Thanksgiving Feast a la Renee’

Break Out Your Family Holiday Platters …. It’s TURKEY TIME!

platter2    platter3Whether you have an antique turkey platter or a heavy duty plastic gobbler tray, holidays are special times of gathering with family and friends.  You may use special decor, table setting, and recipes from years gone by.  Or, maybe you want to start your own traditions.  Our family Thanksgiving starts with the turkey.  I have included how I prepare mine, along with many of the sides my family like to have.  There are so many it is hard for one person to prepare. So that is where all the fun comes in with family and friends bringing their own sides, desserts and even other meats.  Enjoy Thanksgiving.  We can all take time to be thankful.


TURKEY:  Most Turkeys come with instructions these days.  I love a good Butterball.

    One 10-12 lb. Turkey (when my whole crew of 14 is here it’s a 20-25lb one.)
    3 Tbsp.  REAL butter (yes I use butter on my butterball – you can not have enough. I even rub butter over skin)
    1/2 chopped onion (use other 1/2 in dressing recipe below)
    1 Sliced apple
    Celery Salt
    1 tsp Poultry Seasoning

Toss together and place inside turkey.


(Patties to serve along side your turkey with giblet gravy).  You will make these while turkey is in the oven (or a day ahead, well wrapped) and put them in the oven to bake when turkey is done and while it ‘rests’.

Cornbread: If you need to make some, preheat oiled skillet in oven. Then scoop two cups of Self Rising Cornmeal* (I like White Lily brand) in a large bowl, make a hole in the cornmeal in the middle by pushing cornmeal up against sides of bowl.   Fill “hole”  with buttermilk **.  Break in an egg, add a Tbsp. oil and mix well. Then pour in hot greased pan and bake in oven at 425°  (218° Celsius) degrees for 20-25 minutes (You can make the day before.)

*If you use regular cornmeal, add salt and baking powder per instructions on bag. 

**A buttermilk substitute can be made by adding 2 tsp of white vinegar to milk and stir well. Let stand for five minutes.


    2 eggs
    1/2 cup chopped onion (left over 1/2 from Turkey recipe above)
    2 stalks celery chopped; cleaned and stripped (use a peeler to remove rib fibers)
    1 cup chopped pecans
    1/2 Tbsp. Poultry Seasoning
    Turkey Stock


  1. Break cornbread in bowl with eggs (you can substitute Pepperidge Farms Cornbread stuffing for homemade cornbread). 
  2. Add onion
  3. Add celery
  4. Add pecans
  5. Add Poultry Seasoning
  6. Take turkey stock you set aside from turkey earlier.  Slowly add until you have mixture at consistency of ‘molding’ in the spoon and holding shape. 
  7. Form 1/2 ‘egg’ shaped patties onto a greased cookie sheet. 
  8. Cook at 425° degrees (218° Celsius) for 20-25 minutes.  WATCH at around 18 minutes.  Ovens vary.  You want a light golden look to top without burning bottom.


In a 2 qt pot bring to boil then reduce to warm:

  • 1-2 boiled eggs chopped
  • Giblets (cooked earlier in a pot and cubed – use gizzard and liver and neck meat pulled from bone – give the heart to dog or cat.
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup Turkey Stock (if your turkey does not make enough stock, you can use a can of chicken soup or purchased chicken or turkey stock)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • pinch salt (all you can hold between your thumb and pointer finger)
  • Optional ingredients include in if the following: 1/2 cup chopped onions, peas, or carrots (Or, all of them. Suit your pleasure).


For 3 cups mashed/creamed sweet potatoes (6-8 potatoes depending on size):

Preheat oven to: 350°



  • 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 13 cup Self Rising flour (My favorite is White Lily)
  • – 1-1/2 cups chopped nuts; pecans preferred. It’s pah-khans, by the way. They are not chamber pots under your grandmother‘s bed.
  • 12 cup butter (melted)


  • cups – I use 6 potatoes for this recipe – depends on their size (can use canned to save time, just drain)
  • 1/2 cup  sugar
  • 2 well beaten eggs
  • 1/3 cup OJ
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 Cup butter melted


