Switch up your Thanksgiving menu with these twists on popular Turkey Day dishes

Photo by Sarah Ward Weddings

Ahhhh, can you smell that? The turkey is roasting, cranberry sauce is simmering and a pumpkin pie is baking. We can almost taste the Thanksgiving staples. Classics are classic for a reason, right? But everything can use an upgrade now and again, so why not reinvent the classics this season?

We’ve looked into seasons past to wrangle up some twists on Thanksgiving dishes, including a Citrus Herb Butter Turkey courtesy of Leigh Ann Chatagnier’s tangy recipe, Greek-yogurt-drizzled carrots from Lisa Boudreaux-LeCoq of The Gilded Artichoke, and leftover-approved Three-Cheese Pesto Paninis from Aimee Broussard. Her cast iron green beans and mason jar pumpkin cheesecake trifles also make for as a savory and sweet holiday addition, respectively. As for more recent recipes, a quick batch of Broussard’s cornish hens and sweet potatoes might be just the thing for a small holiday dinner without the crowds.

Try them out and let us know how they go! Happy cooking!


Photo by Leigh Ann Chatagnier

CITRUS HERB BUTTER TURKEY

Ingredients
1 bone-in turkey breast
2 to 3 turkey legs
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 peeled and smashed garlic cloves
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. rosemary
1 Tbsp. sage
1 Tbsp. thyme
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp. salt, plus extra for seasoning turkey meat
1 Tsp. black pepper, plus extra for seasoning turkey meat
1 Tbsp. honey
Let turkey pieces come to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Pat dry with a paper towel and season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides of the turkey. (Don’t be shy here, the turkey needs good seasoning!)
Preheat grill to 425 degrees. Place turkey pieces skin side down on the grill. Let them cook over direct heat for 5 minutes per side and then transfer to indirect heat. This can be on a top rack of your grill or on a side burner that isn’t on. Close the lid, keeping the temperature at about 400 degrees, and let turkey continue to cook for 45 minutes until it is almost cooked through. Flip twice during cook time.
While turkey cooks, melt butter, oil, garlic, herbs, citrus, honey, salt and pepper until the butter is fragrant. Turn off heat. The last 5 minutes of cooking, brush each side of turkey pieces with herbed citrus butter to infuse into meat.
When internal temperature of turkey pieces reaches 165 degrees, remove from grill. Let turkey rest for 10 minutes before serving. Slice turkey breast off of bone and place on a platter with turkey legs. Serve with extra infused butter on the side!

Photo by Sarah Ward Weddings

BRAISED HEIRLOOM CARROTS WITH HONEY, GREEK YOGURT AND FETA

Ingredients
16 oz. carrots, whole or sliced in half lengthwise (I used Trader Joe’s Les Petites)
1 to 2oz. olive oil
Dash of each: granulated garlic, salt, cracked peppercorn
1 cup Greek yogurt2 Tbsp. honey
For garnish (optional): Crumbled feta cheese, candied walnuts, cane syrup and thyme sprigs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place carrots on a sheet pan. Toss carrots with oil and seasoning until coated. Roast in oven for 30 minutes or until desired tenderness. Time may vary based on thickness of carrots.
For topping, mix Greek yogurt and honey until combined. Garnish with crumbled feta cheese, candied walnuts, a drizzle of cane syrup, and thyme sprigs if desired.
Makes 4 servings.

CORNISH HENS & SWEET POTATOES FOR TWO

Photo by Aimee Broussard
Ingredients
2 Cornish hens, small enough to fit into a 7-quart Dutch oven (about 4 oz.)
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. thyme
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
Pinch salt
1 lemon, sliced
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed or sliced into wedges 
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 7-quart Dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. 
Remove hens from packaging, and lightly pat dry with paper towels. 
In a small bowl, combine spices. Season cavities of each hen with half of spice mixture and insert a lemon slice and 1 sprig rosemary. Tie back legs together with twine to keep everything secure. 
Brush hens with melted butter (reserving unused butter), and season generously with remaining spice mixture. Place in a Dutch oven (or cast-iron skillet or roasting pan). 
Toss sweet potatoes with remaining butter and season with salt; surround hens with sweet potatoes. Add remaining rosemary and 2 slices lemon on top of potatoes. 
Place hens on middle rack of oven and roast, uncovered, for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until skin is bronzed and temperature reaches 180 degrees on a meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh. Serve immediately. Sweet potatoes can be garnished with additional chopped rosemary if desired. 
Makes 2 servings.

Photo by Aimee Broussard

THREE-CHEESE PESTO PANINIS

Ingredients
8 slices bacon, cut in half
Brioche bread, cut into 8 slices
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
4 tsp. basil pesto
4 slices mozzarella cheese
4 slices Asiago cheese
4 slices Colby/Monterey Jack blend cheese
1 cup cooked turkey, cut into pieces
Fresh basil (optional)
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bacon, turning occasionally, until crisp. Transfer to a plate covered with a paper towel, and drain.
Assemble sandwiches: butter outside of each Brioche slice and place bottom half on a cutting board or work surface. Spread inner, cut sides with basil pesto. Top 4 bread slices with ½ slice each of mozzarella, Asiago and Colby/Monterey Jack cheese slices, 2 slices bacon, ¼ cup turkey, and a bit of fresh basil, if desired. Place remaining 4 bread slices, buttered side up, on top.
Preheat panini maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Depending on the size of your maker, place 1 or 2 Brioche sandwiches on hot surface and close lid to slightly flatten. Cook until paninis are toasted and cheese has melted, about 4 to 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest for a bit before cutting in half. Serve warm.
Makes 4 sandwiches.

CAST IRON CREOLE GREEN BEANS

Photo by Aimee Broussard
Ingredients
5 strips bacon, cut into pieces
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 (14½-oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 (14½-oz.) cans cut green beans, drained
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup mayonnaise
½ tsp. salt
Dash black pepper
Dash cayenne pepper
1 (4-oz.) can sliced mushrooms
½ cup breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook bacon, bell pepper and onion in a cast iron skillet for 5 to 8 minutes. Drain.
Add tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in beans, Worcestershire, mayonnaise and seasonings; blend thoroughly. Add mushrooms.
In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs with melted butter. Sprinkle on top of bean mixture and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Turn oven to medium-heat broil and allow crumb crust to get golden brown. Keep a watchful eye, though, so topping doesn’t burn. Serve warm from skillet.
Makes 6-8 servings.

 


Photo by Aimee Broussard

MASON JAR PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE TRIFLES

Ingredients
About 12 to 14 Biscoff cookies, crushed
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup plus 1 to 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1½ tsp. vanilla extract, divided
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice creamer
1 to 2 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, combine cookie crumbs and butter. Divide crumbs in the bottoms of 4 Mason jars, and gently press to form an even layer of crust.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, prepare whipped topping by combining heavy cream with 1 to 2 Tbsp. sugar and ½ tsp. vanilla; beat until mixture forms stiff peaks. Set aside.
In another large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin, 1 tsp. vanilla, ½ cup sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, then add pumpkin pie spice creamer. Beat until well combined. Use a spatula to fold in half of whipped topping.
To assemble, spoon a layer of pumpkin cheesecake onto crust, followed by a layer of whipped topping. It’s easiest to control if you put each mixture into a piping bag (or zip-top plastic bag). Repeat layers until you reach the top. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Garnish with additional whipped topping and cookie crumbs.
Makes 4 servings.

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