GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Team Daybreak is sharing their favorite family recipes for Thanksgiving.

Terri DeBoer: New England Bars


  • 2 Cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Crisco
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 Cups Flour
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup Cold Black Coffee
  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Maple Frosting


  • Preheat Oven to 325
  • Cream together 2 Cups Brown Sugar and 1 Cup Crisco
  • Add 2 Eggs and Mix Well
  • Blend together 3 Cups Flour, ½ Teaspoon Salt and 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • Add Dry Ingredients to the Wet Ingredients and MIx Well
  • Dissolve 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda in 1 Tablespoon of Warm Water and Add to Mixture
  • Add 1 Cup Cold Black Coffee and Mix Well
  • Add 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Bake at 325 for 30-40 minutes
  • Cool and Frost with Maple Frosting

Gabrielle Phifer: Sweet potato casserole


  • 3 large potatoes
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt

Boil sweet potatoes and cook until tender. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a 9 by 13 pan spray with Pam. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and beat until smooth


  • 1/2 C four
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 C chopped pecans

Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl until it clumps together, then add chopped pecans. Spread over sweet potato mixture. Bake in 350 degrees oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown and set in the center.

Teresa Weakley: Dad’s green bean casserole from the kitchen of Gregg Weakley


A photo of Teresa Weakley’s dad’s green been casserole.
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 lb fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed, and halved
  • 12 oz mushrooms, trimmed, cut into 1/2 in pieces
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half
  • good quality french fried onions


Preheat oven to 350.

Bring a gallon of water and salt to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan. Add beans and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately plunge into a large bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large, cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, 1 tsp salt and pepper and cook, occasionally stirring until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and nutmeg and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the mixture. Stir to combine, and cook for one minute. Add broth, and simmer for one minute. Decrease heat to medium-low, and add half-and-half. Cook until the mixture thickens, occasionally stirring, about 8 minutes (this could take longer, just be patient!)

Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 of the fried onions and all of the green beans. Top with remaining fried onions. 

Bake until bubbly (15-25 minutes). Remove and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes: you can make this ahead of time, but don’t add the french-fried onions until just before baking. The ingredients are all fully cooked by the time it gets into the oven, so it’s a matter of heating to the right temperature.

Long family tradition: Making greens for the holiday

Anyone from the South or who has eaten soul food knows greens are a huge staple on the menu. They’re also on News 8 Daybreak anchor Donovan Long’s dinner table when he is home for Thanksgiving.

It’s one of the favorite items his mom prepares for the holiday. In fact, he does a taste test every year.

In celebration of the holiday, Long shared his mom’s recipe, but the most special way to prepare her greens is to cook from the soul.

The key is buying fresh greens, not those in a can.

When you buy fresh greens, like kale greens, pick the stems from them and wash them thoroughly in a sink with salt water. Adding salt to the water removes any bugs that may linger on the greens.

Then, season and boil the greens for about 15 to 20 minutes. Add some smoked turkey wings to the pot with just enough water to cover them. Season the greens with a favorite meat seasoning.

Once the greens have sat in the boiling water, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of honey, and a pinch of baking soda, which makes the greens more tender, add two tablespoons of canola oil and a dash of salt and pepper.

Lastly, continue boiling the greens until they are soft, which will take about another 30 minutes, and finish off with more seasoning to your liking.

An Italian’s take on Thanksgiving: Pasta al forno

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • half of a stick of celery
  • small carrot
  • small piece of yellow onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lb of beef
  • 2 28 oz cans of tomato sauce
  • basil

Pasta — rigatoni is the best type, not spaghetti, short pasta only.

Ingredients for the besciamella:

  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 1/3 cup of butter
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 tbsp nutmeg

Sauté carrot celery and onion diced in a pot with olive oil, add pressed garlic, add beef, and allow it to cook almost fully. Add the tomato sauce plus 28oz of water, add salt and pepper, and some basil leaves. Cook for 10 more minutes.

Meanwhile, boil water and cook rigatoni pasta.

For the besciamella, melt the butter in a pot add milk and bring to a gentle boil. Add the flour, 1/2 tbsp of nutmeg, salt and pepper and whisk it until it gets thick.

Put the sauce, pasta and besciamella in a Dutch oven pot — a pyrex will work as well — mix everything together and add mozzarella cheese on top of the pasta. Bake it for 25 min at 355F.