The Year’s Most Important Meal: Your Complete Guide to Thanksgiving Dinner (Part 2/2)

Since Thanksgiving dinner is incomplete without the yummy starters and desserts, here is part 2 of my blog post to help you add the most popular essentials to the meal. (See part 1 here, in case you missed it.)

The recipes below range from appetiziers, soups to - you guessed it- different kinds of pies! So go ahead and dig right in..

Starters

If you're looking for a scrumptious way to get a party started, bake a batch of these cheesy crab puffs. If you're a crab fan, you would love these soft pillows of delicious baked puffs. It’s simple, easy and super delicious for Thanksgiving dinner parties. They bake up golden brown and taste wonderful right out of the oven.

Crab Puffs

Yield: 16 servings

Total time: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 25 min

Method: Baking

Ingredients:

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water

1/2 cup butter

1 tablespoon ground mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 eggs

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

1 can crabmeat, drained, flaked or fresh crabmeat(canned crab meat works just fine in this recipe)

Directions:

In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, mustard, salt, cumin and red chili flakes.

Add flour all at once and stir until a smooth ball forms.

Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, with the handheld mixer or stand mixer.

Beat the mixture on low, beating well after each addition.

Continue beating until smooth and shiny.

Stir in the cheese and crab.Drop by rounded teaspoonful 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. (I always use an ice cream scoop to portion out)

Bake at 400° for 23-26 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove to wire racks. Serve warm.

Published as Crab Puffs with Crab Soup in "American Regional Cuisine." (Second Addition)

Lentil Soup with Garam Masala and Chapatti Crisps

Garam means "hot" and masala means "spice" though the mixture is not too hot; It adds little something to the dish. I sprinkle it on leftover chappati (or pita bread), cut it to strips and deep fry it and sprinkle on top. It adds much-needed texture and spice to the soup. I love lentils (daal) specially tarka daal. I often find that adding one or two preserved lemons provides just the right amount of zing. It freezes beautifully and is my standard lunch item with white rice and a dollop of yogurt. Very easy and comforting on a cold day!!!

Lentil Soup With Garam Masala and Chapatti Crisps

Yield: 10 cups Prep Time: 1 hr plus 30 min soaking time

Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups dried red lentils (about 1 pound), picked over 2 medium onions chopped fine 1/4 cup vegetable oil 2 tsp salt 1 1/2 tsp chili powder 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander 1 teaspoon turmeric 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tsp garam masala

1 day old chapati 5 cups water 2 cups chicken broth

Directions: In a bowl soak lentils in water to cover by 2 inches for 1 hour. Drain.

In a 5-quart heavy saucepan cook onions in oil over moderate heat stirring occasionally, until golden.

Stir in salt and spices and cook over moderately low heat about 5 minutes.

Stir in lentils, water, and broth and simmer on low heat until lentils are tender about 40 to 45 minutes.

Let soup cool slightly.

Cut a day old chappati (or pita bread) into strips and deep fry until golden. Serve with soup.

Serve with yogurt and herbs of your choice.

Butternut Squash Soup​

Butternut Squash Soup Creamy butternut squash soup infused with curry spice powder and garam masala. A savory, simple soup that's perfect for the fall and winter.

Yield: 8 to 10 serving

Prep Time: 35 min

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil 2 onions, small dice 2 cloves garlic, minced 4 cups butternut squash cut into large chunks 1 tsp cayenne pepper 1 tsp cumin powder pinch of cardamom powder or 2 pods 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 1 cup heavy cream 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth 1 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds

Directions: Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, shallots, and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add butternut squash and season with a pinch each salt and pepper, cayenne powder, cumin powder, cardamom and ground cinnamon. Stir to coat, then cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add vegetable or chicken broth. Bring to a low boil over medium heat and then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until butternut squash is fork tender.

Add heavy cream and cook further for 10 min. Use an immersion blender, or transfer soup to a blender, and purée on high until creamy and smooth. If using a blender, return soup back to the pot. Serve as is or with garnishes of choice (options above).

Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, or in the freezer up to a month.

Desserts

Blueberry Pie

Blueberry pie

Yield: 8 to 10

Total prep time: 30 min

Baking time: 30 min

Method: Baking

Ingredients: ½ teaspoon salt 1 1/4 cup cold butter

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour 4-5 tablespoons ice water 1 bag frozen blueberries 2 tbsp flour 3 tbsp granulated sugar Lemon juice

Turninado Sugar or granulated sugar as needed or just substitute with brown sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch pie plate and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour and the salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or two forks until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Gradually add enough ice water to the mixture while mixing until the dough comes together. Divide the dough into two disks for top and bottom. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Lightly flour the top of the pie dough. Rolling from the center, roll until the dough is about a ⅛-inch thickness. Fold the dough over and lay across the pie plate. Press the pie dough lightly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Cover the pie plate with a piece of the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Place blueberries in the stra