Eau Claire Eats

Traditional family recipes that are good for every Thanksgiving

More stories from Ben Strong

Praxis post
December 9, 2020

When Riverview Cafe doesn’t sound appealing, Midwest Meals prides itself on being a healthy alternative.

Thanksgiving is here, but Wisconsinites are being asked to stay home, stemming from an advisory made by Governor Tony Evers.

There’s always next Thanksgiving, however, so here are some recipes which can be used next year. Thank you to my sister-in-law Ellyn Knapp for providing these recipes, and her mother Lori Knapp and grandmother Nancy Baldwin for creating them.


  • One stick butter
  • Two small garlic cloves, minced
  • One medium onion, chopped
  • Two cups celery, chopped
  • Two cups fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • One cup fresh cranberries, cut in half
  • Two teaspoons dried thyme
  • One teaspoon dried sage
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • One package of Brownberry’s Seasoned or Unseasoned Bread Stuffing for 14-16 pound Turkey
  • Chicken or Turkey Stock

In a large kettle, melt the butter. Add garlic, onion, celery, mushrooms, cranberries, thyme, sage and salt and pepper to taste.

Saute and steam all together on low until softened, about five minutes. 

Then, add bread cubes to the kettle and gently toss with the other ingredients. 

Add one to two cups of stock broth to moisten the stuffing. 

The mixture should remain moist but not fluffy. At this point it is ready to stuff into the turkey neck and cavity area.

Pumpkin pie squares

It is important to make the pie the day before the feast.

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • One cup flour
  • One-half a cup oatmeal
  • One-half a cup brown sugar
  • One-half a cup butter

Mix first four ingredients in a bowl until crumbly. Press into a pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Next combine and beat well:

  • One pound can of pumpkin
  • One can evaporated milk
  • Two eggs
  • Three-quarters cup sugar
  • One-half teaspoon salt
  • One teaspoon cinnamon
  • One-half teaspoon ginger

Pour the mixture over the baked crust and bake another 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Next combine:

  • One cup chopped pecans
  • One-half cup brown sugar
  • Two tablespoons butter

Sprinkle this crumbly mixture over baked pumpkin filling. Bake for 20 more minutes at 350 degrees.

When cool, cut into squares and serve with whipped cream.

Roast turkey

Thaw your turkey at least 24 hours in advance for every four pounds. Place turkey unopened, still in the wrapper, turkey breast side up, on a large cookie sheet in the refrigerator or in the garage or basement (if cold enough) to thaw slowly.

Ready the roasting pan by placing the metal wire rack in the bottom of it so the turkey sits on top of the wire rack and rests above the bottom of the pan. Fill the bottom of the pan with one-half inch of water.

Next, prepare the turkey by removing it from the wrapper. Take out the neck and giblets from the two body cavities (neck and body). Drain the juices.

Stuff the turkey (if desired) just before roasting. 

Lightly fill the neck cavity and lift the neck skin up to the top of the chest. Then skewer the cavity closed with a toothpick or metal skewer through the top of the neck skin into the body cavity skin to hold stuffing in place. 

Then, turn the turkey over to the body cavity and stuff the body cavity with the stuffing before returning the legs to a tucked position.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and put the turkey on the wire rack breast side down when preheating is done.

Roast according to the guidelines below. To prevent overcooking, loosely cover the top of the turkey with aluminum foil when it is about two-thirds done.

Approximate roasting times:

If the turkey weighs 10 to 18 pounds, roast it for three to three-and-a-half hours unstuffed, or three-and-three-fourths to four-and-a-half hours stuffed.

If the turkey weighs 18 to 22 pounds, roast it for three-and-a-half to four hours unstuffed, or four-and-a-half to five hours stuffed.

If the turkey weighs 22 to 24 pounds, roast it for four to four-and-a-half hours unstuffed, or five to five-and-a-half hours stuffed.

When the turkey thigh muscle is pierced deeply with a fork, the juices should be clear and no longer reddish pink. That is how you know it’s done.

Let the turkey stand for 15 minutes before carving.

Strong can be reached at [email protected].