My mom, (in the picture) and dad, who live in Alabama, surprised me with a visit last week. Since we usually plan trips home to Alabama around Christmas we aren't able to share Thanksgiving with extended family. I thought it would be a great opportunity to have Thanksgiving with my parents while they were here, so we had our meal on Saturday. We'll have a smaller version of the meal today.
I always cook the same things for our traditional Thanksgiving meal:
Southern cornbread chicken and dressing served with gravy and jellied cranberries
Sweet potato casserole with brown sugar and pecan topping
Green bean casserole
Sweet potato pie
My dad has a strong aversion to any kind of poultry including turkey, so my mom made her pork chop dressing and I made the chicken dressing for us.
Because I get so many hits on my blog for recipes, (like 69 out of 100 hits today were for squash casserole), I thought I'd share my favorite Thanksgiving family recipes. I've used these same recipes for over 20 years, they are so delicious.
Southern Cornbread (for dressing)
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. yellow corn meal
1/4 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
1/4 c. cooking oil
Preheat oven to 425. Stir together flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, milk, and oil. Beat just until smooth, (do not over beat). Put a small amount of shortening in an iron skillet and place it on stove top burner, when shortening is hot, pour the cornbread mixture into the hot skillet. Let it cook for just a few seconds until it starts to bubble, (this is the the secret to crispy southern cornbread), then put the skillet into the oven. Cook on 425 for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Chicken and Dressing
1 large chicken, (breasts can be used but dark meat makes a richer broth)
1 c. diced celery, (more or less according to taste)
1/2 of small onion
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Pour salt on and inside the chicken to scrub and clean it well, rinse off salt. Place chicken in a large stockpot and cover with water. Add celery, onion, salt and pepper. Add enough water as it cooks so that you end up with at least 1 quart of broth. Cook until chicken falls off of the bone. Cool and pull apart and cut into small pieces.
1 pan of cooked cornbread
2 slices of bread, cubed or 1 c. dry bread crumbs
1/2 c. milk
1/2 stick of butter
2 raw eggs
1 Tablespoon of sage, (more or less according to taste)
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
cooked and chopped chicken
Cook a pan of cornbread. Cool and crumble bread into a large bowl. Cut sliced bread into small cubes or add bread crumbs. Beat together eggs and milk pour into bread mixture. Pour broth over bread. Add melted butter. Add chopped eggs and sage. Mix well. At this point I usually get a little taste to see if the sage taste is coming through if not I add more. Make the dressing thin and wet so it will be moist when done, (moist dressing taste far better than dry and mine has never been too moist no matter how wet it was because the bread soaks it up). Pour half of the dressing into a greased 10 x 13 pan. Place a layer of chicken over the dressing. Cover chicken with remaining dressing. Bake at 350 until set and golden brown on top. Do not over bake. I usually double this recipe, freeze it and serve the other one at Christmas.
1 can of Campbell's cream of chicken soup
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. milk or half&half
2 boiled eggs, chopped
a pinch of black pepper
a pinch of salt
Pour ingredients into a small saucepan, cook until hot, stirring often. More milk may be needed to get the desired consistency. Serve over the dressing, along with cranberry sauce if desired.
Sweet Potato Casserole
(my mother-in-law's recipe)
3 c. sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar, (less can be used without affecting the taste of this delicious casserole)
1 t. vanilla flavoring
1/3 c. milk
Add ingredients together and mix well. Pour into a lightly greased 8x8 casserole dish.
1 c. light brown sugar
1 c. nuts
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. butter, melted
Mix ingredients for topping and crumble on top of casserole. Bake 25 to 25 minutes at 350. Can be made ahead and frozen.