Unique Thanksgiving Dishes

This Turkey Day, take a walk down the unbeaten path of holiday food. Your guests, or hosts, have probably had enough mashed potatoes and gravy in their lifetimes. Spice things up and make this holiday one to remember. Here are three very different side dishes that will be sure to surprise and delight everyone at your Thanksgiving gathering.

Thanksgiving Side DishStuffing Muffins

Everyone loves stuffing, but this side dish takes a unique spin on the way it’s made and served. This year, add sweet and savory flavors into the mix, like tart fuji apples and succulent bacon. Then, try baking your stuffing mix in muffin tins and serving like biscuits. This Better Homes & Gardens recipe makes 12 servings.


  • 9 cups bread cubes (12 slices bread)
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 9 slices bacon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ cups coarsely chopped red onions
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 2 large Granny Smith or fuji apples, peeled (if desired), cored, and coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (6 cloves)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Small fresh sage leaves (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Spread bread cubes in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until cubes are dry, stirring twice; cool. (Cubes will continue to dry and crisp as they cool.) Or let bread cubes stand, loosely covered, at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with cooking spray; set aside.
  • In an extra large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels; crumble bacon. Drain fat, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet.
  • Add butter to skillet. Add onions, celery, and herbs; cook over medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add apples and garlic; cook and stir for 2 to 4 minutes or until apple is just softened. Transfer to an extra large bowl.
  • Add bread cubes, crumbled bacon, and pepper to vegetable mixture; toss gently to combine. Add broth and toss until moistened.
  • Spoon about 2/3 cup stuffing into each prepared muffin cup; press to pack tightly. If desired, top each cup with a fresh sage leaf. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until stuffing is hot and tops are light brown. Cool about 10 minutes. Carefully remove from pans; serve warm.

Related Read: Turkey Tips: How to Cook the Best Turkey This Thanksgiving

Chipotle Coca Cola Sweet PotatoesHoliday Meals

Want to combine a traditional and nostalgic dish with a spicy new flair? Try these out-of-the-box sweet potatoes that are also really easy to prepare. It’s a win-win! This dish from Alejandra Ramos serves 8-10 people.


  • 6 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups Coca-Cola
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce + 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the same can
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces.
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Scrub sweet potatoes and slice into 1-inch thick slices (no need to peel). Arrange in a baking dish or roasting pan with at least 2” sides.
  • In a blender, combine Coca-cola, garlic, chipotle peppers, and adobo sauce. Puree until smooth for 1 minute, then pour over sweet potatoes. Season generously with kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Top off with pats of butter, then cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil, then bake an additional 20 minutes, or until tender. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper, as desired. Serve as-is or with one of the suggested topping ideas described in the post above!

Truffled Mac & CheeseHoliday Sides

Mac and cheese is always a crowd pleaser, but this dish is much different than your run-of-the-mill boxed Kraft stuff. It’s elevated with truffle butter and mushrooms. We know you’ll be pleased by this dish from the Barefoot Contessa herself! Makes 6-8 servings.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Good olive oil
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced 1/2-inch
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced 1/2-inch
  • 3 tablespoons cream sherry
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound pasta such as cavatappi
  • 3 ounces white truffle butter, such as D’Artagnan
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart whole milk, scalded
  • 12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 1/2 to 3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh white breadcrumbs


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Heat the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan, add the mushrooms, and cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until they are tender. Add the sherry and continue to saute for a few more minutes, until the sherry is absorbed. Set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add the pasta and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until al dente. Drain well.
  • Meanwhile, melt the truffle butter in a large (4-quart) saucepan and whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Slowly whisk in the hot milk and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the white sauce is thickened and creamy. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, the pepper, and nutmeg.
  • Combine the pasta, sauce, and mushrooms in a large bowl and pour them into a 10 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish.
  • Place the garlic and parsley in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until they’re minced. Add the breadcrumbs and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the crumbs over the pasta and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the crumbs are golden brown. Serve hot.

Do you have your Thanksgiving meal already planned out? If you’re like most of us and need a little bit of help, order your Thanksgiving turkey or entire holiday meal from McGonigle’s Market online. It takes the worry out of the holidays.

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