Slow Cooker Stuffing with Extra Veggies

This stuffing is packed with flavor and veggies. The veggies are cut small so they don’t overpower the stuffing. This recipe uses the slow cooker to save much coveted oven and stove space for other Thanksgiving goodies. Makes about 12 servings.


¼ cup butter
2 cups chopped onion
½ cup chopped green onion
1 cups chopped celery
12 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 cups finely chopped greens (tatsoi and spinach work well)
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
12 cups bread, cut into bite size cubes (Sourdough tastes great in stuff. You can also mix in half whole wheat bread for extra fiber. Make sure to use day old bread for better texture)
2 tbsp. mixed fresh herbs (e.g.: sage, rosemary and thyme)
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Cook onion, green onion, celery and mushroom for several minutes until soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.
2. Place bread cubes in slow cooker. Add cooked vegetables, greens, parsley and herbs. Mix well.
3. Add just enough broth to moisten bread (about 1 ½-2 cups). It’s better to start with less and add more later if needed.
4. Pour in eggs and mix well.
5. Cook on high for 2 hours. Check halfway through to see if more broth is needed. Add more salt and pepper if needed.


Sweet Potato Pie by Sheri Castle


1 1/2 pound small, slender sweet potatoes
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup canned evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon bourbon or dark rum
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and roast them on a foil-lined rimmed
baking sheet until very tender, about 1 hour.  Remove the potatoes, but leave
the baking sheet in the oven. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F.

2. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and force the warm flesh
through a food mill or mash as smooth as possible with a potato masher.
Transfer the purée into a large bowl.

3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. add the sugar, stir
until smooth, and pour into the potatoes. Add the milk and stir until smooth.
Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl, add to the potato mixture, and stir
until  smooth. Whisk in the remaining ingredients. The filling will be quite
thin. Pour the filling into the pie shell.

4. Carefully transfer the pie to the heated baking sheet and bake until the
filling is just set, about 40 minutes. Transfer the pie to a rack to cool to
room temperature. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Roasted Winter Squash and Sweet Potato Soup with Apple Butter Cream


3 pounds winter squash
1 pound small sweet potatoes
4 TBS butter
2 large leeks, white and tender green parts, chopped and rinsed (about 2 cups)
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
2 stalks celery, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 tsp garam masala spice blend
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 sweet-tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and chopped
3 short thyme sprigs
2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 cup apple cider, plus more as needed
2 TBS freshly grated ginger
2 TBS brown sugar, or to taste
1/4 to 3/4 cup half and half or whole milk, as needed
Apple Butter Cream to garnish (recipe below)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the squash in half from top to bottom. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Place the halves cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Arrange the sweet potatoes around the side of the pan. Roast until the squash is easily pierced with a knife and the potatoes are soft when gently squeezed, about 45 minutes. (Check the sweet potatoes after 30 minutes as they might cook more quickly. Larger squash and pumpkins will take 1 hour or longer.) Let cool enough to handle. Scoop the flesh from the squash shells into a large bowl. Peel the sweet potatoes and add them to the bowl.
  2. Melt the butter in a soup pot or large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the leeks, carrot, celery, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until very soft, but not browned at all, about 12 minutes. Stir in the garam masala, ground ginger, and coriander and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  3. Add the stock, apples, thyme, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat, and simmer until the apples very are soft, about 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in the squash, sweet potatoes, cider, grated ginger, and brown sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes. Discard the thyme stems.
  5. Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender and return it to the pot, or purée the soup directly in the pot with an immersion blender.  Taste the soup and add more salt or brown sugar, if needed.
  6. Whisk in the half and half. Gently rewarm the soup over low heat, but don’t let it boil. Serve warm, topped with a little Apple Butter Cream.

Apple Butter Cream
1/4 cup apple butter
1 cup crème fraîche

Whisk together the apple butter and crème fraîche in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Whisk before using.

Make-Ahead Note: The soup tastes best when made at least one day ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to three days. Reheat gently and check the seasoning before serving.

