Semi-Homemade Thanksgiving Series

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Welcome to Simply Living Simply’s version of Thanksgiving Dinner!

Semi-Homemade style!!

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Join me for the next 3 posts in this series for tips, tricks, recipes and semi-homemade goodness for your

Thanksgiving Day Feast!  Today we focus on the Side Dishes!

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Scrumptious Sides

It seems we all have basically the same thing for our side dishes during the Holidays:

Something with Green Beans


Sweet Potato

Stuffing or Dressing

Cranberry something



Perhaps a squash or other vegetable

Salad of some sort

and of course….dessert!


Here is what we have at my house…yes, it is so ordinary, so traditional and so comforting.  Even my girls who are out on their own are making this for Thanksgiving!


Green Bean Casserole

Yes, this one is Semi-Homemade…I have been known to use canned green beans.  BUT an alternative would be frozen/organic or frozen from your garden or farmers market!

frenchs onions Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series

There are several varieties out there….


Green Bean Casserole

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

green beans casserole Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series


  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup (or your homemade)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Dash ground black pepper
  • 4 cups cooked cut green beans (any way you can, frozen, fresh or canned)
  • 1 1/3 cups French Fried Onions (French's or Durkee or ?)


  1. Stir the soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in a 1 1/2-quart casserole.
  2. Bake at 350°F. for 25 minutes or until the bean mixture is hot and bubbling.
  3. Stir the bean mixture.
  4. Sprinkle with the remaining onions.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.
 Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series


Visit HERE for more great Green Bean Recipes!


Buttery Loaded Mashed Potatoes

This one isn’t semi-homemade icon smile Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series It’s 100% homemade! I use real potatoes and real butter!


Buttery Loaded Mashed Potatoes

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

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  • 3 medium baking potatoes peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) whole milk OR half-n-half, at room temperature or warmed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Read more at:


  1. In a medium saucepan, cook the potatoes in salted water until tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan.
  3. Add the butter, sour cream.
  4. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher until the ingredients are blended.
  5. Add the milk or half-n-half, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the potatoes are the desired consistency. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.
  6. Read more at:
 Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series


HERE is another wonderful Potato Recipe 


Candied Yams

Alas, semi-homemade again.  I use canned yams…and I am partial to the Southern Old Glory variety.  I also use Brown Sugar and Marshmallows.  But I use butter…does that count?

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I like this variety



Candied Yams

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

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  • 2 Small or 1 Large Can of Yams (your choice on variety/brand)
  • 1/2 Stick of REAL Butter, cut into slices
  • 1/4-1/2 C Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 C Toasted Pecans, Chopped Fine (If you like-sometimes I put them in, sometimes not, my oldest daughter detests nuts!)
  • 1 Bag LARGE Marshmallows (I am brand picky...I choose Kraft, your choice)


  1. Dump yams in casserole dish
  2. Dot all over with butter slices
  3. Sprinkle brown sugar (and pecans if using them) on top
  4. Cover with foil and bake in 350 oven for 25-30 minutes till bubbly
  5. Remove foil, top completely and tightly with marshmallows
  6. Return to oven and bake till marshmallows puff and get golden brown. WATCH THEM! They burn and deflate quickly!
 Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series


marshmallows Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series

Get the big marshmallows…not little ones for this dish.


A SUPER recipe from my friend Jay @ Crafty Spices 

Well HERE are 100 ways to cook your favorite Sweet Potato or Yam!



This one gets kinda ridiculous, definitely homemade…even down to making my own cornbread the weekend before and using it for the stuffing/filling.

baked cornbread stuffing Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series

Cornbread, sausage and normally cranberries, this year we left them out.


Kat's Stuffing

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

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  • 8 – 9 cups of your favorite cornbread (mine is homemade)
  • 1 pound bulk sausage
  • ½ cup butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1½ cups diced celery
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage (or 1 teaspoon dried sage)
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 C apple cider vinegar (Braggs)
  • 1/2 C dried cranberries
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken (or turkey) broth (homemade preferred-yes, mine is...canned if you don't have it)


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Break up the sausage into the hot skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until done.
  2. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside in a medium bowl.
  3. Add the ½ cup of butter to the skillet. When it has melted, add the onions, celery, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables have softened a bit.
  4. Add the cider vinegar to the pan. Cook for a minute or so, stirring up any bits of sausage or vegetables on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sage, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.
  6. Add the mixture in the pan to the bowl with the cornbread, add cranberries, stir to combine.
  7. Add the cooked sausage and the chicken broth and stir to combine.
  8. Butter a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Spoon the mixture into the dish.
  9. Cover the dish with foil and bake at 350˚ for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes.
 Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series


Not stuffed yet? HERE are more Stuffing/Dressing Recipes!



