Come And Get It! Our Southern Turkey Meal Spectacular

Nice-Thanksgiving-Meals-Featuring-Turkey-And-Pie-On-Dining-TableThe South’s best flavors shine in this holiday spread. A golden bird with giblet gravy, comfort food casseroles, and a stellar cake line up on this sumptuous buffet.

Only a Southerner knows how many fish, collard greens, turnip greens, peas, beans, etc., make up “a mess.”

Only a Southerner can show or point out to you the general direction of “yonder.”

Only a Southerner knows exactly how long “directly” is — as in: “Going to town, be back directly.”

Even Southern babies know that “Gimme some sugar” is not a request for the white, granular sweet substance that sits in a pretty little bowl in the middle of the table.

Only Southerners grow up knowing the difference between “right near” and “a right far piece.” They also know that “just down the road” can be 1 mile or 20.

Only a Southerner, both knows and understands, the difference between a redneck, a good ol’ boy, and po’ white trash.

No true Southerner would ever assume that the car with the flashing turn signal is actually going to make a turn.

A Southerner knows that “fixin” can be used as a noun, a verb, or an adverb.

Only Southerners make friends while standing in lines. We don’t do “queues,” we do “lines”; and when we’re “in line,” we talk to everybody!
Put 100 Southerners in a room and half of them will discover they’re related, even if only by marriage.


So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.

Lets Talk Turkey. This gorgeous turkey is seasoned with nine spices for flavor impact. Note that it also releases lots of delectable drippings for some dynamite gravy.


1 (12- to 14-pound) fresh or frozen turkey, thawed $
1 tablespoon salt $
2 teaspoons seasoned salt $
1 teaspoon ground black pepper $
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning $
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened $
1 cup water
Garnishes: kumquats, fresh sage, fresh rosemary


Remove giblets and neck from turkey; reserve for making Giblet Gravy, if desired. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. I also clean it with lemon juice. It is a natural acid. Carefully loosen skin from turkey at neck area, working down to breast and thigh area. Rub about one-third of seasonings under skin. Rub skin with softened butter MIXED WITH HERBS; and remaining seasonings. Tie legs together with heavy string, or tuck under flap of skin. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey.Butter with herbs on top, he will love it and so will you. Once properly seasoned, place turkey, breast side down, in a oven bag. fill cavity with chopped veggies, white wine, butter and herbs. Season again.

Close bag and I wrap mine again in aluminum foil and place in my big turkey pan.. Bake at 325° for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 180°, uncovering turkey after 2 hours. Turn turkey to and open bag. Be sure to drain off delicious drippings and prepare to brown. One complete let turkey rest before moving serving platter, reserving pan drippings for gravy. Let turkey stand 15 minutes before carving. Garnish, if desired.

Tip: If you buy a frozen bird, remember to allow about 3 days for a 12- to 14-pound turkey to thaw in the refrigerator.


Giblet Gravy

If you often wish you had more gravy left after a holiday meal, this recipe is for you. A long-simmering broth and pan drippings contribute rich flavor to this abundant gravy that’s not overly thick.


Neck and giblets reserved from turkey
4 cups water
1 celery rib with leaves, cut into pieces $
1 onion, quartered $
1/2 cup all-purpose flour $
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt $
1 teaspoon pepper $


Combine first 4 ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours, removing liver after 20 minutes to prevent overcooking. Remove from heat. Pour broth through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl. Remove neck meat from bone; chop, and set aside. Chop remaining giblets, and set aside.

Stir 3 1/2 cups broth into reserved turkey drippings in broiler pan that turkey roasted in, or in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Combine flour and 1/2 cup water, stirring until smooth; gradually whisk into boiling broth. Add salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in chopped neck meat and giblets; cook until thoroughly heated.


Cornbread-Biscuit Dressing

This simple Old South dressing is a no-egg recipe, so it’s slightly crumbly. We liked it smothered in Giblet Gravy. Make Ahead


4 cups biscuit crumbs (see shortcut below) $
4 cups cornbread crumbs
6 celery ribs, chopped $
1 large onion, chopped $
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted $
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon salt $
1 teaspoon pepper $
2 1/2 cups chicken or turkey broth $
1/2 cup milk $


Spread biscuit and cornbread crumbs in an ungreased pan. Bake at 300° for 15 minutes or until crumbs are toasted, stirring twice.

Sauté celery and onion in butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until tender. Remove from heat. Combine sauteed mixture, toasted crumbs, parsley, and next 3 ingredients. Stir in broth and milk. Spoon dressing into a greased 13â€� x 9â€� pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 1 hour or until browned.

Shortcut Solution: Six frozen biscuits, baked, or six fast-food biscuits will give you 4 cups crumbs. We tested with Pillsbury frozen biscuits and Pioneer cornbread mix. You could also use frozen baked cornbread and warm it in the microwave oven before crumbling. Or buy cornbread from a cafeteria or deli.

Make Ahead: Spoon prepared dressing into pan; cover and chill overnight. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 1 hour. Let stand at room temperature until almost serving time. Just before serving, reheat at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes.

Green Peas and Baby Limas with Pine Nuts

Tender lima beans and petite peas cooked in chicken broth are even better with fresh rosemary and toasted pine nuts. And there’s no need to thaw the peas or beans before cooking.


