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    Thanksgiving Recipes From All Across The USA

    In lieu of Thanksgiving, we asked the Miss USA Contestants to share their favorite recipes so you can try some at home.

    No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake in a Mason Jar by Miss Arkansas USA 2017 Arynn Johnson


    Ingredients for the Crust:

    • 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
    • 1 cup of sugar
    • 1 stick of melted butter

    Ingredients for the Filling:

    • 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree (not pie filing)
    • 1 cup of sugar
    • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
    • 3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
    • 16 ounces of Cool Whip


    Combine crust ingredients and put two heaping tablespoons in each of 12 half-pint jars.  Press firmly into the bottom of each jar.

    Use a mixer to combine pumpkin puree, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice.  Add the cream cheese, one package at a time, mixing well after each.  Add the whipped topping and mix until completely combined.  Use a tablespoon to fill each jar, being careful to press the filling into the jar and remove the air bubbles.  Add the jar tops and rings and refrigerate.

    “I am a huge fan of sweets, and I love making them! I have been making this cute, and easy dessert for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner for the past 4 years. It been a hit every year!”

    Banana Pudding by Miss District of Columbia USA 2016 Jasmine Jones


    Simple recipe:
    Easy Banana Pudding
    Serves 8-10
    • 3-5 bananas
    • 2 (3.4 oz) boxes of instant Vanilla pudding
    • 2 cups of milk
    • 1 box of Nilla Wafers
    • 8 oz. container of Cool Whip
    • 8 oz. container of sour cream
    • In a large bowl, combine pudding mix and milk.  Stir until creamy
    • Mix in half of the container of Cool Whip and all of the sour cream until fluffy
    • Chop bananas into thin slices
    • Layer the bottom of the presentation bowl (or mini cups) with chopped bananas and vanilla wafers
    • Spread on a large spoonful of the pudding mixture
    • Add another layer of chopped bananas and wafers
    • Continue alternating between layers of bananas, vanilla wafers and pudding mix until the dish is full to the brim
    • Layer a final topping of vanilla wafers (crushed or whole)
    • Refrigerate for 2 hours
    • Serve cold
    “Last year, my family held a “Best Dessert” competition and this banana pudding recipe won first place!”
    Pink Salad by Miss Illinois Teen USA 2017 Olivia Bohleber 
    “This is a very simple, easy, and delicious recipe! My meme, who passed away last year, made this for me every Thanksgiving.

    If making for Thanksgiving, a suggestion would be to use cranberry jello instead of strawberry, but my favorite is with strawberry!”

    Pink Salad

    20 ounce can crushed pineapple
    2 Tablespoons of sugar
    3 ounce package strawberry (or cranberry) jello
    1 small carton, small curd cottage cheese
    8 ounce Cool Whip

    1. Bring the can of pineapple and sugar to a boil.
    2. Remove from heat.
    3. Stir in jello and let cool.
    4. When cool, you stir in cottage cheese and cool whip and let set.

    Simply Scrumptious Cinnamon Squash by Miss South Dakota USA 2017 Tessa Dee


    “I’m always looking for healthy, tasty alternatives to heavy holiday food and this simple recipe hits the spot!”

    1 Acorn Squash
    1 T oil of your choosing (I recommend avocado oil or coconut oil)
    Cinnamon to taste
    Dried Cranberries (optional)


    Preheat oven to 375 degrees
    Poke holes in acorn squash and place in oven
    *Tip: be careful slicing your squash! I prefer to put it in the oven whole and slice in half about 30 minutes in when it softens up
    After slicing acorn squash in half, put small amount of oil on each side and place, face down, on cooking sheet and put back in the oven for about 20-30 additional minutes
    When acorn squash is tender and ready, add cinnamon to taste! Dried cranberries or walnuts are a great addition as well! Happy holidays!
    Cranberry Sauce by Miss Idaho USA 2017 Cassie Lewis
    “I am in charge of making the cranberry sauce every Thanksgiving. It’s a recipe my Dad saw on the Food Network and I’ve been making it every year since I can remember! It’s a citrus-cranberry sauce which makes it different and a little more tart but I love it on leftover biscuits the day after Thanksgiving!”
    2 large navel oranges
    1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries, picked over
    3/4 cup sugar
    1/4 cup water
    1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice

    Remove the peel and pith from oranges with a paring knife, cut each section into quarters. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat combine oranges, cranberries, sugar, water, and ground ginger. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in lemon and lime juice. Cover sauce and chill before serving.
    French Silk Pumpkin Pie by Miss Iowa USA 2017 Kelsey Weier
    “When I think of Thanksgiving my first thought is “French Silk Pie” It’s been a family tradition for generations”

    French Silk Pie Recipe:
    1 pkg chocolate instant pudding
    1/2 cup milk
    2 cups vanilla ice cream
    Put all ingredients in mixer and beat for 5 minutes.
    Pour batter into 9 in. Graham cracker crust.
    Refrigerate for at least 2 hours
    Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate curls.
    Pumpkin Empanadas by Miss Texas USA 2017 Nancy Gonzalez


    Pumpkin filling:

    4-5lbs pumpkin

    2 cups of water

    3 cinnamon sticks

    5 cloves

    2 cups of brown sugar

    Empanada Dough:

    3 cups of flour

    2 teaspoons of baking powder

    ½ tablespoon of salt

    ½ cup of lard

    2 eggs

    ½ cup of milk

    2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon


    Making the pumpkin filling:

    Cut the pumpkin in half and take all the seeds out then with a spoon scrape off the pumpkin pulp. Cut the pumpkin in 3-4 inch squares without removing the skin.

    Place this in a pot with the 2 cups of water and allow it to cook for 20-40 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft.

    Let the pumpkin cool. Remove the skin and mash the pumpkin to puree it. In the water where the pumpkin was boiled place the cinnamon sticks and the cloves and bring them to a boil. Once boiling remove from heat and cover, let this rest for 30 minutes.

    Remove the cinnamon sticks and the cloves and add the pumpkin puree to the infused water. Add the brown sugar, stir occasionally to allow the brown sugar to dissolve while cooking at medium heat. The puree will darken.

    Once the brown sugar has dissolved in the puree, reduce heat to low and allow this to simmer until all the water has evaporated. Then remove from fire and allow this to cool 15 minutes before you place in the refrigerator.

    This puree needs to be cold and firm when used. It is advised to prepare this a day in advanced or allow it to refrigerate for about 3 hours. If in this process you notice liquid surfacing please remove it with a spoon. Once this is cool and ready you can start on the Empanada dough.


    Making the Empanada dough:

    Mix the first 3 dry ingredients first. Add the lard and mix it in (its best to use your hands for this process), add the eggs, milk, sugar, and cinnamon. Continue kneading until the dough is soft. Divide the dough in half place in a plastic bag and allow it to refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

     Making the Empanadas:

    Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F.

    Get the bags of dough and divide each bag in 12 equal pieces of dough. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough to ¼ inch think tortilla like circles.

    Place a small amount or puree on one ½ of the tortilla (about a tablespoon or two). Fold the dough over in half to enclose the filling. Use a fork to press and seal the edges closed and puncture the top of the empanada with the fork to allow the vapors to escape while cooking.

    Place the empanadas on a non-stick cookie sheet and allow them to cook for 15-20 minutes.

    Enjoy your empanadas warm or at room temperature!

    Healthy Pumpkin Pie by Miss Washington USA 2017 Alex Carlson-Helo


    1 can 100% Pure Pumpkin (15oz)
    2 boxes sugar free Jell-O Vanilla Instant Pudding mix (3.4oz)
    Cool whip (8oz)
    1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice or Cinnamon
    Graham Cracker Pie Crust
    1. Thaw Cool Whip
    2. Once thawed, mix together Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Cool Whip, and 2 boxes of dry Vanilla Pudding Mix.
    3. Fill Graham Cracker Crust with filling, cover with saran wrap. Freeze 2-3 hours
    4. Remove from freezer, slice, top with Whip Cream, and sprinkle Pumpkin Pie Spice or Cinnamon on top!
    “Satisfy your sweet tooth without all the guilt!”

    Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves by Miss Maryland 2017 Adrianna David



    for rice filling:

    • 1 cup white or brown long rice
    • 12 cherry tomatoes diced small (1/3 cup)
    • 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley chopped
    • 2 lemons freshly squeezed
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried mint
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 pinch of ground black pepper

    Ingredients for rolling/cooking:

    • One jar (1 lb.) grapevine leaves in brine (you can purchase by the jar in a Greek/middle-eastern/gourmet grocery or online) or you can do yourself by putting great leaves and boiling salt water to soften.
    • One lemon, thinly sliced crosswise 1 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil water



    1. Drain leaves and soak them in a large bowl of water, gently separate and wash leaves, stack them on a plate and set them inside cover with damp cloth so they don’t dry out until you’re ready to start rolling them.
    2. Place 1 cup of brown rice and 3 cups of water in a pot and bring to boil. Let rice boil on medium heat uncovered for about 20 minutes until half Drain and let cool.
    3. Mix in large bowl: rice, diced tomato, chopped parsley, lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepper and dried mint.
    4. Because you are going to cook again after you roll your grape leaves with rice stuffing, line bottom of you’re cooking pot with grape leaves.
    5. Begin stuffing and rolling the rest of the grape leaves.
    6. Place a grape leaf in one hand, scoop about one heaping teaspoon of rice mixture into the center. Carefully fold the sides and roll it like you would with making a wrap. Make sure that it is rolling tightly enough not to unravel when cooking, but not too tight because the rice need some room to expand when cooking a batch in the pot.
    7. Neatly arranged the stuffed and rolled grape leaves in pot stacking in alternating directions, in as many layers as necessary until you have rolled and arranged all of them. Drizzle a half tablespoon of all of oil between layers and on top.
    8. Place thinly sliced lemon on top.
    9. When cooking, put a plate (or smaller pot top) on top of leaves to prevent them from floating while they cook. Add enough water to completely cover the grape leaf rolls and reach the plate or pot lid.
    10. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to Medium and let simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes, reduce heat again to medium Low, cover and simmer for about 35 to 40 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.
    11. Since cooking time varies by pot and stovetop, do a taste test and if the rice still seems under cooked you can add a 4th cup of water and continue cooking for additional five minutes or so.
    12. Remove from heat and let cool uncovered until you can handle them with your fingers, then carefully transit for them to a dish one by one.
    13. They can be served hot, warm, cold or at room temperature and are traditionally served and dipped in yogurt sauce (plain yogurt with cubed cucumber and minced fresh mint) Also served with tahini sauce or hummus.
    Let us know what your favorite Thanksgiving recipes are by sharing them and tagging @MissUSA!


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