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12 Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes for Different Seasons of Life

Ahhh, the aroma of slow-roasting turkey, the clang of pots and pans amid lively kitchen chatter, the football game droning from the family room. Flour-powdered, grease-splattered aprons. And kids . . . so many kids, in and out of the backyard, begging to lick the beaters, vying for the wishbone, pleading for one morsel of pre-feast sustenance, lest their plump bodies waste away.

That sweet memory is my idea of a delicious Thanksgiving. Your traditions may be different. Undoubtedly, your food favorites are too. But change happens. Kids grow up. Dietary needs change. Aprons go out of style. Anything containing raw eggs can’t be licked off beaters anymore. Grocery prices skyrocket. And football . . . ugh, Dallas Cowboys, why? But as my quiet and gentle Mamaw always used to say, “Those who can’t change their minds can’t never change nothing.”

Okay, two disclaimers. First, no one would characterize my die-hard Southern grandma as “quiet” or “gentle.” Mamaw was as tough and raw as overworked bread dough. And we loved her for it. Second, I later learned that Mamaw’s wise advice about change was a George Bernard Shaw quote, minus the double negative and Southern flair. Go figure. Regardless of who said what, the wisdom of the quote remains the same. Change is good. And that’s true in the case of our food choices, too. Here are 12 non-traditional Thanksgiving recipes that will help you celebrate deliciously, even when the seasons in your life change.

Photo Credit: © Getty/Drazen Zigic

3 Thanksgiving Recipes that Don’t Have to Feed an Army

3 Thanksgiving Recipes that Don’t Have to Feed an Army

I love a house full of Thanksgiving guests who overflow from my dinner table to the breakfast nook, card tables, bar stools, and TV trays. But there’s still a lot to be thankful for when I am seated at a small table with a few loved ones during the holidays. Hallelujah, for fewer dishes to wash! Not to mention, I can usually prepare higher quality foods when I’m not trying to plop a dollop of everything onto a kajillion mismatched plates. Trust me, a Jutterball turkey may cost less and go further, but you get what you pay for. Here are three superb recipes geared to feed a smaller crowd. 

Buttermilk-Brined Turkey Breast

If you’ve ever had to yank the innards from a turkey before cooking your bird, you’ll appreciate the simplicity of this recipe and the juicy, mouthwatering results. This moist, tender turkey breast is the perfect size for a smaller crowd and will still leave you with leftovers to enjoy.  

Click here for the recipe. 

Small Batch Dinner Rolls

Store-bought dinner rolls for a huge crowd make sense. Otherwise, you’d be kneading and rising for days. But for an intimate gathering, providing each guest with a piece of bread that could make the angels sing is fun. That’s where this recipe comes in. I love that these yeasty, golden rolls finish rising overnight in the refrigerator. That frees up Thanksgiving morning to enjoy a cup of coffee while I sing praises to the Lord—along with the angels.

Click here for the recipe.

Cinnamon Roll Sweet Potato Pie

This pie has all the delectable flavors of the season packed into one flaky eight-inch crust. The creamy, spicy, doughy goodness will leave you thankful that you don’t have to divide the pie into one-inch bites to share or hide it in the microwave to hoard.

Click here for the recipe.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Iamthatiam

3 Thanksgiving Recipes that will Make your Budget Give Thanks

3 Thanksgiving Recipes that will Make your Budget Give Thanks

I’m just going to say it. Today’s grocery prices are ridiculous. Ridiculous! Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll say something else. No matter how much money we’re forced to shell out for eggs, we in the Western part of the world are extremely blessed food-wise compared to the global community, where 828 million people go hungry every day. That sobering thought is something to be prayerful and shareful about, especially during Thanksgiving. Here are three scrumptious recipes, with some ingredient swaps and hacks, that will also help your budget give thanks.

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Thyme, and Rosemary

Why did the turkey cross the road? Because it was the chicken’s day off. Badumdum. Well, the chicken’s not getting any PTO today, my friend. These juicy chicken thighs will give old Tom a run for his money any day. But dressed in the turkey’s traditional herbs and trimmings, at about a third of the price per pound, your taste buds and wallet will wonder why you ever gobbled anything else at Thanksgiving.

Click here for the recipe.

