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Video: Cook a Southern Thanksgiving dinner

updated 11/22/2006 11:37:09 AM ET 2006-11-22T16:37:09

Recipe: Macaroni and Cheese

  • 2 pounds elbow macaroni
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup cubed Velveeta cheese
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 6 cups half-and-half
  • 4 cups grated sharp yellow cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups grated extra sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated Asiago cheese
  • 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup grated Muenster cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until still slightly al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside to keep warm.
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until frothy.
Combine the eggs with the Velveeta, butter, and 2 cups of the half-and-half in a large bowl. Add the warm macaroni, tossing until the cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the remaining half-and-half, 3 cups of the sharp yellow cheddar cheese, the remaining grated cheeses, and salt and pepper, tossing until completely combined.
Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13-inch casserole or baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of sharp yellow cheddar cheese and bake until golden brown on top, about 30 minutes more.


Serve hot.

Serving Size

Serves 6 to 8

Recipe: Sweet Potato Cheesecake

I do like cheesecake, but I admit that this dessert is just another excuse to eat sweet potatoes. Every self-respecting Southerner is crazy for sweet potatoes, so I oblige my family and friends by making this rich dessert every so often.
This recipe is based on traditional, dense New York-style cheesecake prepared with a graham cracker crust. I have enhanced the crust with pecans (another southern favorite), which add richness and complement the sweet, slightly spicy, and creamy filling. Top the cheesecake with sweetened sour cream and you just don’t need anything else on your dessert plate. In fact, you will probably be so satisfied that you won’t even think about eating until the next day.

  • Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups of finely ground graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup finely ground pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • Filling
  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree (about 1 medium sweet potato, cooked, peeled, and pureed)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Sour Cream Topping
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
To make the crust, combine all of the ingredients in medium bowl, mixing until crumbly. Press into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan and set aside while preparing the filling.
To make the filling, combine the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl and beat on high speed using a hand mixer until smooth. (You can also do this on a stand mixer using the paddle attachment.) Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated and stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the sweet potato puree, spices, and vanilla and beat until just incorporated. Pour the filling into the prepared pan and bake until the center is almost completely set. (The center will still jiggle slightly.) Place the cheesecake on a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the sour cream topping, stir together the sour cream and sugar in a small bowl.


To serve, carefully remove the cooled cheesecake from the pan, place on a cake plate, and spread the sour cream topping over the top.

Serving Size

Makes one 10-inch cheesecake


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