Operation Turkey Day

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Hey guys, it's your friend Maggie here. Whether your Thanksgiving is traditional or, like me, you have something more resembling a Friendsgiving, it's time to start dreaming about those mounds of food and the excellent company that comes with it. However, it is easy to get overwhelmed with all the recipes on the web for planning a full Thanksgiving menu. 

That's where I come in. Even if your kitchen is usually dominated by your parents or grandparents, it's time to jump in and learn the ropes because soon enough, you'll be the one pulling off this masterpiece of a holiday. Thanksgiving is a labor of love, so go find yourself an apron, get out your grocery list, and prepare to find some amazing recipes for this once-a-year meal. 

And don't forget to put on your eating pants!

The Bird

                                                                 Photo courtesy of The Food Network

                                                                 Photo courtesy of The Food Network

The classic turkey can be upgraded with Alton Brown's Roasted Turkey recipe found here . One tip from yours truly who used this recipe last year is to try cooking the turkey with the breast-side facing down. You can flip it over to serve or to brown the skin for the last few minutes in the oven, but cooking it face-down lets all the juices settle in the white meat that most people go for. 

Sides

                                                                    Photo Courtesy of Reductress, issue 1.1

                                                                    Photo Courtesy of Reductress, issue 1.1

For some people, Thanksgiving is all about turkey or pumpkin pie, but here at Choctawk, we know that the feast is really found in the sides. Cranberry sauce, stuffing, and mashed potatoes are all delicious in their own right...but the same old recipes can get a little dull when they come out year after year. So, here's a list of all your old favorites with a twist. Pick one or pick all, but I can promise you won't regret the change and neither will your family. 

Best Gravy Ever

                                                                     Photo courtesy of Taste of Home

                                                                     Photo courtesy of Taste of Home

Desserts

You can't go wrong with desserts, right? Wrong. After such an amazing meal, you want to end on a high note so your family will fill social media with tweets and facebook posts galore about your gorgeous desserts that stun and amaze (despite the food coma everybody is in). While these may seem complicated or unusual, they have the visual appeal and delicious taste that is unmatched by anything you could buy at the store.

Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti

                                                                      Photo courtesy of the CPR website

                                                                      Photo courtesy of the CPR website

                                                          Photo courtesy of Food Wishes on Youtube

                                                          Photo courtesy of Food Wishes on Youtube

Non-Alcoholic Drinks

After finishing a massive meal, all anybody wants is a hot drink in hand and a cozy sofa to curl up on. While I can't give you a sofa, I can provide three killer recipes that require minimal ingredients and effort, but look gorgeous in the end.

Hot Apple Cider

Helpful Tips

Here is where we reach the end of our quest for new recipes. Are you hungry yet? As you may have noticed, each of these recipes puts a twist on a classic recipe to breathe new life into it and give your tastebuds something to talk about. Cooking and baking, especially done with family, can be one of the most fun, rewarding experiences of the holidays and it comes with a solid appreciation of the food because of the effort you spent on it.

I know that we all have our own health problems and dietary needs, so to help you out, here are links to lists of Thanksgiving foods that are: Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten-Free. And here is a list of seventeen charts that will save your life when it comes to cooking for this holiday.

Finally, have courage, don't be afraid to experiment in the kitchen, eat a ton of food, and don't forget to be thankful. 

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