While major news outlets send out headlines proclaiming high food prices and shortages for Thanksgiving table staples, it’s easy to fall into the myth that quality food is a rare resource. And, while scarcity may be the story in city centers out of touch with the sources of their supply, our readers know that the farmers of middle America have not been sleeping on the job of producing a secure and sustainable food supply.

For friends or relatives hunting for resources, we’ve rounded up a selection of recipes and ingredients all seasonally and regionally available to residents of the Four States. Just like the Thanksgivings of old, we’ll be relying on friends, neighbors and family members to supply the goods for this hypothetical meal.

Beware, there are no cranberries in this scenario. Honestly, they’re a nightmare to harvest and while the prospect of growing them may seem tempting when the floods come in April and May, they aren’t actually practical to grow this far south. So, we’ll do without.

Start with Sides

The first recipe in our Thanksgiving arsenal will be a ricotta creamed corn with bacon and scallions from the Kansas-based queen of easy, farm-life ready meals — Chef Alli. We’ll start with this one because no farmer ever said no to corn. It’s plentifully available and a regular Thanksgiving side dish.

For the purposes of this recipe, I’m assuming the cook had the forethought to freeze a little extra corn during the late summer time to bulk-buy it from literally any roadside stand. For the fresh ingredients, our dairy products would come from the Claremore, Oklahoma based Swan Brothers Dairy. Chives would be sourced from either Burke Family Gardens near Pittsburg, Kansas or Millsap Farms near Springfield, Missouri. For the bacon, we’ll be visiting Schenker Family Farms at their McCune, Kansas based Farm to Market.

Creamed Corn with Bacon

Ingredients

1 lb. frozen sweet corn, thawed thawed

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 oz. cream cheese, cubed and softened

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

2 tsp. granulated sugar

2 tsp. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. granulated garlic

1/8 tsp. dried thyme leaves

1/8 tsp. paprika

2-3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 scallion, green parts only, chopped, optional as a garnish

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, combine the whipping cream and cream cheese with the ricotta until smooth. Using a spatula, stir in the sugar, flour, salt, garlic, thyme, and paprika and combine well; stir in the corn.

Transfer the prepared corn mixture to a greased casserole dish, gently spreading it out evenly. Bake the corn casserole, uncovered, on the center rack of the preheated oven for 25 minutes.

Remove the creamed corn from oven and top with bacon and scallions; bake an additional 10 minutes. Let the creamed corn rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Our next side dish could be the subject of much debate, if people who think sweet potatoes are a dessert rather than a side dish were people we want to be friends with. But they aren’t. We’ll save all the really decadent, true desserts for after the meal and indulge in something semi-sweet alongside our savory.

This sweet potato casserole recipe comes from Missouri-based homemaker extraordinaire, Lisa of Farmhouse on Boone. If you aren’t an over-achiever that can grow everything in this recipe yourself the way she does, you can find your sweet potatoes from Burke Family Gardens, dairy products from Swan Brothers, pecans from Circle’s Pecans near Service Valley, Kansas and rather than maple syrup, I would substitute sorghum molasses from Neosho, Missouri-based Bekemeier’s instead. Before Mr. Rapp and I were married, he mailed a glass, liter bottle of Bekemeier’s molasses from Missouri to Texas as a gift and I’ve been partial to it ever since.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients

4 lbs sweet potatoes – about 10-12 potatoes, baked and skins removed.

1/2 cup cream

1/3 cup coconut oil or butter, melted

1/3 cup maple syrup or honey

2 tsp vanilla

1 egg

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp sea salt – I use pink himalayan salt for most of my recipes.

pinch of ground nutmeg

Pecan Topping

Ingredients:

2 cups roughly chopped pecans

1/2 cup einkorn flour – if you don’t have it, you can use all purpose flour or freshly ground whole wheat.

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

5 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Instructions

Bake sweet potatoes on a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour until they are nice and soft.

Allow to cool for a few minutes, peel the potatoes, and add to a blender.

Add melted butter or coconut oil, maple syrup, cream, egg, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and a pinch of nutmeg to the sweet potatoes.

Blend until smooth and creamy.

Grease a baking dish with a little bit of butter and then pour the sweet potato puree into the dish smoothing it out until it’s evenly spread out.

To the blender, add in all the ingredients for the pecan topping and pulse until its roughly chopped.

Sprinkle pecans over top of the sweet potatoes and bake for 25-35 minutes until potatoes begin to slightly bubble and topping is lightly browned.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Our last side dish is also a potato-based winner created by Katie of Oklahoma-based blog Dishes and Dishin’. Her recipe makes mashed potatoes a make-ahead portion of this meal, because no farmer has the time to make all of these things day-of, as well as harvest soybeans, feed hay and baby-calf watch.

This one is simple and easy, with the same sources for our other produce and dairy.

Make Ahead

Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

1 (10 lb.) bag of russet potatoes

1/4 c. salt, divided

4 garlic cloves smashed

1 (12 oz) cream cheese, room temperature

2 sticks butter, softened

1 T. black pepper

1/2 c. milk, if needed

Peel potatoes and cut into 1 inch pieces

Instructions

Put all potatoes and garlic clovesin a large pot and cover with water - add at least 2 T. salt to water

Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmering and cover and cook for 20-30 minutes or until a fork inserts very easily into several of the potatoes.

Drain and return to pot and cook over heat a minute or so, then mash with potato masher.

