Put a twist on your Thanksgiving favorites

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

No other meal is as traditional as the Thanksgiving feast.

If the host or hostess doesn’t serve the family’s favorite
green bean casserole, Aunt Betty’s sweet potato casserole or grandma’s five-cup
salad, there could be some holiday discontent.

Many cooks wouldn’t dare stray far from the usual fare, but
what if you wanted to try something a little different this year? Are you brave
enough to put Food Network star Alton Brown’s green bean casserole on the
table? What about a stuffing with goldenberries?

If you yearn to show off your culinary skills but don’t want
to offend your guests, why not do both? Tweak some of those favorite dishes by
recharging them with some fresh new ingredients.

A stuffing made with goldenberries would be a nice surprise.
The exotic raisin of the Amazon is a sweet-and-sour delicacy and incredibly
rich in vitamin A, according to the producer, Kopali Organics. Goldenberries
are available at Whole Foods for $3.99.

We’re pretty sure no one will turn up their noses at creamed
corn gratin with fried onion rings and bacon. If they do, serve an
old-fashioned scalloped-corn recipe from the “Owsley County Outreach’s
Cookbook to Alleviate Hunger.”

Parmesan tomatoes will please everyone at the table if you
simply tell them it’s a Paula Deen recipe.

No matter what you serve as side dishes this holiday,
remember that nothing can stall dinner like too many dishes competing for oven
space. Choose a couple of dishes for the oven and another recipe that can be
prepared on the stove top, and of course a quick green salad or a sweet fruit
salad that can be served cold.

Recipes: These recipes are for the cook who wants to jazz up
the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. If a can of cream of mushroom soup is not
a staple in your pantry, try this version of green bean casserole.


2 medium onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Non-stick spray

For beans:

1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed

1 gallon water

2 tablespoons kosher salt

For sauce:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

12 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup half-and-half

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Combine onions, flour, panko
and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Coat a sheet pan with
non-stick spray and evenly spread onions on pan. Bake until golden brown,
tossing every 10 minutes, for about 30 minutes. Once done, remove from oven and
set aside until ready to use. Turn down oven to 400 degrees.

While onions are cooking, prepare beans. Bring water and
salt to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan. Blanch beans for 5 minutes. Drain in a
colander and immediately plunge beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop
the cooking. Drain and set aside.

For sauce, melt butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet set
over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring
occasionally, until mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, about 4 to
5 minutes. Add garlic and nutmeg, and continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir to combine. Cook 1 minute. Add broth and simmer
1 minute. Add half-and-half and cook until mixture thickens, 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all the
green beans. Top with remaining onions. Place skillet in oven and bake until
bubbly, about 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately. Makes 4 to 6 servings.


Organic goldenberries add an exotic touch to stuffing.


2 quarts vegetable stock

3 cups wild rice, rinsed

Pinch sea salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 large shallots, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon soy sauce or wheat-free tamari

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup Kopali goldenberries

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/3 cup chopped fresh sage

Bring stock to a boil. Add rice and salt to stock, and bring
to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 35 to 45 minutes, or until water is
absorbed. Remove from heat.

Heat olive oil in a saute pan, add shallots and garlic, and
cook about 10 minutes, or until golden. Add mushrooms and continue to cook,
stirring occasionally, until mushrooms release their juices.

Add soy or tamari, thyme and pepper. Continue to cook until
liquid evaporates. Transfer to a bowl with the rice. Add goldenberries, parsley
and sage, and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more pepper
if necessary.

From Kopali Organics


Cooks who like to take shortcuts just might turn this into
their own creation.


1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs made from crustless French

6 bacon slices, chopped

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Salt and pepper

1 large red onion, thinly sliced into rounds

1/2 cup (or more) vegetable oil

10 green onions, chopped

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

1 large onion, chopped

8 cups frozen corn kernels (about 2 pounds 6 ounces)

2 cups whole milk

1 cup whipping cream

3 tablespoons quick-cooking grits

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup (packed) coarsely grated Monterey Jack cheese (about 4

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread bread crumbs on rimmed
baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes.

