We’re Thankful for Thanksgiving

thanksgiving flora

Foodies unite & rejoice, for Thanksgiving is once again upon us. Is there anything better than a holiday that encourages you to eat, drink & be merry?

At Service Ideas, we are thankful for so many things: new partnerships, new additions (both in the employee sense and in the sense of newborn babies that have recently joined the extended SI family) and new opportunities.

Perhaps the best part of Thanksgiving is the food – what traditional dishes do you serve year after year? How did they come to be?

Below are some of our employee favorites, along with the stories of how they came to be a Thanksgiving staple.

From all of us here at Service Ideas, we hope you have a happy & healthy Thanksgiving. Gobble, gobble!


Viviyan Kennedy
A friend brought this recipe over one year and it was so yummy, now I make it!  ~Viviyan Kennedy

Butternut Squash Soup

  • ½ pound Butter
5 pounds Butternut Squash – peeled & chopped approximately 1 inch chunks Note: the total 5 pounds should be after peeling and chopping
2 cups Onion – diced ½ inch

  • 1 cups Carrots – diced ½ inch

  • 1 cups Celery – diced ½ inch

  • 1 each Cinnamon Stick

  • 2 each Bay Leaves

  • 2 tsp Fresh Ginger – peeled and minced

  • ⅛ tsp Ground Nutmeg

  • ½ tsp Fresh Sage – rough chopped
2 tsp Fresh Thyme – rough chopped

  • 3 Quarts Vegetable Stock – Swanson or Similar

  • 2 tsp Kosher Salt

  • ½ tsp Black Pepper

  • 1 – 2 cups Vegetable Stock – for thinning out the soup if it becomes too thick


Step 1 Peel, seed and chop the Butternut Squash into 1” to 1 ½” pieces.

Step 2 Sauté the Squash, Carrots, Onions, Celery, Cinnamon, Bay Leaves in Butter for 25 minutes, stirring often. Add the Ginger, Nutmeg, Sage, and Thyme and sauté for an additional 10 minutes. Add the Vegetable Stock, Salt and Pepper and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for an additional 35 minutes.

Step 3 Remove the Cinnamon Stick and Bay Leaves and puree till smooth with a hand held mixer or puree in small batches in a blender. Add the extra Vegetable Stock as needed to thin. The soup should be slightly thick. When serving garnish with a dollop of Crème Fraiche if not available thin out a little Sour Cream with milk.


This is a recipe that is made religiously. My mom made it every major holiday, and now I’ve passed on the tradition by introducing it to my in-laws. I actually have to make a double batch this year! ~Lindsay Valenty

Corn Casserole

  • 1 box of Jiffy Cornbread Mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 stick of butter (melted)
  • 1 small container of sour cream
  • 1 can of whole kernel corn
  • 1 can of creamed corn


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350º F. You’ll want to get out a glass casserole dish that has a lid – I usually use a round one.

Step 2: Melt the butter in the microwave. Mix that and the remaining ingredients in a bowl until it is well mixed.

Step 3: Spoon mixture into the casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes. Edges should be golden brown, and the center shouldn’t jiggle or look soupy.

If you don’t have a round casserole dish, you can bake it in a 9 x 13 pan & cover it with tin foil – cooking time goes down to about 20-25 minutes.


Joe Krawczyk
Joe Krawczyk

The Perfect Old Fashion Cocktail (Wisconsin Style)

  • Fresh oranges
  • Fresh Cherries
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • Bitters
  • Whiskey (Kesslers works well)
  • 7-up
  • Club soda


Place fresh oranges & cherries in a blender and create a mash. Put 1/2 teaspoon of sugar in a tall 16 oz mixing glass. Add three shakes of bitters to the glass. Add a teaspoon of the orange & cherry mash. Add 1.5-2 oz of whiskey. Add half 7-up & half club soda.

Mix well and enjoy


Aunt Edna’s Wild Wild Rice

  • 4 scallions
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 cup wild rice
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Thinly slice scallions, separating white and green parts. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add scallion whites and cook, stirring often, until soft, 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add wild rice and cook according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine vinegar, dried cherries, and 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce to a simmer and cook until vinegar is almost absorbed, 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add rice mixture, scallion greens, and chopped pecans. Stir well to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.


This recipe is a Swedish keepsake and is one that is always part of my holiday meal. My Gram Elsie always used graham crackers vs saltines like most Swede’s. I like to use a Trifle glass bowl for presentation. ~Kristine Zoellmer

Giftas (pronounced Yiftas)


  • 1 cup cranberry sauce (your own recipe or canned)
  • 1 cup lingonberries (if you can’t find lingonberries, use cranberry sauce)
  • 2 cups whipped cream
  • 4 Tbsp confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (use pure extract, you’ll be happier)
  • 2 cups graham crackers, crushed (1-2 sleeves)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted


Mix the cranberry sauce and lingonberries together. Whip the cream with the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Crush the graham crackers (I put them in a zip lock bag and crush them with a rolling pin). Melt the butter. Mix the butter and graham cracker together. Layer the ingredients in a clear straight sided bowl.

1st layer: 1/2 the crumbs

2nd layer: 1/2 the cranberry/lingonberry mixture

3rd layer: 1/2 the whipped cream

4th layer: the remaining crumbs (reserve just a little for the top)

5th layer: the remaining cranberry/lingonberry mixture

6th layer: the whipped cream

Sprinkle a few of the buttery crackers on top. Chill for 2 or 3 hours.


I found this on Pinterest and it's super easy. ~Michelle
I found this on Pinterest and it’s super easy. ~Michelle

Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Cookies

  • 2 can crescent rolls original
  • 1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, room temp
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup regular or mini chocolate chips


In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

Unroll the crescent roll onto saran wrap.  Stretch the dough into a rectangle, pinch the seams together well. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the top of the crescent dough-leave a gap at the edge of about ½ inch. Sprinkle chips on top.  Use the saran wrap to help roll the crescent roll up tightly and wrap again in wrap.  Chill at least 2 hours or overnight.

Once chilled-preheat oven to 350.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Slice the cookie roll into ¼ inch slices. Bake on prepared sheet for 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Pull parchment paper off cookie sheet and onto cooling cookie wire rack for 5 minutes to cool.


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