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A Thanksgiving Switch Up

Take a look at these unconventional takes on Thanksgiving dishes.

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Kitchen Parade
This cranberry chutney is garnished with walnuts and whole cranberries.

Turkey

People often judge the entire Thanksgiving dinner based off of the turkey, which explains its central role at the table. Wow your guests and make them believe you are the next culinary prodigy by using these ideas:

Deep Fried Turkey

For a fairly simple twist on your baked turkey, deep fry it in the traditional redneck fashion. Popularized by the likes of Paula Deen and Guy Fieri, fried turkey has emerged as a popular new dish for families to serve at the Thanksgiving table. A recipe on the Food Network recommends cooking “the bird” for four hours to achieve a true five-star taste, so plan on setting aside a day with your deep fryer to ensure that the turkey is both crispy and moist.

Turducken

If you have any hardcore meat lovers in your family, consider making a turducken this Thanksgiving.  The turducken features three meats in one: a 3-pound duck, a 4-pound chicken, and a 21-pound turkey, all tied together as one big bird. Eating this will make you feel like a bonafide glutton. So if you are in the mood to enter a food-induced coma on Thanksgiving, try a turducken and get your Tums ready— you’ll need it.

Tofurkey 

For a real holiday turn around, surprise your guests with a deceivingly filling meatless dinner. Many companies like Tofurkey, Gardein, Quorn, and Magic Vegan offer meatless options to both meat lovers and meat shunners around the country. It is a healthier and more humane alternative than roast turkey, so you will feel good knowing that you saved one turkey from slaughter and cut back on three hundred calories in the process. For these reasons, do not be surprised if the tofurkey ends up tasting better than the actual bird!

Cornish Game Hens

Eat an entirely new bird species this Thanksgiving by giving Cornish Game Hens a try. A miniature version of the chicken America has grown to love, the Cornish Game Hen packs the same taste in a smaller package. Cooking multiple is an easier task than cooking turkey, as the hens roast faster than their larger counterpart. You can even use the same spice rubs and brines, like the one provided below. Make Thanksgiving less stressful this year and buy yourself some Cornish Game Hens!

Cranberry Sauce

Instead of serving cranberry sauce out of an aluminum can and heating it up before guests arrive, try mixing it up this time with these options:

Ginger Peach Sauce

Instead of the usual cranberry sauce to accompany other Thanksgiving dishes, a delicious Gingered Peach sauce is a great alternative for those who want to try something new. This sauce is made with sliced peaches that are processed till smooth. The addition of ginger adds a spicy contrast to the sweetness of the peach, and this flavor duo will rock your taste buds. Try it this Thanksgiving and prepare to be amazed.

Cranberry Chutney

What is a chutney, you might ask? Though the name seems exotic, it is nothing more than a combination of fruit and spices. Try adding an exotic twist to your bland cranberry sauce by making cranberry apple chutney. Sounds bizarre? Fear not, for the complex flavors of your chutney will make it a staple every Thanksgiving. Combining cranberries, raisins and apples with a variety of spices and simmering the concoction will give you a delicious result.

Cinnamon Apple

A cornucopia of praise will emanate from the Thanksgiving table with this sauce. This cinnamon apple cranberry sauce is prepared by first boiling cranberries, cranberry sauce and sugar together with a cinnamon stick. Once it boils, apples should be added and boiled until tender, serving to further enhance the sauce’s flavor.  Add cornstarch until you reach the consistency of thinned-out jam. After refrigerating, the sauce will be a wonderful addition to the Thanksgiving table.

Onion Confit

Pronounced “con-fee,” the French word confit typically refers to food slowly cooked in fat. People often associate it with fine dining rather than a homestyle meal, so impress your guests this Thanksgiving with the knockout recipe provided below. Surprisingly, it is a cinch to make! By cooking cipollini onions on low heat, the natural sugars of the onions are released and impart a sweet taste, counteracted by the red wine vinegar. Give your guests another reason to swoon and prepare onion confit!

Pumpkin Pie

If there is one thing Americans can unanimously agree upon, it is the alluring decadence of Thanksgiving desserts. Among these seasonal confections, no one can forget pumpkin pie, an American staple at the Thanksgiving table, and its mouthwatering aroma. As timeless as it is, it can never hurt to spice things up with these new and unusual alternatives:

Pumpkin Cheesecake

This life-changing cheesecake is one of the few true competitors to pumpkin pie. Made with cinnamon graham cracker crust, canned pumpkin, and brown sugar-spiced caramel rum sauce, it is a great alternative for those who are not very fond of pies. Expect to enter a state of euphoric bliss by eating this delicious hybrid for dessert.

Bananas Foster Trifle

Walnut pound cake rich with brown sugar, creamy vanilla custard, cinnamon rum, and sticky meringue-coated bananas is just enough to send your taste buds to heaven. This trendy twist on pumpkin pie is a favorite among trifle and cake lovers alike. Although it is a calorie bomb, it is made within only two hours, which surely beats the three to four hours of the traditional pumpkin pie.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Tarts

For those who desire a healthier alternative to pumpkin pie, this vegan alternative is a perfect match. These little tarts contain vegan butter, gluten-free flour, pumpkin puree, and vanilla glaze. When baked, they take on an airy consistency and resemble the most decadent pumpkin pie, but with half the calories. The pumpkin butter snuggled in the piecrust gives it a cute, mess-free appearance, making it a feast for both the mouth and the eyes. Eat healthy and deliciously by making these tarts for Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

Stuffing

Stuffing is like the sidekick of the turkey: a good one can make it seem better, and a horrible one will lead to severe consequences. Make your Thanksgiving table better by trying these ideas:

Mofongo Stuffing

Instead of stuffing your turkey with bread and onions, try this recipe! This new take on traditional stuffing is not for the faint of heart. Use unripe plantains, garlic, bacon, and ajíces dulces or sweet chili peppers for a Puerto Rican twist. Take a trip to San Juan by spicing up your lackluster stuffing this Thanksgiving.

Pear, Blue Cheese, and Walnut Stuffing

New things can be scary, but this culinary adventure might just have your guests (and your stomach) thanking you. It is the 21st century, and it  is time to give your dated stuffing recipe a little variation! Tender pears, bread cubes, and toasty walnuts topped with blue cheese are baked to perfection in the recipe provided below. Your revamped stuffing will impress the entire table, and keep your family satisfied.

Kalua Stuffing

Baking in a oven is so overrated. If you’ve got shovels and a backyard, make your own oven in the comfort of your backyard! A traditional cooking method in Hawaiian culture that uses the imu, an underground oven. Use your traditional stuffing recipe and bake it in your imu till it is fully cooked. If you want, you can have a full blown luau and bake your turkey like that too! For those who are unadventurous, just add liquid smoke to your dishes to give it a Kalua feel. Digging a hole and cooking your stuffing in the backyard for hours is so much more interesting!

Sticky Rice Stuffing

Instead of a boring American style recipe for stuffing, try this delicious Chinese version. Naw Mai Fun is a sticky rice stuffing that is a staple for many Chinese-American families during Thanksgiving. It includes sticky rice, Chinese sausages, and chestnuts; think of this as a cultural twist to stuffing. It will leave your guests feeling like they just came from Beijing, not your Thanksgiving table!

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