As you start to read this, your stomach has likely been filled to the max with a hearty Thanksgiving meal, and you are well into eating turkey and other fixings for at least the second day. I’ll be honest: I love the fact that the leftovers last for days afterward; it’s like having a vacation from cooking. Two things that grace our Thanksgiving table, because it seems almost sacrilegious not to include them, are squash and cranberry sauce. According to my yearly notes, these are the two things I have the most leftover every year. However, if I put the cranberries in a cake or make a delicious drink, they quickly disappear. The squash has found its way into soft dinner rolls that have become the most requested item on the Thanksgiving menu (next to the pies). While your Thanksgiving meal may be past, give these recipes a try. They will warm the kitchen, and I bet make a few bellies happy.

Buttered cranberry punch
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cloves
2 cans jellied cranberry sauce
3 cups water
1 quart canned pineapple juice
In a saucepan, combine sugar, 1 cup water, salt and spices and bring to a boil. In large kettle, crush the cranberry sauce with a fork and add 3 cups water. Use hand mixer and beat until smooth. Add pineapple juice and hot syrup mixture. Simmer about five minutes. At party time, heat punch over low heat. Ladle into mugs and add dots of butter. Serve with cinnamon sticks for stirrers. Makes about 2 1/2 quarts of punch. So delicious on a cold day.

Rich cranberry coffee cake
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour (reserve 1/4 cup to coat cranberries)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups cranberries (no need to chop, frozen is fine)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine dry ingredients (2 cups flour), gradually add to butter mixture. Mix remaining flour with cranberries, fold into batter; it will be very thick. Spoon into a well-greased Bundt or 10-inch fluted tube pan. Bake for 65-70 minutes until cake tests done with a toothpick. Let stand 10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool. Before serving, dust with powdered sugar. Ira requested this cake for his birthday this year; it doesn’t last long around here.

Harvest squash rolls
1 cup mashed, cooked butternut squash
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm milk (120-130 degrees)
1 package active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)
1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
In a mixing bowl, combine squash, sugar, butter and salt; mix well. Stir in warm milk, cool slightly. I usually add hot milk to cold squash, cools easily. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add to squash mixture; mix well. Stir in enough flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about an hour. Punch dough down. Turn onto floured surface and divide into 24 pieces. Shape each into a ball. Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to cool. These are a special treat around here.
    Jacqui and her family milk 800 cows and run 1,200 acres of crops in the northeastern corner of Vernon County, Wisconsin. Her children, Ira (14), Dane (12), Henry (7) and Cora (4), help her on the farm while her husband, Keith, works on a grain farm. If she’s not in the barn, she’s probably in the kitchen, trailing after little ones, or sharing her passion of reading with someone. Her life is best described as organized chaos – and if it wasn’t, she’d be bored.