The Perfect Recipes for Family Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - 9:15am
Paige Duke

Growing up, Thanksgiving was always a time of showing up for lunch at Grandmama and Pop-pop’s house and then a dinner at Nana and Papa’s house. I was responsible for carrying the food to the car, being first in line with my sisters and cousins, stuffing my face while Grandmama would say “Paige where are your manners,” then doing my part of helping with the dishes. No cooking for me. I sure wish I had shown more of an interest in learning to cook from the southern ladies in my life! Young girls reading this take it from me- learn the ways of the kitchen before you move out on your own!!

Since moving to Texas, Thanksgiving was always the time to call up my Nana and Mama and say “I need help, I’m the adult now and I don’t even know how to cook a turkey!” Who can relate? Adding to the stress was my passion for healthy eating. I can learn to cook some good southern, soul food from my family but healthy wasn’t ever the priority!

Thus Southern Fried Skinnyfied was born! Here are my favorite Thanksgiving recipes that you can bring to the table. I promise these aren’t the “that looks weird and healthy- Nooooo thanks” dishes. They will just make you feel a little better about having some pecan pie afterwards ha ha! 

Easiest Turkey Ever

  • Place turkey in a large pan. Put foil in bottom of pan to make clean up easier. Cover turkey with foil and cook at 350 for 30 minutes for every pound. So if you have a 4 pound turkey it’ll cook 2 hours.

Nana’s Collard Greens

Thanks to my Aunt Mary and My Nana for giving me the “there are no directions” but this is what you do…. (I wrote this as I was on the phone with these two of my favorite southern ladies)… 

  • Wash collard greens real good, at least 3 times, cut the big stem out of the middle and roll the greens up and cut with kitchen stems. Boil for 20 minutes and then pour that water off of them because that will take that strong, bitter flavor out of them. Don’t cover with chicken broth because they make a little water as they cook, but cook on low with a little chicken broth. I know you aren’t going to add bacon grease but that’s what we always did growing up so instead you can add some olive oil or add a smoked piece of ham of ham bone. Salt them and add ALWAYS add a tablespoon of sugar. Cook for 2 hours on low. Tear the ham off the bone, remove the bone and add the meat to the pot. I love them served with pepper vinegar!

Green beans with caramelized onions and almonds


  • 2-3 lbs of fresh green beans
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 T butter (preferably grass fed)
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • ½ cup skin on slivered almonds
  • 2 T chopped fresh thyme
  • salt & pepper to taste


1.     Fill a large high-sided skillet or pot with water and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and the green beans.

2.     Cook beans for 5 minutes the strain and put them in a large bowl of iced water to stop them from cooking. Set aside

3.     Put almonds in a large high sided skillet over medium high heat and toast (no oil) by constantly stirring until golden brown in color. Set Aside

4.     In the same large skillet melt the butter and oil together over medium heat

5.     Add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Stir frequently until the onions are caramelized about 20-25 minutes.

6.     Stir in the thyme and cook for 5 more minutes

7.   Add the cooked green beans and almonds and stir well. Cover and cook until warmed about 2-3 more minutes.

Rosemary Roasted Butternut squash 


  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • sea salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste


1.     Preheat oven to 400

2.     Toss squash with garlic, oil, rosemary, salt and pepper

3.     Spread squash in a single layer on a baking sheet


4.     Bake for 45 minutes or so until squash is easily pierced with a fork

Squash and Onions (as seen on Season 2 of SFS)


  • 5 yellow squash
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Slice squash into ¼ inch rounds and chop onion
  2. Add squash to a pot and add water until the squash is almost covered but not completely, add oil and salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat slightly to a low boil and cook until onions and squash are tender- about 12-15 minutes.



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