Last-Minute Family Favorites for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Recipes

Jersey Bites contributers Melissa Baratta and Christine Van Arsdalen offer two last-minute Thanksgiving “secret weapons”  for making your spread memorable.

Cranberry, Walnut and Orange Relish 

Melissa Baratta

My family has always served this relish at the Thanksgiving table instead of the usual canned cranberry sauce. It’s fresh, citrusy, tart and nutty and goes great with turkey and stuffing.

You’ll Need:

12 oz. package fresh cranberries

Zest and juice of one large orange

¾ cup chopped walnuts

½ cup sugar


1. Place cranberries, orange zest, orange juice and walnuts in a food processor, and blend until finely minced. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Add sugar and stir to combine (add additional depending on desired sweetness). Serve immediately or store in the fridge.

Garlic Mushrooms

Christine Van Arsdalen

While my grandmother’s garlic mushroom recipe is a staple at my Thanksgiving table, it’s not normally considered a traditional item. It also happens to be the one thing I cannot live without. After years of watching my grandma making them, and a course in ‘mushroom ed’ from the master, I have taken up the torch. To this day they are still the fastest eaten item on the table.

Being that I come from an Italian family where the word recipe means throw things in a pot until it tastes good, there are no measurements for this dish. To begin, cut a pound of button mushrooms into quarters and mince 3 or 4 cloves of garlic. Saute the garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add the mushrooms, a decent amount of squeeze margarine, fresh oregano and rosemary, and salt pepper and garlic powder, to taste, to the pot. Cook for an hour or until liquid has mostly evaporated. A little hint: the longer you cook these the better they taste. That, and don’t be afraid to lay the margarine on thick!