These pre-Thanksgiving recipes are a nice addition to your traditional holiday recipes. Some items can be made in advance for ease in preparation.

These pre-Thanksgiving recipes are a nice addition to your traditional holiday recipes. Some items can be made in advance for ease in preparation.



Orange-Cranberry with Rum Beverage

This can be made as individual drinks or as a punch for a crowd.

2 parts fresh orange juice, chilled

1 part cranberry juice, chilled

part rum

orange juice ice cubes

Mix orange juice, cranberry juice, and rum in a glass or in a punch bowl. Add some orange juice ice cubes.


Caramelized Walnuts

Makes 1-cup, use for garnish and salads.

1 cup raw walnut halves

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Line a plate with wax paper.

In a large non-stick skillet, over medium high heat, add walnuts and sugar, stir continuously with a wooden spoon. After about 3-minutes the sugar will begin to melt. Keep stirring until the sugar turns caramel brown and the nuts are golden and toasted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and spread on wax paper using the wooden spoon to separate them at once. Let cool completely.

Break the walnuts apart with your fingers. Store in an airtight container; they will last for 3 to 4 weeks.


Cranberry Sauce with Oranges

4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

1 cups granulated sugar

1 cups water

4 strips orange or tangerine to use as zest

1 small orange or tangerine, cut into tiny pieces

cup orange juice, or orange mango juice

cup orange liqueur (I use Grand Marnier.)

In a saucepan combine cranberries, orange pieces, sugar, water, zest, and orange juice, cook over medium heat until the berries pop and the sauce thickens, after 10 minutes add orange liqueur, cook about 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally, cool and refrigerate.


Apple Cinnamon Raisin-Nut Bread

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

4 tablespoons butter, melted

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

1 cooking apple, cored, peeled, and chopped

cup raisins

cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 x 5 inch loaf pan with vegetable spray then dust with flour. Sprinkle bottom of pan with 1-tablespoon brown sugar.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together applesauce, 1-cup brown sugar, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla.

In another bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Beat into applesauce mixture until just combined.

Fold in apple, raisins, and nuts.

Pour batter into prepared pan, bake in 350 degree oven for about 1 hour and fifteen minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan.


Cherry Tomato and Onion Salad

1 quart cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise

to cup red onion, diced

cup canola oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

cup fresh parsley, minced

1 teaspoon sweet basil flakes

4 ounces feta cheese crumbled

Place and mix together tomatoes and onions in a shallow bowl.

In another small bowl whisk together oil, vinegar, salt, and sugar until blended, whisk in parsley and basil. Pour over tomatoes; gently toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, overnight. When ready to serve sprinkle with feta cheese.


Carrots and Apples Casserole

1 pound package baby carrots

4 apples McIntosh or Gala, cored, peeled and sliced

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter

In a saucepan with water to cover, cook carrots for 10-12 minutes; drain, reserving juice. Pour into a microwavable casserole dish. Toss with sliced apples, brown sugar, and butter. Microwave for 5 minutes until apples are soft. Serve hot.

Use carrot juice in soups or gravies.


Cranberry and Apple Pie

2 prepared pie crusts

2 tablespoons butter

3 apples, Granny Smith green, McIntosh, or Gala apples, peel, core and cut into -inch wedges

2 pears, cored, peeled, and cut into inch wedges

1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon maple syrup

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

1 egg, beaten

Fit piecrust into a 9-inch pie plate pressing it into the bottom and up the sides.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large saucepan over medium heat add butter, apples, pears, and cranberries. Cook over medium high heat until fruit is slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Add sugar, cornstarch, maple syrup, cinnamon, lemon juice, and orange zest. Stir to blend and cook over medium high heat until syrup thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl; refrigerate for at least 2 hrs.

Pour cranberry filling into the crust. Brush the edge of pie crust with beaten egg; cover with top crust. Pinch around the edge to seal the top and bottom crusts together; remove excess dough with a paring knife. Cut an X opening about 2-inches across, in the center of the crust. Fold back the dough into 4-points. Brush the top of the crust with 1-tablespoon milk and sprinkle with 1- tablespoon granulated sugar. Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake the pie in a 425 degree oven for 10-minutes. Lower temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking until crust is a light golden brown, about 30 minutes more. Let cool completely on a rack.


Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.