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Pass the Plate: Thanksgiving meals from our home to yours

The Brightside team is sharing their favorite family holiday recipes.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Brightside team is inviting you into their homes this Thanksgiving for a glimpse into how they celebrate the holiday with loved ones.

Over the past week, they've been cooking up some of their favorite recipes — from dishes passed down for generations to quick hacks for those who don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen.

Here are the recipes so you can cook along at home.

Sarah's Hubby's Cornbread Stuffing

Sarah's husband Matt does most of the cooking in their house, so she joined him to make up this Thanksgiving staple. 

This stuffing, or dressing, recipe starts with cornbread. You can buy some premade or make it from scratch. Sarah and Matt used this recipe from BudgetBytes.

Once you have your cornbread, you'll need the following ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups onion (½" diced)
  • 2 cups celery (½" diced)
  • 3 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon thyme (fresh chopped or dried)
  • ½ teaspoon sage (fresh chopped or dried)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½-3 cups chicken broth or vegetable stock*
  • 1 tablespoon parsley (fresh chopped for garnish)

*The amount of chicken broth needed will depend on how dense and moist your bread is. You want your stuffing to be moist with no standing broth before it bakes.

Sarah and Matt followed this recipe from The Carefree Kitchen but gave it their own Louisiana flare by adding a little Cajun seasoning.

Frank's Pumpkin Spice Rum Cake 

Frank and his wife Karli whipped up this sweet treat using The Pioneer Woman's recipe.



  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon maple extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 sticks salted butter
  • 2 cups of pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ¾ cup boiling water

Rum syrup

  • 2 sticks salted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup spiced rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Maple whipped cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup

Find a video of the full recipe here.

Aaron's Armenian Appetizer (Mock Kheyma)

Kheyma is an Armenian raw beef-based dish — Aaron's "mock kheyma" is a vegetarian version of it. He grew up eating the dish on every holiday.


  • 1 cup bulgur (No. 1 finely ground wheat)
  • 3 eight-ounce cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 small bunch of parsley chopped
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch of scallions finely sliced
  • ½ green bell pepper finely diced
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (save lemon for zest)
  • Dash of red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mix bulgur and tomato sauce. Leave it in the fridge for three or more hours, long enough for the sauce to absorb.
  2.  Add greens and spices and finish with oil, lemon juice and some lemon zest.
  3. Mix together and leave in the fridge overnight. Mix again before serving with Syrian or pita bread and crackers. 

Jenny's Hacked Mac-n-Cheese

Jenny is all about hearty recipes that are easy to make. This recipe takes your traditional mac-n-cheese recipe to the next level with a special hack — alfredo sauce.


  • 1 box elbow pasta cooked
  • 2 bags of shredded cheese (pick your favorite cheeses and mix them up)*
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 large jar of alfredo sauce (any brand, any flavor)
  • ½-1 cup half and half (The amount will depend on how moist you like your macaroni)
  • Salt and pepper to taste**
  • Optional add-ins: Chopped bacon and jalapenos
  • Optional topping: Bread or cracker crumbs mixed with butter for a crunchy topping

* Jenny used sharp cheddar, mozzarella and provolone.
** Go easy on the salt — the alfredo sauce will have salt in it. If you add bacon, that will also be salty.

  1. Rinse cooked noodles in cold water (We don’t want them hot when we mix in the cheeses.)
  2. Add shredded cheese, saving a little to sprinkle on top at the end. Mix in alfredo sauce, half and half, jalapenos and bacon.
  3. Sprinkle extra cheese, parmesan and bread crumbs on top.
  4. Cover with foil and cook at 375 F for 30 minutes. Take off the foil and broil for a couple of minutes until the topping is golden brown. Do not walk away from the oven when you are broiling to make sure you don't burn your mac-n-cheese.

Caitlin's Pumpkin Spice Muffins

This simple recipe has gone viral online. With only two ingredients, it's essentially foolproof.


  • 1 fifteen-ounce can of pumpkin
  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • Optional: Chocolate chips   
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix.
  3. Scoop mix into greased muffin tin.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, let cool and enjoy.

Grant's 'G-Ma's Sweet Potato Casserole'

Grant enlisted the help of his daughters Finley and Rowen — aka the Gilmore Girls — to make his mom's signature dessert.


  • 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 stick of butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  1. Chop sweet potatoes and drop them into a large pot of boiling water. Once tender, drain potatoes and mash.
  2. Mix in beaten eggs, sugar, cinnamon, butter and vanilla. Place mixture in casserole dish.
  3. Mix together the topping ingredients and spread evenly over sweet potatoes. Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes. Let cool and serve.


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