Dogwood’s 2023 reader recommended recipe guide

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By Amie Knowles

November 15, 2023

So you’ve bought the turkey, you’ve purchased the ham, and you’ve procured the chicken. Now what in the world are you making to go with them?

Hey, y’all. It’s Amie, your community editor. Let’s get two things clear: Writing is my passion. Cooking is not.

In fact, I’m really not talented at all in the kitchen. I don’t say that in a self-deprecating manner; it’s just that I’ve caught the microwave on fire four times in seven years (and don’t get me started on the ill-fated toaster oven—or coffeemaker, for that matter).

That’s why I sought help from our readers for this holiday recipe guide. Whether you’re still planning your menu for Thanksgiving or if you’ve already got Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or another festive time on the brain, this article is for you.

Cranberry Salsa

Contributed by Susan Platt

Dogwood’s 2023 reader recommended recipe guide

Rasa Kasparaviciene on Unsplash

I can’t stand cranberries from a can or jar—and I like to add something a little spicy—so this side dish, I have made and served for over 30 years,” Platt said. “It goes great with turkey—particularly on a sandwich!”

This recipe makes about two cups of salsa.

2 cups chopped cranberries (fresh or frozen)
¼ cup chopped jalapeño chillies (fresh or canned)
¼ cup chopped scallions
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp olive oil
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp salt to taste

Turkey Empanadas

Contributed by Jamie Torro

Dogwood’s 2023 reader recommended recipe guide

Lucas Oriogun on Unsplash

Fun fact: These empanadas were so popular at a recent Friendsgiving party that a Dogwood reader reached out to a friend who then contacted Torro for the recipe!

1 lbs. ground turkey: 85% lean, 15% fat
2 packs Goya empanada dough (found in freezer section)
1 large russet potato, peeled
2 tbsp olive oil
½ medium onion, grated
1 small carrot, grated
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cayenne
½ cup green beans (canned or fresh), diced
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ cup dried cranberries
1 egg

  1. Defrost Goya empanada dough in refrigerator overnight, or on countertop until they’re no longer stiff
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. Sauté turkey, onion, garlic, carrot, green beans, and cranberries with spices
  4. Poke up to 10 holes into whole potato, microwave for up to six minutes, dice into ¼ in cubes (alternatively, bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes and then dice)
  5. Using a food processor, pulse the sauté and potatoes up to five pulses (not too fine, but not too chunky)
  6. Beat egg in a separate bowl
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  8. One by one, fill each empanada disc with up to three tablespoons of the mixture, and fold over the dough into the traditional empanada half-disc
  9. Using a fork, push down the outer ¼ edges of the empanada dough to create a seal; reinforce the seal by dipping your fingers in cold water and lightly pinching the ends of the sealed empanada
  10. Repeat the process for each empanada, placing them on the baking sheet; brush the egg wash on the outside of each
  11. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until golden brown
  12. Serve with pico de gallo, chipotle ranch, or even brown gravy to keep the Thanksgiving theme up

Squash Casserole

Contributed by Lindsey Mitchell

Dogwood’s 2023 reader recommended recipe guide

Lynnette Jones on Unsplash

Plot twist: I’ve actually eaten quite a bit of this college senior’s home cooking over the past decade, and everything I’ve ever tasted has been spot-on.

3 squash, diced
1 onion, diced
1 can cream of chicken soup
½ stick of melted butter
Ritz crackers
Vegetable oil, coating pan
Milk, to taste
Chef’s choice of seasoning

  1. Combine squash, onion, and seasonings (garlic powder, salt, and pepper recommended) and fry in a pan with oil
  2. Mix the fried squash and white onion with one can of cream of chicken soup, and add milk if the consistency is too thick. Mix everything together.
  3. Mix Ritz crackers and melted butter; put these on top of the dish
  4. Put the mixture in a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes with foil on top
  5. Take the foil off and let the Ritz crackers brown for another 10-15 minutes

Southern Style Macaroni and Cheese

Contributed by Nicole Stump

Dogwood’s 2023 reader recommended recipe guide

Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

Everybody knows you can’t have a true holiday meal without mac and cheese!

16 oz elbow macaroni
16 oz canned cream of mushroom soup
1 ½ cup Duke’s mayonnaise
3 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup freshly shredded Colby cheese
8 oz pimentos, drained
1 large container sliced mushrooms
3 tbsp unsalted butter
Seasonings: Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, to taste

  1. Boil pasta until al dente or slightly undercooked
  2. Shred cheddar and Colby cheese and combine
  3. Melt butter in a pan and sauté mushrooms until brown
  4. Combine cream of mushroom soup and mayo, whisking until even
  5. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well
  6. Transfer to a crockpot and place on low/warm until cheese is melted through
  7. Top with leftover cheese as desired

Around the Web

Dogwood’s 2023 reader recommended recipe guide

Amirali Mirhashemian on Unsplash

Have you ever tried a recipe that you loved so much it didn’t need any tweaking? At Ginny Ford’s home, she utilizes a recipe from The Cookie Writer to make a delicious side of mashed rutabagas.

“I learned about these while in graduate school and have loved them ever since,” Ford said. “It’s not Turkey Day without these.”

To check out the recipe she uses, click here.

We also had the opportunity to ask US Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) about his favorite Thanksgiving dishes—excluding his usual go-to, the infamous tuna melt.

“Well, I’m a pretty plain cheeseburger guy as well, which is not necessarily big on Thanksgiving. I like moist stuffing—usually even oyster stuffing is, I think, really good,” Warner said. “Although I have to claim that Lisa [Collis] or the girls do more of that work than I do. So I’m an eater, not as much of a preparer. But I clean a pretty mean table afterwards.”

While we don’t have Warner’s exact home recipes, we found some suitable substitutes online.

A Spicy Perspective offers this mouthwatering hamburger recipe, which can be prepared on the grill or stovetop (a great option for cold winter days).

Head over to A Taste of Home for a great oyster stuffing recipe. Bonus points if you use Virginia oysters in your dish.

From the Dogwood team, we thank you for your contributed recipes, and we wish you a very happy holiday season.

  • Amie Knowles

    Amie is Dogwood's community editor. She has been in journalism for several years, winning multiple awards from the Virginia Press Association for news and features content. A lifelong Virginia resident, her work has appeared in the Martinsville Bulletin, Danville Register & Bee and NWNC Magazine.

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