A Recipe for a Tasty Thanksgiving


By Leslie Pegram

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family, friends and friends that are more like family.  It’s a time to cook like a Food Network star, your favorite celebrity, blogger or Instagram star (or to just let someone else do all the cooking for you).  It’s a time to get up early and run in a Turkey Trot before donning your sweatpants to eat your heart out on turkey, ham, turduken, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, rolls, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, or your favorite vegetarian or vegan dishes for lunch and then hop in the car to your next destination where you’ll dine on the same food a few hours later for dinner. it’s a time for unexpected trips to the ER for those brave enough to try deep frying a turkey. A time to watch football, the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade or prepare your Black Friday strategy. A time to volunteer giving to others in need or just need compassion and company.  Also, did I mention naps?  It’s also a time for naps, lots of food-coma inducing naps! Thanksgiving is also the unofficial start of potluck season!

T’was the day before the office potluck and what in the kitchen do you see,
a blank by your name on the sign-up sheet.
You groan as someone signed up to bring the rolls.
It’s too late to order a tray, so on to Google, Facebook or Insta to scroll,
You cross your fingers as you search for a tested recipe.
But alas, you are overwhelmed by appetizers, sides, and sweet treats!
You internally debate whether just to call-in sick
Then an email link to a blog post hits your inbox
Hurray it’s filled with recipes shared by members of  the NCBA PD
And you find the perfect recipe so a star at the potluck is what your dish will be!   

Thank you to those who shared your favorite recipe. Please enjoy reading through a sampling of those recipes below.  All recipes that were shared can be found here.

Ultimate Slow-Cooker Potatoes

Courtesy of Katie McVeety, CP, NCCP
Paralegal, The McIntosh Law Firm, P.C.

“This  is the recipe for the potatoes I always contribute to my Firm’s Thanksgiving potluck.  They are rich and yummy – and shockingly made from instant potatoes!  This recipe is perfect for a crowd and easy to transport if you are contributing to a group meal.”

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Servings: 12

Reynolds™ Slow Cooker Liners
3  cups boiling water
1½  cups milk
½  cup butter or margarine, cut into pieces
½  cup sour cream
1  package (8 oz) cream cheese, cut into cubes
1  teaspoon garlic salt
¼  teaspoon pepper
3  cups Betty Crocker™ Potato Buds™ mashed potatoes (dry)
Gravy or chopped fresh parsley, if desired

Place Reynolds™ Slow Cooker Liners inside a 5- to 6 1/2 -qt slow cooker bowl. Make sure that liner fits snugly against the bottom and sides of bowl and pull the top of the liner over rim of bowl.

In cooker, mix boiling water, milk, butter, sour cream and cream cheese with whisk until blended. Add garlic salt, pepper and dry potatoes; mix just until blended.

Cover; cook on Low heat setting 1 hour 30 minutes, stirring once after 1 hour.

Before serving, stir potatoes. Serve immediately, or hold in slow cooker on Low heat setting up to 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. If potatoes become too thick, stir in additional milk, about 2 tablespoons at a time. Serve with gravy or sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Crock Pot Mac n Cheese

Courtesy of Julie Privette, NCCP
Conrad Trosch & Kemmy, P.A.

My favorite part of the holidays is being with family and eating good food.

Feeds a family of 6 (approximately)

3 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
2½ cups milk
12 oz evaporated milk
8 oz cream cheese
16 oz elbow macaroni

All ingredients into the Crock Pot. the mac noodles are uncooked … You CAN use cooked noodles, just decrease cooking time to 1½-2 hours.  On LOW for up to 2½ hours or until it looks like mac n cheese, stirring after 2 hours to check for doneness. Sauce may be nice n thick n cheesy so you might want to add in some more cooked macaroni and milk to even it out.  Then put setting on “Keep Warm” until ready to serve.

Potato Casserole

Courtesy of Jake Sullivan
Intellectual Property Paralegal, Apex Tool Group, LLC

“We always have this at Thanksgiving … going back to 1950s Gastonia. Potato Casserole (sometimes people bring a variation of this to your house after a funeral too so it is also morbidly called ‘Funeral Potato Casserole’).”

