How To, Lifestyle

Thanksgiving Recipes with a Twist

Who says you can’t add jalapeno to your cranberry sauce or brie cheese to your sweet potatoes? This Thanksgiving, “wow” your family and friends with this unique take on the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Opt for just one of these delicious recipes or create them all – you won’t be sorry.

Smoked Turkey
Wood chips (hickory, apple or pecan wood)
1 fresh whole turkey (15-17 pounds)
Canola oil, for brushing
1 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar


  1. Soak your wood chips in water for at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours. Remove your turkey from the refrigerator and allow to sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking.
  2. Prepare your charcoal grill or smoker to reach approximately 275 degrees F. Sprinkle in the wood chips, allowing them to char. Place the turkey in a roasting pan with a rack and brush the turkey with plenty of oil, as well as salt and pepper to taste. Place the turkey in the smoker or grill for 45 minutes.
  3. Mix together the chicken stock, honey and apple cider vinegar and baste the turkey with the mixture after it has cooked for those 45 minutes. Repeat the basting every 45 minutes until the internal temperature of the turkey thigh reaches 165 degrees and the breast reaches 155 degrees, about 3.5 or 4.5 hours.
  4. Remove the turkey and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving. Enjoy!

Pear, Prosciutto and Hazelnut Stuffing
3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz prosciutto, thinly sliced into ribbons
2 cups onion, chopped
2 cups fennel bulbs, diced
¼ cup shallot, minced
2 tsp fresh sage, minced
2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
8 cups baguette, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 medium pears, chopped
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
14 oz chicken broth
¼ teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the prosciutto. Cook until crispy, about 5 minutes, then drain on a paper towel.
  3. Wipe out the pan and then heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil. Add the onion, fennel and shallot. Cook, constantly stirring, until softened and a little brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Add the sage, thyme and rosemary and continue to cook for 1 minute more. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and then stir in the bread, pears, parsley, hazelnuts and the prosciutto.
  5. Add the chicken broth and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then spoon the stuffing into the prepared baking dish.
  6. Cover the dish foil and bake for 40 minutes. Next, remove the foil and bake again until the top begins to crisp, about 25 or 30 minutes more. Voila!

Jalapeno Cran-Raspberry Sauce
12 oz fresh cranberries
12 oz frozen raspberries
1 medium jalapeno
2 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1 cup sugar
2 cups water


  1. Add the sugar and water to a large pot. Turn the heat to medium, allowing the sugar to dissolve. Rinse the cranberries and remove any stems. Add the cranberries and the frozen raspberries to the sugar water.
  2. Increase the heat to high, cover with a lid and allow the mixture to boil. Once the mixture is fully boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and allow all of the cranberries to pop.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the jalapeno open and remove the seeds. Mince the jalapeno and add it to the pot, along with the cinnamon and cloves. Stir and allow to simmer without a lid.
  4. Allow the sauce to simmer for 30-45 minutes, until reduced thickened. If you want more heat, add some of the jalapeno seeds. And if it’s too sweet, add some lemon juice for tartness.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions, Brie and Sage
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced thinly
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp granulated white sugar
1 tbsp salted butter
½ cup brie, without rind and cut into chunks
¼ to ½ cup nonfat milk
1 tbsp fresh sage, julienned
Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Place the potatoes into a large pot with boiling water. Boil for 25 to 35 minutes, or until soft throughout. Move the potatoes to a large bowl.
  2. Prepare the caramelized onions by heating the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often until browned and caramelized. Add the sugar in the final stages of cooking. Turn down the heat as necessary.
  3. Mash the hot potatoes with a potato masher until there are no visible lumps. Add the butter and brie until melted and incorporated. Stir in ¼ cup milk, and adding more if the mixture is too thick.
  4. Mix in the caramelized onions and sage. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Green Bean Bundles with Brown Sugar and Bacon
8 thick bacon slices
6 tbsp of unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ tsp salt
¾ tsp garlic powder
1 ½ green beans, trimmed and blanched
¼ cup of light brown sugar, firmly packed


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook the bacon in batches until the slices are beginning to brown along the edges, still underdone and pliable (4 to 6 minutes).
  2. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool, then slice each slice in half crosswise.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, salt and garlic powder. Divide the green beans into 16 portions of around 6 beans each. Wrap each bunch with a half slice of bacon around the center.
  4. Place the bundles on the prepared baking sheet with the loose ends of the bacon underneath. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the bundles, then drizzle with the butter mixture.
  5. Bake until the bacon is cooked through and browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. After baking, let stand for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately!

Twice Baked Potatoes
2-3 tbsp olive oil
4 large russet potatoes, washed
1 cup sour cream
4 tbsp butter, softened
½ cup milk (or half and half)
2 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
¼ cup finely chopped green onion or chives
Additional salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Cut the potatoes in half length-wise and place the potatoes face down on the baking sheet. Rub all sides of the potatoes with the olive oil and salt from the sheet. Sprinkle with additional salt.
  3. Bake the potatoes for about 30 minutes, until done. Remove from oven, set aside and allow to cool. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Add the sour cream, butter, milk, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cheese, crumbled bacon and green onion to a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
  5. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, carefully scoop out the insides of the potatoes, leaving the skins intact and adding the potatoes into the mixing bowl.
  6. Mix the contents of the bowl until fully incorporated. Salt and pepper the mixture to taste, then fill the empty potato skins with the mixture.
  7. Return the filled potatoes to the 350 degree oven for 20 more minutes. Enjoy!

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup melted butter
½ cup milk
2 tbsp butter
½ tsp garlic powder
Pinch of parsley


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all the ingredients except for the topping ingredients.
  2. Form the mixture into balls and then place them onto a greased cookie sheet, should make about 12 biscuits.
  3. Bake the biscuits for 18-20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Add the garlic powder and parsley to the melted butter.
  4. Brush the mixture onto the biscuits after they are done baking. Serve warm!

Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes
2 cups vanilla ice cream
1 cup milk
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ cup graham cracker crumbs, plus additional for garnish
Whipped cream


  1. In a blender, combine the ice cream, milk, pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice. Blend until smooth.
  2. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs with a spatula. Pour into glasses and garnish with whipped cream and the additional graham cracker crumbs.


We hope you and your guests enjoy these unique Thanksgiving recipes. Let us know in the comments below if you try any of the recipes. Happy Thanksgiving!


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