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Thanksgiving

Maricopa Turkey Trot, now in its 12th year, brought in 961 pounds of food to restock the shelves at the food bank at F.O.R. Maricopa. The Thanksgiving morning event at Copper Sky included a 5K run an 1-mile walk for all ages. To enter, participants brought nonperishable food. The first 36 finishers received a pumpkin pie (the youngest being 6 years old). The event is organized by the City of Maricopa.

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Photos by Kyle Norby

Ahead of Thanksgiving, F.O.R. Maricopa food bank distributed free turkeys to lines of clients in cars at the Blue Business Building Tuesday. Typically open Mondays and Thursday, the food bank will be closed Thursday for the holiday. Tuesday morning was also the final day to sign up for the Christmas Wish Toy Program. Learn more about the organization at FORMaricopa.org.

Stuffed acorn squash

Thanksgiving dinner means a lot of autumn flavors, roasted vegetables with earthy spices, jazzed up potatoes, cranberries in everything and the challenge of finding one side dish brand new to the family table.

Robert King

Desert Passage resident Robert King, a former butler and estate manager, whips up goodies and dishes for colleagues and friends from time to time. He learned to cook from the age of 13 at his mother’s side and puts his own stamp on learned recipes.

Butternut squash and sweet potato soup has chicken or vegetable stock as it base, with main ingredients plus carrots, onion, thyme, olive oil and cumin, and is topped with raw pumpkin seeds and a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt and croutons.

Sweet rolls include pumpkin puree, flour, milk, yeast, sugar, eggs, butter and salt. The rolls are sliced on the sides before baking to create a pumpkin design in the finished product. After baking, it is topped with a cashew as a “stem” and served with cinnamon butter.

Here, he shares a Thanksgiving recipe for stuffed acorn squash and other side dishes. He said he likes the recipe because the grain can be changed and paired with other flavors.

“You can use rice or quinoa or couscous and match them with different nuts or seeds,” he said.

Sausage cranberry apple pecan stuffed acorn squash

Ingredients
4 acorn squash (softball size single serve portion)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of salt
Pepper to taste
1 box wild rice (optional couscous, quinoa, farro or panko breadcrumbs)
1 pound ground sausage
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 large celery stalks, finely chopped
1 cup cauliflower chopped (optional)
2 large honey crisp apples, diced
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup toasted pecans chopped (optional walnuts or cashews)
¼ cup pumpkin seeds (optional sunflower)
½ teaspoon sage (optional thyme)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (divided)

Directions
Squash

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Using a sharp knife, cut off bottom end of acorn to give it a stable bottom to stand on. For a single-acorn, single-serving portion, you can cut the top off and use as a decorative element.

Spoon out seeds.

Brush olive oil inside and on top of acorn squash.

Sprinkle salt and pepper over acorn squash to taste.

Bake for 40 minutes to an hour depending on size of your squash until tender and you can pierce with a fork, but still hold its shape.

Filling

In a separate pot, cook rice/quinoa according to directions.

While the squash is baking, sauté the sausage for about 5 minutes, drain but don’t discard grease in the pan.

Using the grease from the sausage add your onions and celery to the pan and sauté for another 2-3 minutes until it starts to brown (add olive oil if necessary).

Combine rice once cooked with meat mixture

Add apples and cauliflower and sauté for another 2 minutes or until softened.

Stir in sage, nuts, seeds and cranberries.

Add ¾ cup Parmesan cheese and stir until cheese begins to melt. Set aside.

Assembly

Once squash has finished baking and reached desired tenderness, spoon in meat mixture with a large scoop until the squash is filled, leaving an overflowing mound on the top. Top with some grated Parmesan cheese.

Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, depending on size of squash.

Remove from oven and top with remaining Parmesan cheese.


