Thanksgiving with a Twist

Thanksgiving with a Twist

Are you ready to do something different for your Thanksgiving dinner?  Tired of the same old turkey and cranberries?  Add a little pizzazz to your Thanksgiving meal with these recipes that combine traditional flavors with one of our favorite meal formats, burgers and fries. These turkey burgers served with yam fries and cranberry spritzer will completely change the way you feel about Thanksgiving.

Turkey Burgers
The easiest way to make a turkey burger is to simply shape your ground turkey into burger patties. However, these burgers can be somewhat bland and dry. There are many different recipes, such as this one, which make more flavorful and moist burgers. One pound of ground turkey makes four burgers.

1lb ground turkey (lean is best)
1/2 medium onion, chopped and lightly sautéed
1 egg
1/4-cup breadcrumbs or stuffing mix
2 Tbsp finely chopped celery, lightly sautéed

Start by sautéing the celery and onion until soft. This is an optional step, but it will make the onion and celery more flavorful. Now mix all of your ingredients together in a large bowl. Once your meat is mixed, shape into patties. Lightly spray your grill or pan with non-stick spray or brush with olive oil. Cook on medium/low until the inside of the burgers is no longer pink or the meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Cooking these burgers on a grill will give you the best smoky flavor. Once done, serve immediately on warmed or toasted burger buns. You can garnish your burger with normal burger toppings, or, for more Thanksgiving flavors, try cranberry relish.

Yam (Sweet Potato) Fries
Yam or sweet potato fries are a simple, yet deliciously fantastic way to enjoy your Thanksgiving sweet potatoes. These oven-fried sweet potatoes make perfectly crispy fries.

2 large sweet potatoes or yams, washed
1 Tbsp canola or peanut oil, plus one additional tsp
Salt and black pepper

Use the extra teaspoon of oil to lightly coat your baking sheets. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and put the baking sheet in the oven. Cut the sweet potatoes in half and cut each half into four to six pieces depending on how large you want your fries. Toss the fries in a bowl with the tablespoon of oil, season generously with salt and pepper, and toss one more time.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and spread the fries across the sheet so that they don't touch. Bake the fries for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Use a spatula to carefully turn the fries, making sure not to rip the crusty bottom part of the fries. Bake for another 15 minutes until the other side is golden brown and crusty as well. Carefully remove from baking sheet and serve hot.

Cranberry Spritzer
There are many variations on cranberry spritzers. They can be made with club soda, white wine, and even champagne. You should figure out how you like your drink, then experiment with the proportions in order to get the flavor you like. Cranberry spritzers offer a refreshing drink with a hint of Thanksgiving. If you or your guests are looking for something with a little kick, make your spritzers with white wine or champagne.

Non-Alcoholic Spritzer
4 cups cranberry juice
2 cups orange juice
1 cup club soda

Mix all ingredients together in a pitcher with ice and serve.

Spritzer with a Kick
4 cups cranberry juice, chilled
2 cups champagne, chilled
1 cup club soda, chilled

Mix all ingredients in a pitcher and serve. You can also add the club soda to each drink separately, so everyone can mix their drink just the way they like it.