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Quick, delicious recipes to make your Thanksgiving guests say 'wow'
Crevolyn Wiley's party potatoes topped with cheese and bacon.

Throughout my married life, I have never hosted Thanksgiving at my house.

For years, we went to Darrell’s grandparents’ home. Then later, we started the tradition at his parents’ home.

But this year, for the very first time, we will have Thanksgiving dinner at our table.

As many of you seasoned Thanksgiving veterans are aware, a great deal of pre-planning goes into that big meal. I’m determined not to let the planning and possible stress involved overshadow the day.

My strategy is to delegate, cook several side dishes and desserts ahead of time and involve the family in the clean-up. Sounds like a solid plan, right?

Nothing smells better than Thanksgiving dinner cooking. The cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, cornbread dressing and pumpkin pie, all a joy to our senses. Those will definitely be at our table in addition to the recipes below. All of these can be done ahead of time and are simply delicious. 

I hope you enjoy this Thanksgiving and live with an attitude of gratitude. There is always something to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!

Party potatoes

1 (5-pound) bag white potatoes, peeled and boiled

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream

1 small onion, grated

Salt and pepper, to taste

6 ounces cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 pound bacon, fried, drained and crumbled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drain potatoes and mash with potato masher and/or cream with an electric mixer, depending on the consistency of the potatoes you desire.

Mix with cream cheese, butter, sour cream, onion, salt and pepper.

Spread in a greased 13-inch-by-9-inch casserole dish. Sprinkle with cheese and bacon.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Corny cornbread muffins

1 cup cornmeal

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 (8-ounce) sour cream

1/2 cup cooking oil

1 small can of whole kernel corn, undrained

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into muffin pan, filling about half full.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

Pumpkin butter cake

For the crust:

1 box yellow cake mix

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 egg, slightly beaten

For the filling:

1 (15-ounce) pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup melted butter

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 (1-pound) box powdered sugar

Whipped cream and toasted chopped pecans, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 90inch-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Mix crust ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined.

Press crust into the bottom of the baking dish evenly.

Beat pumpkin, cream cheese, melted butter and eggs until creamy. Add vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat well.

Spread filling over crust.

Bake for 50 minutes (center will still be slightly jiggly). Let sit in pan for 30 minutes before serving.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with toasted chopped pecans.

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