3 cups frozen cubed potatoes -thawed at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (fresh Yukon Gold taste better but are more labor intensive)
1 (15 oz.) can condensed cream of chicken soup (I find that a fancy-ish organic brand does actually taste better than Campbell’s)
1 finely diced small white onion
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard (Colman’s)
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika (Szego)

For the Corn Flake Topping:
2 cups corn flakes cereal
1/4 cup butter -melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 7×11 (or 9×9) inch baking dish with cooking spray. (or use butter if you don’t mind the extra effort).

In a large bowl, add the potatoes, onion, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and salt/black pepper/mustard/paprika. Stir until well combined and the potatoes are evenly coated.

Pour the potatoes into the baking dish and spread them out into an even layer.

Place the corn flakes in a plastic food storage bag. Seal the bag and use your hands to gently squeeze the bag and crush the corn flakes. Add the melted butter to the bag and coat the cereal. Spread the corn flakes evenly over the potatoes. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Cranberry Sauce

Courtesy of Stephanie Crosby, NCCP
Ward and Smith, P.A.

My favorite part is the time with family without the pressure and stress of Christmas.

This is a Cooking Light recipe from 1999.  I have been making it every year since 1999.  It is simply the best cranberry sauce that I have ever had.  We only have homemade cranberry sauce at our Thanksgiving (and Christmas) and everyone loves it!  I usually make a double batch.  My mother-in-law likes to make it and then cans it for gifts at Christmas time.  You can also put it over brie or cream cheese at Christmas time for an easy appetizer.

 ½ cup thinly sliced dried apricots (about 3 ounces)
½ cup sherry or orange juice (I always use sherry)
¾ cup water
⅔ cup sugar
¼ cup honey
1 (12 ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries

How to make it

  1. Combine apricots and sherry in a small bowl; cover and let stand for 8 hours or overnight.

  2. Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil.  Add apricot mixture, honey, and cranberries.  Cook over medium heat 8 minutes or until slightly thick.  Spoon mixture into a bowl; cover and chill.

Yields:  3 cups

Chicken Cheese Ball

Courtesy of Debbie Hall, Winston-Salem. NC

2-8 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup mayonnaise
2 sm. cans chicken or 1 lg. can
1 tsp. Garlic
2 Tbsp. parsley
½ cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Mix together all but pecans and refrigerate overnight. Roll cream cheese mixture into a ball. Roll ball into parsley (add pecans if desired). Serve with crackers. Reduced fat cream cheese makes circles not ball.

Coconut Caramel Chews

Courtesy of Anne Heath
Paralegal for Pitt County Tax Administration

My favorite part of holidays is reminiscing about time spent with my parents and grandparents.

Wet ingredients
½ cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs separated, keeping both whites and yolks
1 tsp vanilla

Dry ingredients
1 tsp baking powder
1½ cups flour
½ tsp salt

Top layer
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup coconut

Preheat oven at 350 degrees

In a bowl, cream together butter and white sugar and add the egg yolks and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients together and add to butter/sugar/vanilla mixture. Press mixture into the bottom of a flat pan.

In another bowl, beat the two egg whites until stiff and add brown sugar and coconut.  Spread over the mixture in the pan.

Bake 20-25 minutes.  When cool, cut into squares.


Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes

Courtesy of Shawana W. Almendarez, BBA

It’s the Lady of Many Capacities, Shawana W. Almendarez.  I work for the City of Charlotte in the Office of the City Attorney.  This is my 19th year working as a paralegal in the Charlotte area.

My favorite part of the holidays is being able to sit home and give my sons my undivided attention.  We are constantly on the run with work, school and extracurricular activities which results in not enough downtime to just be.

Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hr 20 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1 (18¼-ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  1. Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

  2. To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.

  3. Serve with fresh whipped cream.

For a Pineapple Gooey Cake: Instead of the pumpkin, add a drained 20-ounce can of crushed pineapple to the cream cheese filling. Proceed as directed above.

For a Banana Gooey Cake: Prepare cream cheese filling as directed, beating in 2 ripe bananas instead of the pumpkin. Proceed as directed above.

For a Peanut Butter Gooey Cake: Use a chocolate cake mix. Add 1 cup creamy peanut butter to the cream cheese filling instead of the pumpkin. Proceed as directed above.

Regardless of how you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope it’s full of good food, friendship, love and a few food-coma inducing naps!  On behalf of the Paralegal Division Council, best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!