It doesn’t take a national holiday for me to realize just how blessed I am to have unending love and support from an incredible family, wonderful friends — essentially, the life that I have been lucky enough to have.  But it always helps when the holiday season rolls around to be surrounded by the ones I care about to make the realization that much more tangible.

Plus, copious amounts of tasty buttery-carb-heavy food is always a bonus when it comes to these things!

Speaking of food, this year I prepared two different dishes for my family’s annual Thanksgiving dinner: a delectable portobello bread pudding and Aligot, a French take on American mashed potatoes infused with mozzarella and Gruyere.  And as an added treat to all of yesterday’s gluttony, I’ve included the recipes below; both of which are perfect for any upcoming dinner parties this holiday season.

Savory portobello and Gruyere bread pudding

IMG_5665 Ingredients:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 French baguettes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 portobello mushooms
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 9 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons of thyme
  • 15 ounces of Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 9 eggs
  • 1.5 cartons of chicken broth
  • 2.5 cups of whipping cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Then coat the ramekins with the non-stick cooking spray.
  • Place bread cubes into a large bowl and set aside.


  • Using a large skillet, heat the butter until melted.  Throw in the mushrooms, garlic, and onion.  Saute for three minutes, then pour the mixture into the bread bowl. Top it off with the Gruyere.
  • In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, chicken broth and whipping cream.  Add salt and pepper to taste before combining it with the bread/mushroom mixture.  Toss the thyme in and mix again.


  • Spoon the mix evenly among the ramekins — this part really depends on portion size, but I used ramekins that were all roughly around 4 inches in diameter and it yielded 17 servings.
  • Bake for 35 minutes.


  • After removing them from the oven, let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Enjoy!

Aligot (cheesy French-style mashed potatoes) modified from Annie’s Eats



  • 5 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 cups of whole milk
  • 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces of Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Boil the potatoes until a fork can easily pierce through them.  Drain and place into a large bowl.  Set the boiling pot aside for later use.
  • Using a masher (or if you’re like me and don’t have that sort of culinary tool, a spatula…or two) mash the potatoes until smooth.


  • Add the butter, garlic and salt.  When mixed thoroughly, add milk.
  • Return the potato mixture into the empty pot and place over a medium flame.  Toss in both the mozzarella and Gruyere cheeses, mixing thoroughly.  Stir frequently to even out the texture and consistency of the dish.
  • Add more salt and/or pepper to your preference.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!

And just so you know how difficult it was to capture our feast on the tiny frames of our smart phones for Instagram and Facebook, I present to you: The Struggle of the Nguyen Family, Thanksgiving 2013.