Pumpkin Rolls

Ingredients
For rolls (yield 15)
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 cup whole milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, divided
1 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Whole cashews, raw or honey roasted

For cinnamon butter
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup honey
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions
For rolls
With an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, stir the yeast, milk, sugar, butter, pumpkin, one egg and salt until well combined. Gradually add the flour and knead on medium-low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Let the dough rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Knead the dough on medium-low speed for another 5 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth. If it seems too sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces and shape into balls.

Using the palm of your hand to flatten each ball slightly. With a paring knife or culinary scissors, cut 8 slices around each ball, being careful not to slice all the way into the center, to make the pumpkin shape. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Poke an indentation using a rounded edge of a dowel in the center of each roll to create a space for the “stem.” In a small bowl beat the remaining egg with 2 teaspoons of water and brush over the rolls.

Bake rolls 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Place a whole cashew into the indentation of each roll.

 

For cinnamon butter
With an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for 30 seconds, or until pale in color. Add the powdered sugar, honey, and cinnamon and beat until well combined, light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately or store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Serve the rolls warm with the cinnamon butter.


Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients
Yield 4 servings
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 butternut squash, skinned and cubed
1 large (1 pound) sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 large carrots, peeled and cubed
1 medium yellow onion, cut into small chunks
2 teaspoon thyme leaves
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon ground cumin (leaves optional)
Garnish (toppings of your choice: Croutons, dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream, raw pumpkin seeds

Directions
Preheat oven to 400°F and line baking tray with baking/parchment paper.

Place butternut squash, sweet potato, carrot and onion pieces on the tray. Coat all sides with oil. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of thyme evenly over the entire squash mix, stir and repeat with the remaining portion of thyme.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are browned and soft. Let cool, then transfer to a blender and puree the roasted vegetables and transfer them into a large pot or crockpot. Add stock. If using large pot, cook on stove for 5-10 minutes, stirring often. If using crockpot, heat on low setting to allow flavors to develop. Top with garnishes and serve.


This item appears in part in the November issue of InMaricopa.

The City of Maricopa took over the 11th annual Turkey Trot, a 5K run and 1-mile walk to collect food for F.O.R. Maricopa’s food bank. The first 20 finishers in the Thanksgiving morning event scooped up a pumpkin pie. The run moved to Copper Sky this year.

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Last year, the cost of food items for a traditional Thanksgiving meal was at its lowest since 2010, according to Arizona Farm Bureau. This year, it is predicted to be just a little lower, with the falling price of some grocery items credited to tariffs as farmers lose their overseas markets.

Consumer Price Index: The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs fell 1.0 percent in September, with all its major component indexes falling. The fruits and vegetables index also fell, declining 0.5 percent. The index for dairy and related products declined 0.3 percent.

2017                           2018
16-pound turkey                           $22.38                       $23.68
Milk (gallon)                                 $2.99                          $2.19
Rolls (dozen)                                 $2.26                          $2.28
Pie shells (2) 9-inch                     $2.45                          $1.98
Sweet potatoes (3 lb.)                  $3.52                          $2.74
Green peas (1 lb.)                         $1.53                           $2.38
Whipping cream                           $2.08                         $2.58
Bread stuffing (14 oz.)                 $2.81                          $2.98
Pumpkin pie mix                          $3.21                          $2.98
Fresh cranberries (12 oz.)           $2.43                          $1.72
Veggie tray (1 lb.)                         $6.74                           $6.28
TOTAL                                            $52.80                        $51.79


(serves 10)

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Submitted photo

Cub Scout Pack 997 of Maricopa delivered all the fixings for Thanksgiving dinner to a local family in need Wednesday.

The sharing-and-caring effort was part of the troop’s holiday campaign to serve the community. They are also adopting two families for Christmas.

“We are teaching them about thankfulness and helping other people who need help,” Wolf Den Leader Zelmer Hagler said.

The Cubs are participating in an ongoing toy drive in partnership with Copa Craze, Journey 2 Fitness and 360 Barber Shop & Beauty Bar, where toys will be collected until Dec. 22. Learn more by contacting Hagler at SincereDEB28@gmail.com and find out what the boys are doing for Christmas in the upcoming issue of InMaricopa.

