Thursday, May 13, 2021

Life & Style

A Smaller, Easier Thanksgiving Dinner

For years and years, many years ago, my family and my husband’s came to our house for Thanksgiving. It was a long trip for them. When the children were fairly young, we might have up to 15 people for four days. They arrived hungry and I had ready for them a couple of lasagnas, garlic bread, an enormous salad and, if that wasn’t enough, dessert.

My parents are gone now, as are my in-laws. My husband is gone, too. My nieces, nephews, children, and grandchildren are far away. Unfortunately, there is this year, hovering in the background, another entirely unwelcome visitor called COVID-19. I don’t want myself, nor anyone I love, to be introduced to this visitor, so this year’s Thanksgiving dinner will be quiet.

I will make this ravioli bake, which is smaller and easier than to make lasagna. I will make a turkey I have had in the big freezer since last Thanksgiving. I will fill its cavity with my own stuffing and make the gravy from the wine and butter and turkey juices. Usually friends come for dinner, but not this time. I will offer turkey and fixings and ravioli bake to friends.

If it is warm enough, maybe we friends can share a glass of hot cider or wine on the patio. And we can toast to a new president, the 46th, and his brilliant Kamala.

In my next column for you, I will have some new ideas for what to do with leftovers.

Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Lee White of Old Lyme has been a food editor and restaurant reviewer for more than 25 years. You can email her at

Ravioli Bake with Peppers

Adapted from Stop & Shop’s magazine, Savoryd

September, 2020

Yield: Serves 8



Cooking spray

2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese

1 large egg

1 tablespoon minced garlic

26-ounce can tomato sauce (or my one recipe, below)

1 bag frozen beef ravioli, divided

1 bag frozen red, yellow and/or orange peppers*

1 ½ cups part-skin shredded mozzarella, divided



Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, egg and garlic; season with salt and pepper.

Into a baking dish, spread ¾ cup pasta sauce. Top with a single layer of the ravioli, half of the ricotta mixture, half of the peppers, 1 cup sauce and half of the mozzarella. Repeat layers again with remaining ravioli, ricotta, peppers, sauce and mozzarella.

Cover baking dish tightly with foil. Bake 45 minutes, until ravioli is hot and cheese is melted. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before serving.

*I would use fresh peppers, maybe one of each. Cut up the tops and bottoms, seed them, then sauté them in heated extra-virgin olive oiled skillet with chopped onions and garlic just until a translucent, but not browned, maybe 10 minutes, stirring.

My Own Marinara

This is my go-to recipe. This makes more than the recipe above requires, Of course, it freezes well.

Yield: enough for eggplant parm or some leftover to have with eggs the next morning.



4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped fine

4 large garlic cloves, minced

2 28-ounce cans excellent whole canned tomatoes

(I use Muir Glen, available at BJs)*

Salt and pepper, to taste

Few shakes of red pepper flakes (optional)



In a large skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Pour in onions and sauté until just translucent, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add red pepper flakes, if you like it a bit spicy.

Lee White is the Columnist for Zip06. Email Lee at .

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