The Georgia-Auburn game has always been a big rivalry game at my house. I happened to marry into an Auburn family. My late husband was a big Auburn fan.

Right after we were married, his Uncle Bob said to me, “You are a welcome addition to the family. You are a great cook, but I see one big problem.” I asked him what that was. He said, “You are a Georgia Bulldog. A diehard one at that.”  

Donnie and I had an understanding, I thought. He could be an Auburn fan but Ross and I would always be Dawg fans. That meant he could never put anything Auburn on our son. He goofed one day and put an Auburn Tiger sweat suit on Ross when I had gone out. When I came home, the sweatsuit was removed and cut into little pieces and returned to Donnie. He never doubted my allegiance to the Dawgs again. It was a great Georgia win against Auburn, which made us 2019 SEC East Champs.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I’ve shared with you lots of side dishes to use for Thanksgiving. Now it’s time to check out the main dishes for Thanksgiving.

What’s Thanksgiving without dressing? Either you know how to make it or you don’t. There is no in-between. Bad dressing can ruin Thanksgiving. One Thanksgiving, Donnie’s sister decided to make dressing. Her idea of dressing was stove-top stuffing. Needless to say, that year when I got to Alabama I was in the kitchen making dressing. I use the recipe I watched my grandmother Baker make millions of times. I consider her the best cook I ever knew. She has taught me well.

Old Fashion Dressing


Cornbread, crumbled

4-5 biscuits, crumbled 

4-5 slices day-old bread, torn in small pieces

5-6 eggs

1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning 

Black pepper 

1 large onion, chopped

3 or 4 stalks celery, chopped

Chicken broth — at least 3 quarts


Mix chopped onions and chopped celery in saucepan. Add enough chicken broth to cover. Cook until tender. Add poultry seasoning and black pepper to crumbled bread. Pour onion and celery mixture over bread. Add beaten eggs. Add enough chicken broth to make a rather thin mixture. If you like, you can place chicken skin side up on dressing. Bake at 400 degrees until brown 45-60 minutes. 

You surely can’t eat dressing without gravy. Not many people make giblet gravy anymore. I make a version of it. I don’t use the liver or gizzard in mine. I use chicken thigh and leg meat cut up in small pieces instead. Other than that, it’s the same recipe my grandmother passed on to me.

Giblet Gravy


1 stick margarine 

2 level tablespoons flour

2 or 3 cups chicken broth

2 chopped hard-boiled eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

Small amount of poultry seasoning 

Cut up chicken leg and thigh meat

(Can use giblets that come with turkey cooked and cut up in small pieces)


In a heavy boiler, place margarine. Melt over low heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Pour in broth. Add chicken and eggs. Boil on low heat until right consistency. Serve over dressing. 

There are thousands of ways to cook a turkey. Some like to stuff their turkeys; others like to fry them or smoke them. I personally only cook the turkey breast. I either like to rotisserie it or bake it. I have a rather simple way of doing it. It usually is very moist and later makes great sandwiches.

Turkey for Thanksgiving


Large turkey breast (I get one between 5-7 pounds)

Melted butter, 2-3 sticks

Salt and pepper to taste


Wash turkey thoroughly in warm water. Pat dry. Place in roasting pan lined with foil. Melt butter. Mix salt and pepper in melted butter. Brush outside of turkey with melted butter. Take an injecter and fill with butter. Inject butter into turkey in several places so all the meat will be moist. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 3 hours. Use a meat thermometer to check internal temperature. It should read 180 degrees. There should be no pink meat present. If so, meat is not done. You don’t want to eat half cooked turkey. Great way to get Salmonella food poisoning. Halfway through re-baste turkey and red meat with butter melted in pan. Slice and serve.

When feeding a large group, I also include ham to serve with my turkey. I have a few friends that don’t like turkey. Again, there are hundreds of ways of cooking a ham. This is my own version.

Old Fashion Glazed Ham


1 spiral sliced half ham (I prefer Smithfield, your choice of brands)

1 (20-ounce) can pineapple slices, juice reserved

15-to-20 whole cloves (optional)

1 small jar maraschino cherries 

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 Tbsps. yellow mustard


Preheat the oven as directed on the ham package and follow the instructions for baking the ham. Remove the ham from the oven about 30 minutes before the end of the warming time. 

Decoratively arrange the pineapple slices on top of the ham, securing them with whole cloves, if using or toothpicks. Place a cherry in the center of each pineapple ring and secure with a clove or toothpick. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, mustard and just enough of the reserved pineapple juice to make a thick glaze. Spoon the glaze over the ham and bake for the remaining 30 minutes. Remove the ham from the oven, transfer to a cutting board and carve.

I personally like to add a little special touch to my Thanksgiving dinner with homemade yeast rolls. I don’t do store bought dishes for my Thanksgiving dinner.

Homemade Yeast Rolls


2 cups hot water

1/2 cup margarine

1/3 cup white sugar

2 tsps. salt

1/2 cup cold water

2 (0.25-ounce) packages active dry yeast

5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 eggs


Melt margarine in hot water. Add sugar and salt and stir. Add cold water and yeast. Stir to dissolve yeast. Add three cups flour and mix. Add eggs and 2 ½-3 cups more of flour. Mix, cover and let rise until dough doubles in size. Punch down and let rise 30 minutes or until doubles. Make walnut-size balls of dough. Place about two inches apart in well buttered 9x13-inch pan. Bake in a preheated oven set at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Brush top of rolls with margarine while hot.

Joyce Jacks is a native of Barrow County and a graduate of Winder-Barrow High School, Athens Technical College and the University of Georgia. She can be reached at

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