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Oct 24, 2006 08:48 PM

Help give my Thanksgiving a kick in the pants

Every year of my entire life, the menu has been the same: pale turkey, soupy green bean casserole, cranberry sauce from a can, canned yams with marhsmellows, stove top stuffing, broccoli and cheese rice casserole, potato salad, dinner rolls, mashed potatoes with no flavor at all, mac and cheese made with velvetta and NOT baked, and of course, from a can pumpkin pie.
Now, I love my family. I really do. But after 25 years of the same menu, I felt it my duty to waken up my family's taste buds before they go to waste. I have already searched chowhound for previous posts, so please don't suggest that. What I need are new recipes, mainly side dishes, that are not listed above, or at least kicked up a bit.
This is what I have already: Maple Roasted Turkey with cornbread stuffing (Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen), newly reformed Greenbean casserole (from the latest Cook's Illustrated), Roasted Banana and Sweet Potato Casserole (Tyler Florence's Eat this Book), Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes or Potato Pancakes (can't decide), homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce.
I would love any and all vegetable recipes, any good starch recipes including but not limited to rice and potato recipes, and any new dessert/pumpkin recipes. Please help. If I see another Jello mold or bean salad this year, it could get ugly. Thank you.

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  1. I am going to try Rose Levy Berenbaum's pumpkin pie using fresh pumpkin. People often say canned is better, but I bake a sugar pumpkin for some ravioli and boy was it delicious. Rose's recipe (in her Pie and Pastry Bible) caught my eye because she has you sprinkle ground ginger snaps and pecans on the bottom of the pie crust before adding the filling to give a nice little crunch and some extra flavor. Corn pudding is also a favorite of mine and I'm happy to share my recipe. I've been meaning to try a recipe I found for pumpkin canoli, which sounds interesting. And last year I made the sweet potato pie recipe from November's Gourmet (likely available on Epicurious) with a ginger snap crust. It was to die for. Everyone liked it more than pumpkin. Have fun spicing things up-- sounds like you're off to a good start!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Procrastibaker

      Procrastibaker--I did a whole analysis last year; a pumpkin pie made with roasted pumpkin made the CI way (long/involved), then one made with Libby's pumpkin puree. The latter was better--to my great surprise. Sum: Don't waste your time (like I did).

      1. re: Funwithfood

        Try using coconut milk instead of evaporated milk for a wonderfully subtle change of taste. People notice the difference in the taste in a good way!

    2. My two cents: don't stuff the turkey. Bake that cornbread dressing on its own in a pan...much better that way--crustier, crunchier, and easily made ahead of time & cooked on T'giving AM. If you make a pan of cornbread for breakfast once a week for the next few weeks, you can stick the leftovers in the freezer. I have a big sack of "saved-up" cornbread hanging around for just this purpose. Try putting 1/2 cup toasted pecans into the cornbread dressing, too. Another good side-dish option for turkey is dirty rice AKA rice dressing...or, homemade yeast rolls instead.

      A pecan pie might be nice, too...and buy some good-quality ice cream to go with the pie.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Hungry Celeste

        Amen on not stuffing the bird. I like to add crumbled browned sausage to my conrbread dressing. Ooh and the family might think it is heresy but a really good rich spoonbread instead of potatotes with lots of butter and gravy is my all time favorite side for roasts.

        1. re: Candy

          Candy, would you consider sharing your recipe for a good, rich spoonbread? I've never made it but would love to if I had a recipe from a good CH source.

          1. re: queenie

            I'll do a couple I like on HC as a seperate post.

          2. re: Candy

            What kind of sausage do you like to use? I was thinking Italian, but since I am doing a Maple Roasted Turkey, breakfast sausage could be interesting too...thanks for the suggestion!

            1. re: foodrocks

              I like bulk breakfast type pork sausage but I imagine italian could be good as well as a really good chorizo in a chornbread dressing

        2. Right on! Good for you. I have a wonderful recipe for apple cranberry chutney, I either got it from someone here or on the craigslist forum. I would be happy to share. Also delish is Ina Garten's mashed butternut squash, really delish. She is good for any kind of holiday recipe, her stuff is too full of fat for everyday but for the holidays I find her right on.

          1. Canned whole cranberry comes alive when mixed with chopped walnuts and drained mandarin oranges, and I'll also recommend the rutabagas mashed with butter, s & fresh ground pepper.

            1. I made this recipe last year and everyone loved it.

              Scalloped Corn and Broccoli

              1 can creamed corn
              2 eggs
              2 Tbsp. flour
              1 tsp. salt
              1 box chopped frozen broccoli (thaw)
              1/2 cup grated cheese

              bake at 325 for 1 hour
              Its easy to double, triple etc. this.