Quick Recipes and Easy

Bountiful Blessings: Reflections and Recipes for Thanksgiving


“I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.” (Psalm 86:12)

Thanksgiving is a time of sharing, giving and offering thanks. It is also a time of plotting tasty meals in cheerful anticipation of dining with family and friends. But imagine in the midst of all the preparations, a large crowd of people showed up unexpectedly hoping to partake in the festivities with you. How would you feed everyone?

This is exactly the dilemma the Pilgrims faced in the fall of 1621 when Squanto and Chief Massasoit showed up a day early before the pre-arranged Thanksgiving feast with 90 additional members of the Wampnoag tribe. The Pilgrims had not plotted on feeding such a large number of guests, and to do so would cut deeply into the food supply they had stored for the hard winter months ahead.

The Pilgrims had always placed their trust in God and by His grace, they were able to endure many hardships on the long voyage across the Atlantic and during the year’s time it took to establish their settlement. God had repaid their steadfast like and faith by blessing them with a bountiful harvest. So they knew immediately who to turn to in their despair while desperately praying for an answer, which was soon forthcoming. As it turned out, the Wampnoags did not show up empty handed. They brought many provisions that were combined with the Pilgrims’ feast preparations and made for a wonderful banquet that lasted three days.

About a month later, 35 new colonists arrived in Plymouth out of the blue and the Pilgrims were again faced with the problem of how to feed and shelter the newcomers. As before, they turned to God for guidance and were given the wisdom on how to divide and ration their supplies in the months ahead. At the end of a cold, bleak winter, not one person had died of starvation! The following year, the Pilgrims plotted, planted and reaped a bountiful harvest and once again celebrated in thanks with the Wampnoags, who brought even more tribe members to the festivities.

Now as this time of Thanksgiving draws near, let us do as the Pilgrims did so long ago – trust in God….always. And let us be thankful for His bountiful blessings. Amen!


I adapted the following recipe from the 1939 edition of “The New England Yankee Cookbook.” According to the two ladies who contributed the recipe, “This dish was made by the Pilgrims and handed down through succeeding generations.” Although simple to make, this ancient-world cuisine requires about a half-day of preparation and cooking time. This dish will feed approximately 8-10 people, keeps well and improves each time it is warmed over, making leftovers a real treat.

4 lbs. corned beef
4-5 lbs. poultry (I recommend a whole chicken that has been cut-up)
1 qt. dried pea beans (you can substitute your favorite beans or lentils)
1 large pkg. frozen kernel corn
1 whole turnip, sliced
6 potatoes, sliced
Salt & pepper

Wash and pick over dried beans and place in a pot. Add enough cold water to cover, place a lid on the pot and let beans soak overnight. In the morning drain well and add 2 quarts fresh water to beans. Cover and cook on medium heat for approximately 2 hours or until beans are tender enough to mash. (Note: You can use a crockpot and cook beans on low for 10-12 hours, or high for 6-8 hours.)

Place the corned beef and poultry together in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a rolling boil before covering pot with a lid and letting simmer on medium heat for a couple of hours. Check water level periodically to make sure the broth doesn’t cook too far down; add 1-2 cups of water if necessary. Remove beef and poultry, and place on a warming platter.

Add sliced turnips and potatoes to broth and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until tender. During the last 5 minutes, add the mashed beans and frozen corn. Stir frequently to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve in a large tureen as a side dish for the corned beef and poultry.


There are many versions of the seven-layer salad, but this is the one I like to use. Layer the following ingredients in a large bowl:

2 heads of lettuce, chopped
1 box of frozen peas
3-4 green onions, chopped – including chives (or slice one small regular onion)
4 boiled eggs, sliced
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups of grated Swiss cheese

For the last layer, blend together the following two ingredients pour over the other layers and refrigerate until ready to serve:

2 cups of mayonnaise
2 tsp. sugar

My cousin makes this recipe every year for Thanksgiving dinner. She prepares hers by dumping (not layering) all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then just before serving, she tosses the salad with the mayonnaise and sugar until everything is covered with the dressing. That way people don’t have to dig and root around trying to get all the layers on their plate and generally make mess of the salad. I have been preparing the salad that way ever since!


This is a very simple dessert to make and is guaranteed to be a favorite! And it’s a nice change from the traditional pecan and pumpkin pies served during the holidays.

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 (9 oz.) carton whipped topping, thawed
1 graham cracker crust shell
Optional: Crushed peanuts or shaved chocolate

Beat together the cream cheese, peanut butter, confectioner’s sugar, and milk until well blended. Fold in the whipped topping and mix contents thoroughly together; pour into pie shell. Garnish with crushed peanuts and/or shaved chocolate and refrigerate (or freeze) until ready to serve.


Charlene Davis is an experienced and published writer specializing in business, retail, e-commerce, weddings, parenting, spirituality, and food. For more recipes and cooking articles, visit her Busy Moms Recipes blog at busymomsrecipes.blogspot.com busymomsrecipes.blogspot.com or sign up for her free newsletter at busymomsrecipes.com busymomsrecipes.com

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