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What's Up Magazine

Jazz Up Your Thanksgiving

Nov 22, 2010 09:53PM ● By Anonymous


However, for foodies, the meal is one place where you can break the cycle of tradition. As long as you’re not a Thanksgiving-meal purist, this is the year to jazz up your dinner table with new recipes for the most traditional of meals. Some of them have been tweaked, while some are completely overhauled. We’ll leave the turkey alone (this time), to keep a semblance of normalcy. Trust us—your family will be pleasantly surprised when they discover that you've taught old recipes some new tricks.

The Original: Cranberry sauce from a can
Old-is-New: Orange-scented Cranberry Compote
Banish the canned-shaped cranberry sauce and whip up this recipe made from real cranberries and three types of orange flavoring.

2 12-ounce packages of fresh cranberries
1 ¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoons grated orange rind
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons orange liqueur
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine all the ingredients. Cook five to seven minutes, stirring often, until the cranberry skins begin to split.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook while stirring occasionally until the mixture is thickened (about five minutes). Remove the sauce from heat and let it cool for 15 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.

Makes 3.5 cups of sauce

The Original: Stuffing baked inside the turkey
Old-is-New: Sourdough Stuffing with Apples and Bacon
This stuffing recipe has just as much flavor as that baked inside the turkey, with much fewer calories and fat grams.

12 cups sourdough bread cubes
½ cup butter
3 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
2 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 pound bacon, cooked and chopped
3 ½ cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Evenly spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast them in a 350-degree oven until slightly crisp, or about 10 to 15 minutes. Set the cubes aside.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the onions and celery, stirring occasionally, until they are soft. Add the apples and cook until tender, then mix in the sage, thyme, and poultry seasoning. Cook for another half a minute and then remove from heat.


Transfer the apple mixture to a large bowl. Add the bread cubes and chopped bacon and mix thoroughly. Add two cups of chicken stock to begin and mix. Add more stock a little bit at a time until the stuffing is moist, but not soggy. Taste and season to your liking with salt and pepper.


Spoon the stuffing into a greased casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake in a 375-degreee oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes until the top is golden-brown.

Makes 10 to 12 servings of stuffing.

The Original: Mashed Potatoes
Old-is-New: Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes
This strong, but decadent, mashed potato recipe couldn’t be easier to prepare.

1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese, softened to room temperature
2 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped (optional)

Boil the potatoes until they are fork-tender, which will take about 20 to 30 minutes. Drain the potatoes and mash. Mix in the blue cheese and butter. If the mixture is too thick, mix in a little warm milk until desired consistency is reached. Top with chopped parsley.

Makes four servings of mashed potatoes.


The Original: Macaroni and Cheese
Old-is-New: Mac and Cheese Carbonara
One of your favorite Italian dishes meets Thanksgiving with this rich, cheesy recipe.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1-inch thick piece of pancetta, cut into a small dice
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 cups milk, heated
4 large egg yolks, lightly whisked
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups grated Asiago cheese
3 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, plus ½ cup for topping
1 cup grated Fontina cheese, plus ¼ cup for topping
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus ¼ cup for topping
Salt and pepper
1 pound cooked macaroni
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, and add the pancetta, cooking until it’s golden brown. Remove and place it on a plate lined with paper towels.

Sauté the garlic until lightly browned. Whisk in the flour, cooking for two minutes, then add the milk. Turn the heat up to high and whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened, which should take about three to five minutes. Whisk in the eggs and cook for another one to two minutes.

Remove the mixture from heat and add the cayenne, mustard, and cheese (except for that reserved for the topping). When the cheese has melted, season with salt and pepper. The mixture might appear thick; add milk to thin it if necessary.

Combine the cheese sauce, pancetta, and macaroni in a large bowl. Spoon the mixture into a greased 3-quart baking dish, and sprinkle the reserved cheese over the dish. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until heated through and the top is golden brown.

Makes four to six servings


The Original: Green Bean Casserole
Old-is-New: Green beans and onions in a garlic and wine cream sauce
This fresh green bean recipe is a twist on the traditional fried onion-topped casserole.

For the green beans:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1 ½ pounds trimmed green beans
Salt and pepper

For the cream sauce:
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup butter
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, minced
1 tablespoon flour
¼ cup white wine
1 cup heavy cream

Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for three minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the beans, season with salt, and simmer them for eight minutes until tender.

While the green beans are cooking, heat three tablespoons of butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and parsley, and saute until softened. Sprinkle flour over the mixture, then whisk in the wine, stirring constantly. Simmer until the wine has reduced, about five to 10 minutes.

