Family Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. Without the attachment to a specific religion, it’s a day that pretty much everyone can enjoy. And if you love the flavors of the season, like me, it’s a time to celebrate everything from cranberries to root vegetables.

We usually celebrate Thanksgiving at our home in Brooklyn. I start the day with a Turkey Trot in nearby Prospect Park, which helps to clear my head for the full day of cooking and socializing ahead. My mother in law and a few friends join us around 5 and we finish up by the time the kids go to sleep.

This year it’s just going to be me, my husband, and our three kids at the table. Since the littlest one has yet to even have her first taste of mashed sweet potatoes, and the older two don’t really care about the big feast, we really have no pressure to make any of the traditional foods. Heck, we could grill up some burgers and everyone would be happy! Well, everyone except for me. Those Thanksgiving smells remind me of my mother and of celebrations growing up.

I’ll still be making some family favorites for us to enjoy, including the recipes below. After all, it just won’t feel like Thanksgiving unless there are some familiar aromas filling the house.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and I wish you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving—no matter how you plan to spend it!

Sausage, Cornbread and Quinoa Stuffing

Serves 12

3 cups of cornbread, cubed

1 cup pecans, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

4 celery ribs, chopped

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

2 links sweet Italian chicken or turkey sausage, casing removed and crumbled

1 teaspoon fresh sage

1 cup dried cherries, unsweetened

2 cups cooked quinoa

1/2 cup fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth

¼ cup dry white wine

  1. Toast cornbread cubes in the oven or toaster oven at 350° for 10 minutes. Spray a 13X9X2 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. Remove cornbread from oven and set aside; leave oven on.
  1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan for 1 minute over medium heat, then add the onion and sage and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the celery and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until lightly browned.
  1. Transfer the toasted cornbread and quinoa to a large bowl and add the sausage mixture to it. Stir and add the salt, pepper, broth and wine. Transfer to the reserved baking dish and bake at 350° for 50 minutes, until golden brown on top. Serve warm.


Herb Roasted Turkey Breast

Serves about 6

1 whole bone-in turkey breast, 6 1/2 to 7 pounds

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons fresh sage leaves

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup dry white wine, chicken broth or water


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Arrange a rack in a large roasting pan and place the turkey breast on it, skin side up.
  1. On a cutting board, chop the herbs with the salt, spreading your knife over the mixture to make a paste. Loosen the skin from the turkey breast with clean hands and spread the herb mixture evenly over the breast. Brush the olive oil over the turkey skin. Pour the wine, broth or water in the bottom of the roasting pan.
  1. Roast the turkey for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until the skin is golden and an instant-read thermometer registers 165° when inserted into the thickest part of the breast. Check the turkey after it has been cooking for an hour and 15 minutes; if the skin is getting too brown, cover the turkey breast with foil.
  1. Remove the turkey breast from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes to allow the juices to evenly distribute. Carve the turkey and serve.


Spiced and Spiked Cranberry Cider

from Eating in Color: Delicious, Healthy Recipes for You and Your Family

Serves 6

Despite all the wonderful flavors and scents of fall, I’ve never been a big fan of the season. I think it has always signaled an end of fun for me, and of course it means shorter days and added layers of clothes. But one thing I’ve always loved about fall is apple cider. As long as I have a steaming mug of it (preferably spiked!), I can brave those chilly autumn nights with a smile. This cider can also be made without the rum, and kids love it as a treat.


4 cups (1L) apple cider

2 cups (500ml) sweetened cranberry juice blend (100 percent juice)

2 cinnamon sticks

1 orange, sliced crosswise into wheels

6 ounces (180ml) rum


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cider, cranberry juice, cinnamon sticks, and orange wheels. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Strain the mixture (careful, it’s hot!) through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the solids. Add 1 ounce (30ml) of rum per 1 cup (250ml) serving. Curl up in front of the fire and enjoy.


Frances Largeman-Roth

Frances Largeman-Roth

Frances Largeman-Roth, RD, is a New York Times best selling author and nationally recognized health expert. Frances was the Food and Nutrition Director at Health magazine for nearly eight years. Frances is the author of Feed the Belly: The Pregnant Mom’s Healthy Eating Guide and her latest cookbook, Eating In Color: Delicious, Healthy Recipes for You and Your Family, was recently published.

She lives in Brooklyn, NY, and is a mom of three. Check her website for more recipes.

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