CCAD’s Virtual Thanksgiving Potluck

In a typical year, the CCAD community gathers for a family meal in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday, with faculty and staff volunteers serving up comfort-food favorites to our students.

But as we know, 2020 is far from a typical year.

While we can't be together this year, we’re doing the next best thing: CCAD faculty and staff are sharing their favorite holiday recipes with you! See some highlights below. 

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from Charlotte Belland

  1. Wash and DRY the grapes (super important that the grapes be as dry as possible!)
  2. Cut each grape in half (dry the grapes again)
  3. Mix the Sour Cream, Cream Cheese, Sugar, and Vanilla
  4. Fold-in the Grapes
  5. Put half of the mixture in the bottom of a bowl
  6. Sprinkle half of the toppings
  7. Put the other half of the mixture into the bowl
  8. And then sprinkle the rest of the toppings

The story behind this recipe is that my Mother-in-Law made this at Thanksgiving because she knows that I don't eat birds (but I love grapes!). She wanted to make sure there was one thing on the table that she made special for me. It was very fun to sit at the table with my new family as they puzzled over this new item on the table. Mother-in-Law winked at me and said, "enjoy!"  

Easy-peasy baked apple slices from Jennifer Wray

Vegan, gluten-free, low-fat

You will need...

3 to 4 apples
Lemon juice

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. While the oven is heating up, peel apples (if desired) and slice into 1/4-inch-thick pieces.
  3. Place apple slices in bowl and lightly sprinkle with lemon juice and cinnamon.
  4. Place coated apple slices flat on a cookie sheet. Avoid overlapping pieces.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes. Stir halfway through. Apple slices will be ready when soft to the touch.
  6. Allow fruit to cool before serving! 

I adapted this recipe from this blog after seeking out baby-led weaning meals for my son, Sam, when he was about eight months old. As it turned out, my husband and I like the apples as much as and sometimes more than Sam, who is now nearly three years old.
Bonus: There are few things more delightful than the smell of apples and cinnamon baking. The scent makes my house feel cozy and warm.

from Suzanne Cotton 

  1. Melt butter in a pan and saute celery, onion, carrot, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper until cooked but not brown, cool slightly. 
  2. Layer each ingredient into a shallow baking dish, (Oysters with juice, vegetable mixture, saltines)
  3. Pour milk over all and refrigerate at least 3  hours.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour; until brown and bubbly!

This was my Mother-in-Law's recipe. After she passed away I started making it for the family Thanksgiving, it was always my husband's favorite! Originally the recipe just was oysters and saltines, I added the veggies to make it a bit more flavorful and cayenne to zip it up! 

Cranberry Cherry Compote from Anastasia Leptak


You will need...

20 ounces frozen or fresh cranberries (about 4 1/2 cups)
10 ounces frozen dark sweet cherries (about 2 cups)
1 1/4 cups (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup bourbon

  1. Bring cranberries, cherries, brown sugar, cider, and pepper to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan.
  2. Cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, then stir in bourbon.
  3. Reduce heat, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring often and pushing fruit against the side of the pan with the back of a wooden spoon to break apart slightly, until thick and syrupy, about 25 minutes more.
  4. Let cool completely.

Sauce can be made 5 days ahead; cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

from Julie Taggart


  1. In a large pot, sautee the onions in the margarine for 3 to 5 minutes, until onions turn soft.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  3. Allow simmering over low heat for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

See the recipe here

Another "Hot Smoothie" favorite. No story. I just found it and like it.

Dried-Cherry and Italian Sausage Stuffing from Chris Mundell

You will need...

½ cup butter (1 stick)
6 celery stalks, finely diced
2 medium onions, finely diced
1 loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes and toasted (10 cups)
1 cup dried cherries
¾ pound Italian sausage, casings removed, cooked, and crumbled
¾ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 14.5-ounce cans chicken broth


  1. Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onions and cook until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl or pan, combine the celery and onions with the bread, cherries, sausage, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add the broth and stir until well combined.
  3. Using a large spoon, loosely stuff the mixture into the turkey just before roasting. Cover and bake any unused stuffing in a 325° F oven for 1 hour; uncover and bake for 15 minutes more. Serve warm.

See the recipe here

There's no family folk-lore behind this recipe. I just love stuffing (forget the turkey!). My partner and I discovered this recipe the year after we got married. We were poor graduate students at the time and it seemed fancy, but not budget-busting! We've been making it ever since and now my kids expect it at every Thanksgiving meal.  

from Tom Gattis

This makes about a dozen biscuits

  1. Mix all ingredients
  2. Knead the dough about a dozen times 
  3. Roll out flat; you can do thin or thick
  4. Cut into 2 inch rounds
  5. ​​​​Bake at 425 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes

Hot Spiced Cider from Michelle DeBellis

Gluten-free, vegan

You will need...

4 cups fresh apple cider
4 whole black peppercorns
6 or 7 (2 to 3-inch) cinnamon sticks
3 whole dried cloves
1 star anise
1 navel orange
1 crisp red apple


  1. Place the apple cider, peppercorns, one of the cinnamon sticks, the cloves, and the star anise in a medium saucepan.
  2. Cut a large (1—4 inch) peel from the orange using a vegetable peeler and add it to the pan.
  3. Bring the cider mixture to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Strain into a 4-cup glass measuring cup and discard the solids.
  5. Pour the hot cider into mugs or heatproof glasses.
  6. Cut the orange in half through the stem, slice crosswise in ¼-inch-thick half-rounds, and add one slice to each mug.
  7. Cut the apple in half through the stem, remove the core, slice crosswise in ¼-inch-thick half-rounds, and add one slice to each glass. Serve hot with a cinnamon stick in each glass for stirring.

This recipe is really easy to play around with; try adding a splash of cranberry juice or throw in some different spices. 

My family is SERIOUS about Thanksgiving. Preparations start weeks ahead of time so that on the day of we can all spend time together relaxing. My Mom's family immigrated to the United States when she was a kid. Her family did not celebrate Thanksgiving while she was growing up. So all through my childhood, we had huge thanksgiving celebrations. A particularly special tradition in my family is to invite anyone and everyone to Thanksgiving- so the table was always full of folks from my Dad's work who were from all over the world, college friends of my older siblings, and whoever else showed up! We always make this hot spiced cider as a before-dinner drink and the smell fills the house with warm spices.

from Tom Gattis

This is for about 2 lbs of chicken

  1. Mix dry ingredients
  2. ​​​​Milk and egg mixed together
  3. Dredge chicken in the flour mix, then milk and eggs, then flour mix
  4. Deep or pan fry at 365 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes