Nontraditional Turkey Day Treats

Try a new spin on some old favorites

Thanksgiving is all about gathering together and enjoying a meal with loved ones, be they friends, family, or chosen family. And while there are some tried-and-true menu items every group always HAS to have... nothing says the menu has to stay the same every year. Maybe you are tired of the traditional turkey-cranberries-pumpkin pie menu. Maybe you’ve been tasked with hosting and just don't have the time or space to roast a big bird. Or, perhaps you just want to put your unique stamp on the holidays and start some all-new family traditions of your own.

Whether you want to try a whole new menu or just swap in a side or two, check out these seven fun (and sometimes funky--trust us on the nachos, though...they are delicious) twists-on-the-traditional recipes for your Thanksgiving table this year.


Champagne Margaritas

Forget morning mimosas or happy hour pints. Kick off your celebration right and try this festive and effervescent cocktail--it's perfect for day OR night!

• 1 lime, quartered
• 1/3 cup coarse salt
• ice
• 8 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice
• 4 ounces homemade simple syrup* or store-bought agave syrup
• 3 ounces orange liqueur
• 1 750 ml bottle Champagne, chilled

1. Rub a lime wedge over the edge of four glasses and then dip each in salt to evenly coat the rim. Fill the glasses with ice and set aside.

2. In a pitcher, combine the lime juice, simple syrup, and orange liqueur and mix until well-incorporated. Divide among the prepared glasses and top off each with champagne. Serve with lime wedges as garnish. Enjoy!

*To make simple syrup, combine 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a small saucepan and set over moderate heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Transfer to a heat-proof measuring cup and allow to cool completely.

Adapted from The Candid Apetite


Bloody Mary Deviled Eggs

When appetizers meet happy hour...the result is delicious. A guaranteed crowd-pleaser, this version is virgin, however you can add a splash of vodka to the mix if you like a little extra kick.

• One dozen large eggs  
• 1/4 cup mayonnaise 
• 1 Tablespoon tomato paste 
• 1 Tablespoon horseradish 
• Juice of half a lemon 
• 2 tsp. hot sauce 
• 1 tsp. celery seed 
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper 
• 2 Tablespoons old bay seasoning 
• Pickle slices or mini pickles for garnish  
• Celery leaves for garnish

1. Place eggs in a large pot and cover with about an inch of water. Place pot on stove and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and cover with lid. Let sit for 11 minutes.  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove eggs from pan and place in a bowl of ice water.

3. When cool enough to handle, peel eggs, then cut eggs in half. Scoop yolks out and place in a medium bowl. 

4. Add mayonnaise, tomato paste, horseradish, lemon juice, hot sauce, and celery seed to the bowl of yolks and mix until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a piping bag (you may also use a plastic baggie with the corner snipped if you do not have a piping bag). 

5. Place old bay seasoning on a small plate and press cut side of eggs into seasoning. Place eggs on a plate and pipe filling onto each egg. Garnish with a pickle slice and celery leaves.

Adapted from Delish



Prosecco Citrus Salad

Light, bright, and refreshing this salad is like sunshine on your plate--an especially nice bonus in these dark and dreary days of November.

• 1 large pink or ruby grapefruit
• 1 large white grapefruit
• 4 blood oranges
• 4 navel oranges
• 2 Cara Cara oranges
• 2 Meyer lemons
• Sugar for sprinkling
• Blanched almonds and/or pomegranate seeds for garnish
• Prosecco  

1. With a serrated knife, peel all the fruit, removing both skin and pith.

2. Slice all the fruit crosswise about 1/4 inch thick. Arrange slices in shallow bowls, making sure each serving has all colors. Sprinkle pomengranate seeds or blanched almonds to garnish.
3. Sprinkle lightly with sugar.
4. At the table, drizzle about 2 Tablespoons of prosecco over each bowl.

Adapted from New York Times Cooking



Cranberry-Glazed Turkey Meatballs

For all of you who say it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving if we didn't have turkey...this one's for you. 

For the meatballs
• 1 1/4 lbs ground turkey, 90% lean
• 1/4 cup bread crumbs, plain
• 1/4 cup ricotta
• 1 egg, large
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 2 Tablespoons sage, chiffonade
• 2+Tablespoons vegetable oil
For the glaze 
• 1 cup water
• 1 cup sugar
• 12 ounces cranberries, fresh if available
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. zest (orange or tangerine)
• 2 Tablespoons ginger, minced and pressed
• 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
• 1/4 tsp. cayenne

1. Preheat oven to 325F

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine meatball ingredients. Mix gently with a fork.

