Campus Community Shares Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Nov 22, 2023
A close-up shot of three different kinds of cookies being offered in the Dining Commons. One is a white cookie with rainbow sprinkles, one is double-chocolate, and the third are brown cookies with chocolate chips.

Cookies from the Dining Commons.

With Westfield State offering such a diverse array of staff and faculty, it’s fitting that there’s an equally rich repository of foods and recipes for the holidays just waiting to be explored. The following recipes are examples of must-tries for this coming holiday. No matter what you celebrate, try your hand at some of these recipes and see what sticks! You won’t want to miss them.

 Joanne Leighton, Staff Assistant to the Interim Vice President of Institutional Advancement: Yummy Sweet Potato Casserole

“Here’s a recipe that my family enjoys.”

According to the webpage’s description, this yummy sweet potato casserole will take a total cook time of just over an hour. You’ll need: 4 cups of peeled, cubed sweet potatoes, 2 large, beaten eggs, ½ cup of white sugar, ½ cup of milk, 4 tablespoons of butter, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Additional instructions for the casserole’s pecan topping follows.

Potatoes should be boiled for 10-15 minutes before mashed with a fork. Add the sugar, milk, butter, vanilla, and salt together and mix until it’s smooth. The brown sugar, flour, and pecans should be added together as well, and sprinkled over the sweet potato. Bake in a dish for 30 minutes at 325 degrees.

Linda Hogan-Shea, Administrative Assistant II for the Psychology Department: Cranberry Cookies with Orange Glaze

“This is one of my favorite holiday recipes.”

These cranberry cookies with orange glaze will need: 10 tablespoons of salted butter, 1 1/3 cups of granulated sugar, 2 eggs, 3 teaspoons of orange zest, 2 ½ cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, ½ teaspoon of table salt, 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 cup of white chocolate chips, 1 cup of chopped fresh or frozen cranberries, and 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar.

You’ll want to mix the batter together and stir in the ingredients as you go. After, scoop the batter into tablespoons one inch apart from each other on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes. The orange glaze will be whisked together in a separate bowl before glazing the hot cookies when they’re done. Let them sit for 20 or so minutes.

Debora Pise, Administrative Assistant I for Admissions and Financial Aid: Fresh Salsa

“You must try this one!”

This recipe for salsa is relatively simple, needing canned tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno or serrano peppers, green chilies, onion, garlic, lime juice, and salt.

Some tips include using a food processor to create a smoother, more chunky texture, adding the ingredients in order, experimenting with spice levels, and adding a small amount of sugar or honey to balance out the acidity from the tomatoes. The salsa should then be chilled for an hour. The best part is, if left in the fridge, it should last up to 5-7 days! Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving leftovers?

Dominique Chapman, Assistant to the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs: Sausage Pear Stuffing

“Here’s my sausage pear stuffing recipe that I stole from Martha Stewart. I make it every year and it’s always a big hit!”

This recipe calls for a heartier array of ingredients, such as 2 day-old dark, rustic bread, 2 sticks of unsalted butter, 3 large onions, 4 leeks, 6 stalks of celery, 2 fennel bulbs, 24-28 ounces of Bosc or Anjou pears, coarse salt and freshly ground pepper,  4 tablespoons of freshly chopped rosemary leaves, 4 tablespoons of freshly chopped sage leaves, 2 pounds of sweet, Italian sausage, 4 cups of turkey stock, 4 large eggs, and 1 ½ cups of freshly chopped parsley leaves.

The prep time for this stuffing should take a little over an hour. After preparing the sausage and stuffing separately, the contents of both should be combined into a separate baking dish and then baked for approximately 40-45 minutes. Additional instructions are available for those who prefer stuffing to be baked inside the turkey. 

Madeline LeBlanc, Social Media Specialist for Strategic Marketing and Communications: Loaded Potato Chowder and Pumpkin Bread

“I have a million more for every season. Feel free to use!”

This loaded potato chowder is good for any occasion, but especially for Thanksgiving. To prepare, you’ll need 6 large potatoes, 1 package of bacon, 2 bundles of scallions, 4 tablespoons of butter, ½ cup of flour, salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon of garlic and pepper seasoning, 2 cups of milk, 1 32 ounces of chicken broth, 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, and 1/8 ounce of sour cream.

For dessert, pumpkin bread lovers should try this one out. The recipe calls for 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, ½ tablespoon of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, salt, 1 cup of granulated sugar, ¼ cup of milk, 2 eggs, 1 small can of 100% pure pumpkin puree, and 1 ½ cups of chocolate chips. As with most desserts, you’ll want to slowly mix everything together and bake for 60 minutes in a greased pan. The bread should then sit for an additional 20 minutes.

Alyssa Goodreau, Director of Marketing: THE Mac and Cheese

“This is THE mac and cheese. I make it every year and it’s gone in minutes! It’s also flexible enough to make it into a buffalo chicken style, which is an even bigger hit.”

The prep time for this recipe is around twenty minutes. Ingredients include: 1 pound of pasta (your choice), ½ cup of butter, ½ cup of flour, 4 cups of milk, 6 cups of freshly shredded sharp or white cheddar cheese, ½ tablespoon of kosher or sea salt, ½ tablespoon of pepper, 2 tablespoons of butter, ½ cup of panko breadcrumbs. The dish should bake in the often for 12-15 minutes at 325 degrees.

It’s advised to grating from a block of cheese rather than using bagged cheese due to the additives in bagged cheese which cause it to melt differently. For those who prefer to use crock pots, keep the crock pot on low for two hours and then serve when warm.

Leah Nielsen, Associate Professor of Creative Writing: Maple and Ginger Roasted Veggies

“My go-to!”

What’s better than maple-roasted veggies for the holidays? Maple and ginger roasted veggies! With pecans! Vegetable enthusiasts will have a ball with this dish. All they’re going to need are 1 ½ cups of pecans, ¾ pounds of peeled carrots, 2 large, peeled parsnips, 1 medium head of cauliflower, 1 butternut squash, 1 pound of halved brussels sprouts, ½ cup of extra-virgin olive oil, ¼ teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, 2 tablespoons of fresh, minced ginger, and 1/3 cup of pure maple syrup.

The oven should be heated at 425 degrees. Pecans should be roasted for about six minutes. Once that’s done, spread the vegetables over two, large baking sheets and roast for another 30 minutes. The pecans should be added then, along with the maple syrup. Roast for another 25 minutes and serve!