Variety in Holiday Traditions at the Table

Columnist Stephanie Casey
Columnist Stephanie Casey

Hooray! The fall feasting season is here — two holidays which bring us together with friends, family, and tables upon tables of fabulous, festive food.
Breaking tradition to serve new and alternative holiday dishes can draw sneers and tears, so what I’ve done the last several years is stuck with the classics, but made them from scratch.

Take one of my family’s favorites — green bean mushroom casserole with crispy onions on top. Instead of frozen beans and canned onions and soup, fresh beans are in-season, the “soup” part is relatively simple to whip up, and fried onions are easy to pull off fried in a pan or even oven baked (for less grease).

There are lots of from-scratch recipes for this classic available online. I’ve played with different nut creams instead of dairy and switched up broths, and it’s always delicious. You can keep them straight or modify as you like when you are in control of all the ingredients.

Cranberry sauce is so easy, it’s hard to believe it found mass success cylindrical and jellied from a can. Frozen or fresh berries, plus water, plus sugar, and a little citrus over heat — that’s it. You can get fancier, for sure, but it’s sure to please.

Gravy isn’t difficult, stuffing is a breeze, and even making a pie crust is no big deal (I don’t even own a rolling pin and have made crust using a wine bottle to roll out the dough).

Here’s a simple fall recipe for you:

  • Chop up some butternut squash and toss roasted nut or olive oil, and salt and pepper with some garlic cloves (in their skin).
  • Roast at 400 degrees until soft.
  • Squeeze the roasted garlic from its skin into a bowl, add the roasted squash, and whip together. A rich, creamy side dish is the result.

Stephanie Casey can be reached through her website at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *