Tia Mowry's Thanksgiving menu is all about family traditions.
The actress and author of "Whole New You: How Real Food Transforms Your Life for a Healthier, More Gorgeous You," says that no matter what ends up on her Thanksgiving table, there's always collard greens and cornbread.
"Whenever I cook collards, I think of my mom," said Mowry during a Zoom cooking class promoting the Capital One Walmart Rewards Card. "Greens are a traditional dish I’ve had in my family for generations. My great grandmother taught my grandmother how to make greens and then my grandmother taught my mother and my mother taught me."
But on Mowry's table, greens must be paired up with another classic side dish.
"I can never have greens without cornbread," she said. "It’s like peanut butter and jelly for me; it’s the perfect combination."
"I’ve been cooking collards for a minute now," said Mowry, recalling childhood holidays when she'd help her mom create the dish in her kitchen. "Collards are so good for you, too. They have a lot of iron and they’re so delicious."
Mowry's tip for prepping collards is to cut the leaves down the middle on each side of the rib, removing the rib, which is often too tough to cook and can make greens taste bitter. After removing the rib, Mowry rolls each leaf up like a cigar then slices the greens into 1/2-inch ribbons.
The Mowry family collard green recipe is simple, calling for onion, bacon, apple cider vinegar and chicken broth. The mixture then cooks low and slow, simmering in a Dutch oven for about 40 minutes to deepen the flavor.
As for the cornbread, Mowry likes to add cheese to the batter — along with a secret ingredient.
"Honey takes your cornbread to the next level," she said. "Ever since I’ve put honey into my cornbread, I’ve never gone back. It is just so good. And it helps the cornbread get nice and moist.”
Mowry also recommended serving holiday guests a Bellini, a cocktail traditionally made with peach juice and champagne.
The 42-year-old actress switches up the cocktail's flavors to get in the seasonal spirit, however, creating a rosemary simple syrup and using pear juice instead of peach.
“You can make (the Bellinis as) a self-serving station and it’s a lot of fun because it gets your guests involved and you get a break as the host," she advised.
So, what else is on Mowry's Thanksgiving table?
“What goes great with these dishes?" she asked. "Mashed potatoes. I also do a nice Brussels sprout salad, turkey, green beans and ham."
Whatever dishes she serves, Mowry says she keeps her focus on what her family has done to celebrate Thanksgiving for years and years.
Still, when it comes to executing those family recipes, she's not afraid to enlist some help in the kitchen.
“Tradition is so important to me," she said. "I know the times have changed, but I want to keep those traditions going so we will be having a get-together at the house, but instead of me doing all of the work, my brother and my mom are going to be pitching in."