Your Thanksgiving’s turkey is likely either happily defrosting in your fridge or soaking in a perfect brine bath right now in prep for the upcoming feast. You might have either stocked up on the Costco pies or you’re prepping the ingredients for your family’s favorites like banana cream or pecan right now. Or you might be spending the afternoon whipping up the fluffiest of Jell-O salads.

Whatever way, you’re likely spending time in the kitchen planning your menu for the big day.

Whether your meal is already planned out or not, there is still time to whip up some clever new side dishes and desserts that put a fun twist on some of those traditional favorites. This year, as you think about all those beloved appetizers, side dishes and desserts, consider taking a new twist on your traditional recipes.

Here are a few of my favorites. For more ideas, check out our Thanksgiving board on Pinterest.


A charcuterie board, filled with crackers, cheeses, fresh fruit and veggies, is always a great way to kick off your amazing Thanksgiving feast. Rather that simply fill a tray with traditional favorites, add some flair to that tray. Instead of baked brie, for example, create mini cranberry and brie puff pastry bites. Or chop up all those veggies and sprinkle everything over ranch dressing-slathered pizza dough. Cut into wedges for a colorful addition.

Bacon-wrapped asparagus or bundles of green beans are always a great appetizer. But this year why not try something fun like bacon-wrapped stuffing bites. Cut nine slices of bacon in half. Take 3 cups prepared stuffing and form into golf ball-sized balls. Place stuffing onto the center of a piece of bacon. Wrap the bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place on a lined, cooking-sprayed baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees.

Side dishes

Jell-O salads, mashed potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes, green salad and stuffing are staples of nearly every Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of just repeating the same old recipes, try adding a few little twists. Those twists can be as simple as adding some new seasonings, like garlic and Parmesan cheese to your bowl of sweet corn. Or you can add rosemary and pancetta to your mashed potatoes. A few green chilies can spice up that cornbread dressing, too.

Try making these Duchess Potatoes. To your favorite mashed potatoes, gently fold in three egg yolks. Add mixture to a large piping bag with a large star tip and pipe potatoes onto parchment-lined baking tray. Mix one whole egg with 2 tablespoons of milk. Gently brush egg wash over potatoes, ensuring you don’t use too much. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until edges are golden.


I do love a beautiful slice of banana cream pie after my turkey dinner. But for the past few years, instead of a traditional pie, I’ve opted for a new favorite, rich banana pudding recipe using Pepperidge Farms’ Chessman cookies as one of the decadent layers. This recipe has proven to be a huge hit, often preferred over that pumpkin pie. This year, why don’t you try a new way to serve up those favorite Thanksgiving dessert flavors.

This recipe for Pumpkin Dump Cake is a perfect alternative to pumpkin pie, and ideal when time is running short. In a medium bowl, combine 15 ounces pumpkin puree, 12 ounces evaporated milk, three large eggs, 1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Pour into a greased 9-by-13 pan. Sprinkle one box spice cake mix on top of the pumpkin mixture. Then drizzle two sticks melted butter on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes and top with whipped cream.