Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"Happy Thanksgiving" & My Recipe For An Italian Rice Stuffing Made With Sausage & Onions!

My wish for you, my readers are a festive and thankful holiday, filled with family, friends, and all the fixings. I, among everyone else, have many things to be thankful for, especially to you my readers. Since I have started this blog I have learned so much and made so many wonderful friends. I am sending you a big Thank You to everyone for enjoying my stories and trying my families’ favorite recipes. 

While Thanksgiving is a holiday that America celebrates, Italian American's have added a unique flavor to this holiday. Many Italians that have immigrated to America have welcomed Thanksgiving, in their own distinctive way. They love any holiday that brings together family, friends, and food. Every Italian family has their own traditions and recipes that are unique which make Thanksgiving special. Turkey and the trimmings, are traditional, but Italian Americans will often add to their dinner with an antipasto, a pasta or soup course, and the desserts. Not only your typical pumpkin pie, but sweets, and pastries that Italians are known for.   

In my family, Thanksgiving has the same menu as any other traditional Thanksgiving dinners, but we always seem to “Italianize” the food. Whether it was a Sunday or Christmas, our dinner starts at about 2:00 pm with maybe 15-20 people surrounding the dining room table. Then there was always a bridge table set up in the living room, for the children. This would insult the older kids as they wanted to sit at the adult table, “not until you are an adult,” my mom would say. Finally that day would come, and your rite of passage was complete. Our actual dinner would last about 3-4 hours, which would include Lasagna and all the other traditional Thanksgiving foods. But most of the time everyone sat at the table between courses, except for a few of the women who would clean up and bring out the next course. There was always a conversation of sports, politics, and what were we going to have for desserts. As some of the women would be cleaning up, my dad would go and get the penny tin (an old nut can, which was filled with pennies that we could use to play games with) and we would play Pokeno or a game that the children could participate in. 

Playing games was always fun, and the laughter that could be heard throughout the house was infectious. After the games were played, and the children won some pennies, the dining room table began to be transformed into a sweet mountain of desserts. The coffee and demitasse (black coffee) cups were added to the table, plus the nuts, fruits, figs, hot chestnuts, and chocolates. Then in between these delectable treats, the cookies, pies, pastries and cheese cakes were placed on the table to complete our mountain of sweets. By this time, it would be about 9:00 pm and everyone was stuffed like a turkey, after their feeding frenzy. Then the cleanup would begin, and everyone would start to go home. But in the far distance I could hear my mother say, “What shall we have for dinner tomorrow”. All I know is that every family whether they are of Italian heritage or not, has a different cuisine and tradition to celebrate the holiday. What matters most to me, isn’t what ingredients were used, or who won the game, but the opportunity for families to come together, have fun, and celebrate the season which will be a memory to last a lifetime. 
As I end this post, I would be remised, if I did not mention “Happy Chanukah” to all of my Jewish readers and friends. Chanukah or the "Festival of Lights" is celebrated for eight days. During the Jewish Holiday of Chanukah, many families invite friends and relatives over to light the Menorah, sing songs, play games with a Dreidel, (like a top) exchange gifts, and share traditional food. This year, for the first time in 125 years Chanukah, and Thanksgiving falls together. This will not happen again for another 70,000 years!

My recipe this week is one that my mom has used for Thanksgiving for many years. It is so delicious that we ask her to cook this dish even if it is not a holiday. This recipe has been passed down from my great-grandmother Sofia. It is called “Rice Stuffing: Rice, Sausage & Onions” My family loves this stuffing as it is made in a baking dish and NOT stuffed inside the turkey. The flavor is sweet from the onions and sausage plus has that savory taste from the cheese. It is a perfect marriage to have along side of your turkey dinner. So, as we say in Italian, “Abbondanza!!”(plentiful & abundance) Happy Thanksgiving to everyone….. 

