elite thanksgiving recipes

If we’re being honest, there’s not really an excuse needed to whip up a delicious treat.

But, it is officially Fall, and if that calls for new recipes, then hey.

Baking is not the debate. The real question is: Should you involve your Elite student in cooking? That’s always a tough call. Of course, the bonding time is great. But, it tends to come with a few eggshells in the food and flour all over the counters.

We found a few “student friendly” ideas to involve your child without compromising the quality of the recipe (hopefully).

Corn Casserole

This recipe is for a simple side dish that’s picky eater friendly. Corn casserole only calls for five ingredients (or six if you like extra flavor) and just 10 minutes of prep time.


  • 1 container (8 oz) of sour cream
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 can (15 oz) creamed corn
  • 1 can (15 oz) whole kernel corn (drained)
  • 1 box (8.5 oz) cornbread mix
  • 1 can (4.5 oz) diced green chiles (optional)
  • Cooking spray to prepare dish


  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Quart-sized casserole dish


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350º degrees.

Step 2: Melt one stick of butter in the microwave for about two minutes.

Step 3: Combine all of the ingredients in the mixing bowl by stirring them up with the spoon.

The green chiles are entirely optional, but they add a little extra kick that us Californians have come to love in our dishes.

Step 4: Spray your quart-sized casserole dish with the cooking spray.

Step 5: Pour the contents of the bowl into prepared dish.

Step 6: Pop the dish into the oven and cook for 40 minutes.

Remove the corn casserole and top it with some shredded cheese, or enjoy as is!

Now that you have the oven on, you may as well make a dessert too. This recipe is even easier than the last; it requires two ingredients.

Two Ingredient Pumpkin Brownies


  • 1 can (15 oz) of 100% pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 box (18.3 oz) brownie mix
  • Cooking spray to prepare dish


  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • 9×13-inch baking dish


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350º degrees.

Step 2: Combine both of the ingredients in the mixing bowl by stirring them together with the spoon.

Step 3: Spray the baking dish with the cooking spray.

Step 4: Pour the contents of the bowl into the baking dish.

Step 5: Pop the baking dish in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes.

The brownies might appear under-done, so check them by inserting a toothpick or butter knife and you’ll know they are cooked through if it comes out clean.

Pumpkin Flan

OK, this one’s a little contradictory to the others. It’s not quite as simple as two ingredients. But if you have older Elite students who are up for the task, it is relatively easy and delicious!

Flan de Calabaza (Pumpkin Flan)

Ingredients for the caramel:

  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup of water

Ingredients for the Custard Filling 

  • 1.5 cups of whole milk
  • 1 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs


  • Small sauce pan
  • Medium sauce pan
  • Oven-safe bowl OR mold of choice


Step 1: Start by mixing the spices into the pumpkin puree

Step 2: Make the caramel

Heat the water and granulated sugar in a saucepan (stainless steel works best) over a medium heat. Once it starts to bubble and change color, give the pan a shake or a quick stir. Let it cook and turn golden brown, but be careful it doesn’t turn dark brown and burn.

Step 3: Pour the caramel into the baking pan

Once golden brown, quickly pour into a 4.5 cup baking mold (it can be one that is specifically for flan, or any baking dish with that capacity).

Quickly make sure that the caramel coats the bottom and sides of the mold, by swirling around to drag the caramel around the sides of the mold before it hardens.

(hot caramel mixture in dish)

(caramel mixture hardened in dish)

Step 4: Prepare the custard

To prepare the custard, put the milk, sugar, pumpkin and vanilla into a saucepan and heat over a medium heat until simmering. Cook until all of the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is evenly heated. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool for about 10 minutes, stirring every minute or two.

Step 5: Preheat the oven to 325°F 

Step 6: Lightly beat the eggs in a large bowl

Step 7: Temper the egg mixture into the custard

Making sure that the milk and pumpkin mixture is sufficiently cool (so that it won’t scramble the eggs), whisk in this mixture little by little, until all is incorporated. This process is called ‘tempering’ and basically means to slowly bring up the temperature of the eggs without scrambling them. If you just combine the two mixtures, you’ll end up with cooked eggs in your mixture. We started the process by pouring the custard mixture in to the whisked eggs in 1/4 cup batches.


Step 8: Pour the custard mixture over the caramel

Step 9: Bake the flan for about one hour in a preheated oven at 325°F 

Place the flan mold/pan into a large baking pan. Boil enough water to fill the baking pan halfway. This method of cooking is called ‘bain marie’ and means a container holding hot water into which a pan is placed for slow cooking.

Step 10: Let the flan chill

Remove the mold from the pan of water and allow it to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge overnight (or for at least 4 hours).

Step 11: Chow down

When ready to serve the flan, run a knife around the edges of the mold to loosen the flan. Then place the serving dish on top, and quickly flip the flan over. Lift off the mold and the flan should slide right out, covered in a golden caramel sauce. We thought it looked nice garnished with some cinnamon sticks and pumpkin decor pieces.

We’re serious, this is good stuff. Keep all eight servings for yourself or be generous and bring this along to your next family gathering. Either way, we don’t judge. 🙂

What is your favorite dish to get in the fall spirit? Share with us in the comments below!

  • **This recipe first appeared on ‘About Food‘, published by Spanish Food Expert, Lauren Aloise
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