Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie sound delicious, but why not kick these Thanksgiving dishes up a notch with the help of your Food Network favorites? By simply adding an unusual ingredient to a traditional recipe, the eating experience of you and your guests can improve tenfold. Plus, you'll get bragging rights for years to come, which means you've really captured the spirit of the holiday season. (Just kidding...kind of.)
We've rounded up some of the most drool-worthy recipes to help you plan this year's big feast. Check them out below and let us know if you plan to incorporate any into your cooking.
Cocktail: Pomegranate Sangria
Chef: Bobby Flay
Why? There's nothing more refreshing than a fall pomegranate or apple and nothing more necessary than getting drunk to deal with the in-laws. This recipe combines the best of both worlds with a festive take on a Mediterranean classic. Bottoms up!
Ingredients: Red wine, pomegranate juice, brandy, Triple Sec, simple syrup, pomegranate seeds, one orange, one apple, red grapes
Appetizer: Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Cream Cheese and Almonds
Chef: Emeril Lagasse
Why? It has bacon and cream cheese. Do you really need an explanation?
Ingredients: Cream cheese, dates, almonds, bacon, wooden picks
Salad: Fall Salad
Chef: Tyler Florence
Why? The sweet and seasonal maple balsamic vinaigrette, combined with fresh pears, is a perfect complement to this salad's bitter leaf variety. Also, who can resist homemade candied pecans? Not us.
Ingredients: Butter, brown sugar, pecans, one shallot, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, pepper, endive, frisee, radicchio, one red pear, shaved parmesan
Turkey: Roasted Turkey Breast with Peach Rosemary Glaze
Chef: Sunny Anderson
Why? Roasting a turkey can take hours. To get more family (and drinking) time, why not focus on the tender (and healthier!) pieces of breast. The peach rosemary glaze is also the perfect alternative to that canned cranberry jelly that is still a socially acceptable side dish.
Ingredients: Apple cider, salt, thyme, rosemary, turkey breast, onion, olive oil, pepper, sliced frozen peaches, honey, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar
Stuffing: Chorizo and Cornbread Stuffing
Chef: Aaron Sanchez
Why? This recipe combines the best of both worlds. Cornbread is delicious, but sweet cornbread with salty chorizo is simply orgasm-inducing. The addition of cilantro is also a nice touch and a great way to turn your party into a real fiesta.
Ingredients: Chorizo, onion, one carrot, one celery stalk, garlic, cornbread, cilantro, chicken stock, butter, cotija cheese
Potato: Quinoa and Purple Potato Salad
Chef: Giada De Laurentiis
Why? Stuffing provides us with enough starch, so why not throw in a healthy alternative to mashed potatoes? This dish is as delicious as it is beautiful. If only we could borrow an Italian word-enunciating Giada to walk us through the cooking process, it'd all feel a bit more authentic.
Ingredients: Purple Peruvian potatoes, chicken broth, quinoa, garlic, frozen peas, black olives, oregano, olive oil, agave nectar, lime juice, salt and pepper
Vegetable: Asparagus with Lemon Butter
Chef: Paula Deen
Why? This may be the easiest recipe you'll ever make, but sometimes it's best to allow a main ingredient to shine without all the bells and whistles. Such is the case with asparagus: nature's perfect vegetable. If cooked appropriately, these roasted stalks will add the perfect crunch to a sea of mush (stuffing, potatoes, quinoa, etc.). Sure, there's lots of butter (it IS a Paula Deen recipe), but the highlight is actually the hint of citrus.
Ingredients: Asparagus, lemon, butter, salt, olive oil
Side: Saffron Butternut Squash Risotto
Chef: Ina Garten
Why? We know what you're thinking. Risotto on Thanksgiving? But hear us out. If you've ever wondered what angels in heaven bring to God's potluck, it's this dish. Ina Garten deserves a medal for creating the sweet, salty, comforting concoction of butternut squash, pancetta, and butter-soaked shallots. If you can't afford saffron, no sweat. It's just as good without it.
Ingredients: Butter, pancetta, white wine, saffron, grated parmesan cheese, arborio rice, salt and pepper, chicken stock, two shallots, one butternut squash, olive oil
Pie: Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Creme Pie
Chef: Anne Thornton
Why? If you've ever had the banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery, you know that it is essentially crack in dessert form. This is what happens when people dream big and decide to add peanut butter and chocolate. The result: _______. Yes, we have no words. Just shut up, take a bite, and kick your feet up after a successful Thanksgiving dinner. You did good.
Ingredients: Vanilla wafers, butter, three bananas, orange juice, peanut brittle, heavy cream, almond extract, powdered sugar, sugar, cocoa powder, flour, eggs, milk, cream cheese, vanilla extract, peanut butter, whipping cream