Thanksgiving Twists and Treats!!

— Written By and last updated by Adrian Gaskins
en Español

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.

English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

Holidays are all about tradition, especially food traditions, and to me Thanksgiving is the best of all. On the table at Thanksgiving there may be foods we only get to enjoy once or twice a year, making them special dishes to really look forward to. This year, keep your traditional favorites, but introduce them in a new or different way, or better yet, add these new twists on treats to the list.

Layered Brussels Sprouts Salad


  • ½ lb. thick-sliced bacon
  • 2 cups pecans
  • 2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed, cut in fourths
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 4 apples, cored, cut into wedges, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cups packed baby spinach
  • 2 cups crumbled blue cheese (8 oz.)


  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Spray baking pan with sides with cooking spray. Place bacon in single layer on pan. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until crispy, turning once. Drain on paper towel-lined plate; strain drippings into bowl, and set pan aside. Crumble bacon.
  3. Place pecans on another baking pan. Roast 7 to 12 minutes or until fragrant and slightly browned. Cool completely on pan.
  4. Increase oven temperature to 425° F. In large bowl, toss Brussels sprouts, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and maple syrup with ¼ cup of the bacon drippings. Reserve remaining drippings for another use. Toss to coat and transfer to the pan used to cook the bacon. Roast 30 to 45 minutes or until sprouts brown and are tender when pierced with skewer or paring knife. Stir sprouts and cooking liquid; cool on pan, about 15 minutes.
  5. In large bowl, toss apples thoroughly in vinegar, then drain and transfer to plate.
  6. In 6-quart trifle bowl or glass bowl, layer as follows: Start with the sprouts, being careful to keep sides of bowl clean while filling. Top with half of the spinach, then half of the blue cheese. Add apples, then remaining spinach, pecans, remaining blue cheese and bacon.

Sriracha Green Beans with Candied Bacon

(Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe)


  • 1 1b. Bacon
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar, divided
  • 1 Lb. green beans, cleaned
  • 2 tsp. sriracha sauce
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place a wire baking rack on top of a cookie sheet (with edges) that has been covered with foil.
  2. In a bowl, coat the bacon with brown sugar and 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar. Lay your bacon out on your wire rack, overlapping if necessary. Sprinkle any remaining brown sugar on top.
  3. Cook for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook green beans in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes. While the green beans cook, heat a skillet. Pour the sriracha, 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar and soy sauce in the skillet.
  5. Remove your green beans directly into your heated skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes until a light glaze forms. Plate and top with chopped candied bacon.

Lighter Sweet Potato Pie


  • 2 (1½ lbs.) sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp. light butter, softened
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup 1% milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ tsp. ground pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked piecrust


  1. Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 50 to 55 minutes, or until soft. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin. Blend potatoes in a blender and pulse for about one minute to remove all fibers.
  2. Place sweet potatoes in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well. Using an electric mixer, mix in sugar, milk, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked piecrust.
  3. Bake at 350° F for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve with cool whip and enjoy!

 Serves 8. Each serving contains Calories 229, Fat 8 g, Protein 3.3 g, Carbohydrates 44.4 g, Fiber 1.3 g. 


Dry-Brined Roasted Turkey


  • 1 14-pound turkey, neck and heart reserved for Turkey Stock
  • ⅓ cup coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 cup water
  • Turkey Gravy (optional)


  1. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Combine salt and pepper. Rub 2 tablespoons salt mixture evenly inside body cavity, then rub remainder all over outside of bird. Tuck wings under turkey and wrap in plastic wrap, or place in an oven bag, pressing out all air. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet; refrigerate 24 hours.
  2. Remove plastic from turkey; let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425° F with rack in lower third. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack set in a roasting pan. Tie drumsticks together with kitchen twine. Pour water into pan and roast turkey 1 hour.
  3. Remove turkey from oven and check temperature. A thermometer inserted in breast should read 165° F. If it doesn’t, continue to roast turkey up to 30 minutes more, checking temperature every 10 minutes. Transfer to a carving board and let rest at least 45 minutes and up to 1 hour before carving. If making turkey gravy, use only 2 tablespoons of defatted drippings (they’re much saltier from a brined bird).

Turkey Gravy


  • Drippings from Dry-Brined Roasted Turkey
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2½ cups Turkey Stock
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Pour drippings from roasting pan into a fat separator and set aside. Place pan on 2 burners over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, pour in wine, scraping up brown bits with a wooden spoon. Pour in defatted drippings (use only 2 tablespoons of those from dry-brined bird) and 2 cups stock; bring to a boil.
  2. Combine remaining ½ cup stock and cornstarch in a small jar, seal it, and shake to combine. Pour cornstarch mixture into boiling mixture in pan and boil until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl. Reheat when ready to serve. Before serving, season with salt and pepper.