I also have bad memories of a Thanksgiving at my aunt's house where everyone had salmonella poisoning after the turkey thawed too long before cooking - not fun. My aunt has a small house and with all of my family there were 15 people, each with their own trash can, doing what sick people do with trash cans.
My mom and dad are gone now, but I continue one tradition for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's a recipe my mother made for Cheesy Broccoli. It's not an old fashioned recipe, as it uses Velveeta and a microwave oven, but every time I eat it I think of the holidays with my parents and family. I'm thankful for all those Thanksgivings I shared with them and I love sharing it with my family now. Here's the recipe for Cheesy Broccoli - maybe you can start a new family tradition this year. Feel free to tweak it to taste.
7 oz box of white rice
1 family size bag of frozen broccoli
1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter or margarine
1/2 of medium onion
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 c. milk
2 c. of chopped Velveeta (1 pound)
Partially defrost broccoli. In saucepan or large microwave casserole dish mix butter, chopped onion, soup, milk and Velveeta. Heat over medium heat or put in microwave on high, stirring every five minutes out of the microwave. Heat until Velveeta is melted. Mix in uncooked rice and broccoli. Microwave on high 15-20 minutes (or you can cook in saucepan until rice is almost cooked and then transfer to baking dish and bake on 325-350 degrees for about 30 minutes). Cook until everything has firmed and mixture is set.