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Crevolyn Wiley: Some last-minute ideas for sides to save your bacon
Keep your Thanksgiving guests happy with these three family favorites
Crevolyn Wiley columnist

Happy Thanksgiving! We are officially into the holiday season. It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year — and it’s time to get cooking!

Everyone needs a signature dish; the one dish that you’re asked to bring to every event. This broccoli casserole is one of my daughter Emily’s signature dishes. It is a great side dish and the broccoli makes it (somewhat) healthy.

The crunchy cranberry salad recipe is from my sweet grandmother and a staple at our Thanksgiving table. It’s best made the day before, which is extremely helpful when the crazy rush of the day comes around. Last, but certainly not least: a great dessert. This toffee pecan caramel pound cake — oh, there just aren’t words to describe the deliciousness of it.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Crevolyn Wiley is a Gainesville resident with her first published cookbook “Cooking with Crevolyn” available at J&J Foods. She can be contacted at

Emily’s Broccoli Casserole


  • 2 boxes frozen chopped broccoli or 2 (12 ounce) bags of steamable broccoli
  • 2 bags of Boil in the Bag Rice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 1 large can fried onions


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch casserole dish and set aside. Cook broccoli as directed on package and drain. Cook rice as directed on package and drain. In a large bowl, beat the eggs; then add the soup and mayonnaise. Mix thoroughly and add the cheese. Add the broccoli and rice to this mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Sprinkle fried onions on top of casserole and return to the oven for 5 more minutes or until onions are golden brown.

Crunchy Cranberry Salad


  • 1 (3 ounce) package strawberry gelatin
  • 1 (3 ounce) package raspberry gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen sliced strawberries, partially thawed
  • 1 (15 ¼ ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 (16 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup chopped pecans


Dissolve gelatins in boiling water and let cool. Add strawberries, pineapple, cranberry sauce, celery and pecans. Spoon the mixture into a 12x8x2-inch pan or your favorite mold, sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Cover and chill until firm. Unmold onto a lettuce-lined platter. This recipe is best if prepared the day before serving.

Toffee Pecan Caramel Pound Cake


  • 1 ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 (8-ounce) bag toffee bits
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup prepared caramel sauce, warmed


Preheat oven to 325 degrees and generously grease and flour a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan.

Beat the butter until creamy and then add sugars, beating until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just the yellow disappears after each egg. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in thirds, alternately with milk in between each third. Beat until just combined. Stir in toffee bits and pecans and spoon into prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a wood pick inserted near the center of cake comes out clean. Watch it carefully to prevent excessive browning. The top of the cake may need to be covered with foil near the end of the cooking time.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack. Drizzle caramel sauce over cooled cake.

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