I don’t do a whole lot of cooking throughout the year other than to bake some chicken for my work lunches or pour a bowl of cereal for breakfast. But around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, I enjoy getting in the kitchen to try out new recipes.
If you know me then you know I usually have several places to visit this time of the year. So I find it fun to try out a new side dish or dessert that I can bring to one of our several family or church dinners.
But I also enjoy trying out new recipes because it reminds me of what my grandfather used to do. During November and December, you would often find Papaw in his basement kitchen coming up with something sweet or savory that he planned to give to friends and family.
If there was a holiday feast that he was a part of, he would often provide his delicious dumplings. The rest of the time, he would bake a fruit cake or make some type of candy that he simply just wanted to give as gifts to show his love and appreciation.
So it’s because of this tradition that I enjoy trying to make some of the goodies he made while also looking online for something brand new.
This year I tried out a couple of new recipes that I thought would be fun to share with you all. We had our office Thanksgiving this past week and I decided to make some slow cooker macaroni and cheese for a side dish, and Oreo cheesecake bars for a dessert.
It seemed like both food items went over pretty well during the dinner. The slow cooker full of macaroni was almost gone, and only a few of the cheesecake bars were left in the pan. But the really neat part of it all was just getting the chance to share my Papaw's tradition.
The most important thing he passed on to me, though, was his love for God.
He took me to church many Sunday mornings as a child, and always told me I needed to become a Christian. But even aside from all of that, he, like all of my parents and grandparents, set an amazing example for how we should live and how we should treat others.
All of us will have our own unique heirlooms and traditions we will pass on from generation to generation, but above all we need to pass along the treasure of Jesus Christ.
I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving full of fun and loving traditions shared with friends and family.
SLOW COOKER MACARONI & CHEESE
-16 ounces of elbow macaroni
-6 tablespoons of butter (cut into cubes)
-12-ounce can of evaporated milk
-2 cups of half & half
-1/2 cup of whole milk
-4 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-8 ounces of Velveeta cheese (cut into cubes)
-1/4 teaspoon of salt
-1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1. Spray a slow cooker with cooking spray. Cook the macaroni to al dente and drain. Place the macaroni in the slow cooker. Immediately add the butter and stir until melted.
2. Add the evaporated milk, half & half, whole milk, shredded cheese, the Velveeta, salt and pepper, and stir to blend well.
3. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours.
4. Once done, turn the slow cooker setting to warm until you’re ready to serve.
5. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
OREO CHEESECAKE BARS
-42 Oreo cookies (approximately)
-1/4 cup of melted butter
-2 1/2 cups of cream cheese
-3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar
-1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
-2/3 cup of sour cream
1. Place 26 Oreo cookies in a food processor and process until crumbs are formed. Add the melted butter, and pulse until combined.
2. Press the Oreo crumb mixture into the bottom of a baking pan. (I placed a sheet of wax paper on the bottom first). Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes.
3. Let the crust cool while you make the filling.
1. In a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth.
2. Add the sour cream to the bowl and beat until creamy and smooth.
3. Add one egg at a time to the bowl, beating to combine after each one.
4. Crush 12 Oreo cookies and fold them into the filling mixture.
5. Pour the filling on to the crust in the baking pan. (Optional: Sprinkle 4 crushed Oreos on top).
6. Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until it’s set
7. Let it cool to room temperature and then refrigerate it for at least 4 hours.
8. Slice into squares and serve.