Top 10 Thanksgiving Recipes and Ideas You've Never Considered
It is that time of year again, and you have the menu in your head. No need to write it down because it is the same every year. Or not. Is it time to change things up, and try some new Thanksgiving foods for your family? Here are a few unconventional Thanksgiving ideas as well as some fresh twists on some old favorites.
1. Fried Mashed Potato Balls
Crunchy on the outside and rich with comforting mashed potatoes on the inside. This is a unique spin when you want to change it up. It is also a tasty way to use up leftovers. Make your potatoes with your normal recipe. Mix in 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese and 3 tablespoons of chives, and roll into balls about 2 inches in diameter. Beat two eggs, dip the mashed potato balls in the egg mixture, and then dredge in panko breadcrumbs. Fry these tasty bits up a deep fryer or skillet with oil. In just a couple of minutes, the potato balls become golden brown and are ready to serve.
2. Stuffing Muffins and Turkey Sliders
Make your stuffing into muffins with a nice crunch on the outside just by using a muffin tin. This is an easy way to serve stuffing and, the next day, use the muffins to make turkey sliders. Slice the muffin in half, add turkey, and cover with gravy. Easy and amazingly yummy.
3. Cauliflower Rice Stuffing
Cauliflower rice is not so unusual, but using it in a new way on Thanksgiving takes the vegetable to a new level. Make the stuffing using the familiar ingredients and flavors you use when making stuffing. Sauté an onion and six to eight celery stalks in a bit of butter until translucent and tender, but not brown. Combine the mixture with a pound of cauliflower rice. Add 1 tablespoon of sage and 2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning. Mix in about 1/2 of the chicken broth. Heat in a covered skillet until liquid is absorbed, and the rice is tender. This makes about four servings.
4. Pear and Kale Salad
Add a simple salad to your dinner filled with rich foods. Kale is hearty but still light enough to be refreshing. Mix kale, diced pears, candied walnuts, shredded carrots, and crumbled gorgonzola. Serve with a raspberry vinaigrette for a fall-worthy salad.
5. Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Cauliflower can take the place of mashed potatoes. You can buy cauliflower ready to be served as potatoes in the freezer section. It's also easy to make. Boil a head of cauliflower — separated into florets — and drain well. Mash with milk, butter, salt, and ground black pepper just as you do with potatoes.
6. Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
Try combining the classic scalloped potato casserole with the traditional Thanksgiving sweet potatoes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice 3 pounds of potatoes and a white onion thinly. Layer the potatoes and onions in a greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Season with salt and black pepper, and dust with a few tablespoons of flour. Drizzle 4 tablespoons of melted butter over the potatoes and onions. Pour 3 cups of warm whole milk into the dish. Bake 45 to 60 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender.
7. Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
This one is easy, but it is a different way to serve Brussels sprouts. Shred or slice 1 pound of sprouts thinly. Dice up 3/4 of a cup of pancetta. Heat a teaspoon or so of olive oil in a frying pan, and sauté the pancetta. Add the Brussels sprouts, and sauté until tender. Right before serving, squeeze a quarter of a lemon, and toss with a bit of lemon zest.
8. Change Up the Green Bean Casserole
Green bean casserole is a Thanksgiving staple. But, if it is time to change things up, here are a few ways to keep the green beans but freshen it up otherwise. Sauté fresh green beans and mushrooms in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper and add sliced almonds. Alternately, cook the green beans with a little pancetta and diced shallots and serve that way.
9. Turkey, But Better
Turkey takes center stage, so add a twist with new seasonings and flavors. Brine your turkey in a mixture that includes jalapeno pepper slices for a spicy kick. Add a dry rub and coat with barbecue sauce for a smoky, delicious flavor. Experiment with new flavors to bring freshness to the tradition.
10. Dessert Bar
It is all about the pumpkin pie, right? Change up dessert, and give your diners control using some of the traditional flavors. For a make-your-own-pie bar, offer basic sugar cookies, or make "pie" rounds by cutting out circle shapes from your pie crust and sprinkle with ground cinnamon and sugar before baking. Serve these with bowls of pumpkin mousse, cherry and apple pie filling, chocolate pudding, lemon pudding and, of course, whipped topping. Encourage guests to create their own pie in a bowl.