Thanksgiving with Lisa Garza: The Recipes

Lisa Garza, owner of Sissy's Southern Kitchen and Bar.

Yesterday, chef and restaurant owner Lisa Garza told us what she uses to cook her delicious meals at home. Today, we bring you her Thanksgiving recipes for five spice brined turkey and squash casserole. Take it away, Lisa.

Five Spice Brined Turkey


1  fresh 18-20 lb turkey

turkey brine

8 tbsps olive oil

kosher salt & ground pepper to taste

Five Spice Brine

7 quarts (28 cups) water

1 1/2 cups kosher or sea salt

1 cup brown sugar

6 bay leaves

1 tbsp juniper berries

2 tbsp whole black peppercorns

2 1inch slices fresh ginger

6 star anise

1 tbsp whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

2 red onions, thinly sliced

6 garlic cloves, smashed

More foodie goodness after the jump.


1. Bring 1 quart water, the salt, sugar, bay leaves and spices to a simmer, stirring until salt has  dissolved. Let cool completely.

2. Place the turkey in a 5 gallon container or cooler. Add the salt mixture, remaining 7 quarts of cold water and the other ingredients. Turkey needs to be completely submerged under the bring liquid. Refrigerate or reduce water and keep iced down for 24 hours, flipping the turkey once.

3. Remove the turkey from the brine. Discard the brine. Pat the turkey dry. Place breast side down on a rack in a roasting pan. Let stand for 1 hour at room temperature.

4. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. with rack in lowest position. Tuck wings underneath the turkey. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Brush turkey with olive oil and season generously with kosher salt and pepper.

5. Roast turkey, basting with pan juices every 30 minutes and rotating the pan after 2 hours, until thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the thigh reads 165 degrees, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Transfer turkey to a platter or cutting board. Allow the turkey to rest for 30 minutes before carving.

Squash Casserole


2 pounds yellow squash or zucchini (older larger squash may be used here), cleaned and cut into 1/4-inch rounds

1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into large dice

11/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup mayo

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pinch cayenne, pepper

salt to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet, saute squash and onion until tender. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Reduce heat, and cook until  tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well, and transfer to a large bowl.

3. Add 1 cup breadcrumbs, eggs, cream, 1/2 cup cheese, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and remaining teaspoon salt. Gently stir to combine. Pour into a 2-quart shallow baking dish. Spread remaining 1/2 cup cheese and remaining 1/2 cup breadcrumbs over top. Cover, and bake until set, about 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking until top is browned, about 10 minutes more.


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