Ran Out of Creative Thanksgiving Recipes?
Thanksgiving is a time for family, food, reflection on all that we are thankful for (like food) and definitely the food. Whether one’s custom is to watch the morning parade or afternoon football game, no one ever seems to neglect the beautiful tradition of consuming mass amounts of delectable Thanksgiving Day turkey. It’s as though you’re so thankful for the big bird’s difficult life transition from farm to plate, you simply don’t want to dishonor such a noble passing. It’s called sympathy.
As hard as that turkey’s life was, he didn’t have to sit down and think about the prepping and planning for his grand finale, especially during a busy restaurant’s Thanksgiving rush. But you do. So, where do you start? In order to get your creative juices flowing, we’ve described recipes from an assortment of sites around the web (including one of our own recipes at the end of this post) ranging from the simple to the complex. We begin with a straightforward meal which becomes progressively easier from main course to dessert. The next portion of this post includes more variety and an increased challenge for you Thanksgiving Day aficionados. Our last section surveys several unique ideas to aid in what is perhaps the least exciting part of Thanksgiving- leftovers.
An Easy Meal for the Overwhelmed
1. Roast Turkey with Cider Gravy- This turkey takes only three other ingredients, one of which is water. As far as turkeys go, it doesn’t get much easier than this. Even the giblet stock is really very simple (you’ll find the link on the recipe itself); plus, it’s an ingredient for both the turkey and cider gravy. As long as you give that bird a proper bath, a little TLC, and watch for signs of sunburn, everything will be just fine.
2. World’s best rolls- This recipe uses simple ingredients which you probably already have and it makes for some truly scrumptious rolls. Also, I do not have conclusive evidence that these are in fact the world’s best rolls. At the end of the day the whole “world’s best” thing is probably more of a play off of our own naivety, as tragically witnessed in the video below.
3. Makeover Corn ‘n’ Green Bean Bake- Now, as much as I like this recipe, I have a few issues with it. First off, at least attempt to get fresh veggies instead of the frozen or canned ones. Second, what’s with all the “reduced” stuff? Common economics teach us that we should not spend the same amount of money for less food. That being said, this veggie bake is easy, quick and knocks out two vegetable sides in one (plus onion, green pepper and celery). The greatest advantage to this vegetable medley is that less dishes at the end of the day means you will have less dishes at the end of the day.
4. No-Measuring Sweet Potato Casserole- I have a love/hate relationship with anything Sweet Potato related. It’s either good, bad, or really ugly. I know that some of you don’t like the stuff at all, which is why you could simply substitute it for some mashed potatoes. This recipe takes minimal effort once you compile all the ingredients such as butter, maple syrup, vanilla and definitely more butter. This recipe helps you change the dish according to your taste!
5. Pumpkin Pie Dip- Have an extra ten minutes to spare? Eight simple ingredients and you’ve got a great dessert alternative. Or you could try these as an appetizer. Whatever you choose, you’ll get the great taste of pumpkin pie without the long wait.
6. Oreo Fudge Pie- The point of these recipes is to move from easier to easiest. All you have to do is prep in advance and then just take it out of the freezer to serve. That way, your Thanksgiving Day meal will be complete sooner rather than later. And don’t worry, no one will be wondering where the pumpkin pie is when you’re wielding the power of an Oreo crust. Find this recipe at the end of our post!
Recipes for the Advanced Cook
1. Champagne-Basted Turkey Recipe- I’ve never thought of a turkey as being refined or elegant, but this one certainly fits the mold. Toss in some tasty seasonings, fresh parsley and onion and you are all set to enjoy one delicious turkey!
2. Apple-Herb Turkey Gravy- Ever wonder where the saying “Good gravy!” came from? Probably this. How can you go wrong with a gravy that has sauteed ingredients, apple brandy and apple cider in the mix?
3. Midwestern Kielbasa and Apple Rye Bread Stuffing- So what if the Midwest wasn’t developed in the days of the First Thanksgiving? That doesn’t mean you can’t thematically change your Thanksgiving meal plan. The first Thanksgiving meal didn’t even have a turkey, no matter what they want you to believe, as witnessed below. This recipe is the perfect blend of sweet and salty with a little spice. Enjoy!
4. Classic Green Bean Casserole- This is not your every day ordinary green bean casserole. This is stuff is classy. Don’t be fooled by such a simplistic name, this recipe has you mincing garlic for the sauce and caramelizing onions in place of canned fried. You better prepare well for this dish; you will definitely enjoy it.
5. Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes- Once you make this version of mashed potatoes you won’t go back. You’ll need some extra prep time to roast the garlic, but it’s worth it. Also, add some extra Parmesan cheese, you won’t regret it.
6. Cream Biscuits - Here is a great recipe for simplicity and great taste. Whip up some honey (½ butter, ½ honey) or cinnamon butter butter and make sure you cook some extra for yourself. If you were expecting something a bit more exquisite here, try some Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Cornbread on for size.
7. Cranberry Sauce- Here we have three cranberry recipes, two traditional and one, the Cranberry Sauce with Port and Dried Figs, a little more intricate. As stated on the site, you can prep cranberry sauce one week in advance.
8. Pumpkin Cream Cheese Napoleons- Perfect for those wanting a light but rich tasting dessert for after the Thanksgiving Feast. Except for the cream cheese, this one is all about pumpkin: pumpkin butter, pumpkin filling, pumpkin spice. If you’re really looking to break out of the norm, just go all out with a Cherpumple, three different pies baked into one giant cake. Or, maybe you want that truly unique dessert so no one forgets your big meal. Try the Absurd Apple Cream Lasagna. It’s not pumpkin, it’s a dessert lasagna (yes, with lasagna noodles), and it’s absurd.
So, what are you going to do with all those leftovers? If my finds don’t appease your imagination, try some top chefs’ leftover recipes such as Turkey Cobbler, Spicy Sweet Potato soup, Turkey and Cranberry Tacos, Two Pan Hash Killer Brunch or Japanese Leftover Pancakes. Or, check out these simple ideas:
1. Mashed Potato Rolls- Did you make too many mashed potatoes? Mashed potato rolls can give you what you need to rid your life of an endless supply of all that heavy, white fluff. Otherwise, you might end up like the guy in the below video.
2. Sherried Turkey and Ham Bake- If all the turkey sandwich ideas just don’t sound appetizing, try this delicious dish. I would definitely substitute bacon for ham and add some pepper jack cheese to spice things up (“add,” not “substitute”). The recipes calls for peas, which is great, but I would also add some onion to the mix. The great part about casserole like this is the ability it gives you to add your favorite side items.
Oreo Fudge Pie
- 1 Quart Vanilla Ice Cream
- 1 Oreo Pie crust
- ½ cup chocolate fudge sauce
- Light whipped topping
- Mini oreo bite size chocolate sandwich cookies
Directions: Spread ice cream in the crust. Top with fudge sauce. Freeze until firm, which will be about 6 hours. Top it with whipped cream and cookies.
We hope these ideas spark some creativity! Do you have any recipes to contribute or did you try one of these? Post a comment below and tell us about it! Happy cooking and have a great Thanksgiving!