A few years back, I weaseled my way into the holiday tradition where my mother-in-law makes everything for dinner.  I brought homemade cranberry sauce and a corn casserole.  I never liked cranberry sauce growing up, but was only ever exposed to the canned variety.  I think it was the corn casserole that got my foot in the door.  It’s pretty much the only recipe that I ever got from my mother that I remember liking as a kid.

Last year, I made a pumpkin roll for Christmas that went over pretty good with my other advocate, my sister-in-law.  I made them up from the pumpkins the kids and I grew in the back yard.  

So, this year, I was signed up to bring all three again.  The cranberry sauce was one of the best I’ve made:

  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 orange, chunked up
  • Get the water, oj and sugar boiling.  Drop in 3 1/4 cups of the cranberries.  Once they start popping, zest that orange.  When the popping slows down, use a big spoon and squish up the cranberries a bit.  Add in the remaining cranberries and chunked orange (this leaves a few “whole” looking cranberries – mostly for aesthetics).  Let it boil for about a minute and take it off the heat.  After it cools for about 30 minutes, throw it in a stain-resistant container and put it in the fridge over night.

The corn casserole is pretty simple, too…

  • 2 of the larger cans of creamed corn
  • 1 small can of whole sweat corn
  • 1 small white onion
  • half a pound of bacon
  • 1 sleeve of saltine crackers
  • 1 egg
  • salt/pepper
  • Fry up the bacon until crisp, set aside until cool and then chip/crumble into small pieces.  Drain the grease from the pan (throw it away, gargle with it, or do what my grandma did and just poor it over the dog food – they loved it).  Finely chop up the onion and fry them in the pan until they are translucent.  Most of the time, I throw in some butter to help the process.  Beat the egg.  Crumble the crackers.  Combine everything in a 9×13 glass casserole dish.  Salt & pepper to taste (You will think that there is already a lot of salt in the ingredients and, while you may be right, it doesn’t come out in the taste. I think the corn really sucks it up).  Bake at 375 for ~ 60 minutes (I’m sure you could do it shorter at a hotter temp, but this is how I do it).  It should have a light golden brown crust when done.

I screwed this up and didn’t season it enough.  It was just a little bland this year.  I was bummed.

As far as the pumpkin roll… I use the Paula Dean recipe for the cake portion and the dark rum ingredient from her filling, but use another filling recipe that involves cream cheese and heathbar crumbles.  It’s a bit time consuming, but not too bad.