Saute bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp.
Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels. Transfer 2 tablespoons
bacon drippings to heavy large pot; reserve for creamed corn. Discard remaining

Place flour in medium bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Separate red onion slices into rings and toss in flour to coat lightly. Heat
1/2 cup oil in same large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches,
add onion rings to skillet and cook until golden brown, adding more oil as
needed, about 2 minutes a side. Transfer onion rings to paper towels. Mix bread
crumbs, bacon, onion rings and half of green onions in clean medium bowl. Sprinkle
with salt and pepper.

Butter a 13- by 9- by 2-inch glass baking dish. Add butter
to pot with reserved bacon drippings; melt over medium-high heat. Add chopped
onion; saute until light golden and beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Add
frozen corn; saute 5 minutes. Add milk and cream; bring to a boil. Gradually
stir in grits and cayenne pepper. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens
slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese and remaining green
onions. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer creamed corn to prepared dish.
(Topping and corn can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake gratin uncovered 25
minutes. Sprinkle topping over it; bake until topping is slightly crisp and
creamed corn thickens and is heated through, about 20 minutes longer. Makes 12



3 15-ounce cans creamed corn

2 eggs

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup crushed saltine crackers, divided

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8- by 11- by 2-inch
casserole dish. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine creamed corn, eggs, 1/4
cup melted butter and half the cracker crumbs. Pour mixture into prepared dish.

In a small bowl, mix remaining melted butter, cracker
crumbs, paprika and pepper. Sprinkle mixture over casserole. Bake 30 to 40
minutes, until topping browns slightly and corn is bubbly around the edges.
Makes 10 servings.

From “Owsley County Outreach’s Cookbook to Alleviate


Southern cooks find that recipes passed down for generations
are the best accompaniments to the Thanksgiving turkey. Here are some simple
ones to serve.

Broiled Parmesan tomatoes

3 14 1/2-ounce cans whole tomatoes, drained (any variety
including Italian plum)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 stick butter

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place tomatoes in a 13- by 9-inch casserole dish. Sprinkle
with salt and pepper to taste and top each with a pat of butter. Generously
sprinkle cheese over tomatoes and broil 10 to 15 minutes, until tomatoes are
heated through and the cheese is bubbly.

From “Paula Deen & Friends Cookbook”



2 cups sliced celery

8-ounce can water chestnuts

10 3/4-ounce can cream of mushroom soup

1 stick butter, melted

1 sleeve round butter crackers, such as Ritz or Town House,
finely crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook celery in boiling water
about 7 minutes and drain. Combine with water chestnuts, soup and half the
butter, and place in 2-quart baking dish. Mix cracker crumbs with remaining
butter and sprinkle on top of celery mixture. Bake 30 minutes. Makes 4 to 6

From “Kentucky Cooks” by Linda Allison-Lewis



8 ounces sour cream

8 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 pounds seedless green grapes, washed and dried

2 pounds seedless red grapes, washed and dried


1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional

In a large bowl, combine first four ingredients. Add grapes.
In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over salad.

From “Our Lady of the Mountains” cookbook



12-ounce bag cranberries

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 cup water

Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan; bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer; cook until cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer
to bowl, and let cool to room temperature.

From Everyday Food


Cookbook author Mollie Katzen has joined Dr. Michael Roizen
and the Walnut Board’s Smart Menus campaign to encourage Americans to embrace a
healthier lifestyle.

Katzen, a James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame inductee, has
updated many recipes that Americans most frequently prepare at home.
Smartened-up versions of gravy, sweet potatoes and stuffing are just a few
examples of recipes being made over just in time for the holidays.

Katzen created this recipe as an alternative to the
traditional broccoli-and-cheese casserole.


1/3 cup roasted walnut oil

1 tablespoon Chinese toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh garlic

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger

Several grinds of fresh black pepper

Pinch of cayenne

1/4 pound medium-size mushroom caps (very fresh,
“tight” and white)

2 pounds broccoli, cut into 2-inch spears

1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar

1 1/2 cups walnut halves, lightly toasted

Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in
mushrooms. Steam broccoli until just tender and bright green. Refresh under
cold running water, then drain thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Add
broccoli to marinating mushrooms, and stir gently until well coated. Cover
tightly and allow to marinate at room temperature for at least 2 hours. If
marinating longer, refrigerate. Stir in vinegar within 15 minutes of serving.
Sprinkle on walnuts at the very last minute.

Makes 6 servings.

Note: This recipe can be served cold or at room temperature.

Via McClatchy-Tribune News Service.