The WOTV 4 Women holiday cookbook: Thanksgiving edition

Thanksgiving dinner

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)- The best recipes are the ones we use a million times.  Who could have Thanksgiving without Grandma’s sweet potatoes decorated with the tiny marshmallows or that mile high apple pie that your mom makes?

Here at WOTV 4 Women we know the best holiday recipes are the ones you swap with your girlfriends.  We’ve got you covered.  Our crew of experts are sharing their favorite Thanksgiving recipes, holiday advice and tips to make the season bright.

crew_web (2)


Browse our holiday cookbook where we feature our WOTV 4 Women Crew and readers just like you!  That’s right you can have your best Thanksgiving recipes and advice included in our guide for West Michigan women.  Email us your holiday recipe, advice and Thanksgiving photo to:


Thanksgiving inspiration starts with Pinterest!  Follow WOTV 4 Women on Pinterest to see all of the mouth-watering recipes we’re collecting on our Thanksgiving board.

WOTV 4 Women Cookbook: Thanksgiving Edition

Cranberry Ginger Sauce  |  Apple Cider & Orange Brined Turkey  | Thanksgiving Grilled Carrots  | Butternut Squash Mac N’ Cheese (Vegan)  |  Cranberry Apple & Chorizo Manchego Stuffing  | Brussel Sprouts with Cranberry and Balsamic  |  Crockpot Applesauce  | Chocolate Layer Dessert

Cranberry Ginger Sauce Recipe

cranberry ginger sauce margaux drake

margauxMargaux Drake  |  WOTV 4 Women Healthy Eats Expert

About the recipe: My Cranberry Ginger Sauce is one of our Thanksgiving traditions. Warning: It’s extremely addictive. I love making it and our whole family loves eating it, which is a winning holiday combination! When it’s on the stove bubbling away, it smells delicious and our kids will come in and ’taste test’ it right out of the sauce pan. It’s not only fabulous served warm on Thanksgiving day, but also chilled throughout the week after Thanksgiving. They use any leftovers on their turkey sandwiches and I’ve also been known to eat any leftover cranberry ginger sauce as a snack. With a spoon. Right out of the fridge. Shhhhhh.

Make it: Cranberry Ginger Sauce:

Margaux’s Holiday Tip: My advise is to include your family the whole Thanksgiving, not just the hour of eating; from menu planning, to meal preparation, to setting the table and of course the clean up, everyone shares in the work. It’s less stressful and way more fun. Great memories are made in the kitchen. Plus, kids learn a new piece of what makes the day special year after year so by the time they are in charge, they’ll be a pro.

Apple Cider & Orange Brined Turkey Recipe

thanksgiving turkey carly

Carly Munoz, WOTV 4 Women Baby ExpertCarly Munoz  |  WOTV 4 Women Motherhood Expert

About the recipe: I love hosting Thanksgiving because that means I get to make the turkey!  I discovered this brined turkey recipe a few years back and love it!  My guests do too!  It’s not too salty but produces a moist and flavorful main dish.  Don’t be afraid to brine. Embrace the brine. It will change how you cook turkey forever.

Make it: Apple Cider & Orange Turkey Brine:

Carly’s tip: “My best advice if you’re hosting Thanksgiving- take Wednesday off of work to prepare, but still send the kids to daycare! That way you can kick butt and get everything prepped without the constant distractions. I also always make a checklist so I don’t forget anything.”

Thanksgiving Grilled Carrots

Credit: Thinkstock/robynmac
Credit: Thinkstock/robynmac

jan lehmanJan Lehman  |  WOTV 4 Women Interior Remodeling Expert

About the recipe:  Ever since I first made these a few summers ago, I’m always asked to bring grilled carrots for any family gathering. The beauty is they can be made ahead of time and served as a cool appetizer and the leftovers can be cut up and used in a soup or stew later.  We usually travel for Thanksgiving so this is especially easy to bring, prepare and transport.

Make it: Thanksgiving Grilled Carrots

  • Heat grill to medium
  • Wash carrots – leave greens on for a handle if you want
  • Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. For more tartness, add a little balsamic vinegar which will also darken the carrots
  • Sea salt entire carrot (I’ve also used fresh basil at end of cooking time)
  • TIME depends on size of carrots. Turn about 15 minutes, and again 15-20 minutes later.
  • Fork should pierce skin easily; just don’t let them get mushy.

Jan’s tip: “I love buying and eating local!  During the holidays take advantage of the produce grown right here in West Michigan by shopping at your local markets.”

Butternut Squash Mac N’ Cheese (vegan)

michele mac n cheese thanksgiving

Michele FifeMichele Fife  |  WOTV 4 Women Wellness Expert

About the recipe: When weather is cold and dry its time to break out the heavier, warm and moist foods to help keep us grounded. Macaroni and Cheese was something I loved growing up, I have always enjoyed the homemade over boxed and even as a vegan we all still love a “cheesy” flavor profile. This recipe will help you sneak some great nutrition in to your diet too! Butternut squash is loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C and packs even more potassium than a banana! I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we all do. Play with it, customize it by adding spinach or baby peas. It could become one fo your families favorites.

