This Year, Try A New Holiday Recipe! Enjoy Our Chefs’ Delicious Dishes
ORLANDO — Thanksgiving is a time to gather family and friends and share a special holiday meal. We say thanks for our blessings, a tradition that goes back to the Pilgrims, and share our gratitude for our loved ones. Then, we feast!
This year, we’re inviting you to celebrate a Westminster Thanksgiving by preparing some of our chefs’ favorite recipes for the holidays. Five amazing culinarians sent us their finest, to make a whole Thanksgiving feast menu, from the Norman Rockwell turkey, to a buffet full of side dishes, to a delicious and easy dessert.
Leading up to Thanksgiving, we’re publishing the chefs’ favorite recipes, so you can Celebrate A Westminster Thanksgiving with us. Make just one recipe, or make the whole feast! We’re sure that you’ll wow your guests.
These featured recipes can help you set aside old traditions and try some new side dishes:
The Turkey Centerpiece
Savory Roast Turkey and Homemade Turkey Gravy
By Chef Jimmie Jackson, Regional Chef, Westminster Communities of Florida: “Turkey and gravy — staples of traditional Thanksgiving dinner — mean a lot to me. I was always mesmerized watching my mom prepare a large stuffed bird. She would put the turkey in to roast and baste it hourly until it was a wonderful golden brown on the outside, yet still juicy on the inside. Mom put just as much loving attention into the gravy, making sure not to miss any of the rendering, and browning the roux to bring out the most flavor. What I love best about Thanksgiving is that it reminds us to give thanks for loved ones and dear friends and to give to those that are less fortunate.”
Feast On These Side Dishes
Creamed Brussels Sprouts
By Chef Kenny Hunsberger, Westminster Suncoast: “Thanksgiving is a time when we all come together, bring our own unique flavors and personalities to the table, and create a parallel between food and family. Cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my loved ones is an opportunity to show friends and family what I contributed in order to help so many others make their holidays special. I was driven by a desire to create something special, capture the flavors of traditional family offerings, but also veer from the norm. These recipes are a twist on classic dishes inspired by my passion for fresh ingredients, bold flavors and artistic displays.”
Bourbon Pecan Sweet Potatoes
Also by Chef Kenny Hunsberger, Westminster Suncoast
Southern Cornbread Stuffing
By Chef Edward Dawes, Westminster Point Pleasant: “I grew up watching my grandmother cook traditional soul food and when I was old enough, I helped out in the kitchen. That’s where I fell in love with culinary arts. My family started preparing Thanksgiving recipes early in the week. One of my earliest memories in the kitchen is breaking up the cornbread for the dressing. What makes this recipe different from other dressing recipes is the savory flavors, use of fresh vegetables and herbs, and infusion of holiday spices. It allows you to experience different flavors, textures, and presentation. Also, nothing beats a scratch-made dressing.”
Start and End Your Holiday Meal Right
Kale, Pumpkin and White Bean Soup
By Chef Jason Ward, Westminster St. Augustine: “In New England where I grew up, there was a large Portuguese population famous for strong cuisine with bold flavors. One staple found in most homes is Portuguese soup. Making the soup is an all day event. The soup simmers on the stove and scents fill the house. Each time you stir, you gain appreciation for slow-cooked, flavorful dishes. This recipe combines the flavors and memories of my childhood. Admittedly, I modified the traditional recipe to make it my own. I hope you enjoy this recipe and share with your family and friends and make lifelong memories as it has for me.”
Coconut Chess Pie
By Chef Marisa Johnson, Westminster Shores: “My grandmother grew up on a plantation in South Carolina and with this came all of the traditional Southern baking. Every Thanksgiving, she would bake a chess pie. If you asked her what it was, she would say, “It’s just pie.” Her heavy Southern accent made it sound like she was saying “chess pie.” Since she passed, my mom has continued to bake this pie. The smell fills up the house and reminds us of her. This recipe is simple and most people have the main ingredients in their kitchen. You can also customize the flavor. For example, I chose coconut, but you can choose other flavors like lemon or chocolate.”
Why are we letting these secrets out? Well, dining isn’t just part of the residents’ lifestyle at Westminster Communities of Florida, it’s an integral dimension of our My W Life program for wellbeing of body, mind and soul. Our dedicated team members in the dining rooms and kitchens — chefs, servers, dietitians and more — work hard to put delightful, restaurant-style dining on the table for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We want you to have a taste of how delicious dining can be.
A very special thanks to our chefs who contributed their recipes, including:
- Chef Ed Dawes at Westminster Point Pleasant
- Chef Kenny Hunsberger from Westminster Suncoast
- Chef Marisa Johnson at Westminster Shores
- Chef Jason Ward of Westminster St. Augustine
- Chef Jimmie Jackson, regional chef for Westminster Communities of Florida
Whether you make one dish or the whole meal, we hope you enjoy your taste of our Thanksgiving recipes!