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Thanksgiving Recipes with a Twist

Sabrina Maxey, Staff Writer

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Everyone is familiar with the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The basic mashed potatoes, casseroles, and pumpkin pie. Here are some suggestions on what you can do to give a new twist on some classic Thanksgiving staples.

 

Texas Potatoes

The new and improved potatoes, as a change to the classic mashed potatoes this dish is a cheesy and crispy alternative.

2lbs hash browns

1⁄2 cup butter

2(10 3/4 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup

1 pint sour cream

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

3⁄4 cup onion, chopped

1 tablespoon butter

2 cups longhorn cheese, grated, firmly packed

11⁄2 cups corn flakes, crushed

4 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:

Saute onion in 1 tablespoon butter until translucent.

Mix all ingredients, except cornflakes and 4 tablespoons butter, together.

Put potato mixture into a 9×13 inch baking pan.

Combine cornflakes and butter, and sprinkle evenly over top of casserole.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes or until heated and bubbly.

 

Gooey Mac N’ Cheese

Nobody wants to be let down by the boxed mac n’ cheese this holiday season. Scratch-made is the way to go.

2 ½ cups uncooked macaroni (6 cups cooked)

1 cup broccoli florets

10 strips uncooked bacon, chopped

4 cups milk

3 bay leaves

¼ cup melted butter

¼ cup flour

3½ cups grated Cheddar cheese

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. salt

1 tsp pepper

1 cup crushed mustard pretzels

Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

To cook the noodles, bring a large pot of salted water to boil; add macaroni noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender but still firm, about 6 minutes.

Drain pasta and set aside.

To cook the broccoli, bring a second pot of water to boil; add broccoli and cook until tender but still firm, about 4 minutes.

Drain broccoli and rinse under cold water immediately.

To cook the bacon, heat a large pan over medium heat; add strips of bacon and cook, stirring often, until bacon reaches desired crispness.

To make the sauce for the macaroni and cheese, add milk and bay leaves to a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat for 20 minutes, to flavor the milk.

While milk steeps, mix together melted butter and flour in a small bowl.

Once milk has steeped, slowly whisk flour mixture into the milk.

Simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes, until sauce starts to thicken.

Stir in 2½ cups of the grated Cheddar cheese, lemon juice, salt, and pepper; mix well.

Once the cheese has melted completely, remove sauce from heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a large saucepan.

Stir in reserved cooked macaroni, bacon, and broccoli.

Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat for 2 minutes.

Pour the macaroni mixture into a greased casserole dish.

Sprinkle reserved 1 cup of Cheddar over top, followed by the crushed pretzels.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top is golden brown and the mixture is bubbling.

Remove from oven and serve.

 

Garlic Butter Mushrooms

Add in these delicious mushrooms for some extra flavor to any dish.

13 oz. flat mushrooms (8 pieces) or other mushrooms of choice

3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

1 large garlic clove, minced

Salt and pepper

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 lemon (optional)

Fresh thyme leaves or finely chopped parsley (high recommended)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 200C/390F (standard) or 180C/350F (fan / convection).

Place mushrooms cap side down in a medium baking dish (so they are kind of snug)

Mix butter and garlic in a small bowl.

Spoon 1 tsp of butter over each mushroom, then use the rest to brush the edges (or carefully drizzle over edges).

Drizzle over olive oil, sprinkle (generously) with salt and pepper.

Roast for 20 minutes (tender but still a slight firmness) or 25 minutes (tender). There should be some juices in the pan and plenty pooled in the mushrooms caps.

Squeeze over a bit of lemon juice if using, garnish with thyme and parsley.

Serve mushrooms, drizzled with pan juices (see notes for serving suggestions).

 

Corn Casserole

Try this spin on corn casserole, a cheesy contrast to the traditional casserole with cornbread. This scratch made dish is sure to be a hit.

2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

2 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour

2 cups Milk

8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, Softened

2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese

½ Tablespoons Garlic Salt

4 ears Corn, Kernels Removed

1 pound Thick Cut Ham, Cubed

1½ teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper

2 whole Banana Peppers, Seeds Removed, Chopped

1 head Garlic, Roasted, Mashed

1 whole Tomato, Diced

1 cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs

Directions:

Place a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add butter and let it melt until it begins to bubble. Toss in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon so the butter soaks up the flour. Continue to stir for a couple of minutes to cook the flour. Don’t let it get too dark, just a light golden, if any color at all. Add milk and continue stirring until sauce thickens. This is your standard bechamel sauce.

Once the sauce thickens, add cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and garlic salt. Lower heat, and stir until all the cheese is melted and smooth.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

To a large mixing bowl, add corn, cubed ham, black pepper, banana peppers, roasted garlic, and tomato. Mix to combine. Pour in the cheese sauce and continue to stir until everything is nice and coated.

Add mixture to your casserole dish, top with bread crumbs. Place into oven and cook for about 30 minutes, uncovered. The top should be nice and golden brown, and casserole itself should be a bit bubbly. Carefully remove, and get ready to dig in.

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

Cheesecake is one of the dishes that must be precise to have the perfect outcome. These bit sized treats are quick and easy, maybe even better than the classic.

For the pumpkin cheesecake:

1 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree

3 eggs

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

2 tbsp. heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

20 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp. cornstarch

11/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp salt

For the Crust:

1 box of vanilla wafers (Nilla wafers are strongly recommended)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, eggs, brown sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract.

Place cupcake papers inside the tin.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together cream cheese, granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt until light and fluffy. Gently pour in the pumpkin mixture and beat until well incorporated. Continue beating until no lumps remain.

Divide the batter evenly amongst the cupcake tin.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until the cheesecake starts to pull away from the sides.

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Thanksgiving Recipes with a Twist