Occasions 365

Thanksgiving Recipes

Plan a Thanksgiving dinner feast

For many, Thanksgiving provides a chance to show off their cooking skills — after all, it is a holiday centered around food. But for others, planning and creating a Thanksgiving meal is a source of anxiety. What to serve? And how to serve it? For those in the latter category, there are a number of traditional and not-so-traditional holiday recipes available online to help.

Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving dinner is a time to stick with traditional family favorites; after all, these foods solicit happy family memories and make us appreciate our loved ones. Turkey is, of course, the traditional main meal, along with gravy, stuffing, potatoes, corn and squash, followed by some pumpkin pie for dessert. With these staple dishes on your Thanksgiving table, your sure to hear a bit of thanks yourself!

Subtle Variations

Don't be afraid to mix a few new dishes in with the turkey and dressing. Alongside the standard corn or squash, why not feature a new kind of vegetable, such as leeks or kale? Or, get creative with the standards — try new pumpkin recipes that put the orange favorite at the center of the meal, such as pumpkin soup or pasta with sausage and a pumpkin sauce. If you prefer to keep pumpkin as a dessert, why not try a pumpkin cheesecake instead of the traditional pie?

You can also simply change the way you prepare the food. This year, try scalloped potatoes instead of mashed, or deep fry your turkey instead of roasting it in the oven. (As an added bonus, deep fried turkey tends to be crispier and more flavorful than oven-roasted.)

Scour food websites or watch television cook shows for fresh ideas, or purchase a holiday-themed cookbook. Ask friends, neighbors and co-workers to participate in a recipe swap; someone else's treasured scalloped corn or baked squash might become your family's new favorite!

Brand-New Bites

Sick of the same old turkey recipes and looking for a not-so-subtle variation on tradition? Try a turducken, a massive piece of meat created by stuffing a partially de-boned chicken into a partially de-boned duck, which is then stuffed inside a turkey. This impressive main dish will keep your family talking for years to come.

Who says Thanksgiving is just for turkeys? If you're sick of poultry, opt for something completely nontraditional, like prime rib. You could even go with something really exotic, like wild boar. Some families celebrate with lobsters, while others gather around lasagna or a pasta buffet. There is no "correct" Thanksgiving meal, so just make it a meal your family will love and focus on your time together.

Decadent Desserts

If you aren't keen on trying new recipes for your dinner dishes, shake up your routine by making dessert the main course! Have dessert first this year, and make it count; spend just as much time (or more) on your dessert as you do on the turkey. Or, ask your guests to bring their favorite desserts and make your Thanksgiving dinner an "all-you-can-eat" dessert buffet.

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