Think outside the turkey this Thanksgiving

Turkeys are unpredictable and hams are overrated. Nobody has time for that. Preparing a Thanksgiving meal is stressful enough as it is. Break free from those mainstream dishes to which everyone has become accustomed. Who knows all the things you could make with that extra space in the oven?

10-minute Garlic Monkey Bread

Ingredients:

1 16 oz. tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a 12-cup standard muffin tin or coat with nonstick spray.
2. Cut each of the eight biscuits into eighths, making 64 pieces.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together butter, Parmesan, garlic, oregano, basil, parsley and salt; reserving two tablespoons to be set aside.

4. Stir in biscuit pieces and gently toss to combine.
5. Drop five to six pieces into each muffin cup. Using your fingertips, gently press the last piece in the center.
6. Place into oven and bake until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.
7. Serve immediately, after brushing top with remaining butter mixture.

Pumpkin Cornbread

Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal

1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbsp. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons molasses
1/3 cup milk

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
3. Beat the eggs well and add pumpkin puree, oil, molasses and milk one by one, whisking well each time.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
5. Pour the complete mixture into the pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.
6. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan and then remove it.

Kale and Sweet Potato Noodle Salad

Ingredients:

For the salad:

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large sweet potato, peeled and julienne sliced

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3 packed cups chopped kale
For the dressing:
1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 large clove garlic
1/2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the chickpeas:

1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed, patted dry

1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper and salt and whisk together.

3. Add in the chickpeas, toss to coat, and then drizzle with the olive oil. Toss again to mix.

4. Place the chickpeas out evenly over a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and bake 30-35 minutes or until crisp, shaking the pan halfway through.
5. Twenty minutes into baking the chickpeas, place a large skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil. Once oil heats, add in the sliced sweet potato and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cover and cook, uncovering occasionally to toss, for 5-7 minutes or until sweet potatoes are cooked through.

6. Set aside in a large bowl when done.
7. While the sweet potatoes cook, place all of the ingredients for the dressing into a high speed blender and pulse until creamy. Taste and adjust; set aside.
8. When sweet potatoes are done, wipe the skillet clean. Coat with cooking spray and add the kale. Sautee for 3 minutes or until the kale is warmed up and slightly wilted, seasoning lightly with pepper and then add to the large bowl with the sweet potatoes.
9. When the chickpeas are done roasting, prepare the salad. Pour the Caesar dressing over the kale and sweet potatoes and toss to combine thoroughly.

10. Portion onto four plates and top with spiced chickpeas. Serve immediately.

French Bread Stuffing with Swiss Chard and Caramelized Red Onions

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 large red onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 bunch Swiss chard (about 1 pound), stems removed, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
1 8 oz. stale baguette, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 large egg, beaten
2 oz. shredded Fontina or Italian blend cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
Cooking spray

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over low heat.  Add onions and a pinch of salt. Cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally at first and more frequently as onions begin to brown.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add chard and cook 5 minutes. Remove and rinse with cold water. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
4. Place bread cubes in large bowl. Add egg; toss to coat. Stir in onions, chard, cheese, salt and pepper, and broth.

5. Transfer to 3-quart baking dish that’s been coated in cooking spray.

6. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove cover, spray top with oil or cooking spray, and bake 15-20 minutes more until stuffing is golden brown.

Autumn Root Vegetable Gratin

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3/4 lb. butternut squash
3/4 lb. white potatoes
1/2 lb. parsnips
Salt and pepper
1/4 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup grated Gruyère
1 cup grated Pecorino
Directions:

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Put the milk in a small, heavy saucepan and peel and smash one of the garlic cloves. Add it to the milk and then heat the milk over low heat until it just starts to bubble at the edges. Remove from the heat, add the nutmeg and let steep while you continue with the recipe.

3. Peel the second garlic clove, cut it in half and rub the cut side around the inside of a 6-cup baking dish no more than two inches deep. Rub 1 tbsp. of the oil all over the inside of the dish.
4. Peel the squash, potatoes and parsnips and cut them into very thin slices (1/8-inch thick).

5. Layer the vegetables into the baking dish, alternating between squash, potato and parsnip, and fanning them into overlapping circles.

6. Season generously with salt and pepper and sprinkle a third of the cheese and a third of the chopped herbs over the slices. Repeat twice, making the top layer as neat and tidy as you can.

7. Remove the garlic clove from the hot milk and pour the milk evenly over the vegetables.

8. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the top of the gratin and bake for about 50 minutes, until the top is browned and bubbly and the vegetables yield easily poked with a sharp knife.

9. Let the gratin cool for at least five minutes before serving.

Roasted Fall Vegetable and Ricotta Pizza

Ingredients:

Olive oil, for baking sheet and drizzling
Flour, for dusting surface
1 lb. store-bought pizza dough, fresh, or thawed if frozen
8 oz. part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into pieces
6 red new potatoes, well-scrubbed and quartered
1/2 lb. medium red onions (about 2 or 3), peeled and quartered
1/2 lb. carrots (3 medium), diced

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves (optional)
Salt and ground pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Brush a large baking sheet (preferably rimless) with oil, or line with parchment paper, if desired.
2. On a lightly-floured surface, roll and stretch dough into a 12-by-16-inch oval (or as large as will fit on baking sheet); transfer to sheet.
3. Sprinkle dough with half the mozzarella. Scatter vegetables on top, and dollop with ricotta; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and rosemary.

4. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

5. Bake until bubbling and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve.

Apple Crisp Stuffed Baked Apples

Ingredients:

8 apples, preferred
4 tbsp. butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Crumble topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup oats
1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon
4 tbsp. butter, chilled and cut into cubes

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. First, prepare the crumble topping: In a medium bowl whisk together flour, oats, brown sugar, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.
3. Peel and chop four of the apples. Add chopped apples, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon to a medium sauce pan and sauté over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from heat.
4. Chop the tops off of the remaining 4 apples and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Discard the flesh.

5. Fill the hollowed apples with apple filling from the sauce pan. Top with a generous amount of crumble topping.
6. Place stuffed apples on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until crumble topping is crispy.

7. Serve warm and top with ice cream and caramel sauce if desired. Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate & Ginger Flatbreads

Ingredients:

6 oz. Dark Chocolate

16 Flatbread Crackers

1/4 cup crystallized ginger, minced
3 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
Sea Salt

Directions:
1. Break up the chocolate and melt it in a double boiler (set a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, being sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl). Stir it every so often until the chocolate is completely melted, approx. four minutes.

2. Lay crackers on a baking rack with parchment paper underneath. Coat the top of each flatbread with a generous layer of the melted chocolate then set them on the baking rack.
3. Sprinkle the chopped ginger and sesame seeds on top.

4. Finish them with a sprinkle of sea salt and put the tray in the fridge to set.

5. Let chill then enjoy.

Lindsay Lillig is the Managing Editor, email her at ljlillig@unews.com

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