Apple Walnut Stuffing

In the great debate between cornbread dressing and clumpy stuffing made with stale bread, I bet you can guess where my loyalties fall. Born and raised in the South, my taste buds are stubborn about this issue. However, my wonderful husband was raised by Northerners. I love my in-laws. I also delight in accommodating their taste buds during the holidays. This recipe is a delicious compromise between the camps. The apples and walnuts make this dish different enough that I don’t feel like I’m cheating on my beloved cornbread dressing. Plus, this budget-friendly version of the recipe helps cut costs without cutting flavor.

Click here for the recipe.

Cake Mix Cookies

When your pocketbook needs a break, but you still want to wrap up your Thanksgiving dinner with a touch of sweetness, cookies are your savior. These cake-mix cookies are versatile, tasty, and go a long way to bring a smile to the faces of those you love.

Click here for the recipe.

Photo Credit: © Getty/SARINYAPINNGAM

3 Thanksgiving Recipes for When You Want to Get Fancy

3 Thanksgiving Recipes for When You Want to Get Fancy

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve watched a cooking show or two in your lifetime. And why not? As far as Reality TV goes, they seem to be a lesser evil. Well, most of the time. If cooking shows have stirred up a hunger in you to put your culinary chops to the test this Thanksgiving, look no further. For the armchair executive chefs, here are three dishes that my Mamaw would call “fancy.” 

Cranberry-and-Citrus Chutney with Fennel Pollen

If you’re craving something more upscale than a cylindrical blob of can-dimpled cranberry gel to accent your Thanksgiving feast, this recipe is awesome. Inspired by her grandfather’s raspberry-studded Jell-O salad, Top Chef winner Kristen Kish describes the sauce as “a glossy chutney peppered with candied orange peel and spiced with fennel pollen . . . a perfect counterpoint to a holiday roast or Thanksgiving turkey.”

Click here for the recipe.

Lobster Risotto

Forget the aforementioned tug-of-war between cornbread dressing and bread stuffing. There’s a new kid in town, and he’s got them both beat. This creamy, indulgent risotto with tender lobster takes decadence to a new level and may upstage your turkey. But he won’t mind, and neither will your guests.

Click here for the recipe.

Thanksgiving Gravy Fountain with Holiday Hors d’Oeuvres

Hehehe. A gravy fountain. I couldn’t resist. This dish is so fancy that the fancy powers that be haven’t even come up with a bourgie name for it yet. They’re too mesmerized by the fanciness of it all. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking the recipe or the device. Who in their right mind wouldn’t love a gravy fountain? And after you try this 17-ingredient savory nectar of fanciness, you may forever send your traditional gravy boat to its watery grave.  

Click here for the recipe.

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/AlexRaths

3 Thanksgiving Recipes to Accommodate a Healthier Lifestyle

3 Thanksgiving Recipes to Accommodate a Healthier Lifestyle

Paleo vegan keto flexitarian . . .  no, this is not a priestly Latin prayer. These are a few healthier eating trends practiced by millions of Americans. If Mamaw were writing this article, she’d offer you a one-ingredient recipe to accommodate every requirement of these trends combined. A handful of air. Then she’d offer you one of her unforgettable raspy chuckles—which she developed while smoking a pack of Marlboros a day before anyone knew any better. Enough said. Here are three recipes to help you enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving dinner this year (and, Lord willing, many more to come). 

Oven-Roasted Squash with Garlic and Parsley

I hate it when cousins fight, especially during the holidays. But the potato, a distant cousin of the squash, is getting a little too big for his britches, making it harder for some of us to fit into ours. Squash has 49% fewer calories and 42% fewer carbs than potatoes, and they’re full of magnesium, calcium, Vitamin A, and iron. This yummy recipe will help curb your potato craving during Thanksgiving dinner, or anytime you want a nutrient-rich side dish.  

Click here for the recipe.

Vegan Turkey Roast

I used to be a die-hard believer in the idea that if God didn’t want us to eat animals, He wouldn’t have made them out of meat. I still enjoy eating animals, but I’m finding that veggies can taste amazing when prepared correctly. If your diet consists solely of plant-based foods, I imagine Thanksgiving is not your favorite time of year as far as food goes, but this recipe looks like a delicious way for you to save a turkey and eat it, too.  

Click here for the recipe.

Low Carb, Sugar-Free, Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Maintaining a healthier lifestyle over the holidays can be tough, especially if you’re one of the 61% of Americans who consider pumpkin spice an essential element of the season. Yep, I’ll admit it. I’m a recovering PSL junkie. But this low-carb, sugar-free cupcake delivers all the yummy goodness of the season—minus the long drive-thru lines and four-hour sugar-coma naps. 

Click here for the recipe.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/PeopleImages

 

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