Doctoring Old Favorite Convenience Foods for Thanksgiving
I've tried introducing the family to brussels sprouts sauteed with pancetta. They didn't hate it but they craved the old green bean and mushroom soup casserole with those canned fried onions on top. I prepared beautiful corn pudding one year and an over-the-top succotash the next. They liked both but still craved plain old shoepeg corn (canned or frozen) plopped in a bowl with lots of butter. I've prepared a stuffing that includes turkey liver, pine nuts and lots of other great stuff. They liked it but, again, craved the stovetop variety out of a box. Any suggestions on how to tweak those convenience food favorites so they're recognizable to the traditionalists but a little extra tasty for the wannabe gourmets at the table?
I wish you were my relative, your dishes sound wonderful. I have the same dilemma so this year I am making a green bean casserole from martha stewart and cranberry sauce from the back of the ocean spray bag of cranberries. The other dishes I am keeping very basic, probably from Fanny Farmer. I will also get a really good bottle of wine for after dinner, "after" as in when everyone goes home.
For the corn, one of my favorite corn recipes is very simple. Although it is best with corn cut fresh from the cob, I've made it to great success with canned corn from Trader Joes. Put butter in a pan (probably about 2-4T) and heat until slightly browned. Add corn (the above butter would work for 2 cans/3-4 cobs)) and saute corn for a couple of minutes until heated through. Stir in fresh basil, cut in thin strips. Serve. Simple but tastes great.
Enhancing Stove Top Stuffing:
Sautee some chopped celery and chopped onion in butter. In a large mixing bowl add the required hot water from the recipe on the box, add the contents of any "flavor packet", add the require butter from the recipe on the box and the butter, celery and onions. Add a liberal amount of ground sage. Mix well. Then add the "bread crumbs". Mix well. Turn in to a caserole then bake until heated through and crisp on top.
The aroma of the sage will take control of everyone.