Thanksgiving Time

Thanksgiving brings us images of turkeys and family gatherings with big feasts. While Thanksgiving is typically reserved for turkey, there’s plenty of space on the table for our favorite beef or pork dishes. These recipes are fairly simple and provide just what you need for a deliciously successful Thanksgiving meal.

Roasted Beef Tenderloin


1 (4 to 5 lb.) beef tenderloin

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 Tbsp. pats

2 Tbsp. seasoned salt

1 1/2 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning

1 Tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Prepare a roasting pan with an internal rack.

2. Sprinkle both sides of the meat the seasoned salt and then lemon pepper seasoning and rub it in with your fingertips.

3. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add the tenderloin and sear the meat for 2 minutes. Turn meat and repeat for second side. Remove to roasting pan and sprinkle top with ground black pepper and add butter pats on top.

4. Bake for 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the meat reaches 140 degrees F. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes. Slice and serve.


Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin


5 slices bacon (or a few more)

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1 pork tenderloin (1 lb.)

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1/4 c. packed brown sugar

2 Tbsp. apple juice

1 tsp. prepared Dijon mustard

Dash of ground nutmeg


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a foil-lined pan sprayed with cooking spray. 

2. Wrap bacon around meat. Sprinkle all over with ground black pepper. Bake 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees F when tested in the center with a meat thermometer. 

3. Meanwhile, bring remaining ingredients to boil in a saucepan on medium heat. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat. Brush meat with glaze. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. Remove and cover loosely with foil. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing. 

Apron Strings Notes: If your tenderloin is 2 lbs., double the recipe and allow for more time in the oven.


Sausage and Cornbread Stuffing

No one will turn up their nose at this amazing stuffing.


9-by-9-inch pan of prepared cornbread

2 1/2 c. chicken broth

2 large eggs

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 medium yellow onion, diced

3 celery stalks, diced

1 Tbsp. parsley flakes

1 tsp. thyme leaves

1 tsp. rubbed sage

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 lb. ground sausage

1 pear, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces

1 c. pecans


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Cut cornbread into 1-inch cubes and spread onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and set aside to cool. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Prepare a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a very large bowl, whisk together the broth and eggs, set aside.

3. In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter. Add onion, celery and all seasonings. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes. Add sausage and break it up with a spatula. When sausage begins to cook, add pears. Continue to cook until sausage is nearly cooked through.

4. Pour the sausage skillet contents into the broth mixture. Add the cornbread cubes and pecans. Fold ingredients until combined and then pour into the 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Bake 40 minutes.

Apron Strings Notes: Bosc or Anjou pears work well with this recipe but Bartlett will do if it’s what you have available.


Sweet Potato Casserole

One of the best sweet potato casseroles I’ve had. The topping is the key.


5 c. cooked sweet potatoes, mashed

1 c. granulated sugar

1 stick (8 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 c. milk

2 large eggs

Streusel Topping:

1 c. light brown sugar

1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. chopped pecans

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

1/2 c. mini marshmallows


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl with the mashed sweet potatoes, stir in sugar, butter, vanilla extract, milk and eggs. Mix well and pour into prepared dish.

3. Make the streusel. In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, pecans and butter until it resembles a crumble. Spread evenly over the top of the potato mixture.

4. Bake for 25 minutes and then top with marshmallows. Bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Remove and serve warm.


Cranberry Sauce

The sauce is the boss. This recipe takes less time than you’ll spend attempting to get the canned stuff out of the can.


1 (12-oz.) bag fresh cranberries

3/4 c. granulated sugar

1 Tbsp. orange zest

1/2 c. fresh-squeezed orange juice

1 stick cinnamon


1. In a heavy 2-qt. saucepan, add all ingredients and stir well.

2. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes ensuring it doesn’t burn to the bottom or sides. Cranberries will break as it cooks.

3. Remove from heat and remove lid. Sauce will thicken as it cools. Remove cinnamon stick and transfer cooled mixture to a service dish. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate overnight.