Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Squares

Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Bars

On this final Friday before Thanksgiving, I’m wrapping up my series on Thanksgiving sides with this dessert idea. By all means, make the traditional pumpkin, apple, and pecan pie, but you may want to add these little bites as well.

When I make desserts like this, I like to cut them into small squares to make them more of a nibble than a full blown dessert. I’m more of a dessert nibbler at this point, so several small bites of different delicious options suits me just fine. The photo I have here is bigger than I’d cut these, but you certainly could serve it as a full sized dessert if you’d prefer.

Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Squares

Ingredients

15 oz. can of pumpkin puree
1 cup heavy cream
4 eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar (divided)
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cinnamon (divided)
¼ tsp. salt (Divided)
4 Tbs. unsalted butter, diced
1 ½ cup roughly chopped pecans
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Whipped cream for garnish

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Combine pumpkin, beaten eggs, granulated sugar, ¼ cup brown sugar, nutmeg, ¼ tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. salt in a bowl until well blended.  Pour into a greased 8×8 inch baking pan.

3. In a bowl combine butter, pecans, flour, and remaining brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Scatter the pecan mixture on top of pumpkin mixture.

4. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the edges are puffed and the filling is set in the center. When you insert a knife, it should come out clean. Cool until room temperature.

5. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Rosemary Citrus Green Beans

Green beans

Next up in our Thanksgiving Side Dish Series….an incredible twist on green beans. I personally love to see something green on a Thanksgiving table, and this dish would be amazing. The addition of rosemary, lemon and orange makes it extra special – just perfect for a holiday meal.

That said, if you have picky eaters at the table, you can certainly remove some of the green beans before you add all the good stuff – I’ve noted that in the directions for you.

Rosemary Citrus Green Beans

Ingredients

4 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 1⁄2 lb. snap green beans
1 garlic clove, minced
3⁄4 cup low sodium chicken broth
3⁄4 tsp. chopped rosemary
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. orange zest
2 Tbs. fresh orange juice
salt & pepper

Directions

1. In a large skillet, melt the butter over moderately high heat, about 1 minute. Add the green beans, toss to coat and cook for 2 minutes . Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 20 seconds.

2. Add the chicken broth, cover and bring to a boil. Cook until the beans are crisp-
tender, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the lid and cook, tossing occasionally, until the broth is nearly evaporated.

3. If you have picky eaters: At this point, transfer half of the beans to a bowl and season simply with salt and pepper.

4. For everyone else: Add the rosemary lemon zest, and orange zest to the beans in the skillet. Stir in the orange and lemon juices, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Maple-Walnut Sweet Potatoes

maple-walnut-sweet-potatoes

I love hearing about family traditions when it comes to Thanksgiving. We all have those special foods that just have to be on the table to make it feel right. I look forward to some of them all year, almost as much as I look forward to seeing my extended family gathered around the table. No matter how much you love your favorites, it’s also fun to try a new dish or two, so this month I’m sharing some dishes that would make great additions to your Thanksgiving table.

Let’s start with these sweet potatoes. Instead of canned yams, this dish uses fresh sweet potatoes that you’ll bake in the oven (or microwave –  that works, too!) before mashing them up and topping them with just enough of this crunchy, nutty topping to make them holiday-worthy.

Maple Walnut Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

4 pounds sweet potatoes (about 6 large)
Cooking spray
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Place potatoes on oven rack or a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until tender. Cool. Peel potatoes and mash. Stir in maple syrup, milk, and salt.

3. Preheat broiler.

4. Spread potato mixture into an 8X8 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. In a small bowl combine walnuts,  brown sugar, and butter. Sprinkle walnut mixture over potatoes; broil 2 to 4 minutes or until nuts are lightly browned.