Thanksgiving 2020

An individual alternative to the traditional apple pie. These are easy to make and tasty.

There is no getting around it, this year Thanksgiving will be a little bit different for most of us. With people anxious about transmitting or coming into contact with the COVID-19 virus, it will take a toll on our holiday in both large and small ways. People might not want to travel or others are just being cautious, but whatever your particular case may be, we have brought you some new recipes to try this year, as well as some sentimental traditional favorites.

For novice cooks who have never had to attempt the more complicated Thanksgiving rituals of roasting a turkey or making a pan of dressing, we have started from scratch for you. For those more experienced cooks, we have offered some new recipes to add to your Thanksgiving meal. 

If you have neighbors who are staying home this year, you might think of sharing some of the gifts from your kitchen with them. It is true that even though we may be keeping social distance this year, we need each other more than ever. 


Blueberry Crunch 

By Samanthia Cassidy                 

1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese softened

2 cups Cool Whip              

1 1/2  cups powdered sugar 

Mix three ingredients thoroughly.  Flour Pecan Crust: melt one stick margarine in 9x13 dish. Pour 1-1/2 cups of self-rising flour into melted margarine. Add one cup pecan pieces. Press into margarine and flour mixture to make a thin crust. Bake until light, golden brown.  Do not over cook. Let crust cool completely. Place cream cheese mixture on top of crust. Pour two cans Blueberry Pie Filling on top.  Chill and enjoy. 


Thanksgiving Punch 

By Loretta Gillespie

1 2-liter bottle Sunkist or Orange Crush, frozen to slushy stage

1 2-liter bottle Ginger Ale, frozen to slushy stage

1 large can pineapple juice, frozen to slushy stage

1 container Orange Sherbet, slightly softened

1 small can frozen limeade

Mandarin oranges to garnish

The important thing about this recipe is that you should monitor the freezing process, taking extra care not to freeze the drinks solid. Take them out when they are still pouring consistency, but not so frozen that they will spew all over the place when you open them. 

Mix all ingredients together in a punch bowl or a pretty drink dispenser just before time to serve. 


Green Bean Salad 

By Jan Gillespie

1 can French style green beans

1 can English peas

1 bell pepper, chopped

3/4 cup vinegar

1 cup sugar

2-3 small onions, cut into rings

1 small can pimento

4 ribs celery

1 tsp salt 

1/2  cup Wesson oil

Drain beans and peas; add chopped pimento, pepper, onion rings. Heat sugar and vinegar until sugar dissolves; let cool. Combine salt and Wesson oil. Pour over vegetables. Let marinate for 24 hours. Keep in refrigerator until time to serve. 

Quick Garlic Yeast Rolls

By Loretta Gillespie

1 package of your favorite ready to serve yeast rolls

1 stick butter, melted 

1 tbsp. garlic salt

Use cookie sheet with sides, cover with parchment paper to reduce clean up. Melt butter in 400 degree oven. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle garlic salt evenly over melted butter. Take each roll and dip top into butter then place on pan right side up. Do this with each roll individually. Bake according to package directions. Serve hot from oven. 


French Fried Eggplant

By Loretta Gillespie

When shopping for fresh eggplant, look for one with no blemishes that is firm to touch. Frying eggplant is very much like frying squash.

Peel one large eggplant

Slice thinly into rounds, the thinner the better, but thick enough not to split. In a medium sized bowl, mix one egg and just enough milk to wet eggplant. Dip eggplant slices in mixture to coat. Shake pieces in a zip lock bag to which you have added ½ cup of cornmeal and ½ cup flour. Coat each piece well.

Fry in medium hot Crisco  in a large skillet, turning as the pieces brown. Add salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning while cooking.

If necessary add more Crisco to cover half of each piece of eggplant. Remove and drain on paper towels. 

NOTE* I have better results using solid Crisco for this rather  than oil.

Recipe can be doubled for more than one eggplant.


Brining a Turkey 

By Loretta Gillespie

Brining a turkey in Kosher salt and sugar insures a moist, flavorful turkey. Brine overnight and never any longer than eight hours. Remove giblets from cavity of turkey and save for gravy.

To make brine, boil together four cups Kosher salt and three cups of sugar in a large stock pot until dissolved. Cool to room temp or put in refrigerator to cool faster.

Using a portable soft drink cooler, place turkey breast side down in cooler to which a layer of ice has been added.

Cover with brine.  (If you are using a turkey over 12 pounds you might need to double bring mixture.) Make sure top fits snugly.  Brine overnight. 

The next day remove the turkey and dispose of any brine. Pat turkey dry with paper towels and roast according to directions below. 

Roasting a perfect turkey 

You will need:

one turkey size browning bag 

5-6 ribs celery

1 large onion

1 stick butter

poultry seasoning

garlic salt

1 lemon


Spread out your ingredients so as to have them ready because once you get your hands in the turkey you won’t want to open cabinets and drawers. 

I use wax paper for this because it can get messy.

According to directions in browning bag, place a few slices of onion and celery into the bag, adding 2 heaping tablespoons of flour. The vegetables will keep the turkey from sticking to the bag.

Sprinkle turkey liberally with all spices, inside and out.

Insert ribs of celery, onion and lemon slices into cavity and under skin of turkey.

Place turkey into browning bag, BREAST SIDE DOWN.

Secure with tie provided in browning bag box.

Poke six slits in top of bag for steam to escape.

Place turkey in bag on a large cookie sheet with sides.

