November 26, 2020: Thanksgiving Dinner (and leftovers the next day)
December 7th, 2020 by Max Koster

This year, Thanksgiving was an intimate affair: just the five of us: Mom, Dad, Alex, Koko (dog), and me, Max.  With COVID levels increasing, we decided to stick with the basics (nothing fancy this year) and each of us took responsibility for part of the meal.

I was in charge of the stuffing; Alex was in charge of the pumpkin pie; Mom was in charge of the turkey and vegetables (supposedly Brussel sprouts); Dad was in charge of mashing the potatoes; and Koko was in charge of cleaning up the floor.  Midway through the preparations, Mom realized she had forgotten to buy Brussel sprouts so she made a kale salad instead from the last of the kale in our garden.  Additionally, around noon Dad and I decided we wanted pecan pie as well as pumpkin pie and drove around trying to find the ingredients, but everything was closed.  At least I got to practice driving — but I really wanted pecan pie!

Although I didn’t want to change tradition too much, I decided to make “Stuffin’ Muffins” instead of regular stuffing.   The main difference is how you cook the stuffing (in individual muffin tins, versus one big pot). Because there is more surface area of the stuffing exposed to heat, there is more delicious crispiness.

Stuffin’ Muffins


Ingredients for stuffin’ muffins are pretty straightforward: Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix (the best); butter, onion, and chicken broth.  I used the whole bag of stuffing.  There was some discussion about adding sausage to the mix, but that was deemed too much of a break from tradition (maybe next Thanksgiving).  Also if you have celery you can chop and add that.  (Mom forgot to buy celery as well as the Brussel sprouts)

The first step is to preheat the oven to 325 degrees and butter the muffin tin.  The next step is to chop the onions.

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Then it was time to melt the butter in a saucepan and sautee the onions. (Note that Koko is diligently doing her job in the background, checking for scraps on the floor.)


Then you add the broth and the stuffing mix to the onions and stir till well combined.

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Fill the muffin tins with the stuffing mix and bake for 35-40 minutes or until brown and crispy on top.  Let cool for 10 minutes before you remove.

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Here is the final version: they tasted great but did fall apart a bit. Next time I will add a bit more chicken broth (AND SAUSAGE!).

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Pumpkin Pie:

(This is Alex):  My job was pumpkin pie.  We always make pumpkin pie using Libby’s Pumpkin Pie mix and follow Libby’s recipe (so long as we have the ingredients). It’s pretty simple.  You need one 15 ounce can of Libby’s pure pumpkin, one 12 ounce can of Evaporated Milk, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.   (Of course, we didn’t have cloves, and the ground ginger was about 10 years old, so we didn’t use those; I added an extra 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon instead.)

The first step is to combine the sugar, spices, and salt in a small bowl.  Then in a larger bowl, you add the two eggs and beat them.


Next step is to stir in the pumpkin mix and gradually add the evaporated milk


When everything is combined, you pour into a pie shell.  I prefer the graham crust kind.  Also, it’s easier to handle if you place the pie shell on a larger tray before you put it in the oven (because the filling is liquid, it’s easy to spill without that tray)

Piepouring    prepiebake

You cook at 450 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees until a knife inserted toward the center of the pie comes out clean. It has to set for at least 2 hours, and since we like it cold, I made it Thanksgiving morning so we could refrigerate before dinner.  We served it with freshly whipped cream.



Here’s the before and after turkey shots (the green stuff is thyme from our garden):

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And here’s the dinner plate.  We didn’t make the cranberry sauce.  It’s weird but we really love the pre-made, canned cranberry sauce; that’s just one of our traditions.



Everyone loves Thanksgiving leftovers, and everyone raves about turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey chili…etc. But really one of the best use of leftovers is our family’s invention: Turkey Mash! I (Max) personally love making a meat hash out of leftovers. Say for example you cook steak and baked potatoes for dinner.  The next day, steak hash with onions and chopped baked potatoes is awesome, especially if you have some good left over veggies to throw in. So for the day after Thanksgiving, we made Turkey Hash, or more accurately Turkey Mash. The first step was to chop an onion and sautee it in olive oil.  We had a couple of pieces of bacon so we chopped those up and threw them in.  Then we added some frozen corn that needed to be cooked and a bunch of chopped up turkey.  Finally, we added left over mashed potatoes.  Because they are so soft, it didn’t look or have the texture of normal meat hash, but it was still delicious.

turkey mash



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