1 (14-ounce) can chicken broth $
1 (10-ounce) package frozen baby lima beans
4 1/2 cups frozen petite peas (1 1/2 [16-ounce] packages)
1/2 teaspoon sugar $
3/4 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted $
3 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt $
1/4 teaspoon pepper $
3 tablespoons butter or margarine $


Bring broth to a boil in a saucepan; add lima beans. Return to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Stir in peas and 1/2 teaspoon sugar; cook 2 minutes. Drain.

Sauté pine nuts in 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat until golden. Add bean mixture, green onions, and next 3 ingredients; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons butter until melted.


Swiss-Squash Casserole

Yellow squash and Swiss cheese make a mild-mannered side dish that complements roast turkey and all the trimmings.


8 (1/2 $
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted $
4 pounds yellow squash, sliced (about 12 medium)
2 small onions, chopped $
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt $
1 teaspoon ground black pepper $
6 tablespoons butter or margarine $
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour $
3 cups milk $
1 teaspoon seasoned salt $
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon white wine Worcestershire sauce
4 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese, divided $


Place baguette slices on an ungreased baking sheet; spread evenly with 1 tablespoon butter. Bake at 400° for 5 minutes or until crisp and golden. Let cool. Process in a blender or food processor until crumbs form. (This will yield about 1 1/2 cups crumbs.) Set aside.

Place squash, onion, and bay leaves in a Dutch oven with a small amount of water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes or until squash is tender. Drain, discarding bay leaves. Sprinkle squash with salt and pepper.

Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in milk; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in seasoned salt and next 3 ingredients. Gradually stir about one-fourth of hot white sauce into yolks; add to remaining hot white sauce, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup cheese.

Combine squash and cheese sauce. Spoon into a greased 2-quart baking dish. Combine remaining 1/2 cup cheese and reserved breadcrumbs; sprinkle over squash. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 40 minutes or until browned.

Note: If you can’t find fresh yellow squash, substitute frozen sliced squash.


Gingersnap Sweet Potatoes

Swap out traditional sweet potato casserole toppings, like mini marshmallows and pecans, for a streusel made from gingersnap cookies, brown sugar, butter, and flour. The gingersnaps add a little bite to this top-rated side and perfectly complement the potatoes’ sweetness.


6 sweet potatoes (4 pounds) $
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar $
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted $
1/3 cup half-and-half $
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract $
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar $
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour $
1/4 cup cold butter or margarine, cut into pieces $
32 coarsely crushed gingersnap cookies (we tested with Nabisco)


Cook sweet potatoes in a Dutch oven in boiling water to cover over medium heat 30 minutes or until tender. Cool; peel and mash potatoes.

Combine mashed sweet potato, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and next 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. (Or mash with a potato masher until smooth.) Spoon into a greased 2 1/2-quart or 13″ x 9″ baking dish.

Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and flour. Cut in 1/4 cup cold butter with a pastry blender until crumbly. Stir in crushed gingersnaps. Sprinkle streusel over sweet potato. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25 minutes or until streusel is lightly browned.

Make Ahead: Prepare sweet potato filling, and spoon into a greased 2 1/2-quart microwave-safe dish. Cover and chill overnight. Microwave at HIGH 10 minutes or until hot. Prepare streusel, and sprinkle over filling. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20 minutes or until streusel is lightly browned.


Purchase crisp gingersnap cookies rather than the soft variety for making the streusel.

relish 2

Cranberry-Apple, Relish

Apple surprise to this favorite holiday sauce that you can make up to a week ahead.


2 bags of fresh cranberrys. (Note if they bounce they are fresh)
1 cup finely chopped apples. I choose three different varieties.
6 tablespoons sugar $
Star annese, lavender, cinamon, nutmeg
a glass or port wine
One Orange
One or Two pomegranates

Make Ahead; Quick & Easy


Core and cop apples

Pour sugar in pan, heat until it is melted. Do not walk away or it will burn. Add star Annis, lavender, cinnamon, and nutmeg. stir in add port wine. Add Cranberry and apple in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not boil but cook, stirring often, Add Juice from fresh squeezed Orange, Use orange zest as well. Remove from heat. Cut pomegranate turn over and with a wooden spoon treat like a spoiled child. give it a spanking and the seeds will fall out. Watch for the pith as well. Mix in. Now Cover and chill. Remove Star Annis buds before serving.


Let Them Eat Cake

Holiday Lane Cake

We’ve made this fancy Southern cake doable for anybody. The shortcut? Cake mix and frosting mix. You’re just in charge of the gooey filling and baking the cake, of course.


1 (18.25-ounce) package white cake mix (we tested with Duncan Hines)
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk $
1/4 cup vegetable oil $
Raisin-Nut Filling
1 (7.2-ounce) package fluffy white frosting mix (we tested with Betty Crocker)
1/2 cup boiling water $
Garnish: maraschino cherries with stems


Beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cakepans. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool on wire racks. Wrap cake layers in nonstick aluminum foil and freeze 30 minutes. (This step aids in frosting the finished product.)

Unwrap layers. Spread Raisin-Nut Filling between layers, reserving about 1 1/3 cups for top of cake.

Beat frosting mix and 1/2 cup boiling water at low speed 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl; beat at high speed 5 to 7 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Spread frosting on sides of cake. Spread reserved filling on top of cake. Let stand at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish, if desired.

Merry Christmas

Lou Ceffer

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