Add in cream cheese, butter, another tablespoon of salt and pepper. Mash over heat until creamy. (cooking over heat keeps the potatoes from getting gummy or sticky. Also don’t overmash! You can also use a potato ricer if desired.

Scoop out of the pot into a deep 9 X 13 baking dish - put UNCOVERED in freezer until frozen then cover with foil until a full day before you need them.

The day of party you can bake them but I scoop them into our slow cooker and heat on high for about an hour then turn to warm. Dot with butter, sprinkle with chopped parsley for a pretty look.

Don’t Miss the Mains

Whether the dressing or stuffing originates inside or outside your turkey this Thanksgiving, I think anyone can agree alongside turkey, they make up an essential Thanksgiving main course. Our dressing recipe is a standalone dish by Kansas-based rancher and Cooking with the Cowboy blogger, Wrenn Pacheco. Because I have plenty leftover in my pantry from a small garden this summer, as well as chickens in the henhouse, I wouldn’t source the jalapenos, onions, sage or eggs, but many of the vendor farms I’ve already listed carry those items.

Cornbread Dressing

Ingredients

4 cups cornbread crumbled

2 jalapenos stemmed and seeded and minced

6 tbsp butter unsalted

2 cups yellow onion diced

1 cup celery diced

2 garlic cloves minced

1 tsp thyme leaves dried

salt and pepper to taste

3 eggs lightly beaten

1 to 1 1/4 cups chicken stock

Instructions

Put the crumbled cornbread into a large bowl.

Preheat the oven to 325. Butter and 10” cast iron skillet or an 8x8 inch pan and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the jalapenos, onions, celery and garlic and sauté, stirring constantly until the vegetables have softened.

Season with salt and pepper and thyme.

Spoon this mixture over the cornbread and toss lightly with a large spoon.

Add the eggs and toss to blend.

Add half the chicken stock and stir until the mixture is moist, but short of soupy.

Add the remainder as needed to maintain this consistency. Spoon the dressing into the prepared pan. Bake the dressing for 30-40 minutes or until it sets and the top is lightly brown.

Suspend your disbelief for the turkey portion of this compilation. Having been on a (highly unsuccessful) southeast Kansas turkey hunt myself, I know bringing in one of those wily old birds the old-fashioned way seems like a stretch. But, in times when money is tight, a state resident hunting license and some time dedicated to scoping out public hunting land could land a very tasty main course. Although, if you’d rather not face the hardship of hunting, with a Butterball turkey processing plant in Southwest Missouri, there’s no harm in supporting your farmer friends and neighbors by purchasing a bird in-store.

Our wild turkey preparation recipe is brought today by Bryan Hendricks, the columnist behind Arkansas Sportsman for the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

Wild Turkey

Wild turkey is challenging because it is entirely lean and very easy to overcook to toughness. However, I have devised a grilling method that cooks turkey breasts evenly and completely while infusing moisture.

First, I made a boat from aluminum foil, with all of the edges upturned to make a wall about 1-inch high. The boat covered about three-fourths of the grill’s top rack.

I placed both breasts, tenders and de-boned thighs side by side from one end of the boat to the other. I spooned several spoons full of bacon grease into the boat and liberally sprinkled Weber Mediterranean Herb seasoning on one side of the meat. I also squeezed the juice and pulp from a lemon over the array. I lit three burners on low setting and closed the lid.

Before long, the grease sizzled and created a reservoir that would prevent the meat from burning and sticking to the foil the way my last attempt did. On the first turn, I liberally sprinkled the other sides of the meat with garlic powder.

I turned the meat frequently, allowing it to baste thoroughly and consistently.

End with Dessert

Now, Thanksgiving tradition in many families lends itself to guests making the majority of the desserts to make it easier on the host. But, in this case I’ll share just one more recipe in case you’re feeling overly ambitious, or just want a way to use up some late-season apples after the holiday has passed.

It’s important to note that I made this pie recipe for my husband shortly before we started dating in college and even after dating for four years and being married for five, he still claims those early tastes of my cooking are responsible for our marital bliss.

This recipe comes from Pawhuska, Oklahoma’s own Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond. If I needed to source ingredients for this recipe, I’d stick with the aforementioned farms, as well as Murphy Orchard in Marionville, Missouri for my apple selections.

Dreamy Apple Pie

Ingredients

1 whole unbaked pie crust

3 whole large (or 4 or 5 small) granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. sugar

1 tbsp. all-purpose Flour

1/2 c. heavy cream

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/8 tsp. cinnamon

Topping

7 tbsp. butter

3/4 c. all purpose flour

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. pecans (more to taste)

Dash of salt

Instructions

For the pie: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out pie dough and place it in a pie pan. Decorate the edges as desired.

Add apple slices to a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together cream, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour over apples. Pour apples into pie shell.

For the topping: In the bowl of a food processor (or you can mix by hand) combine butter, flour, sugar, pecans (chop if you’re not using a food processor), and salt. Mix until everything comes together in clumps. Pour topping over apples.

Attach foil to the edges and lay a piece of flat foil loosely over the top of the pie. Place pie pan on top of a rimmed cookie sheet and bake for one hour. At the end, remove foil and allow to finish baking and browning. Can bake for up to 15 or 20 minutes more if necessary.

Remove from oven when pie is bubbly and golden brown.

Serve warm with whipped cream, or ice cream.

Hope you enjoyed country cooking. If you are interested in the individual bloggers and website direct links, we will publish those in the online edition of this article.

Happy cooking!

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