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
- 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.