It’s almost time for Thanksgiving! I look forward to the same traditional foods year after year, but this year I had fun reimagining my fave Thanksgiving foods in fun and unexpected ways. I took 5 classics – mashed potatoes, peas, stuffing, turkey, sweet potatoes – and found new and totally exciting ways to reinvent them. For those of you looking to spice up Thanksgiving traditions, this one’s for you…

 Fried Garlic Cheddar Mashed Potato Balls via Damn Delicious


Such a fun and delectable way to spruce up the standard mashed potatoes that sit on nearly every Thanksgiving dinner table


  • 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
  • Canola oil, for frying


  1. In a large pot of cold, salted water, bring the potatoes and garlic to a boil; cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Drain and return the potatoes to the pot; mash over low heat with the cheddar, heavy cream, butter and salt.
  3. Working one at a time, roll tablespoonfuls of the mashed potatoes into a ball. (I used an ice cream scoop.)
  4. Dredge each ball of mashed potatoes in the flour, dip into the eggs, then dredge in the bread crumbs, pressing to coat.
  5. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  6. Heat 1 1/2-inches oil in a medium Dutch oven or in a medium saucepan to 300 degrees F. Working in batches, add the potato balls to the hot oil 4 or 5 at a time and fry until evenly golden brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; repeat to cook remaining cutlets.
  8. Serve immediately.


 Pea, Feta & Mint Hummus via Éclair (what’s in a) Name?


I think I just found a way to get your kids (and fickle adult friends) to eat their peas…


  • 1 lb frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1/4c olive oil
  • 1/2c fresh mint leaves
  • 2 oz feta cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2T lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Set aside 1/8c peas, a couple of  mint leaves, and a few crumbles of feta cheese to use as a garnish
  2. Place the rest of the peas, olive oil, mint, feta, garlic, and lemon juice into a food processor
  3. Process until the puree is smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula if needed
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste, then place the hummus into a bowl
  5. Top with the reserved peas, mint leaves, and feta cheese


Stuffing Pie via Serious Eats


Stuffing + Pie = genius! Love this twist on a quintessential Thanksgiving classic



  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F and adjust the oven rack to the center position.
  2. Roll bottom pie crust out and fit inside a 9-inch pie plate.
  3. Add stuffing to pie and press down to make sure any air bubbles are gone.
  4. Roll out top crust and seal pie.
  5. Whisk egg white with 1 tablespoon water.
  6. Brush top crust with egg white mixture and cut 3 to 5 holes for ventilation. Sprinkle sparingly with coarse sea salt.
  7. Place pie in oven and bake for 15 minutes until pale golden brown. Reduce heat to 350°F and continue baking until deep golden brown, about 45 minutes longer.
  8. Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving.


 Open Faced Turkey Patty Melt via


Now I know that not having the traditional turkey might be a scary thought, but I think that this recipe is such a unique way to bring new life to the cornerstone of a customary Thanksgiving meal


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup vertically sliced Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast 
  • 1 large egg white 
  • Cooking spray 
  • 4 (1-ounce) slices reduced-fat Swiss cheese
  • 4 slices light rye bread
  • 1/4 cup country-style Dijon mustard


  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion to pan. Cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned; stir occasionally. Transfer onion to a bowl.
  2. Preheat broiler.
  3. Combine cheese and next 4 ingredients (through egg white). Divide turkey mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Return pan to medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties to pan; cook 4 minutes or until brown. Turn patties over; cook 1 minute. Top each patty with 1 cheese slice; cook 3 minutes or until cheese melts and patties are done.
  4. Place bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet; broil 2 minutes or until toasted. Spread 1 tablespoon mustard on each bread slice; top each serving with 1 patty. Divide onion mixture evenly among sandwiches.


Sweet Potato Cupcakes via Annie’s Eats


Why have regular old sweet potatoes when you can have sweet potato cupcakes?! These sweet treats are topped with marshmallow frosting, and are such a new and fun way to serve the traditional sweet potato dish that you have year after year.


For the cupcakes:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 16 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups lightly packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sweet potato puree
  • 6 tbsp. maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; stir together with a fork and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Mix in the sweet potatoes, maple syrup and vanilla extract, beating just until combined.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated.
  2. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, for about 18 minutes.  Let cool in the pan briefly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  3. To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a bowl set over a pan of a few inches of simmering water. (Note: I use my clean, dry mixer bowl right off the bat to avoid dirtying two bowls.) Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it reaches 160° F with an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the mixture to an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. Mix in the vanilla until combined.
  4. Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip (I used Wilton #21.)  Pipe swirls of frosting on top of each cupcake.  Brown the frosting with a kitchen torch**.  Sprinkle lightly with additional brown sugar, if desired.


And there you have it!  A traditional Thanksgiving meal, completely reimagined.

What’s on your menu for tomorrow night? Do you have any other recipes that think outside the traditional Turkey Day box?




Photo & Recipe Credit: Damn Delicious, Éclair (what’s in a) Name?, Serious Eats, My Recipes, Annie’s Eats

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