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

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Pinal County Public Health Services District would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. Holidays are times we share the kitchen with family and friends. Here are some tips that all cooks can follow this holiday season for cooking a delicious and safely prepared turkey. When preparing a turkey, be aware of the four main safety issues: thawing, preparing, stuffing, and cooking to adequate temperature.

Safe Thawing

Thawing turkeys must be kept at a safe temperature. The “danger zone” is between 41°F and 130°F – the temperature range where foodborne bacteria multiply rapidly. As soon as a frozen turkey starts to thaw, bacteria present become viable and can multiply. The best way to avoid a problem when thawing a turkey is to plan ahead and place the turkey in the refrigerator a few days prior to cooking. If that is not possible, other safe alternatives include thawing in cold running water, or in a microwave oven. Never thaw a turkey by leaving it out on the counter or in standing water for an extended period of time.

Safe Preparation

Bacteria present on raw poultry can contaminate your hands, utensils, and work surfaces as you prepare the turkey. If these areas are not cleaned thoroughly before working with other foods, bacteria from the raw turkey can then be transferred to other foods. Even if you cook the turkey, some of the other foods may not be cooked and may be contaminated. This is called cross contamination. After working with raw poultry, meat or fish always wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces before they touch other foods. When washing your hands, be sure to use warm water, and lather with soap for 20 seconds. To be extra safe, you can sanitize utensils and surfaces with a solution of one teaspoon of household bleach per gallon of water.

Safe Stuffing

The safest way to prepare stuffing is to cook it outside the turkey in a casserole dish. However, many people enjoy traditional stuffing roasted inside the turkey. If you place stuffing inside the turkey, it should be cooked to the same temperature as the turkey itself. Add stuffing to the body cavity just before cooking. Ensure the stuffing is thoroughly cooked using a food thermometer. Make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Bacteria can survive in stuffing that has not reached 165°F, possibly resulting in foodborne illness.

Safe Cooking

Whether you roast, fry, or smoke your turkey, the best way to ensure it is fully cooked is to check the temperature with a food thermometer. Verify the internal temperature at the center of the stuffing and meaty portion of the breast, thigh, and wing joint. The turkey and stuffing must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Food thermometers not only help us to ensure the food is cooked thoroughly, but also help us prevent overcooking.

Pinal County Public Health Services District has a goal to prevent disease, promote health, and provide nutrition services to the residents of Pinal County. The Environmental Health Services Division conducts inspections of permitted facilities, monitors the community for disease vectors, and investigates public health nuisance complaints. If you would like more information on our programs, or to file a complaint, please visit our webpage at www.pinalcountyaz.gov/ehs or call 866-287-0209.

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Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Ronnie Buchanan won the 5K Turkey Trot in 15:14 on Thanksgiving Day at Pacana Park. Top finisher in the 1-mile run/walk was Jayden Tuke in 7:35. Proceeds benefited F.O.R. Maricopa. The race was also a collection point for Mothers of Everyday Heroes. See more race results at http://maricopaturkeytrot.blogspot.com/p/results.html

As the holidays approach, the staff at InMaricopa wanted to pause and take a moment to share what we are most thankful for, and wish everyone a wonderful holiday season!

Scott Bartle – Publisher:

“I’m thankful for our first responders. In particular, the men and women of law enforcement for the sacrifices they make, and the risks they take every day to keep us safe. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!”

Raquel Hendrickson – Editor:

“I’m very thankful for my family and my good friends here in Maricopa. I want to wish the entire city of Maricopa a great and happy Thanksgiving.”

Adam Wolfe – Reporter:

“I’m very thankful for the fact that this is my job. It’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid, and it makes me happy every single day. I’m also thankful for my friends, my family and the great life I’ve lived so far. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.”

Dick Barkley – Client Loyalty Director:

“I’m most thankful for the love of my life, my family, my close friends and the people I get to see on a regular basis. Happy Thanksgiving from me to you; the community of Maricopa.”

