Plain Kansas: Grandma’s Stuffing, Mom’s Cranberry Salad, and Thanksgiving Thoughts!

Plain Kansas: Grandma's Stuffing, Mom's Cranberry Salad, and Thanksgiving Thoughts!, 9.1 out of 10 based on 11 ratings
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Our family looks forward to Thanksgiving as much as Christmas. This is because Thanksgiving symbolizes so many things. Thanksgiving usually coincides with the last of our harvest season, when the crops have all been brought in, so it is a bit of a harvest celebration for us, as we give thanks for the bounty and blessings that were reaped this year. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of our farm’s “winter break”, when we have fewer animals to care for due to the cold weather. After spending five solid days dressing nearly 1,100 turkeys, we are extra thankful for a day of rest. I calculated that I lifted 25,000 pounds of turkey with my left hand and I counted 19 cuts and one blister on my hands. It is definitely time for a break.

It only seems fitting to start our Thanksgiving Day off with worship, so our thanks-giving begins with a church service. Then we usually have a traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner at my maternal grandparents’ house, but this year, because of my grandma’s death, it will be at our house. This is usually a smaller gathering with 12- 17 people. A Thanksgiving gathering is typically held the following Sunday at my paternal grandparents’ with approximately sixty people. While the women clean up from the meal, there is usually a Grandma’s To-Do list for the men to occupy themselves with. In the evening, we will just converse or perhaps do some singing. Regardless of where we go, we never come home before dark, but always full in body and mind. May your Thanksgiving be likewise blessed.

CAPTION:  Rosanna’s 13-year-old sister Joanna watches over the last of the turkeys

This cranberry salad is my mother’s signature holiday dish. It is her mother’s recipe that she brought to Kansas as a new wife. If she tries to bring any other dish to a family gathering, everyone asks “Where’s your cranberry salad?” Even folks who don’t like cranberries enjoy this salad because it has a nice blend of tart and sweet.

Cranberry JeII-O Salad

Shred a one pound bag of raw cranberries to make 2 cups of cranberries. Cook together cranberries, 2 cups of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water until cranberries are softened. While cranberries are cooling, shred enough unpeeled apples to make 2 cups. Then mix together 2 34 cups boiling water with 2 (3 oz.) boxes of cherry Jell-U. Stir into the jell-C shredded apples, cooled cranberries, and 2 cups of undrained, crushed pineapple. Pour mixture into a bowl or ungreased Jell-C ring mold. Chill several hours until set. To remove the salad from the ring mold, run hot tap water over the mold before inverting onto a serving platter.


My (Grandma’s) Turkey Dressing

(This recipe works best if you are planning on de-boning the turkey before serving, as it calls for cooked turkey and broth. However, you could skip the meat and just use canned broth.)

  • 12 cups very dry white bread, (preferably homemade) cut in small cubes
  • 1tsp salt                                                                 •     34 cup chopped celery
  • 4 cups milk                                                             •      1medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cups turkey broth                                                 •     34 tsp black pepper
  • 6 eggs, beaten                                                        •      1cup cooked turkey meat chopped
  • 214tspsage

Mix together and pour into greased 8X16 pan. (9×9 + 9×13) Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, or until center sets. The time depends greatly on how dry the bread cubes are

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The Discussion

  1. Barbara Prisinzano says:

    Thank You for the Stuffing recipe!! It is so much like the one I make!! But the size, I would like to wish you All!! A Happy Thanksgiving!! Barbara Prisinzano God Bless you All

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