3. Form meat mixture into 3/4″ balls and place on tray. (Hint: try scooping with a melon baller and then rolling into sphere)

4. Heat vegetable oil in large skillet to medium. Gently add turkey meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd. Carefully turn meatballs to evenly brown on all sides. Place browned meatballs on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

5. Meanwhile, combine the water, sugar, cranberries, salt, zest, ginger, and apple cider vinegar in a medium pot.

6. Simmer on medium heat for approximately 10-15 minutes until berries have all split open. Remove from hear, and stir in cayenne and adjust seasoning to taste. 

7. Transfer mixture to a strainer over a large saute pan. Press remaining juice thru with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Be sure to scrape the outside of the strainer to include the fine pulp.

8. Heat glaze on medium heat; allow to reduce and thicken (it should be the consistency of thick syrup). Add the meatballs to the glaze, heating through. Stir/spoon glaze over the top, as needed.

9. Transfer to a warm bowl or crockpot and serve!

Adapted from Brave Apron



Brussels, Berries, and Brie Skillet Nachos

Go with us, here. It sounds unusual, but when you put them all together, you get a creamy, melty, rich platter of sweet-salty goodness. It's the ultimate collection of seasonal flavors. Want to kick it up a notch? It's also delicious when topped with some of that Thanksgiving turkey--it's the complete meal, in one happy skillet!

For sweet potatoes and sprouts:
• Nonstick spray, as needed
• 1 red onion, diced
• 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
• 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
• 1 tsp. garlic powder
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 cups shredded brussels sprouts

 For the nachos:
• Tortilla chips, as needed
• ¾ cup prepared cranberry sauce
• 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
• 8 ounces Brie cheese, thinly sliced
• Freshly ground black pepper
• Fresh parsley, for serving


1. Prepare the sprouts and sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

2. Spread the onion and sweet potatoes on the baking sheet and drizzle evenly with the olive oil. Toss with the rosemary and garlic powder; season with salt and pepper.

3. Roast until the sweet potatoes are tender and beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the shredded brussels sprouts to the baking sheet and toss well to combine. Return the baking sheet to the oven until the veggies are golden brown all over, 7 to 10 more minutes.

4. Make the nachos: Arrange the tortilla chips in an even layer in a large skillet. Dollop three-quarters of the cranberry sauce all over the chips. Top with three-quarters of the vegetables. Arrange the white cheddar and Brie in an even layer on top and then finish with a layer of the remaining cranberry sauce and vegetable mixture.

5. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the cheeses are very melted, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and serve immediately, garnished with freshly ground black pepper and parsley.

 Adapted from Pure Wow 


Dreamy Pecan Cheesecake

The name pretty much says it all. Gorgeous to look at; even better to taste. Try this alternative to pumpkin or pecan pies this Thanksgiving!

• 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
• ½ cup white sugar
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
• ½ cup butter, melted
• 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
• 1¼ cups white sugar
• 3 eggs, room temperature
• ½ tsp. vanilla extract
• ½ cup pecan liqueur
• 1 cup sour cream
• ¼ cup confectioners' sugar
• 1 tsp. pecan liqueur
• 1 cup ground pecans
• ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
• 1½ Tablespoons white sugar
• ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
• ¾ cup pecan halves

1. Combine 2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and melted butter or margarine. Press firmly into the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan.

2. In a large bowl, blend the cream cheese and 1 1/4 cup white sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well. Add vanilla extract. Add 1/2 cup liqueur, and blend for 5 minutes. Pour the filling on top of the crust

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake for approximately 1 hour. The cake should be golden brown, and will have risen to the top of the pan. Turn off the heat, and let cool in the oven for 2 1/2 hours. When cool, remove the rim of the springform pan.

4. In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, confectioners' sugar, and 1 tsp. liqueur together. Spoon onto the top of the cooled cheesecake.

5. In a small bowl, combine the finely ground pecans, finely ground graham cracker crumbs, 1 1/2 Tablespoons white sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle the pecan topping on the cheesecake. Carefully press the pecan topping into the sides of the cheesecake. Garnish the top and sides with pecan halves.


Adapted from All Recipes


Pumpkin Spice Latte

Is it a dessert or is it a drink? Is it both? Who cares when it is delicious! You can't have fall and the holidays without a little pumkin spice, after all, right?

• 2 Tablespoon pumpkin puree
• 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
• 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
• 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, plus more for serving
• 1 cup whole milk
• 2 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1/4 cup hot espresso or strongly brewed coffee
• Whipped cream, for serving

1. In a small saucepan, combine the pumpkin puree, brown and granulated sugars, pumpkin pie spice and 1 Tablespoon of water. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula, 2-3 minutes until the mixture looks smooth and the sugar has dissolved.

2. Add the milk and vanilla to the pot and whisk until very smooth. Cook 2-3 minutes until just simmering. Remove from the heat. Whisk vigorously or let cool slightly, transfer to a mason jar, cover and shake vigorously to create a foamy milk. 

3. Add the coffee to a mug and immediately top with the foamy pumpkin spice milk. Top with whipped cream and an additional sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, if desired.


Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman

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