Out of the Ordinary Thanksgiving Recipes to Try this Year

Image via Unsplash

It feels like just yesterday we were all quarantined at home in April and yet somehow—maybe to the delight of many of us—the end of 2020 is quickly approaching. Thanksgiving is a time to be with family, give thanks, and, of course, eat delicious food.

While everyone has a go-to recipe they make every holiday, why not switch it up a little and try something new this year?

If you’re tired of the typical pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes and gravy, VALLEY has seven unique recipes for you to spice up your Thanksgiving meal!

Fried Mashed Potato Balls
Photo from Delish.com
What You’ll Need
  • 3 cup leftover mashed potatoes
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
What You’ll Do
  • Combine mashed potatoes with cooked bacon, cheddar, chives, and garlic powder, and season with salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir until all ingredients are combined.
  • Place eggs and panko in separate shallow bowls. Use a small cookie scoop to scoop 1” to 2” balls of mashed potato mixture. Roll into a ball in your hands, then dredge first in egg and then in panko. Repeat until all mashed potatoes are used. 
  • Heat 3” of oil in a large cast-iron skillet until the candy thermometer reads 375°. Fry potato balls in batches until golden on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and season with more salt.
SourDough Stuffing with Apple, Sausage and Kale
Sourdough Stuffing with Apple, Sausage & Kale
Photo from RachelRayMag.com
What You’ll Need
  • 1 large loaf sourdough bread (about 1 pound), cut into 3/4-inch slices
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large red apple (such as Gala), cored and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 12 leaves Tuscan kale, stemmed and sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 eggs
What You’ll Do
  • Heat a grill pan over high. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the bread with 3 tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill 5 minutes per side. Tear into large pieces; place in a large bowl.
  • In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium-high, breaking up with a spoon, until browned, about 8 minutes; add to the bread. In the skillet, heat 1 tablespoon. oil over medium-high; add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the apple and rosemary. Cook, stirring often, until the apple softens, about 2 minutes. Add the kale; stir until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add to the bread; season.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk 2 cups stock and the eggs. Toss with the bread, adding more stock by the tablespoon if dry. Transfer to a 3-quart baking dish.
  • Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecan Topping
Photo from Jessicainthekitchen.com
What You’ll Need
Maple Pecan Topping:
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 8 tablespoons almond flour or any flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons melted vegan butter
  • 1 1/2 cup pecans coarsely chopped, or walnuts
Sweet Potato Casserole:
  • 3.3 pounds sweet potato peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons sugar any kind works, brown sugar, cane or coconut sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup vegan milk any kind works
  • 6 tablespoons oil any kind works such as olive oil or unrefined coconut oil
  • 6 tablespoons vegan butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
What You’ll Do
  • Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C and prepare an 8×11 or 9×13 casserole dish. Set aside.
  • In a 4 quart pot of boiling water, boil the sweet potatoes for 15-20 minutes, until fork soft.
  • When the sweet potato is finished boiling, drain and mash.
  • Add the sugar, maple syrup, vegan milk, oil, vegan butter, cinnamon and sea salt, on top of the mashed sweet potato. Using the same potato masher or fork, mix all the ingredients together until they are incorporated, for about 2 minutes of mashing. 
  • Spoon sweet potato mix into the casserole dish. 
  • Top with Maple Pecan Topping (below)
  • Bake for 30 minutes (check that nuts don’t burn – if they are browning too quickly, cover with foil) then remove from oven.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes
Maple Pecan Topping
  1. Add the maple syrup, flour, melted vegan butter, and pecans to a bowl. Stir it all together until combined. 
  2. Sprinkle it on top of the casserole. Feel free to double or even triple the topping.  
Turkey Sliders with Stuffing Biscuits
Photo from GoodHouseKeeping.com
What You’ll Need
  • 2 medium stalks celery, cut up
  • 1 medium carrot, cut up
  • 1 medium onion, cut up
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 5 large leaves sage, torn
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon. sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoon butter, cut up and cold
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 pound ground turkey (93% lean)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup cranberry preserves or sauce
What You’ll Do
  • In food processor, pulse celery, carrot, onion, thyme, and sage until finely chopped. In 12″ skillet, heat oil on medium. Add vegetable mixture and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; cook 15 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Transfer to medium bowl; cook completely.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray two 12-cup muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. In clean food processor bowl, pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt until blended. Add butter. Pulse until coarse crumbs form. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Stir in buttermilk, then one-third of cooked vegetable mixture until just blended. Divide among cups of prepared muffin pans (about 3 tablespoons each). Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer biscuits from pans to wire racks; let cool slightly.
  • Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine turkey, remaining cooked vegetable mixture, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until just combined. Form into 24 patties (2″ wide); place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until cooked through (165 degrees F).
  • When biscuits are cool enough to handle, slice in half. Add turkey patties and dollops of mayo and cranberry preserves.
Butternut Squash Steaks with Brown-Butter Sage Sauce
Photo from BonAppetit.com
What You’ll Need
  • 1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds.), preferably one with a long thick neck
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
What You’ll Do
  • Cut the neck off of squash; reserve base for another use. Trim the stem off the neck then peel. Resting neck on cut base, cut in half lengthwise, creating two lobes. Trim off the outer rounded side of each piece to create two ¾”-thick steaks (about 6 oz. per steak); reserve trimmed off sides for another use.
  • Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium. Cook squash steaks, turning every 3 minutes, until deeply browned on both sides and fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Add butter, sage, and garlic to skillet, tilt pan toward you so that butter pools on one side, and use a large spoon to continually baste steaks with butter. Cook, basting, until butter is no longer bubbling, smells nutty, and is beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer squash steaks to plates and spoon sauce over.
Apple Pie Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Chips
Photo from Frostingandasmile.com
What you’ll Need
For the Salsa
  • 4 medium Granny Smith apples, diced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream (optional)
For the Cinnamon Sugar Chips
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 5 flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
What You’ll Do
For the Salsa
  • In large sauté pan, combine apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cornstarch. Cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Serve warm. Top with whipped cream just before serving.
For the Cinnamon Sugar Chips
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.
  • Brush both sides of each tortilla with melted butter. Rub cinnamon-sugar mixture onto both sides of each tortilla. Cut tortillas into wedges. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 14-16 minutes until brown and crisp. Cool on wire rack.
Cranberry Ice cream
Photo from WonkyWonderful.com
What You’ll Need
Cranberry Puree
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 12 ounces Fresh Cranberries, cleaned & sorted
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
Ice Cream
  • 1½ Cups Heavy Cream
  • 1½ Cups Whole Milk
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1¼ Cups Cranberry Puree
What You’ll Do
  • Over medium heat – cook the water, salt and cranberries for 6-7 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Puree the cranberries and orange juice in a blender or food processor. (will make about 1¼ cups puree)
  • Refrigerate cranberry puree for several hours or until cold.
Ice Cream
  1. Place your desired ice cream container into the freezer. I use a loaf pan.
  2. Mix together the cream, milk, sugar and cranberry puree.
  3. Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Once the mixture is frozen and creamy, transfer to the cold ice cream container.
  5. Freeze for at least 4-6 hours.
  6. Thaw for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Which recipe are you going to make first? Take a picture and tag us on Instagram @VALLEYMag!



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