Make it: Butternut Squash Mac N’ Cheese (vegan)

• 2 cups cubed butternut squash (or any orange colored squash I used acorn today!)
• 1 lb. dried whole wheat pasta
• ¼ cup cashews
• 2 Tbsp. Earth Balance or other vegan butter substitute
• 2 Tbsp. flour
• 1½ cups plain almond milk
• ½ tsp. salt
• ¼ tsp. nutmeg
• 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
• 1 clove garlic
• ⅛ tsp. cayenne
• ¼ tsp. ground mustard
• 2 tsp tamari soy sauce

Prepare your squash of choice by roasting or steaming and scoop out flesh into your blender. While this is cooking is a good time to cook your pasta according to package directions; set aside.
Add the cashews to the blender and process squash and cashews.
In a saucepan melt your non-dairy butter and add the flour gradually as this melts stir in the almond milk and remaining ingredients.
I then add all of this to my blender to mix or you could also add the squash and cashew mix to your saucepan.
Pour your yummy sauce over your cooked pasta and grease a baking dish with your non-dairy butter. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes and enjoy!

Michele’s Tip: “This season cook with butternut squash is loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C and packs even more potassium than a banana!”



Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic & Cranberries

Credit: Thinkstock/lensblur
Credit: Thinkstock/lensblur

Gail SaukasGail Saukas  |   WOTV 4 Women Legal Expert

About the recipe: I love Brussel sprouts, but found it a challenge to fancy them up for a holiday dinner until I found this recipe.  The family loved them and the dried cranberries definitely give them a holiday flair.  Even our parrot, Bunji, is a fan and always gets some of the leftovers!


Make it: Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic & Cranberries:

Gail’s Tip: ” When holidays roll around I always am reminded not to sweat the small stuff.  It is so nice to have the family gather to share Thanksgiving dinner and catch up that it hardly matters if something doesn’t turn out ‘just right’.  In fact, we all laugh about the year I forgot to include the sugar in the pumpkin pie, and when saying what we are thankful for, someone always says they are glad I remembered the sugar this time!  So take a breath, enjoy your friends and family, and if you have a cooking disaster have a good laugh because it will be next year’s story!”

Crockpot Apple Sauce

Credit: Thinkstock/BWFolsom
Credit: Thinkstock/BWFolsom

Maranda2Maranda |  WOTV 4 Women Kids & Family Expert

About the recipe: Making apple sauce is a family event Where I Live!  My daughters are in charge of peeling piles of apples and mother oversees the whole production.  We love letting it cook all day in the crock pot because the house smells fabulous!  There’s nothing better than a nice warm bowl of apple sauce with our Thanksgiving meal and the left overs are always great!

Make it: Crockpot Applesauce:

Maranda’s Tip:  “Always be open to inviting a family, friend or neighbor to join in your festivities.   I love inviting guests to join in the family meal.   We have so much to be grateful for it’s awesome to share with others!”


Chocolate Layer Dessert

Credit: Thinkstock/Eising
Credit: Thinkstock/Eising

Jordan Carson Jordan 8-7-2015|  WOTV 4 Women Charity & Entertainment Expert

About the recipe: This is one of my favorite recipes because growing up, anytime we had a family get together, my grandma would always make this dish. She’d say “I made this especially for Jordie”, since she knew I loved it so much. Now my mom makes it. I always feel this dish was made with love, special from my grandma. Plus it’s unbelievably delicious!

Make it: Chocolate layer dessert

To Make Crust:
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup flour
1 stick margarine, melted
Press in 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes

To Make Filling:
Cream together:
8 oz. Cream cheese
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 of an 8 oz. Cool Whip

To Make Topping:
2 pkgs. chocolate instant pudding
2 and 1/2 cups of milk
Beat together until smooth

Put Cool Whip on top; sprinkle with chopped nuts

Jordan’s Tip:  “My most memorable Thanksgiving holidays are when my family served at soup kitchens and gave to those who needed it the most. Start a family tradition of serving others. Your children will always remember those times and continue to give back throughout their lives.”


Farm Fresh Apple Sauce

jerri 140x213Jerri Schmidt |  WOTV 4 Women Finance Expert

About the recipe: My grandfather was a farmer with a small orchard in northern Michigan and grew a variety of apples and peaches.  We always had homemade apple sauce at Thanksgiving and every time I make it, it reminds me of his orchard and family. The smell of the cooking applesauce brings happy memories.


Make it: Homemade apple sauce:  Peel and core a dozen of your favorite Michigan apples.  Slice them and place them into a sauce pan on low heat.  Add, sugar, salt and cinnamon to taste.  Stir until apples are reduced to sauce.  Remove from heat and cool.

Jerri’s Tip: My best tip for hosting Thanksgiving dinner – prepare as much of the meal ahead of time as possible.  This gives you time to set up the table, think about how you want the food items presented, and takes some of the stress out of planning!   The day before we make the stuffing, desserts, jello salads, and whatever else we can for the meal menu. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s