Serves 12

© Sheri Castle, 2010

Roasted Beets with Vinaigrette


1 pound of beetroot
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup walnuts
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1½ tablespoons fresh dill, minced
Salt and pepper


1.)   Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash beets and trim off the dangling roots.
2.)   Rub beets with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with pinch of salt. Place in shallow baking pan, cover with foil and roast for 1 hour.
3.)   Allow beets to cool before gently removing the skin and slicing thinly.
4.)   Meanwhile, toss walnuts with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toast in oven until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
5.)   Whisk vinegar, garlic, mustard, dill and remaining olive oil until thoroughly combined. Salt and pepper to taste.
6.)   Toss roasted beets and walnuts with dressing in a medium bowl and serve.

And, don’t forget to eat the beet greens, too!

Source: South Durham Farmers’ Market

Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash

This simple dish has great flavors and warmth for the fall–perfect for any dinner or a side dish for Thanksgiving.

Serves 4

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4″ cubes
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 TBS fresh rosemary, chopped
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss ingredients together until evenly coated with oil and herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Place evenly on a non-stick baking sheet and roast until tender, about 30 minutes.

Source: Western Wake Farmers’ Market

Ginger & Pear Cranberry Sauce

Spice up a holiday favorite with local baby ginger and pears!


1 tablespoon freshly minced baby ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cups water
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
12 ounces of cranberries
2 firm peeled pears, chopped in ½ inch cubes


1.)   Bring water, sugar, salt, ginger and cinnamon to a boil in a medium saucepan stirring occasionally.
2.)   Add cranberries and chopped pears to saucepan and return to a boil.
3.)   Reduce heat and simmer until most of the cranberries have popped, about 5 minutes.
4.)   Cool to room temperature before serving.

Want to make your sauce even more local? Substitute half the sugar with local honey!

Source: Elizabeth Zander, South Durham Farmers’ Market Manager

Hurtgen Meadows Farm Sweet Potato Pie

1 (1 pound) sweet potato (makes about 1.5 c mashed)
½ cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

1. Wash and bake the potato or peel, chunk, and boil sweet potato until soft.
2. Mash sweet potato (without skins) in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a soufflé, and then will sink down as it cools.

Home Made Pumpkin Puree

Step One:  Cut the stem of the pumpkin off, just like you do when you are carving a jack-o-lantern.

Step Two:  Scoop out all of the seeds.  You can set these aside to clean and roast for a yummy snack.

Step Three: Cut the pumpkin into halves or quarters.  Place the pieces in a baking dish (or dishes, depending on the size of the pumpkin).  Put about ½ inch of water in the bottom of the baking dish.  This is so the pumpkin steams and roasts at the same time.

Step Four: Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the pumpkin in the oven and let bake for about 20 minutes. After that, check it every 5 minutes until it is finished cooking.  The way to tell when the pumpkin is cooked to perfection is when you can easily stick a fork through the skin into the flesh.  Since pumpkins come in different shapes and sizes, the cooking time will vary.  Note: If the pumpkin’s flesh starts to brown or burn, turn the oven down.

Step Five: When the pumpkin is finished baking, take it out and let it cool.  When it is cool enough to touch, scrape the pumpkin flesh off of the skin.

Step Six: Mash up the pumpkin flesh just a little bit.  Then, place it in a fine mesh sieve or in some cheese cloth and let the water drain off for at least an hour.  Note: You can save this pumpkin juice and use it in smoothies or soups.  Get creative!

Step Seven:  Run the drained pumpkin flesh through a food processor for an even consistency.  Now the pumpkin puree is ready to be used in your favorite pumpkin pie recipe!

Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Vinegar

From Chez Pannise Vegetables by Alice Waters

This is a basic method of cooking greens that works equally well with nearly all leafy greens. To use in a simple pasta dish, cook some pasta while you sauté. When both are done, toss them together and moisten with a little more olive oil and ladle of the pasta cooking water.

2 lb kale Salt
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped

Strip kale leaves from stems and cut away midribs of large leaves. Chop coarsely and wash. Drain but do not spin dry. Heat a large sauté pan and add olive oil and enough kale to cover the  bottom of the pan. Allow the greens to wilt before adding more. When all the kale has been added, season with salt, stir in the garlic, and cover pan. Greens will take from a few minutes to 15 minutes to cook, depending on maturity. Once tender, remove lid and allow excess water to cook away. Turn off heat and stir in vinegar.

Serves 4 to 6.