My great-grandmother, Sofia
"Rice Stuffing: Rice, Sausage & Onions"

1 1/2 lbs of sweet sausage bulk (out of casing)
2 cups of rice (uncooked) Uncle Bens 
3 large eggs
2 large onions (sliced thin)
3/4 cup of Pecorino Romano grated cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté sausage in a pan with a little oil. Before sausage is totally cooked add onions and finish cooking. While sausage is cooking cook rice. Drain rice and put in a large bowl. Next beat eggs in a small bowl. Then mix together cooked rice, raw beaten eggs, grated cheese, and cooked sausage with onions. Put in a baking dish. 
Bake in a 350° for about 40-45 minutes until mixture sets.   

Till Next Time………

Copyright © 2013 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. Hi Dottie!!!

    What a lovely post:) I guess we all did celebrate the holidays the same way. I remember sitting at the kiddie table. It seemed I would never make it to the grow-up table, lol...My father usually went for the penny can too but it was for a "friendly" game of family poker, lol...

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe Dottie. I made mine with bread stuffing this year and yes, lasagna to, lol...

    Wishing you a happy fun filled Thanksgiving Dottie. "See" you Sunday!

  2. Hi Dottie ,
    I loved your post and the recipe for stuffing is HMmmmmmmmm good . I can relate to you and your family , I also come from a large Italian family , 9 kids and you guessed it , I am the baby of the lot , :D , I pin your recipe , I shall make it for Christmas , I always have to different dressing so everyone will be please and yes my turkey comes with 4 drumsticks :-) , Thanks for sharing and have a great Thanksgiving , Blessings to you :)

  3. I love your writing about Italian families who emigrated to America.
    I have relatives in Argentina who I went to see for the first time a few years ago. They loved anything Italian (they were second generation) and their enthusiasm and warmth really moved me to tears.
    I can see how you love your Italian heritage Dottie!And your mum has certainly given you a big Italian imprint with lots of wonderful recipes. She must have been the true Italian loving mamma.
    Have a fab day!
    Alida XX

  4. And... thanks so much for putting my badge on your sidebar!! You are a sweetie X

  5. Dear Louise,
    Yes, I guess most Italian families had many of the same ways we grew up. I do hope that your Thanksgiving was a success, and you had a fun day! I also enjoyed the day at my brother's with the family, and my dad pulled out the can of pennies at my brother's and guess what we played, "Pokeno"! We haven't played that game in years. But we had fun, and it is easy, just like Bingo.
    As usual too much food, but leftovers are a wonderful thing for a quick meal.
    Looking forward to your post on Sunday! Thanks for stopping by, Blessings for a great weekend! Dottie :)

  6. Dear Nee,
    Thanks for stopping by, and I hope that you enjoyed your Thanksgiving day! As I was saying to Louise, I think most Italians have the same routine, we all grew up with the same views. Now you were the baby of 9, wow! The Rice stuffing was a hit at my brother's, and we had a lovely day with the family. Hope you do try it for Christmas. Blessings for a fabulous weekend! Dottie :)

  7. Dear Alida,
    Thank you for stopping by, this was a fun post to write. Thanks for your words of encouragement! Your trip to Argentina must have been a wonderful experience for you. It is so amazing to see family members in a different country and learn their ways. When I was a young girl, I couldn't even have thought how important where you came from meant anything. As I got older, the more I thought about where and who my family originated from was fascinating, it is in our blood. Yes, my mom has been my biggest influence in my life. She has taught me everything that is good and is still teaching me everyday. I learn something new all the time. But, I have to also give credit to my grandmother's and my great-grandmother Sofia. Their recipes and the things that they showed my mom has passed down to me. So I am very fortunate to have had that experience. Blessings on a terrific weekend!
    Dottie :)

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  9. Dear Dottie, Wonderful memories...they make us who we are. My mom used to make rice stuffing for Thanksgiving. Sounds delicious! To accept the sunshine award, include it in your next post with a link back to me and an image of the award. You can answer the same questions too. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

  10. Dear Catherine, Yes, memories are what takes us through life. As you said they make us who we are! Glad I was able to bring you back to your mom's rice stuffing.
    Thank you for the help on the nomination for the sunshine award. I had no idea. The two awards I got on my blog are from 2 friends that I had gotten to know a while ago, and at that time, they just sent the award to me, no questions were involved. I like this better as you can get to know the person that you are friends with. Lots of fun....
    Blessings for a wonderful week...Dottie :)