If there’s anyone who knows how to add some spice to Thanksgiving, and we’re not just talking seasonings here, it would be Jocelyn Delk Adams. Known for her brand, Grandbaby Cakes, inspired by her grandmother, the entrepreneur, baker extraordinaire and foodie is a pro at remixing some of your favorite dishes. We’re still drooling over her genius 3-in-1 sheet pan pie, perfect for Thanksgiving so you never have to choose just one for dessert. But she’s helping people put a twist on their holiday meals this year with the added bonus of possibly winning $5,000 towards a great cause.
Adams partnered with Libby’s for their Cansgiving contest. It involves creating an original masterpiece of a meal, or redoing a classic Thanksgiving recipe, using a can of Libby’s vegetables. After it’s out of the oven, you take a photo of it and share it on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #LibbysCansgivingContest and #LibbysVegetables. The creator of the most impressive recipe will have a chance to win $5,000 to put towards a college scholarship. The contest is open until 11:59 p.m. EST on Nov. 28, 2021.
We talked to Adams about partnering with Libby’s, the key to remixing Thanksgiving dishes right, and doing so with perhaps the most complicated side to bring to the big holiday table — the veggies. Check out what she had to say, as well as a recipe involving potatoes, the one thing people forget is technically a vegetable.
ESSENCE: Tell us about your partnership with Libby’s for their Cansgving contest! What drew you to wanting to help with this?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I felt that partnering with Libby’s was such an organic fit. I’m an entrepreneur, mother, wife and all of those roles are very important to me and being able to balance them all is very important to who I am as well, as providing nutritious meals to my family is key. I love that with Libby’s I’m getting quality product that I feel very comfortable serving to my family but also cut down on the prep work that comes with peeling and dicing and doing all that work that I would have to do on a weekly basis to make dinner for my family. Libby’s offers nutritious vegetables that are also delicious that my family enjoys and [are] convenient. I am grateful that I get to work with Libby’s – it’s really a natural fit.
The Libby’s Cansgiving campaign feels uniquely tied to what I do on a regular basis with my brand. I take recipes that have been passed down through generations in my family and take those traditional recipes and I add a unique spin to them. And that’s exact what this contest is. Simply share your twist on a favorite recipe with #LibbysCansgivingContest or enter a photo of your recipe on libbyscansgiving.com and you have a chance to win $5,000. It’s that simple!
Vegetables, out of everything on the table this holiday season, are not the draw. What are some of your favorite vegetables to serve for Thanksgiving and how can we jazz them up?
I personally am a person who loves vegetables. I do a lot of green beans, potatoes for sure because you know all the carbs for Thanksgiving. What we love to do is take the traditional recipes that we’ve had – some of them are mainstays – and we keep them exactly the same to honor our roots. But I like to take some of them for instance, such as the green bean casserole, and add a holiday spin to it to keep it exciting. For example, the classic green bean casserole may have crispy onions on top and for us, we’ve been working on one that has crispy panko topping, also a cheesy garlic-y sauce, with more garlic to amp up the flavor.
Speaking of jazzing things up, I think many people don’t give vegetables a chance because growing up, they were cooked by many people’s parents in a bland way. What’s the key to getting a picky eater to try more veggies?
My daughter is a picky eater. She is three and incredibly picky. If she could, she would eat chicken nuggets every day. What I have been able to do through trial and error is try things and see if she likes them, then sneak in vegetables in a way that still is delicious but she is clueless that I’ve done it. That’s a way for her to try something she enjoys but I also feel like I’m winning at as a parent. I also sneak them into her smoothies as she adores smoothies – so those are some ways I get her to eat nutritious as well.
Do you prefer to use canned or fresh veggies when cooking for the big day? Why is your chosen way to go the best option for you?
I use a mix of both. I use fresh vegetables that are in season but I use canned vegetables and add additional ingredients to them for many of my recipes and cooking at home. I think that canned vegetables are a great way to save time but still serve incredible taste.
What are you most excited about this holiday season?
I’m most excited about Thanksgiving as it’s all about family for me. It’s also just getting back to something simple. What I love about Thanksgiving is that it doesn’t require a gift. You don’t have to do anything particularly special. You are just eating with the ones you love. That simplicity and focusing on what’s most important, being grateful for what you have is truly what makes it important for me.
Libby’s Herb Buttered Potato Rolls
Total Time: 12 hours 30 minutes
Prep Time: 12 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12 large rolls
For the Potato Rolls
● 6 cups all purpose flour, sifted
● ½ cup cane sugar
● 2 tablespoons instant yeast
● 2 teaspoons kosher salt
● 1-15 ounce can Libby’s Whole Potatoes, drained, slightly warmed, and mashed ● 1 cup warm water
● 2 large eggs, room temperature
● ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
For the Herb Butter Glaze
● ½ cup unsalted or salted butter, melted
● 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed/finely chopped
● 2 teaspoons dried oregano
● 2 teaspoons dried thyme
● 3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1. This rises overnight so factor in when making. In the bowl of a stand electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Mix on low speed to combine, about 30-60 seconds.
2. In a separate bowl, stir together the mashed potatoes and melted butter. 3. Add the mashed potato mixture, along with both eggs and the warm water, to the stand mixer bowl.
4. Mix on low speed until a dough forms, about 4 minutes.
5. Turn up the speed to medium, then continue to mix for another 3-4 minutes. You should expect a fairly smooth but slightly sticky dough.
6. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, cover it with a kitchen towel, and let the dough rise at room temperature for an hour.
7. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to rise overnight. This dough can be made up to 2 days in advance.
8. Once ready to bake, remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to come back to room temperature, about 45-60 minutes.
9. Lightly flour a large clean surface. Carefully tear the dough into 12 evenly sized pieces (weighing 50 oz). Roll each piece into a tight ball. Transfer the tightly rounded dough into a large greased baking dish spaced a bit apart. Cover the rolls with a clean, lightly damp kitchen towel and let them rise for an additional hour. They should be visibly puffy.
10. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the oven racks in the middle of the oven.
11. Remove the towel from the rolls and bake the rolls until golden-brown and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes. Remove the rolls from the oven and immediately brush them with the herb butter. (see below). Serve hot and fresh!
12. Assemble the Herb Butter. In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat and add in herbs and garlic. Cook on low until just melted and very fragrant, careful not to brown.