From the Kirkwood Kitchen: Thanksgiving Series II

By Sarah Sexton | Publish Date November 19, 2020

We’re just one week away from the big day of cooking! Have you decided on your menu? Will you be making the turkey with all your famous sides or just bringing an appetizer to appease the family? Today, we want to share with you a few crowd pleasing dishes to add to your menu: our delicious Creamy Homemade Mac n’ Cheese and our Classic Sweet Potato Pie!

Creamy Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

  • Ingredients:
    1lb dried elbow pasta
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 ½ cups half and half
  • 4 cups grated medium sharp cheddar cheese (divided after grading)
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (divided after grating)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp paprika


Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 3qt baking dish (9×13). Set aside, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once water is boiling add dried pasta cook 1 minute less than package direction for al dente pasta. Drain and drizzle a little bit of Olive Oil to keep from sticking together. While pasta is cooking grate cheeses and toss together to mix, then divide into 3 piles. Approximately 3 cups for sauce, 1 ½ cups for the inner layer, and 1 ½ cups for the topping. Melt butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine. Mixture will look like very wet sand. Cook for about 1 minute, whisking often. Slowly pour in about 2 cups or so of the milk/half and half, while whisking constantly, until combined and smooth. Continue to heat over medium heat, whisking very often, until thickened to a very thick consistency. It should almost be the consistency of a semi thinned out condensed soup. Remove from the heat and stir in spices and 1 ½ cups of the cheeses. Stirring to melt and combine. Stir in 1 ½ cups of cheese, stir until completely melted and smooth. In a large mixing bowl, combine drained pasta with cheese sauce, stirring to combine fully. Pour half of the pasta mixture into prepared baking dish, top with cheese and repeat with next layer topping with remaining cheeses. Bake for 15 minutes until golden and bubbly.

Sweet Potato Pie

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 to 3 Roasted, peeled and pureed sweet potatoes
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Pinch salt
  • 1-unbaked 9-inch pie shell, homemade or store bought


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a bowl combine the sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Using an electric mixer beat until well blended and smooth. Pour mixture into pie shell. Allow pie to stand 15 minutes before baking. Bake until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool before serving.


The Residents

Our residents come from different backgrounds and bring their unique qualities, talents, and life experiences to complete the Kirkwood community. Here are just a few reflections from some individuals who call Kirkwood their home.

I fell in love with the cottage and the view from my back porch. I am excited to have a yard for Ginger, my poodle, to play in and my own garage, all within an established retirement community!

Charlotte Hamilton Current Resident

My husband and I looked at a number of places when deciding to move to a retirement community. For the most part, we found communities that said, ‘We’re going to take care of you.’ But Kirkwood was different. It wasn’t just about taking care of us. It was also about having fun, having friends, and living life to the fullest. The attitude at Kirkwood was positive and the atmosphere was comforting. We simply couldn’t resist. Without a doubt, the location was ideal. The Cahaba Room that overlooks the river, the mountains, the trails – there were just so many things about life. The community was lively. It was alive.

Alice Brooks Current Resident

We realized we were approaching an age where we might need more assistance than what just downsizing could provide. Knowing we have my sons nearby and the levels of care should we need it is comforting, and the beautiful hillside, river, and the woods makes it that much more appealing. We don’t know of any other community that has the woods, the various levels of care, and so many different amenities.

Phyllis and John Guschke Current Residents

We were moving my parents down from the Cleveland area to be near us. I looked at almost every retirement place in the Birmingham area. The second I turned into Kirkwood’s drive and drove up the hill, I knew that I’d found the perfect place for my parents to live in Alabama. In the six years that my parents have been at Kirkwood, I have always felt nothing but love and helpfulness from every staff member. Everyone is always helpful with a pleasant attitude. You can truly see and feel the family atmosphere. I’m happy that my parents can call Kirkwood their home.

Brenda Sheehan Kirkwood family member

When we learned that Cedar Ridge was being developed, that seemed to fit our needs very well. It is the ideal place for the next phase of our retirement.

Carol and Arthur Stephens Current Residents

One thing that we feel is very important here at Kirkwood by the River is the relationship that we have between the staff and the residents. They are dedicated to making our life here as safe and secure and pleasurable as possible. That goes a long way.

Fred Rogers Current Resident

The community's cottage living surrounded by a wooded, natural environment with access to future healthcare services is what attracted us to Kirkwood!

Rick and Jane Ricketts Current Residents