Family Reunion and a Recipe


Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here.

Today is Columbus Day.  About 4 years ago I wrote a post celebrating the day with lots of fun facts and trivia – you can view it by clicking HERE. So, instead of a repeat, I thought I’d talk about something else.

This past weekend was my hubby’s family’s annual reunion. It’s something we always look forward to. It’s an opportunity for him and all of his siblings and cousins and everyone’s extended families to come together and get reacquainted. Those we’ve lost since the last gathering are remembered and additions through birth, adoption or marriage are joyfully welcomed.

We usually gather mid-morning and visit, look at photos and family memorabilia folks have brought with them, update a large family tree chart and just generally enjoy each others company. Then we have a group meal provided potluck-style by the attendees. 
After lunch several of us drive out to visit hubby’s old home place, evoking memories for the adults and nurturing an appreciation of their roots for the younger generation.

All in all, Saturday was a wonderfully lovely day.

Now for the recipe I promised you. I love to experiment with new ideas and combinations of flavors when I cook. For the reunion this year however, I was hampered by the fact that not only did I wait until a few days before to think about what I was going to cook, but doctor’s orders still have me restricted from driving so I had to make do with what was already in the house. The following recipe and accompanying notes will probably give you some insights into how my mind works.  Keep in mind that I developed this on the fly and rarely measure so many of the quantities listed are approximate.


Oh, and also keep in mind that I was cooking for a large group gathering (we usually run around 40+ people) – this should be scaled back for smaller groups.


Winnie’s Chicken And Sausage Potluck Pasta 


  • 1 pound sausage, diced (I used a skinless smoked sausage because that’s what I had on hand, but I think it would be great with andouille)
  • Shredded Turkey (I used leftovers of a roasted turkey, pulled from the carcass and frozen in a 1 quart container in it’s own broth)
  • Dehydrated  seasonings (again using what I had in the pantry, you can substitute fresh) as follows:
    2 tblsp chives
    2 tblsp minced onion
    1 tsp celery flakes
    ½ tsp garlic
  • 3 boxes Pasta Roni (angel hair with herbs)
  • 1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
    I put them in the food processor and give it a couple of quick pulses because I don’t like big chunks, but this step is totally optional.
    Also, I like spicy so if I was cooking this just for me I would have used a full can. But since I was cooking this for a mixed crowd, I just used about ½ the can
  • 1 can of small English peas, drained
  • Black Pepper to taste

Note, most of the ingredients already contain salt so you should taste the finished product before adding more


  • Brown sausage in a large skillet.
  • Add dehydrated seasonings along with turkey (with broth). Continue to cook together until liquid has reduced.
  • Remove meat from pan and set aside. 
  • In the same pan, cook pasta according to package directions, except at the point when the pasta and sauce are added to the liquid, also add rotel.
  • Once pasta is cooked, add meat, peas and pepper and continue to cook on low heat for ten minutes, stirring frequently and adding liquid as needed.

There you go. Not the most complex or elegant of dishes, but believe it or not, I had several folks come up after the meal and ask for my recipe 🙂


So what about you? Does your family schedule reunions or get togethers? And have you invented any dishes you’d like to share the recipes for?

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Winnie Griggs is the author of Historical (and occasionally Contemporary) romances that focus on Small Towns, Big Hearts, Amazing Grace. She is also a list maker, a lover of dragonflies and holds an advanced degree in the art of procrastination.
Three of Winnie’s books have been nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and one of those nominations resulted in a win.
Winnie loves to hear from readers. You can connect with her on facebook at or email her at

24 thoughts on “Family Reunion and a Recipe”

  1. My Daddy’s side of family had 2 two reunions this year one in March and one in September. I missed the September one due to I was still recovering from a car accident. I did enjoy the March one. Since I missed the September one. My Aunt my Daddy sister brought me my favorite dishes of hers and I especially love her potato salad

  2. Hi Winnie I think family reunions are a wonderful way to bring entire families together. Last year my son threw a huge reunion after meeting cousins we lost track of. It was so great to see that almost 200 family members were in attendance. Lots of reconnections, years & laughter.

    • Hi Carol. Good for your son! Isn’t it great when the next generation picks up the banner and makes things happen? And wow – 200 family memebers – what fun that must have been!

  3. We do not have reunions any more. The last one I remember was when I was very young. We try to see everyone at the holidays.

    • Hi Debra. My side of the family considers our gatherings at Christmastime to be our reuinon as well – there are usually 30+ of us at my Mom’s house sometime during Christmas week.

  4. I love the idea of a family reunion. I wish my family did them or even got together for holidays. I have family that I have only met once or twice. I havn’t seen a couple of my sisters in years. There are a lot of family members that I don’t even know. My husband’s family is really small so they don’t do anything either. They don’t even talk to us unless it’s someone’s birthday, Christmas or they need something.

    • Hi Janine. I’m sad to say that I’ve lost touch with a number of cousins I was very close to growing up. But that’s the way of it, especially when I’m the one who’s guilty of having moved quite some distance from my hometown.

  5. WINNIE! Good to hear from you in this venue. We don’t have formal reunions. My family is too small, and Dave’s gets together on Thanksgiving night (PIE TIME) and Twelfth Night (they call it “Little Christmas”). Pie time is, well, pies, and for Little Christmas I’m known for showstopper desserts, usually in my medium of choice, Rice Krispie squares. I’ve done an igloo with Rice K Eskimos, a Christmas tree with Rice K carolers (their songbooks were pieces of Hershey bar) and Notre Dame Cathedral among others. I just made pulled pork for the first time and it was decent, may bring that to something. Or chili.

  6. I think reunions are great. Unfortunately, I live too far away from my family that I grew up in to make this possible. However, once I was able to attend one. : )

  7. My mother’s family came to our house for Thanksgiving until we got to be too many with third generation spouses and fourth generation children. The last time my husband and I were able to attend there were 68 of us. We also got together for Father’s day at my aunt and uncle’s farm which often included barbecued chicken since three of the uncles were poultry farmers. It was always great fun and a time to catch up with our many cousins. Now the family gets together for a big picnic at one of the cousin’s farms around July Fourth. Unfortunately we have to rely on my sisters to catch us up on the family since we live 3,000 miles away.

  8. I remember big family get-togethers when I was little, but these days there is no one left except for literally a couple of cousins spread across the country. And a few years back when I was deeply into genealogy I went to a number of family reunions for “cousins” from 3 to 5 generations back. Now, most all of them are gone too. It’s a hard lesson to learn to appreciate the family you have while you still have them. So there’s just my son and I and we don’t do big cooking deals for the two of us, and we’re both still recovering from my nearly dying last year. Can’t wait for new, better times to come!

    • Hi Eliza. Yes it’s a hard lesson to learn, that the elders of our generation will pass all too soon and with them will go such a wealth of family knowledge and stories, stories no one else can pass on to the rest of us.

  9. My dad’s family still gets together for an annual reunion. We are dwindling in number but we always enjoy seeing each other!

  10. Your chicken and sausage pasta dish sounds delicious. I love casseroles and one dish meals. Luckily, so does my family. Next timeI have left over turkey, this will be on the menu. Thank you for sharing.

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