Thanksgiving recipes, traditions from 2 Stockton residents

By | November 21, 2023

It’s Thanksgiving.

It’s time to ditch the pumpkin pie and do your best to stay out of the family drama (good luck with that).

Every family has their own way of celebrating the holiday, with their own special recipes and traditions that have been passed down over the years.

I loved watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while my mom multitasked in the kitchen like a contestant on Chopped. I would eagerly watch the parade, waiting to see my favorite Disney star lip-sync on an extravagant float… 2009 Miley Cyrus, anyone?

Some families choose to eat their Thanksgiving feast at a restaurant to avoid the hassle associated with preparing large quantities of food. My mother wouldn’t dare. An avid cook, she always takes pride in preparing all dishes from scratch, from the turkey to the stuffing to the candied yams. She even insists on making homemade cranberry sauce every year, which she is never allowed to buy at the store. Thanksgiving is their Super Bowl.

I’m grateful the torch hasn’t been passed to me yet. These Gen Z-ers aren’t ready for the big leagues yet, but I like to bring a side of baked macaroni and cheese—the first dish I’ve mastered in my adult life. I’m still trying to conquer Turkey, but enough about me.

In honor of Thanksgiving, we asked our readers to share their favorite recipes, stories, and traditions with us. Here’s what two Stockton residents had to say.

Tillie’s stuffing

For many of our readers, classic Thanksgiving dishes were the right choice.

Stuffing is my favorite item on the menu and thanks to Tilly Lewis I have a new recipe to try. The longtime Stockton resident shared her family’s Thanksgiving stuffing recipe for anyone looking for variety this holiday season.

The recipe is named “Tillie’s Stuffing,” after her mother.


  • 1 bag diced filling
  • 2 peppers
  • 5 celery sticks
  • 1 bag of mixed frozen vegetables
  • 1 can of corn
  • 3-5 small (1 ounce) boxes raisins
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 can (32 ounces) chicken broth
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic powder


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Pour the diced filling into a large baking dish.
  • Dice the peppers and celery and add to the filling. Add frozen mixed vegetables, corn and raisins.
  • Add melted butter and enough broth to saturate the filling.
  • Sprinkle with black pepper and garlic powder.
  • Mix all ingredients together.
  • Place the pan in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

“This is a family favorite that my mom makes every year for Thanksgiving,” Lewis said. “The sweetness of the raisins mixes with the flavor of the filling to create a delicious mixture.”

She said that every year she spends the night before Thanksgiving at her parents’ house so she can wake up early and help her mother cook.

“We substituted ham and fried chicken for the turkey, but we prepare several sides including stuffing, mashed potatoes of course, green bean casserole, homemade mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie with whipped cream,” Lewis said.

Fruit salad with Cool Whip or “The Pink Stuff”

What do you get when you combine a can of Cool Whip, a can of fruit cocktail, a bag of mini marshmallows, and a box of strawberry Jello?

The pink stuff.

Michael Huiras shared one of the most interesting recipes I’ve ever come across – and the story behind how he discovered it.

When he was 13 years old and living in the Sacramento area, Hurias said he was in and out of foster care.

“I went through three different foster homes until I ended up with Pat and Charlie Treas,” he said. “Through her service, more than a hundred people received shelter in their homes in Sacramento.”

As the holidays approach, Huiras said a lot of people would come.

“Many were former foster children and neighborhood kids who accepted Pat and Charlie as part of the Treas family,” he said. “Everyone brought a dish. Pat was responsible for the main course, which consisted of turkey for Thanksgiving and ham and turkey for Christmas. Once a foster child progressed to foster care, they were expected to bring a dish with them.”

Gina Garcia, whom Huiras considers his niece, was born shortly after his arrival at Pat and Charlie’s home.

“When Gina was ready to start cooking, she decided to bring a dish. Somehow she became responsible for the pink stuff,” Huiras said. “Gina’s specialty has been around for a long time. I would say for at least 30 years…Gina has been cooking in the kitchen with her mom since she could mix pancake batter.”

Decades later, the pink stuff is still a Treas family favorite.

“Gina wants everyone to know that this is not a dessert, but a side dish,” Huiras said.


  • 1 tub (8 ounces) Cool Whip, thawed in the refrigerator
  • 1 can (15 ounces) fruit cocktail, partially drained
  • Half a bag of mini marshmallows
  • A small box of strawberry Jello
  • Sprinkles for decoration


  • In a large bowl, combine Cool Whip and Jello powder. Mix well.
  • Stir in can of fruit cocktail and marshmallows.
  • Sprinkle streusel on top and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Grab a big spoon and dig in!

Thinking about trying Tillie’s stuffing or the pink stuffing this year? Let me know how it turns out and wish you a happy Thanksgiving!

Record reporter Hannah Workman covers news in Stockton and San Joaquin County. She can be reached at or on Twitter at @byhannahworkman. Support local news and subscribe to The Stockton Record at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *