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Easy Recipes for Thanksgiving: Traditional and Out-of-the-Box Ideas



Are you hosting all or part of Thanksgiving this year and not sure what to serve? No matter if you’re cooking for a crowd or just a few friends, the pressure is on to deliver an appetizing array of menu items to please both traditionalists and foodies. Here are some traditional and out of the box recipe ideas from across the Internet to please and wow anyone that may find themselves at your table.

Turkey: The main course and the most pressure for the novice chef. Below is one traditional roasted bird and two unconventional ways to serve up the star of the show this week.

Traditional: Roasted turkey. AllRecipes has a simple take on how to get your turkey on the table with a minimal amount of fuss.

Out of the box: Ever had a deep fried turkey? This year might be the year to try one out. Paula Deen of the Food Network can always be counted on to clog your arteries with the tastiest and most unhealthy renditions of your favorite foods.

If you don’t have a large enough deep fryer on hand but want to wow your guests with a special kind of turkey this year, have you considered spatchcocking your bird? Bon Appetit Magazine contends it’s all the rage, and cuts your cooking time in half. They even made a handy instructional video.

Mashed potatoes:

Traditional: You can’t get more traditional, easy or tasty than this Tyler Florence recipe. If you, like me, keep Kosher, a good non-dairy alternative to the heavy cream would be some almond milk or broth.

Out of the box: Do you have someone at the table keeping a paleo diet or simply watching their weight? This recipe for cauliflower “mashed potatoes” will be their new best friend. In my family we reduce the number of potatoes that a traditional recipe calls for and substitute some cauliflower, which is basically a hybrid of the two recipes I’ve provided here.


Cranberry sauce:

Traditional: You can’t get easier or more traditional than a simple can of cranberry sauce. Ocean Spray makes a popular one. If you want to make your own, Betty Crocker has you covered.

Out of the box: Food and Wine has a delicious and indulgent take on the traditional recipe, adding port and orange juice to enhance the flavor of the cranberry significantly.


Green beans: 

Traditional: Nothing says Thanksgiving like a green bean casserole. This traditional take on the recipe comes from a local Michigan television outlet and is sure to be a hit at any table.

Out of the box: Almonds. Bacon. Balsamic vinegar. Shallots. This Southern Living recipe for green beans is a party in your mouth.



Traditional: And last, but never least – pumpkin pie. Martha Stewart has the best recipe I’ve ever tried.

Out of the box: Food and Wine has a whole slideshow of potential pumpkin recipes to choose from that are positively mouthwatering. It’s impossible to choose just one to highlight here.


Bon appétit!