Thanksgiving a la carte

Tim Mitchellat home with MangiaLeave a Comment

Thanksgiving is a holiday rich with traditions, steeped in family recipes, and full of memories of laugher at the kids' table and pulling the 'wishbone' apart with cousins. But as food trends and creative chefs continue to bring an innovative twist to the the restaurant and catering world, some of those unique ideas are making their way to our dining room tables - and Thanksgiving is no exception. Without leaving behind family traditions and incorporating grandma's favorite recipes, Thanksgiving gatherings can be a perfect blend of creativity and comfort, of everyone's favorite new choices and a touch of nostalgia. As you plan your holiday menu this year, we've gathered some of the newest ideas as well as a few classics, for a Thanksgiving feast everyone will remember.

For starters, check out the Warm Kale and Asiago Dip from Southern Living.

To choose a few side dishes (we couldn't pick just one to share!), head to the Food Network for 100 yummy, classic + creative choices, like Brussel sprouts with bacon (Yes, please!)

Can you keep sweet potatoes tasty but lighten them up a bit? Absolutely, with this Roasted Sweet Potato Salad from Whole Foods.

For the gluten-free crowd, you don't have to give up bread altogether. Try this fantastic gluten-free cornbread from Jamie Oliver. (If you don't tell anyone it's gluten-free, they won't know).

For advice on making the perfect turkey, we love Bon Appetit's Classic recipe.

Not a turkey fan at all? Try Emeril's Orange and Cumin Pork Loin (Bonus: it will prep and cook in less than two hours, if you don't have all day for the turkey).

What Thanksgiving meal would be complete without dessert? This Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe from the Food Network combines all of our favorite flavors for a rich finish to the meal.

We didn't think it was possible to up the ante on pumpkin pie, until the s'more did.

There really is no limit to the possibilities for your Thanksgiving menu. Combining beloved favorites with new ideas, lightening up the heavier recipes or indulging in once-a-year dessert (with seconds), Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to experiment and have fun. With friends and family around the table, it's hard to go wrong!

What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions? We'd love to hear! Happy Thanksgiving!

*And remember, as you plan the rest of your holiday season parties, keep Mangia in mind for all of your catering needs!

Need a simple idea for a personal touch to the season? Make Peppermint Bark or White Chocolate Reindeer Chow for your friends. These goodies are quick and easy, but delicious and wrap up beautifully for simple gifts.

Peppermint Bark

6 oz dark chocolate

12 oz white chocolate

3 tsp vegetable oil

1.5 cups crushed peppermint M&Ms (can substitute crushed candy canes)

Line the bottom and sides of an 9" x 9" square baking pan with non-stick aluminum foil.

Stir half white chocolate and 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a microwave safe bowl, and heat 30 seconds at a time until melted.

Spread melted chocolate out on the parchment paper.

Place baking pan in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.

Melt the dark chocolate and 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a microwave safe bowl.

Stir in 1/3 crushed candy pieces.

Spread dark chocolate in even layer over frozen white chocolate.

Place baking pan in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.

Repeat with another layer of white chocolate.

Immediately sprinkle the remaining crushed candy over the white chocolate layer.

Place in the freezer for about 20 minutes, or until the chocolate has set.

Remove the Peppermint Bark from the pan by lifting the edges of the aluminum foil.

Break into small pieces for serving, and enjoy!

White Chocolate Reindeer Chow

⅓ cup popping popcorn kernels or 1 bag white popcorn popped

9 oz White Chocolate (about 1¾ cups)

1 cup broken pretzel pieces

1¾ cups M&M's ( I used the holiday ones)

Green, red, and white sprinkles

Line a jelly roll pan with foil or parchment paper. Set aside.

Pop your popcorn in a popcorn maker or in the microwave if using microwaveable popcorn. Once the popcorn is done add it to a large bowl, removing all un-popped kernels. Add in the broken pretzels, and half of the M&M's.

Melt the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for 30-second intervals, stirring well after each interval. Drizzle the melted chocolate into the popcorn bowl, stir until everything starts to look coated, then add the M&Ms. As soon as everything is coated sprinkle on sprinkles so that they stick.

Spread the popcorn mix onto the prepared pan and let sit until hardened and cooled.

Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.

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