Donna Atkins – Advertising/Sales Professional:

“I am thankful that life gives us many opportunities to make changes and get better at what we do. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!”

Happy Thanksgiving from our InMaricopa family to yours!

The annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner presented by For Our City Maricopa and area churches is Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Organizer Eric Lacz said the event will again be at the big ramada at Copper Sky Recreational Complex.

They are still looking for more volunteers to help cook turkeys.

The fourth annual event is free. The food and service are all volunteer.

For information or to volunteer contact Lacz at 520-233-3085 or director@forourcitymaricopa.org.

Also learn more at https://www.facebook.com/forourcitymaricopa

Residents line up for Thanksgiving food boxes at F.O.R. Maricopa. Photo by Adam Wolfe

The F.O.R. Maricopa Food Bank passed out 450 turkeys and meal boxes to local families during their annual turkey drive Tuesday afternoon.

After boxing up the dry ingredients on Saturday, dozens of volunteers came out to pass out the meals to families in need. For the first time, the food bank instituted a drive through pick-up, and the system allowed volunteers to keep the event organized and constantly flowing.

“We’re giving out (450) Thanksgiving dinners to all of our clients,” F.O.R. Maricopa Food Bank volunteer Claudia Goldmer said. “This is actually the first time we’ve done the drive through, and it’s working out wonderfully. It’s very fast and very efficient, so we’re getting people done and through.”

As the city of Maricopa grows, so does the need for meals provided by the food bank. The 450 turkeys and food boxes the food bank gathered are the most they have had for one giveaway.

““We’ve grown a little bit every couple of years,” F.O.R. Maricopa Food Bank Executive Director Wendy Webb said. “We increase a bit more [each year] because of the need, but we’re probably about maxed right about now for what we can do.”

The turkey drive lasted from noon to 2 p.m. at the F.O.R. Maricopa Food Bank location at 44625 W. Garvey Ave. Tuesday afternoon.

Get out and run for a good cause on Thanksgiving morning in the annual Turkey Trot at Pacana Park.

The Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot in Maricopa seeks nonperishable food items and goods to help support local homeless teens.

Eight years ago, the Turkey Trot started as an idea between Austin Hoopes and his sister, Jennifer Mix. The two wanted to do a Thanksgiving Day run, but the closest event was in Mesa. Instead of driving so far north on the holiday, they organized their own trot in the Villages subdivision.

Since 2008, the event has continued to grow. In 2009, the Maricopa Police Department got involved, and Hoopes began collecting nonperishable goods from the events participants to donate to families in need.

Last year, Hoopes got corporate sponsors involved to share some of the out of pocket costs. This year, the Maricopa County Sheriff and Attorney’s offices are sponsoring the event, along with the UltraStar Multi-tainment Center, Mothers of Everyday Heroes, Be Awesome Coalition, Casa Grande Alliance and Coolidge Youth Coalition.

“The event is free, we just request everyone brings a nonperishable food item or item from our list to help our local homeless teens,” Hoopes said. “Over the last few years we’ve done this, we’ve been able to gather hundreds of pounds of goods to help people in need. This year, we want to focus on the youth in the community who need our help.”

Items being requested include nonperishable food, packages of pens and pencils, paper and notebooks, travel size toiletries, jeans, T-shirts, sweatshirts, socks, backpacks and winter clothing.

“It’s a great way to show gratitude for what you have,” Hoopes said. “[Thanksgiving] is a great time of year to show that appreciation.”

The event will take place Thanksgiving morning and feature bounce houses for participants to enjoy, and a DJ to provide music and entertainment.

Participants can pre-register for the 5 kilometer (3.1 mile) run or the 1-mile “Family Fun Run” online at http://maricopaturkeytrot.blogspot.com, or in person at Pacana Park at 7 a.m. before the event begins. The 5K will begin on the soccer fields at Pacana Park at 8 a.m., and the “Fun Run” will begin in the same spot at 8:10 a.m. Course maps are available online.