Thanksgiving Traditions From Our Agents

Published on November 27, 2019
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Happy Thanksgiving! The holiday season is so special because we are able to spend it with our family, friends and the ones we love the most. Whether you travel for the holidays or stay put in your own home, each and every family has a different way of celebrating. In honor of this joyous holiday, we have asked some of our very own agents to share with us their favorite Thanksgiving tradition or recipe they prepare!

Alison Lane ~ Thanksgiving Recipe 

Cornbread-Sausage Stuffing with Apples

12 tablespoons (1½  sticks) sweet butter   

2 ½ cups finely chopped yellow onions

3 tart apples (Jonathan and Winesap are good), cored and chunked; do not peel

1 pound lightly seasoned bulk sausage (breakfast sausage with sage is best)

3 cups coarsely crumbed cornbread (preferably homemade)

3 cups coarsely crumbed whole-wheat bread

3 cups coarsely crumbed white bread (French or homemade preferred)

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried sage

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

½ cup chopped Italian parsley

1½ cups shelled pecan halves   

  1. Melt half of the butter in a skillet. Add chopped onions and cook over medium heat, partially covered, until tender and lightly colored, about 25 minutes. Transfer onions and butter to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Melt remaining butter in the same skillet. Add apple chunks and cook over high heat until lightly colored but not mushy. Transfer apples and butter to the mixing bowl.
  3. Crumble the sausage into the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring until lightly browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to the mixing bowl and reserve the rendered fat.
  4. Add remaining ingredients to the ingredients in the mixing bowl and combine gently. Cool completely before stuffing the bird; refrigerate if not used promptly.
  5. If you do not wish to actually stuff the bird, spoon it into a casserole dish. Cover the casserole and set into a large pan. Pour hot water around the dish to come half way up the sides. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 325 degrees fahrenheit, basting occasionally with cooking juices from the bird or with the reserved sausage fat if necessary.

Lehua Gardner ~ Thanksgiving Tradition

Our family tradition is to run/walk the Turkey Trot. We have been going to OC Rescue Mission Turkey Trot the last couple of years, but before that we did the Dana Point Turkey Trot. The OC Rescue Mission walk raises money that goes to providing meals for the hungry and homeless of Orange County. It’s a great way to be a part of the community and raise awareness for this issue. Plus, you get a good sweat going before eating all that delicious Thanksgiving food. AND…it is pet-friendly! We plan to take our Frenchie Coco with us this year. We might have to bring a stroller though because her “cardio” is lacking. My son, Kai, is quite competitive and always tries to beat his previous time. We love this tradition for many reasons, but mostly because we get to spend time together as a family outside!

Karin Dunkin ~ Thanksgiving Recipe 

Mini Chicken Pot Pies 

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup celery, hopped

1 cup carrot, chopped

1/3 cup butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup milk

2 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken

1 cup peas, thawed from frozen

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

2 sheets of puff pastry

  1. Defrost puff pastry and cover so it wont dry out. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. TO MAKE FILING – Saute the first 3 ingredients in butter in a big skillet over medium heat until tender. Add flour; stir until smooth, Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth and milk; cook, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly.
  3. Stir in chicken, peas, salt and pepper. Cool before pouring into pie crusts. VERY important!
  4. Cut puff pastry sheets in 4 squares each, (You will have 8 squares total.)
  5. Grease muffin pan and gently place each pastry square into muffin cups.
  6. Fill each pastry cup with chicken pot pie filling.
  7. Once the cups are filled, bring the edges of the dough together over the filling and press them together to seal.
  8. Whisk the egg and brush every pot pie pocket top with the egg-wash.
  9. Bake for 27-30 minutes.

Clay Jorth ~ Thanksgiving Tradition/Recipe  

When it comes to Thanksgiving, the first thing that pops to my mind is the Turkey. I have for the past few years thoroughly enjoyed smoking a turkey or two for our various family get togethers. Now I can’t say that I have a recipe, but the key to a good turkey, whether you are roasting, smoking, barbecuing or frying is a good brine! Again, I don’t have a recipe, as I believe that cooking is an art not a science, so I got with what smells good, sounds good and what I have on hand and roll with it. Generally speaking you need lots of liquid, water or broth, salt, and then a variety of herbs spices fruits and vegetables! After a good 24 hour brine the next important step is creating an herb butter to get in the cavity, under the skin and around the entire exterior of the turkey, then stuff it with some aromatics and then get that bird cooking! I personally like the flavor and texture the smoking process gives the turkey, while cooking low and slow enough to retain its moisture for dinner! Can’t wait to fire one up this year! Cheers!

Roxanne Schuda ~ Thanksgiving Recipe 

Cran-Rasberry Sauce 

1 Jar (12 oz) seedless rasberry jam

1 bag (12 oz) cranberries, rinsed and patted dry

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground all-spice

1 tsp. grated lemon rind

Yields: 2 1/2 Cups

  1. Heat jam in saucepan over medium heat. Add cranberries, cinnamon and all-spice.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until cranberries pop, about 8 mins. Remove from heat and stir in lemon rind. Chill at least 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.