Normally….semi-homemade.  BUT, about 6 months ago I came across this great recipe for rolls.  I use that now and it’s so easy peasy.

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Whole Wheat really good rolls, hot out of the oven!

 Go HERE for the greatest, easiest whole wheat bread/roll recipe EVER!

Tipsy Giblet Gravy

Semi-Homemade….I use the giblets and stock/drippings from the Turkey…BUT I also use the gravy packet.


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Giblets…DON’T Throw them away!


Tipsy Giblet Gravy

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

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  • Giblets (neck, gizzard, heart, liver) from a turkey(check in all the cavities)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 C Beer (your favorite)
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 5 cups liquid (Turkey, chicken, beer, water)
  • Drippings from the turkey
  • 2-3 tablespoons flour (or 2-3 Tbsp of corn starch, dissolved first into 1/4 cup of water)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons of Spicy Brown Mustard


  1. Heat the butter in a 2-quart saucepan on medium-high heat.
  2. When hot, add beer & the giblets to the pan.
  3. Brown them on all sides.
  4. Add the onion, celery and carrot and sauté until the onions turn translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
  5. Add the bay leaf, thyme and water.
  6. Bring to a simmer.
  7. Lower the heat, partially cover so that some steam escapes, and cook on a low simmer for several hours, while the turkey is cooking.
  8. Once the bird is close to being done, strain the giblets and stock through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl.
  9. Set aside the stock.
  10. Remove the giblets from the sieve.
  11. Finely mince the giblet meat. If you want, you can pull some of the meat off of the neck and mince that as well.
  12. Once the bird is done, move it to a cutting board to let it rest. Pour off the excess fat (all but a tablespoon or two) from the roasting pan.
  13. Set the roasting pan over two burners of the stove top set over medium heat.
  14. Add the flour (or corn starch slurry) and whisk it into the drippings.
  15. Stir in the minced giblets.
  16. Let cook for a few minutes, stirring while cooking.
  17. Add the strained giblet stock to the pan drippings and giblets and mix well to combine.
  18. Bring to a boil and stir constantly until the gravy thickens, about 2-3 minutes.
  19. Add 1-2 teaspoons of mustard (to taste).
  20. Check for salt and add more salt to taste if needed.
  21. Serve it as-is, or purée the gravy in a blender for a smoother texture.


Most of the prep time is just boiling the giblets slowly while turkey cooks. Turkeys are usually sold with the giblets wrapped in waxed paper or plastic, located inside of the cavity. Some of the giblets may be found in the neck cavity as well.
 Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series




Jellied Cran Sauce Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series

The only kind my family will eat!


Totally red-neck and NOT homemade at all.  I use the can and it’s the jellied variety.  Every single member of my family LOVE that kind.  We even eat it throughout the year.  And it’s important to keep the ribs showing! 


cranberry jellied Semi Homemade Thanksgiving Series

Make sure and slice it so you still see the ribbing from the can…


See y’all next time for Salads AND Turkey day breakfast foods!

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Medical Disclaimer:

Nothing in this post is to be construed as medical advice, simply a sharing of things that have worked for me & my family. If you have any symptoms of serious illness, taking medication, pregnant or nursing, or have never worked with herbal materials or essential oils before, please consider consulting a medical professional before use. I am unable to offer advise for your particular medical situation; please ask your Doctor, Nurse Practitioner or Naturopath for further guidance.  The statements made here have not been approved by the Food & Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act.

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About Kat Y (Simply Living Simply)

I am a "red-neck country wife" to one wonderfully amazing man, mother to many outrageous children, daughter of the ONE Glorious God. Learning to be more self-reliant & self-sufficient in a semi-homemade, homesteading way!
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