If you’re into food—and who isn’t?—then Thanksgiving is the Super Bowl of American holidays. So many nostalgic flavors and smells and memories! It’s definitely my favorite of the holidays. I mean, you still have to put up with your nutty family, and yes, it is an election year, which seems to make everything even more…exciting. But still, the food is amazing! Plus…football! Here are some of the best spins on Thanksgiving favorites. Gobble! Gobble!
You can go a lot of different ways here. Of course, you can just season up your bird and throw her in the oven for a few hours. Sure, classic. Or you can get a tad more adventurous and deep-fry her. Crispy, yes, but sometimes dry. And my favorite is the smoker! She probably won’t fit in your electric smoker, so you’ll have to drag your big, industrial smoker out of the garage for this one. But—perfection. Totally worth the effort.
Mashed potatoes are most conventional here. And you can load them with butter, sour cream, garlic, and salt and make them incredible. Then there’s the potato casserole, which, if you bake it just right, has that nice toasty crunch on top. And then there are potatoes au gratin—throw in cheese, onions, and butter and you’ll change those sliced potatoes forever. Until they end up in your belly, anyway.
Let’s pause for a moment and agree that Thanksgiving isn’t really about nutrition. Or your diet. Or Whole 30, or keto, or paleo, or whatever the diet trend is this week. It’s about thanking God. And we do that best by gorging on food for an entire day. And sometimes the next day. Having said that, let’s get to sweet potatoes. You need butter. You need brown sugar and cinnamon. Sometimes you can even take it a step further and load on some marshmallows. I’ve even been known to toss in some maple syrup and vanilla Greek yogurt in mine. Toasted hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecans are also crunch and delicious. So many options you might have to serve two(!) or more sweet potato dishes!
Let’s be honest, regular broccoli is no one’s favorite. But when you dress it up for Thanksgiving—like, fully load it up with cheese, butter, cream, Dijon mustard, maybe some fried onions or crispy crackers on top, you’re bordering on culinary perfection. It’s a great way to truly thank God for this nutritious, flowery green stalk.
Controversial, I know. More polarizing that politics, people either love ‘em or hate ‘em. But I’m here to tell you that with the right ingredients, everyone can love Brussels sprouts. First, you have to get them crispy, and that takes time and substantial oven space—which you’ll have plenty of if you throw your turkey in the smoker like we talked about! After that, you can go one of two ways. I like to toss mine with balsamic, goat cheese, chopped walnuts, and dried cranberries. Life-changing. Another popular route is bacon and shallots, topped with some panko breadcrumbs and roasted or broiled in the oven for a few minutes.
I’m going to skip this one because I don’t really like cranberry sauce. If you do and are looking for a good recipe, find a different blog. Maybe you shouldn’t be trusting a staffing company for your holiday meal planning. I also skipped over the green bean casserole and the corn pudding—not because I don’t love them both, but because I have a word count limit here and I need to save some space for the most important dish of them all: dessert.
Okay, it’s time. Let’s stay conventional here. There are three acceptable Thanksgiving pies: apple, pumpkin, and pecan. Everyone has some crazy aunt who tries to mess with the apple and mix in cranberries or pears, so let’s un-invite her. After that, there are no limits to dessert, as long as they are homemade. Let me be clear: HOLIDAY DESSERTS SHOULD NOT BE PURCHASED FROM COSTCO OR ANY OTHER STORE. Chocolate cake? Sure. Pumpkin roll? Go for it. Cute little cinnamon-sugar cookies with those little candy corn pumpkins on top that the kids love? Knock yourself out. Even the plain old chocolate chip cookie is absolutely acceptable as long as you make it yourself or delegate it to someone who will.
For tips on staffing or getting hired, check out our website at https://www.chiefofstaffkc.com. For advice on holiday traditions, Thanksgiving cocktails, contentious family dynamics, or post-holiday weight loss, find a different blog. Happy Thanksgiving!
Blog written by Erin Greenhalgh