Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes

By Diane High

by Elysian Magazine

The ELYSIAN family wanted to share our Thanksgiving recipes with yours. Nothing warms the heart like the smell of Thanksgiving dinner wafting through your home, with friends and family arriving after what always feels like far too long apart.  The traditional fare helps us reconnect with memories of years gone by and is the perfect foundation for the new ones we will make this year.


Roast Turkey

If you are planning to buy a frozen turkey, keep in mind the time needed to thaw it safely. 

A 12- to 16-pound turkey will need 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator to thaw. A 12-pound turkey will serve about eight people. Allow approximately 13 minutes per pound roasting time. Turkey is done when the temperature of the meat at its thickest point is at least 165 degrees.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a saucepan, melt 1 stick of butter.

Add 1 teaspoon of minced fresh thyme leaves to butter and set aside.

Remove the giblets from the turkey cavity and set aside.

Thoroughly wash the turkey inside and out.

Salt and pepper the turkey inside and place a bunch of fresh thyme leaves in the cavity.

Liberally brush the outside of the turkey with the melted butter and salt and pepper.

Tie the legs together and tuck the wing tips in toward the body.

Place in a roasting pan with about 1 ½ cups chicken broth added to the bottom of the pan, then place the pan in the oven.

Baste about every 40 minutes with pan juices.

When turkey is done, carefully remove from pan to a cutting board, reserving the pan juices for gravy. Tent with foil and let rest 30 to 45 minutes before cutting.


Sweet Potato Casserole 


  • 4 cups mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice

Mix well and place in a buttered casserole dish.


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ½ stick melted butter

Mix well and spread over sweet potatoes.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.

Serves six to eight people.


Haricot Verts

Forget the green bean casserole and try these fresh beans!

Take 1 pound of haricot verts with ends removed and place them in a large pot of boiling salted water.

Cook until the beans are bright green and just fork tender.

Remove and place in ice water to stop the cooking process.

Drain and set aside.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the beans and cook 3-4 minutes, until crisp but tender.

Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.


Easy Cornbread Dressing

Food safety experts recommend baking dressing rather than stuffing the turkey.

In a large skillet, cook until soft and translucent then set aside:

  • 1 large onion diced
  • 6 ribs celery diced
  • 1½ cups water
  • ½ stick butter



  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

Mix well and bake at 425 degrees for approximately 25 minutes in a 10-inch cast iron frying pan.

Tip: Rub the frying pan with vegetable oil and place it in the hot oven for about 5 minutes before pouring the cornbread batter in.



Pepperidge Farms makes it easy!

  • 2 bags (12 ounces each) Pepperidge Farms Herb Stuffing Mix

In a large bowl mix all your ingredients:

  • Crumble the cornbread
  • Add the stuffing mix
  • Add the celery and onions and the liquid they were cooked in
  • 3 large eggs, beaten well 
  • 3-4 cups of chicken broth (Use more if needed to make the mixture very mushy.)

Spread about 2 inches thick in a large baking dish or heavy baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.


Old fashioned Relish tray

  • Carrot sticks
  • Celery sticks
  • Spiced apples
  • Spiced peaches
  • Bread and butter pickles
  • Watermelon rind pickles


Cranberry Sauce


  • 1 package (12 ounces) fresh cranberries, washed and drained
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup sugar

Place sugar, juice and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

Add cranberries and 1 strip of orange peel. When the berries begin to pop, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 8-10 minutes more.

Cool and refrigerate.


Pumpkin Pie

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix together:

  • 2 cups of cooked pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ginger 

Pour into an unbaked 9-inch pie shell.

Place in the 425-degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 350 and continue baking for another 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.

Cool and top with whipped cream.



Now it’s time to use the pan drippings from the turkey that you reserved earlier.

Strain the pan drippings and set aside.

In a medium-size skillet, melt:

  • ½ stick (4 tablespoons) butter


  • 4 tablespoons flour

Whisk until the mixture begins to brown.

Slowly whisk in 2½ cups of pan drippings and continue to stir until the gravy is thickened.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

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