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Bring some flair to your table this Thanksgiving

Features Writer
Christine Illes

Grilling a turkey, as opposed to baking it in an oven, is easy to do and frees up your dishes!
Grilling a turkey, as opposed to baking it in an oven, is easy to do and frees up your dishes!

We all know the typical Thanksgiving meal. The turkey is always the star of the table, while stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberry sauce are the supporting actors, and pumpkin pie ends the show. There is nothing wrong with this classic feast, but do you ever grow tired of having the same thing every year?

If you wish to abandon the traditional Thanksgiving dinner your family expects, here are some ideas provided by Good Housekeeping, Cooking Channel, All Recipes and Real Simple that allow you to still hold onto the turkey, but give it more of a dramatic flair.

Deep-Frying
Deep-frying is one of the best things you can do to your Thanksgiving turkey. It makes the turkey crisp on the outside and super juicy on the inside, making the flavor more intense than just putting it in the oven. Be aware, THIS CANNOT BE DONE IN YOUR HOME, as this has to be done in a turkey fryer. You’ll need three gallons of peanut oil, at least! For directions on how to fry, along with a recipe, visit http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Deep-Fried-Tu…il.aspx?evt19=1

Grilling
Ever thought about throwing your turkey on the grill? It’s easy to do, and it frees up your oven for other dishes! If it is cold outdoors, it may be a much more difficult process, but the end result is definitely worth it. All Recipes provides instructions on their website. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Grilled-Whole…il.aspx?evt19=1

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Stuff It
Why take up more room in the oven when you can just cook stuffing inside of the turkey? It’s simple, and there are many ways to get creative with it. One mouth-watering recipe comes from celebrity chef, Tyler Florence, which is a maple glazed turkey with sage, smoked bacon and cornbread stuffing. http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/ma…d-stuffing.html. Keep in mind, stuffing may produce bacteria if it is not cooked to at least 160 degrees. You may have to remove it and cook it separately for a longer time if it has not reached the correct temperature. You don’t want any of your guests, or yourself, getting sick!

Throw in Some Fruit
Cooking your turkey with fruit is bound to give it a fresh, tangy flavor, different from a traditional roasted turkey. There are many you can find online. One recipe provided by Good Housekeeping is sage-orange turkey and white wine gravy, which is seasoned with a delicious herb mixture and cooked with orange peels under the skin of the turkey.
http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipefind…-recipe-ghk1112

Turducken

It’s not a turkey, duck or chicken, but all three in one! A turducken is a turkey stuffed with a duck, which is stuffed with a chicken. It’s bizarre, and may be complicated to make if you’re not an expert in the kitchen. However, it is bound to surprise some of your guests when you explain what it is, and they’ll be impressed by your cooking skills! http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Turducken/Detail.aspx?evt19=1

Show-stopping side dishes

Mix it up and try spiced pumpkin soup, leaving your guests wanting more.
Mix it up and try spiced pumpkin soup, leaving your guests wanting more.


Spiced Pumpkin Soup

This soup was made for fall. Rich with pumpkin and spices like ginger and cumin, it will leave your guests grabbing multiple bowls, all thanks to Good Housekeeping. http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipefind…-recipe-ghk1112

Bourbon-Cranberry Compote

Adding bourbon will completely transform that frozen bag of cranberries into something delectable. With only four ingredients, this recipe from Real Simple is easy, but is enough to really change up your cranberries. http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/bro…anberry-compote

Kale Salad with Glazed Onions and Cheddar
Healthy, delicious, and also colorful! Kale is a leafy green that’s better than lettuce, and with glazed onions and pine nuts, this healthy choice is sure to be a hit. http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipefind…-recipe-ghk1112

Red, White and Blue Mashed Potatoes
A mouth-watering side with patriotic colors, these potatoes are definitely a change from traditional ones. From celebrity chef Sunny Anderson, these potatoes are mashed with the skin on, along with bacon and Gorgonzola cheese. http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/su…d-potatoes.html

Green Beans with Bacon Vinaigrette
This simple recipe turns those boring green beans into something savory. These green beans will surprise you with their flavor after being tossed in a vinaigrette made from only two tablespoons of bacon drippings, shallots, vinegar, mustard, oil, salt and pepper. http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/bro…con-vinaigrette

There are plenty more of Thanksgiving recipes out there! All you have to do is a Google search, and lots of recipe investigation. Read reviews to see what others have thought of the dish. Thanksgiving could not be the same without a great meal. Happy cooking to all!