With Thanksgiving and all the holidays just around the corner, we thought we’d share a few favorite recipes from the USCHS staff. If none are quite your speed, check out Joanna’s brisket recipe from Rosh Hashanah. Some of these treats are staples on staff holiday tables; another appears in the Congressional Club Cookbook; one was quickly devoured when brought to our offices recently.

Happy Thanksgiving!

From Becky Evans and Suzie Dicks, Cranberry Trifle (with addenda and variations):

1 envelope Dream Whip (a box has two envelopes)
1 box instant vanilla pudding (Jello with Nutrasweet)
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract, or whatever flavor you prefer
1/2 to 1 angel food cake (torn into pieces)
1 jar or carton (14 oz) cranberry/orange relish OR 1 can whole cranberry sauce mixed with 1 can cut up mandarin orange sections (small or large can to taste)

Prepare (separately) Dream Whip and pudding as directed on package. Fold Dream Whip and the extract into the pudding.

In a 3 qt glass bowl alternate layers of cake, relish, pudding mixture for 9 layers. Refrigerate at least 5 hours. Yield 12 servings.

Note from Becky: I find that a whole cake gives me too much cake for the relish and pudding but my sister-in-law always uses the whole thing and it seems to work for her.  She worked out the calories to be 150 for a cup serving.

From Leslie Sarasin, wife of USCHS president Ron Sarasin, via the Congressional Club Cookbook, Gladys’ Cranberry Salad:

1 pound cranberries, frozen or fresh
2 whole oranges, seeded
2 (3-oz) packages red Jello
2 cups hot water
1 cup sugar
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

Grind cranberries in food processor until they become small pieces. Cut oranges into quarters and grind oranges, including rind, in food processor until they become small pieces.

Dissolve Jello into hot water in mixing bowl. While Jello mixture is still hot, mix together and add ground cranberries, ground oranges with the juice, and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Allow mixture to cool a bit.

Add celery and nuts. Pour entire mixture into a baking dish or mold and place in refrigerator until set. Serves 12.

If you’d rather go pumpkin than cranberry for the holidays, try Allie Swislocki’s find, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread. In muffin form, these were a big hit last week in the USCHS offices:

Yield: 3 loaves bread or about 55 muffins (each loaf equivalent to about 18 muffins)

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 (15 ounce) can 100% pure pumpkin
1 cup canola oil
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 9×5 inch loaf pans with cooking spray (or line muffin tins with holders) and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, canola oil, water, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until smooth.

Slowly blend in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Evenly divide batter between the loaf pans/muffin tins.

Bake for 60 minutes (about 25 minutes for muffins), or until browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. With a knife, go around the bread and loosen the loaves. Remove from pan and cool completely before slicing.

*Note-this recipe makes a lot of bread, so be prepared to share or put a loaf in the freezer for later.

If you’re looking for something more on the savory side than sweet, I found this recipe for Roasted Carrots years ago in a Washington Post Thanksgiving recipe roundup and have been using it year-round ever since:


12 medium carrots
About 4 tbsps olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put in oven when the turkey comes out. Can peel and slice carrots up to 12 hours ahead of time.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel carrots and cut, on the diagonal, into slices 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick.

Spread the carrots onto 2 rimmed baking sheets. (Do not crowd them!) Drizzle each sheet with about 2 tablespoons of oil and season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat each slice. Spread evenly in a single layer.

Roast the carrots, stirring evenly every 5 minutes, until cooked through, 15-20 minutes.

Finally, Ann McNeil shared her recipe for Stuffing (or Dressing, if you prefer). It can be stuffed into the bird before cooking, but she recommends cooking the bird first so you can use the drippings in the stuffing. Use proportions for your taste:

Cornbread (Ann says you have to make your own, but I won’t tell her how you acquire yours. Nonetheless, she says Jiffy is too sweet and don’t use it!)
Green pepper
Turkey drippings supplemented with chicken broth (or just broth if you don’t want to use drippings)
Dried sage
Poultry seasoning

Break up the cornbread in a casserole dish. Sauté onion, green pepper, and celery until soft.

Stir vegetables into cornbread with sage and poultry seasoning to taste. Add enough liquid to moisten evenly.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until mixture begins to clump together a bit and there’s a nice crust on top.

I’ve already done my shopping, but if I hadn’t I’d be working on making cornbread for Ann’s stuffing recipe! What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Want to share your favorite recipe in the comments?