Bake according to directions for your size turkey. These instructions should be on the tag with the turkey, there is also a chart in the browning bag.

I like using Butter Ball turkeys, but they don’t come with a pop up timer. You can purchase these separately in most grocery stores. They are indispensible, especially if you are a novice cook. The timer should be inserted into the turkey at its fattest point in the breast, then turn the timer to the outside of the oven so that you can easily see when it pops up. This keeps you from over cooking your turkey.

When oven timer goes off, or when pop up timer comes up, remove the turkey from the oven carefully.

Place on a large counter and very carefully open browning bag, being careful to retain the drippings in the bottom of the bag. The best way to do this is to have someone hold a large bowl below the edge of the counter and let liquid drip into it from the browning bag. When liquid is removed, split top of bag and using oven mitts, flip turkey over so that the breast is now facing the top. Place the turkey back in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown on top. DO NOT LET IT STAY IN TOO LONG! 

Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes, then remove to a serving platter. Garnish with sliced oranges, cranberries and lemon slices if desired. 

If you want to slice the turkey before presenting it at the table, allow to cool enough to handle.

Paula Deen’s Giblet Gravy

Using giblets from turkey, cover with water in a medium sized sauce pan and simmer while turkey is roasting. You can’t have a Southern Thanksgiving without giblet gravy!  

The giblets include the gizzard, heart, and liver of the turkey. When you get your turkey, you’ll usually find them in a bag in the turkey cavity.  

  You’ll need the following:

•3 tablespoons cornstarch

•2 heaping tablespoons cornbread stuffing mix, uncooked or reserved from your dressing

•2 chicken bouillon cubes

•turkey giblets

•4 cups of broth or chicken stock or broth fresh turkey stock

•1/3 cup cold water

•1 hard-boiled egg, sliced

•2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

•Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Make sure the giblets are clean (remove membranes as needed), if they aren’t already. Next, chop the giblets and the meat that has been removed from the turkey’s neck. Using a saucepot, bring the stock to a boil. Add the giblets, bouillon cubes, poultry seasoning, and the raw stuffing mix to the stock.

In a separate bowl, mix the cornstarch and water together, and add it to the boiling stock, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and continue to cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes, until it thickens to a nice gravy consistency. Add the salt and pepper, to taste, and finish it off by adding the sliced boiled egg. Keep warm until time to serve.


Honey Mustard Bacon Brussels sprouts

You will need:


Dijon or spicy mustard

olive oil

salt/ pepper/ garlic salt

fresh Brussels sprouts 

thinly sliced carrots and red bell peppers


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread bacon out over cookie sheet, covered in parchment paper, in a single layer and cook until slightly crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels, retaining some of the drippings for baking vegetables. 

Wash all vegetables and drain on paper towels. Slice Brussels sprouts in half and julienne carrots and peppers.

In a small bowl combine the mustard, honey, olive oil, salt pepper and garlic, whisk well. Pour over vegetables and toss to cover. Place on baking sheet used for bacon, using about 4 tablespoons of the bacon drippings.

Place the vegetables in a single layer on cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes, increasing temperature to 475 for the last 10 minutes in order to char the Brussels sprouts slightly. Remove from oven and place in a large serving dish. Crumble bacon over the vegetables and toss. Season with salt/pepper/garlic salt to taste.  Serve warm.

*Note: I like regular yellow mustard just as well as the seasoned kind.  You can also use prepared honey mustard. 


Fried Pies

This recipe was handed down to me from my cousin, Marion Cross, one of the best cooks I’ve ever known.

The method is as important as the recipe in this one, so take note of early prep requirements.

Using prepackaged dried apples or peaches, place in a sauce pan with enough water to cover twice over. Gently boil until the fruit is mushy. Add one cup of sugar or to taste. Add butter to taste. (If using 4 packages of fruit, use one stick of butter and at least one cup of sugar).

Add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. 

Use butter flavored, canned biscuits, the thinner ones are best for this, not the flakey grands.

Cook fruit until mushy and then cool. Place in a plastic container with a lid and freeze.

Bring biscuits to room temperature and roll out on a mat covered in flour, roll as thinly as possible.

Have a glass of ice water and a long tined fork ready.

Take each flattened biscuit and place in the center one tablespoon of frozen fruit. Using fingers dot one edge of biscuit with drops of water. Bring opposite side over and seal on the outside with fork.

Place aside. Do each biscuit in this manner, working quickly so that fruit doesn’t thaw too much.

Have ready a large platter covered in paper towels, some tongs and a slotted spoon. 

In a deep Dutch oven (I like to use cast iron for this) melt 2 cups of solid Crisco until piping hot. Using a metal spatula CAREFULLY ease four biscuits at a time into the hot grease. They will splatter so wear an apron. (The Crisco should be hot but not smoking).

If they don’t float slightly add more grease, you don’t want them to touch the bottom of the pan or they will show a burn mark. These should brown quickly so don’t leave them in the pan and walk away. Turn using metal tongs, turn carefully. When slightly brown on both sides, lift each one with a slotted spoon, carefully draining grease against one side of pan before removing to paper towels. After removing each one, add another uncooked one. Work fast, they burn easily. 

When all are done sprinkle with granulated sugar and serve warm if possible. 

NOTE* Fruit will last several months in a tightly closed container in freezer so that you don’t have to wait for them to cook and cool each time you make them. I do several batches at once to keep from having to reduce them each time. 

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