Pour in the cream and simmer over low heat until the sauce is creamy, which should take about six to eight minutes.

Plate the green beans and onions and pour the cream sauce over them. Sprinkle with parsley and a dash of paprika for additional color.

Makes four servings of green beans.


The Original: Dinner Rolls
Old-is-New: Garlic knots
If you’d prefer a plainer flavor, leave off the garlic sauce and just pass these fun knotted rolls around the table.

For the bread:
1 ¾ cup warm water
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ Tablespoons active dry yeast
5 ½ cups all-purpose flour

For the garlic sauce
1/8 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley

Combined the water, ¼ cup of the olive oil, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large container. Mix to dissolve the yeast. Mix in the flour. Set the container in a warm spot to proof until it’s doubled in volume, which usually takes one to three hours. You can do this step ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for several days until you’re ready to use it.

Line several sheet pans with parchment paper. To make the knots, pour olive oil on a large wooden cutting board. Divide the dough in half to make it easier to handle, then roll it into an even rectangle that measures about 5x16 inches and is ½ inch thick. Slice the rectangle into ½ x5 inch strips.

Rotate the cutting board 90 degrees and sprinkle the dough with flour. Roll the strip nearest to you into an even rope. Tie the strip of dough into a knot and place it on a lined sheet pan. If the dough is sticking, use more flour while creating the knots. Place each knot about 1.5 inches apart from each other on the pan.

When the pan is full, cover the dough with a towel and place in a warm spot for them to rise. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. After the knots have doubled in size, remove the towels and bake for approximately 12 to 15 minutes.

While the bread is in the oven, heat the olive oil, butter, and garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped parsley.

When the knots are done baking, use a pastry brush to coat the bread with garlic sauce. Sprinkle salt to taste.

Makes 40 garlic knots.

The Original: Sweet Potato Casserole
Old-Is-New: Roasted Butternut Squash Puree with Goat Cheese
Swap sweet potatoes with butternut squash for a dish with a similar look, but a unique taste. (Sorry, no mini-marshmallows allowed in this dish.)

2 butternut squashes, 2 pounds each (or one 4-pound squash)
½ cup torn sage leaves
Olive oil
2 ounces soft goat cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut each squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle each half with olive oil, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and place the sage leaves in the cavity. Turn the halves upside on baking sheet and roast until very tender, or about an hour.

Let the squash cool until you can touch it without burning your hands. Scoop out the flesh, then puree it with the goat cheese.

Makes four servings of squash.

The Original: Pumpkin Pie
Old-is-New: Pumpkin Cheesecake
Even more sinfully delicious than pie, this pumpkin cheesecake is sure to draw in those who claim to hate pumpkin pie.

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
2 ¾ cups sugar
2 pounds cream cheese, softened to room temperature
¼ cup sour cream
15-ounce can pumpkin puree
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sweetened whipped cream
1/3 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 10-inch springform pan with butter.

Mix butter with the graham cracker crumbs, ¼ cup sugar, and a pinch of salt. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the springform pan, packing it tightly and evenly. Bake until the crust is golden brown, or about 15 to 20 minutes.

Beat the cream cheese until smooth, and then beat in the remaining sugar until the mixture is light. Add the sour cream, then add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, salt, and the spices, and then beat until combined. Pour into the crust.

Wrap the bottom of the springform pan in foil and place it into a roasting pan in the oven. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the side of the springform pan.

Bake for approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until the outside of the cheesecake is set and the center is still loose. Turn off the oven, open the door to let heat out, and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another hour. Take it out of the roasting pan, run a knife around the edge of the springform pan, cover, and put in the refrigerator for eight hours to chill.
Serve with whipped cream and sprinkle with toasted pecans.

Makes 12 servings of pie.


The Original: Apple Pie
Old-Is-New: Caramel Apple Pie

9-inch double crust for a deep-dish pie
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups thinly sliced apple
2/3 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoons lemon juice
20 caramels, halved
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Make the taffy by combining the brown sugar, melted butter, and 1/3 cup flour in a small bowl.

Prepare the apple filling by placing the apples in a large bowl and adding white sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Toss until the apples are thoroughly coasted.

Spoon half of the apple filling into a deep-dish pan lined with pastry. Top with 10 caramels and half of the taffy mixture. Repeat with the remaining pie filling, caramels and taffy mixture. Lay the top pastry over the filling and seal the edges well. Cut steam vents and brush the top of the crust with milk.

Cover the pie with foil and place it on a baking sheet to avoid any potential drips. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil from the pie and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden.