You guys might not know this, but there’s more to me than fashion and make-up, I also love to cook (and eat!). This is why Thanksgiving happens to be one of my favorite holidays.

Spending time with my family cooking in the kitchen is one of the best feelings in the world… then we all get to sit down together, be thankful and eat a delicious meal. It doesn’t get much better than that!

My grandparents were restaurants owners and passed down their love of cooking to my mother, and she has passed it along to me. Along the way I have learned a lot, but one of the most important lessons I have learned is that it must be tasty.

Check out my TOP 4 favorite family recipes:

1) Nana’s Baked Corn Casserole 

This is one of my all-time favorite dishes in the world! It’s indulgent and delicious and my Thanksgiving would not be the same without this casserole.

Credit: CW44 Tampa Bay

Credit: CW44 Tampa Bay


  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 package of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix
  • 1 16oz. can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 16oz. can cream style corn
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together. Pour in a 2 quart baking dish. Bake dish in the oven for 45 min – 1 hour. (Should be golden brown and not jiggle in the middle.)

2) Lori’s Oriental Slaw

This is a real crowd-pleaser. You’ll be amazed how delicious this is and you can double or triple to recipe for big parties.


Mix together and chill:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • Seasoning pack from Oriental Ramen Noodles



  • 1 package shredded cabbage (slaw mix)
  • 1 package Oriental Ramen Noodle, crushed
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds



Pour liquid on slaw mixture and combine all ingredients together, cover and chill.

3) Uncle Larry’s Crock-pot Mac N Cheese

WARNING: This stuff is addicting, be careful!

This is an awesome dish to make for Thanksgiving, because you can prepare it all in one self-contained pot (besides the noodles). There’s no need to take up precious stove top or oven space. All you need is a large crock pot.


  • 16 oz macaroni noddles (cooked al dente)
  • 2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard



  1. Cook macaroni noodles (a third of the way), drain and set aside.
  2. Take the noodles, eggs and butter and mix together in the crock pot.
  3. Add 2 cups of cheddar cheese (leaving a 1/2 cup to top it off at the end) and the other ingredients and mix together.
  4. Cook on low for 45 minutes, then turn it on high for 30 minutes.
  5. Let it sit for 30 minutes and add the 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese to the top.


4) Tara’s Fresh Pumpkin Pie

(I borrowed this recipe from Paula Deen, only I use fresh pumpkin as opposed to canned and a graham cracker crust.)

This pie is similar to a pumpkin cheesecake because of the addition of cream cream and I like to make mine with a graham cracker crust. This pie is absolutely delicious!


  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened (I buy the already whipped cream cheese.)
  • 2 cups canned (or fresh*) pumpkin, mashed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, optional
  • Store-bought pie crust (I buy a graham cracker crust.)
  • Whipped cream, for topping

* I use fresh pumpkin instead of canned. To prepare the pie pumpkin, simply cut it into 4ths, get rid of the guts and seeds, steam or boil the pumpkin until the inside is soft (about 30 minutes). When finished cooking, let it cool and scoop out the inside and mash it up. One pie pumpkin is usually enough for at least two pies.


Prepare your pie crust according to the package.

Then, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, if using, and beat until incorporated.

Pour the filling into the warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is set. Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into slices and top each piece with a generous amount of whipped cream.

Tara Wikoff | CW44 Tampa Bay


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