Tomorrow is turkey day. I’m so excited I’m dancing on the ceiling right now. Really, I am. LOL.
My sister and her family are flying in tonight from Virginia. Though they live in another state, we make it a point to celebrate either Thanksgiving or Christmas together each year. This holiday I’m playing hostess, which means establishing a menu. I love all of the traditional holiday foods, but I’m tired of preparing them the same way. So, for tomorrow’s dinner, I’ve decided to kick-things-up-a-notch.

Here are two of my favorite recipes.   
Instead of plain mashed potatoes I’m preparing Rosemary-Lemon mashed potatoes.  

Cover 2 pounds whole russet or Yukon gold potatoes with cold salted water; simmer 45 minutes. Drain, peel and mash with 1/2 to 1 stick butter. Add 1 cup hot milk, and salt and pepper; mash until smooth and fluffy. Add 1/2 cup each grated parmesan and Romano cheese. And top 2 teaspoons minced rosemary mixed with the grated zest of 1 lemon.

Instead of a traditional Sweet Potato Pie, my must-have dessert, I’m serving Emeril Lagasse’s Spiced Sweet Potato Meringue Pie.


  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Ginger Snap Crust, recipe follows
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until very soft, about 1 hour. When potatoes are cool enough to handle halve and scoop out enough flesh to measure 2 cups, reserving remainder for another use and discarding skin. While potatoes are still hot, add butter and mash until almost smooth; small lumps of potato should remain. Whisk together eggs, sugar, allspice, ginger, and salt. Stir in evaporated milk, lemon juice, and vanilla. Gradually add egg mixture to sweet potatoes, whisking gently to combine. Pour the filling into the cooled piecrust. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and bake until the filling is set around edges but still jiggles slightly when shaken, about 20 more minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly, about 30 minutes.

 To make the meringue topping, in a large bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks start to form. Slowly add the sugar while beating constantly. Beat until glossy and stiff peaks form, being careful not to over beat the meringue.

Preheat the broiler.

While the pie is still warm spread the meringue evenly over the filling, smoothing out to the  pastry edges to seal. Place under the broiler and cook until the meringue is golden brown, about 1 minute.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a rack, about 1 hour. Serve.

Ginger Snap Crust:
        1 3/4 cups crushed ginger snap crumbs
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg white
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a bowl, combine the ginger snap crumbs, butter, and brown sugar well. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan, and press into the bottom and up the sides with your fingers. Place another 9-inch pie pan on top of the crust and press firmly to smooth and pack the crust. (Some of the crust may spill over the edges of the pan.)

Bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. Brush the crust with the egg white. Refrigerate, tightly covered, for one hour before using, or freeze for up to 6 weeks.

 Ummmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about the pie. I made it a few months ago, and it is so delicious. Now I must confess that I don’t enjoy cooking/baking very much, but I do enjoy going the extra mile to ensure my family’s holiday experience is memorable.

Do you have any holiday tips you’d like to share?


  1. Nightingale // November 21, 2012 at 11:18 AM  

    Have a great Thanksgiving, Pam. Thanks for the recipes. They sound yummy

  2. Mary Marvella // November 21, 2012 at 12:26 PM  

    Yes, thanks! Can we ever have enough recipes?

  3. Pamela Varnado // November 21, 2012 at 12:31 PM  

    Thank you, Linda. You have a great Thanksgiving also.

  4. Pamela Varnado // November 21, 2012 at 12:36 PM  

    Mary, during the holiday season, I always try to add something new to my menu. Having a stockpile of recipes comes in handy.

  5. Scarlet Pumpernickel // November 21, 2012 at 10:38 PM  

    Wow, Pam what a treat. I was planning to skip cooking dinner all together this year. Spent the last four days at the beach. It was a trip planned months ago and we really needed the break. Then my daughter decided to invite her new in-laws, so now I'll be up early tomorrow cooking. I'm making creamed potatoes, so I might just use your recipe! Thanks for sharing and Happy Thanksgiving! I haven't forgotten your suggest about a get together soon! We need to make plans.

  6. Mary Ricksen // November 23, 2012 at 7:52 PM  

    Yummy! Any leftovers Pam!

  7. Josie // November 26, 2012 at 2:33 PM  

    Thanks so much for posting the yummy recipe. I don't have any tips to share, but hope you and your family had a very Happy Thanksgiving.