Carrie's Kitchen: Have a tasty, southern Thanksgiving with these recipes

The second Wednesday of November is already here — Thanksgiving is just two weeks away! And with that in mind, this week we’re looking at the side dishes of a Southern Thanksgiving.

I mentioned last week that it was learning that they eat macaroni and cheese at Southern Thanksgivings that made me curious about other Thanksgiving traditions around the country. Well this week is dedicated to Southern dishes, and I’m kicking it off with a southern macaroni and cheese recipe featuring four cheeses, and yes, one of them is Velveeta.


What are your feelings on Velveeta? I go both ways on Velveeta. I don’t think I’ve cooked with it since I was in high school at my part-time job at a daycare center where we made the Velveeta brand macaroni and cheese as a regular treat for the kids. And I haven’t cooked with it since then because, well, Velveeta isn’t cheese. I like to cook from scratch, and very few from-scratch recipes call for Velveeta. But thinking back to that daycare center mac and cheese … it was delicious. And if this recipe is adding some Velveeta to some white cheddar, Gruyere, and blue cheese, I’m sure it’s in there for a reason. So I plan to give this one a try. And not tell anyone that there’s Velveeta in it.

Second, collard greens with bacon. I’ve had collard greens a few times, courtesy of my brother who likes to make them for family gatherings, thanks to the CSA (community supported agriculture) share where he gets lots of greens from on a regular basis. They’re not my favorite, but once a year I’ll scoop a nice helping on my plate. I think it does take some skill to cook them right, and bacon fat really helps. I haven’t had them with sundried tomatoes, but it sounded interesting.

Next up, a sweet potato bake from none other than Paula Deen. These are mashed sweet potatoes, with a lot of butter and sugar, topped with a brown sugar and pecans streusel. She doesn’t use mini marshmallows, but if your family will miss them, go ahead and throw them on top.

And finally, a dessert I had never heard of before last month and still haven’t tried: a sour cream raisin pie. In trying to look up the recipe, people from all over the country laid claim to it, from the South to the Midwest to the West Coast, but I first heard about it from some Southern sources so I’m sharing it here. Besides, we’ve all had pecan pie before, but how many of you have had a sour cream raisin pie?


Four cheese macaroni and cheese

Kosher salt, to taste

8 ounces. hollow pasta, preferably elbow macaroni or shells

3 slices crustless white bread

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1⁄2 teaspoon paprika

3 sprigs fresh thyme

2 shallots, minced

1 bay leaf

1⁄4 cup flour


1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 cups milk

10 ounces grated sharp white cheddar (about 4 cups)

10 ounces grated Gruyère (about 4 cups)

6 ounces Velveeta, cut into 1⁄2" cubes (about 1 1⁄4 cups)

1 ounce blue cheese, crumbled (about 1⁄4 cup)

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bring a 4-quart saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked halfway through, about 3 minutes for elbow macaroni. Drain pasta; set pasta aside.

Tear bread into small pieces and transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely ground; set aside. Return pan to medium heat and melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add bread crumbs and stir to combine. Transfer bread crumb mixture to a plate and set aside.

Wipe out pan and set over medium heat. Melt the remaining butter and add the paprika, thyme, shallots, and bay leaf; cook, stirring often, until shallots are soft, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cayenne and stir until mixture thickens, 1 minute. Whisk in milk and cook, continuing to whisk often, until sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Discard thyme and bay leaf and remove pan from heat.

Stir in cheddar, half the Gruyère, the Velveeta, and the blue cheese; continue stirring until smooth. Stir in pasta and season sauce with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to an 8- by 8-inch baking dish. Sprinkle remaining Gruyère over top of pasta and then top with bread crumbs.

Transfer baking dish to an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet and bake until macaroni and cheese is golden brown and bubbly, 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Bacon and collard greens

2 pounds collard greens

4 thick-sliced bacon strips, chopped

1 cup chopped sweet onion

5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), chopped

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Trim thick stems from collard greens; coarsely chop leaves. In a Dutch oven, sauté bacon for 3 minutes. Add onion; cook 8-9 minutes longer or until onion is tender and bacon is crisp. Add greens; cook just until wilted.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45-50 minutes or until greens are tender. Yields 9 servings.

Sweet potato bake

3 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, melted, plus 3 tablespoons melted for topping

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup heavy cream, half and half, or whole milk

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup pecans, chopped (or walnuts)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix sweet potatoes, sugar, spices, 1/3 cup butter, eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add cream, mix well. Pour into greased 1.5-quart casserole dish. Add topping. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

For topping: Mix together 3 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, flour and nuts with fork; sprinkle over top of casserole.

Easy sour cream raisin pie

1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

3/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, sour cream, sugar, vanilla, salt and nutmeg. Beat until smooth. Stir in raisins. Pour filling into pie crust.

Bake in the lower half of preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until filling is set. Allow to cool before serving.