter or nonstick spray. Cook cavatappi in boiling water. Meanwhile, cook bacon until crispy. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off drippings, returning 2 tbsp. to pan. Add butter. Whisk in flour until smooth. Whisk steady stream of milk. Stir in onion flakes, salt, and pepper. Bring to boil over medium/high heat and then reduce heat and simmer two minutes more.

In separate large bowl, toss cheddar, mozzarella, and blue/gorgonzola cheeses. Remove milk mixture from heat and whisk American cheese and 1 and 1/4 cups cheese mix. Toss chopped bacon with remaining cheese mix. Combine pasta and cheese sauce. Pour 1/2 into prepared dish. Sprinkle with generous cup bacon/cheese mix. Repeat layers. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Increase oven to broil and broil until top is lightly browned. Makes 10 Cups (12 servings).

“This recipe is easy to double, bake, and freeze in portions or ahead of event. Ingredients can be modified to your taste!”


– Joann Rauh


2 cups cranberries

1 large orange

1 large apple

3/4 cup sugar


Place fruit in food processor or chop very fine. Add sugar and mix well. Refrigerate. Freezes well.


– Eileen Henry


1 can cream style corn

1 can whole kernel corn, drained (or one bag frozen whole kernel corn)

8 oz. sour cream

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup sugar

2 beaten eggs

1 small box Jiffy corn muffin mix


Mix together and bake in greased 9×13 pan at 350 degrees for one hour or until center is done.


– Amy Swygart


2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground allspice

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/4 cup unsulfured dark molasses (not blackstrap)

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, beaten

1/2 cup coarse sugar, such as turbinado


Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, molasses, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and egg. Add flour mixture and stir to combine. Cover and chill for one hour.

  Place turbinado sugar in a small bowl. Roll a tablespoon of chilled dough into a 1-inch ball. Roll cookie dough balls into the turbinado sugar to coat evenly. Space cookie dough balls onto a baking sheet about two inches apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are crisp and centers are still chewy. Makes about 40 cookies.


– Mary Heiden

May the meals that I prepare,

Be seasoned from above.

With Thy Blessing and Thy Grace,

But most of all with Thy love.

As we partake of this food,

The table Thou hast spread.

We want to thank thee Lord,

For this our daily bread.

Warm this meal with Thy love,

And light it with Thy peace,

Forgive me if I scurried and fretted,

Please make my grumbling cease.

Bless our kitchen Lord, our home and then

Bless those who enter within.

May they find only peace and joy,

And happiness therein.


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