Now think about your warmest memory of or association with Thanksgiving Day. Got it? Then try to keep this image in your mind for a while and feel the warmth and comfort filling the space around you.

Can you smell your favorite apple pie? Or do you see yourself and your family sitting on the sofa and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York, while the stuffed turkey is peacefully cooking in the kitchen? This November be ready to add a new portion of pleasing impressions to your Thanksgiving Day memories collection!

But Let’s First Get back to the Past

It is believed that the very first celebrations might have taken place on the modern Texan territories, in 1541. In the spring of that year a Spanish explorer and conquistador, Francisco Vazquez de Coronado, and his courageous companions moved into Palo Duro Canyon in Texas Panhandle. Obviously, they were searching for gold there, but found nothing and had to fight with the hosts of the land, the local Indians.

Coronado probably decided to hold a small celebration before coming back to Mexico. Although it certainly did not imply the meaning which was later popularized by Abraham Lincoln, it still might symbolize a kind of conquistadors’ gratitude to God for completing their mission and for surviving.

Thanksgiving Day as we know and observe it in the 21st century became a national holiday in 1863, after President Lincoln’s Proclamation. But the tradition itself takes its roots from older days. Back in 1600s settlers from the Old World started celebrating the fall harvest in the end of November. Besides, since that time the holiday also commemorates friendship between local Indians and European colonists.

The legend has it that even some traditional Thanksgiving foods date back to those celebrations. Cranberries and pumpkins, for example, were definitely introduced to us by native Americans.

As we have come closer to the issue of the holiday menu, it is the time to consider it in more detail. Thanksgiving dinner undoubtedly should pay some tribute to your family culinary traditions. But why not try something new this year, right on November 23rd (or a few days earlier to make the necessary preparations)?

So, now let’s come back to our times and check out some compelling Thanksgiving recipes!

3 Original Turkey Stuffing Options

Yes, you’re absolutely right! We offer you to experiment with the main course. And here are three fabulous ideas that will help you please your guests’ palates. Your dearest and nearest may be a little surprised at first. But they will very soon get used to harmonious combinations of tastes on their tongues and keep enjoying the dish.

Option #1. Artichokes, grapes and currants

Start with sauteing chopped sweet onion and celery in the butter until the onion gets transparent. Then add artichokes hearts cut in cubes, Bell’s seasoning (2 tsp.), your favorite herbed stuffing cubes (to taste), and 2-½ cups of chicken broth.

In about 5 minutes add dried currants and halved red seedless grapes, chopped parsley (1/3 cup), and ground black pepper (1 tsp.). Mix and toss the future stuffing gently. Cook for 20-25 minutes. Then let the mix cool a little before you stuff the turkey with it.

Option #2. Chestnuts and apples

Add chopped chestnuts canned in water and Crispin or Rome Beauty apples to the mixture of onion and celery sauteed in butter (like in the recipe above). Season with spices for poultry. Stir occasionally and cook 2-3 minutes longer.

Then pour chicken broth and water, season with salt to taste. Heat the mixture to boiling. Add cubed bread sticks and stir to combine well before stuffing the Thanksgiving bird.

Option #3. Sausage, chestnuts and mushrooms

Fry chopped shallots and garlic in heated olive oil for a few minutes. Then add chopped porcini mushrooms, canned chestnuts, and pecans. Saute until mushrooms get ready and tip the mixture into a large bowl to cool. Add chopped pork sausages (you need about 400-500 g.) and season the mixture with lemon zest, salt, and pepper to taste.

Then with clean hands shape the mixture into 10-15 balls, arrange them on the prepared tray, cover the balls with buttered parchment, and chill until you stuff the turkey with them.
By the way, here is a piece of advice for you! Do not rely on the turkey pop-up timer. Even if it has just notified you that the bird is perfectly ready, use an inner-read thermometer to check the temperature of the wings, the inner thighs and the thickest part of the turkey breast. All these parts should be cooked to 165° F.

And While the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Is Cooking…

Serving a few delicious appetizers would be a great idea! We have already agreed that we are going to try new combinations of flavors for this Thanksgiving Day. So, be ready to amaze your guests and yourself with these delightful starters. But don’t forget about the turkey!

Pumpkin Butter

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Into the slow cooker you will need to pour 2 oz. of canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree, 1/2 c. of apple cider, pumpkin pie spice (1 tbsp.), vanilla (1 tsp.) as well as kosher salt and brown sugar to taste. Stir everything until smooth. Then cover the medley and cook for 2-3 hours more, stirring occasionally. When you get the mixture of desired consistency, pour it into Mason jars and store refrigerated.

You can serve your own, hand-made pumpkin butter both as a dip for crusty breads or fried sweet potato, or as a seasoning for salads.

Bacon & Spinach Dip

While the oven is heating up to 350º, in a bowl combine cream cheese (8 oz.), mayonnaise and sour cream (1/3 c. each), garlic powder and paprika (1 tsp. each). Then fold in cooked and crumbled bacon (about 10 slices), thawed spinach (you will need 1 16-oz. package), and grated Parmesan cheese (1 c.). After you transfer the mixture to a baking dish, sprinkle it with shredded Mozzarella (1 c.).
Bake the future dip for 25-30 minutes until it gets golden and looks bubbly. Serve with fresh baguette or toasts rubbed with a garlic clove and seasoned with salt to taste.

Baked Brie with Bacon and Maple Syrup

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Make sure you preheat the oven to 400º before cooking this scrumptious appetizer. You will need to fry chopped bacon (8-10 slices) in a small skillet until crispy. Then drain fat and add 1/4 cup of maple syrup to the skillet. Stir the mixture until combined and set aside.

While it is cooling, roll out defrosted puff pastry on a parchment-lined baked sheet and place 1 wheel of Brie cheese on it. Top the cheese with 1-2 tablespoons of the bacon mixture. Then fold each corner of the puff pastry and brush them with egg wash. Top the dish with the remaining bacon and pecans (1-2 tbsp.).

Bake the cheese until the pastry gets golden and serve immediately with crunchy bread.   

Some Nice Add-Ons to Mom’s Pudding

It is unlikely that any other Thanksgiving dessert would encroach on the right to be the sweet specialty of this holiday. But some flavorful nibbles could perfectly accompany it. Both adults and kids will enjoy these sumptuous dainties. So, let’s see what you would like to include into the menu.

Dried Apricot Canapes

Just take these apricots with almonds and spread some Blue cheese on each “canape”. Top with a bit of a rosemary leaf and grizzle with some honey. Voila! The dessert is ready!

Cheese Balls with Figs and Nuts

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Beat 2 packages of Neufchatel cream cheese with mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Then reduce the speed and add in dried figs (1 c.) or a few tablespoons of this flavorful fig condiment, grated Parmesan, honey (2 tbsp.) and ground black pepper (1/2 tsp.).

Shape the mixture into balls, wrap each in plastic wrap, and refrigerate. The balls should get chilled and firm. So, you’d better take care of this dainty at least 1 day before Thanksgiving.

Honey Baked Apples with Brie Cheese

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Turn on the oven first, it must be as hot as 400º. While it is heating, halve big apples horizontally, top the bottoms with Brie cheese, sprinkle with walnuts, and drizzle with honey. Then place the tops, put the apples onto a baking dish and bake them for about 35 minutes. The dessert should get soft, cheesy and bubbly.

Enjoy your holiday dinner and its cozy atmosphere. Thank your nearest and dearest for being with you on this wonderful day. And don’t forget to thank yourself for being able to have what you have at the moment.

Marky’s wish you Happy Thanksgiving!
And thank you for staying with us!