  1. Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, OJ, sour cream, salt, vanilla, eggs and butter in a mixing bowl in the order listed. Mix thoroughly to desired consistency. I like mine creamed smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into buttered baking dish.
  3. Combine crust ingredients mixing flour and brown sugar completely. Dredge in pecans (coat). Pour in melted butter stirring thoroughly.
  4. Sprinkle the surface of the sweet potato mixture evenly with the crust mixture.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to set at least 30 minutes before serving.
AGAIN NOTE: if you use canned to save time, just drain.
For serving of ONE(1) or TWO (2) –
bake potatoes or (one can drained). Let cool if baked of course. Split open (or in a small mixing bowl.) Using fork “stir” in jacket (or bowl) a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of OJ, a dollop of sour cream, patty of butter softened, pinch of salt, few drops vanilla. Skip egg if in jacket. If using canned, stir in 1 one well beaten small egg. Once mixed in jacket, or pour canned mixture in small greased casserole top with crust of: mix some pecans (1/8 -1/4 cup) in flour (1/4 c) brown sugar (1/4 c) enough to coat them. Mix in two tablespoons melted butter. Bake in 350° 20-30 mins until crust is formed. Set aside 20-30 mins prior to serving.


  • Six summer squash, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6-10 Ritz crackers (add 2-3 at a time for desired consistency)
  • 1 medium pot
  • Place squash, onions, water and salt in pan
  • Bring to boil and cup back, cook until squash is tender (use fork to push against side of pot, it should mash easily) Keep eye on to make sure does not scorch
  • Add butter and beaten egg
  • Add Ritz crackers
  • Mash with potato masher or fork
  • Keep warm until ready to serve


  • 1-3 lb. green beans (l lb serves 3-4), strung and snapped (Or, most groceries have them in freezer section if they are not available fresh.  Look for ones that just have one item: beans. They are flash frozen just like we did way back when c.)rops were only available locally during harvest.  We canned or we flash froze
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion (optional)
  • 1 strip bacon (optional), or 1/2c ham cubes or 1/2 cup  slivered almonds (optional)

Preparation:  Place all ingredients in 3-4 quart pot and bring to boil. Reduce to stove top Medium heat and cook 20 minutes to the pound or desired tenderness

Slice an onion, separate rings (removing thin skin between layers).

  • Dip in a mixture of  1 part flour, 1 part milk/buttermilk, and 1 egg.
  • Drop in oil, turn when they ‘float’ so they are golden brown on both sides.
  • Drain on paper towel. When drained and cooled, crumble or chop.

Place on top of bean mixture.  Bake at 325 degrees (163 Celsius) for 30 minutes.

Georgia Sweet Ice Tea:

5 regular tea bags (I make one of them Mango/Green Tea, Cranberry Apple, or Orange Spice)

  • Fill tea kettle full of water and bring to boil.  Set aside and place tea bags in the water.
  • To bring out flavor and color, add a pinch of baking soda.
  • Let sit for as long as you can (no less than 30 mins).
  • Pour in gallon container, add 1-1/2 cups sugar and extra cold water to make one gallon. Stir well.

Lime Jello Salad:

  • 2 Family size Jello box mixes
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple (drained)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • dash salt (that means – 0.13 teaspoons – VERY little)
  • maraschino cherries halved (optional)


MIX Jello per box instructions.

  • In a blender cream in cream cheese.
  • Hand blend in celery, pineapple, pecans and salt.
  • Prepare mold by wiping a little mayonnaise in it so it will release easily.
  • Pour in mold and refrigerate until it sets.
  • Turn out on plate lined with iceberg lettuce.

Cranberry Jello Salad:

    2 pkg Cherry jello
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup pineapple juice (from drained can of pineapple)
  • 2 cup ground cranberries (or whole berry  cranberry sauce)
  • 1 orange (peeled, separated and cut in to 2-3 pieces each slice)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 teas. salt
  • 1 cup nuts chopped
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple (drained)

Add hot water to jello, dissolve well.

  • Add pineapple juice.
  • Let sit in fridge to ‘set’
  • Mix the cranberries and orange in another bowl.
  • Add the sugar.
  • When sugar is ‘melted’ in mixture, add celery, pineapple and nuts.
  • Remove jello from fridge
  • Fold in fruit mixture.
  • Wipe mold with mayonnaise to make it easier to turn out.
  • Fill mold and place in fridge for at least two (2) hours.
  • Turn out on an iceberg lettuce lined plate.