Utah has made your life better in so many ways: red rock playgrounds, wildflower mountain meadows, winters of unmatched powdery snow, fry sauce, and pioneers. You thought we’d say “pilgrims” (because Thanksgiving), but, c’mon—when it comes to food, Utah is as resourceful and creative as its pioneer ancestors.
We’re pretty sure these recipes began in a moment of pure genius when your Grandma Eliza Jane Smith Young Johnson refused to go to the grocery store for the umpteenth time that week, and brewed up concoctions that have become Utah staples. Thanks, Grandma. These are actually better than we thought—ya, we tried them for ourselves.
1. COTTAGE CHEESE JELLO
Lime jello + miracle whip + cottage cheese + pineapple + pecans
What. The. Heck? This one blew our brains to a place where we weren't sure if we really wanted to remember the experience or not. It's just confusing. Do we like it or not?
2. SWEET POTATOES & MARSHMALLOWS
Sweet potatoes + brown sugar + butter + spices + marshmallows
You can thank this dish for inspiring your new favorite cupcake flavor. Admit it: you love this one, and you're secretly hoping Starbucks whips up a new beverage in honor of your grandma's sweet tooth.
3. GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
Cream of mushroom soup + canned green beans + fried onions
The secret is making sure all ingredients are canned or packaged. Nothing from scratch here. Just open up your cans and dump it all together in one well-used casserole dish. Then wait while it bakes up nice and savory in the oven. Ok, ok--so maybe "nice" is going a bit too far. But, hey, the kids will eat it. And if they don't eat it you can tell them that they have to because your family has been eating them since B. Young proclaimed, "this is the right place."
4. FUNERAL POTATOES
Grated potatoes + sour cream + cheddar cheese + butter + cream of chicken soup + frosted flakes
This dish will warm your heart and sink your gut. You love 'em or you hate 'em. Funeral potatoes are so essential to Utah culture that some of the local foodie restaurants have started serving them up with all sorts of culinary genius variations. There's a funeral potato for every palette.
5. SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
Sweet potatoes + sugar + margarine + almond extract + brown sugar + butter + pecans
Notice: double the sugar, double the buttery goodness. And, yes, more casserole! Now you know why Utahans have added half-marathons to their Thanksgiving Day traditions. We'll run any distance for all that butter.
6. PRETZEL JELLO
Pretzel crust + cream cheese filling + strawberry jello
We like to think of this one as the Utah version of that all-the-rave "salted caramel chocolate" trend. Utah basically invented sweet + savory with this one. You're welcome.
7. EGG NOG & ROOT BEER
Egg nog + root beer
Truly, the crème de la crème. This non-boozy festive tradition is just as good as a root beer float--except it tastes like the holidays with a little extra nutmeg and a whole lotta nog--whatever the heck that is. It's all about finding your preferred ratio of nog to root beer.
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