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Easy Thanksgiving Recipes You'll Love From California Food Bloggers

Easy Thanksgiving Recipes You'll Love From California Food Bloggers

By California.com
November 16, 2020

A time for togetherness and gratitude, Thanksgiving is all about food and family—two of the most important things in life. The best part about the holiday isn’t Black Friday; it’s the priceless experience of sharing the table with your loved ones while consuming hearty, mouthwatering food. 

Turkey with cranberry sauce; mashed potatoes with gravy; a roasted vegetable side dish; a quintessential pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream—how could you resist?! As delicious as Thanksgiving meals are, they take a lot of time to perfect, and sometimes, we just don’t feel like dedicating that many hours to cooking food.

Whether you’re spending the holiday at home, at a friend’s house, or in a cozy cabin with your special someone, prepare these easy Thanksgiving recipes to switch things up this year.

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Healthy and delicious—my, oh my, we can't wait to try this green bean tomato sauté. Photo courtesy of Toriavey.

1. Green Bean Tomato Sauté

A green bean casserole is a typical Thanksgiving side dish, but a green bean tomato sauté is a healthier (but equally delicious) option. This easy Thanksgiving recipe is not only a lighter substitute, but also vegetarian (and vegan), gluten-free, affordable, and quick to throw together. Developed by Tori Avey, the easy Thanksgiving side dish is flavorful, satisfying, and further proof that food doesn’t need to be swimming in fat to be delicious.

Ingredients

2 pounds green beans

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 sweet onion, peeled and diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped (or 1 can diced tomatoes)

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons fresh minced oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon sugar 

Salt and pepper


Directions

1. Chop the green beans (if large) into 1 ½-inch pieces.

2. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium and add the diced onions.

3. Sauté for five minutes, or until the onions are translucent.

4. Add garlic and continue to sauté for a couple of minutes.

5. Pour in the green beans and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and oregano to the green bean mixture and stir well.

7. Add enough hot water to the pan to cover 80 percent of the green beans.

8. Mix in the sugar, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil for two minutes.

9. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Let the beans cook for 10 to 50 minutes, depending on how you like the texture.

10. Serve and enjoy with your loved ones. 

Indulge in a warm, flaky sweet potato biscuit in lieu of regular bread. This side dish truly is the best of both worlds.

2. Sweet Potato Biscuits

Biscuits are an easy Thanksgiving side dish and a fantastic accompaniment to traditional meals. Foodie Goes Healthy adapted the popular dish by adding a new twist—sweet potatoes, extra flavors, and pumpkin pie spice. These biscuits can even be enjoyed after Thanksgiving recipe is not only enjoyed on the table; they're perfect for preparing turkey sandwiches the day after.

Ingredients

1 medium-sized sweet potato (or ¾ cup leftover sweet potato puree)

1 ¾  cups white whole wheat flour, plus a sprinkle for the cutting surface

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, divided 

⅓ cup low-fat buttermilk

1 tablespoon orange juice 

½ teaspoon orange zest


Directions

1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

2. Pierce the sweet potato multiple times with a fork, then place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

3. Remove sweet potato, then turn the oven heat up to 425 degrees.

4. Once the potato is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh, mash with a fork, and set aside ¾ cup of mashed sweet potato in a medium-sized bowl.

5. Line the bottom of an 8- to 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Take one tablespoon of butter and grease the sides, then melt the remaining butter in a small bowl.

6. Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl.

7. Add six tablespoons of cold butter to the dry mixture, and mix until the dough looks like a coarse meal, with the largest pieces no bigger than the size of peas.

8. Add buttermilk, orange juice, and orange zest to the cooled mashed sweet potato. Then, combine with the dry ingredients—make sure not to overmix the dough; stir as little as possible.

9. Place the dough on a floured surface and shape into a flat, even disk. Then, cut out circles of dough.

10. Place the balls of dough into the prepared pan, and brush the tops of the uncooked biscuits with the melted butter.

11. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until slightly golden brown on the top and bottom.

12. Serve with butter, honey, and cinnamon.

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Easy Thanksgiving Recipes

This Thanksgiving, expand your horizons a bit and feast on the scrumptious chicken tetrazzini. Photo courtesy of Sippity Sup.

3. Chicken Tetrazzini 

Everyone has heard of turkey tetrazzini, a mid-century American dish that’s usually thought to be Italian due to its name. Sippity Sup’s Greg Henry changed up the easy Thanksgiving recipe to create a generously unfussy dish that’s designed to feed as many people as possible.

Ingredients

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ large onion, peeled and chopped

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

½ pound cremini mushrooms, quartered

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup whole milk

2 cups cooked chicken, diced 

5 ounces cheddar cheese, coarsely grated and divided

1 ½ ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated

½ pound dried spaghetti

½ cup frozen peas

½ cup fresh asparagus, chopped


Directions

1. Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Then, add the onion along with a pinch of salt and black pepper, and cook for five minutes (or until soft).

3. Add mushrooms and red bell peppers, and cook for eight minutes (or until the vegetables are soft).

4. Add the flour and the red pepper flakes, and cook for a few more minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

5. Pour in the chicken broth and milk, and stir until thickened. Add the chicken, half of the cheddar cheese, and Parmesan.

6. Stir until the cheeses are melted, then turn off the heat and set aside.

7. In a separate pot, boil salted water and cook the spaghetti until al dente (about eight minutes).

8. Drain the pasta and add it to the pot with sauce.

9. Add in the peas and asparagus; season with salt and pepper.

10. Pour the mixture into a baking dish and spread evenly.

11. Top the mixture with the remaining cheddar, and bake for 35 minutes (or until golden and bubbly).

This Thanksgiving, treat the family to a delicious dish of mini stuffed pumpkins. The fam will love you even more for this dish.

4. Stuffed Mini Pumpkins

There's no Thanksgiving dinner without a pumpkin-based dish; the most photogenic holiday meal is none other than stuffed mini pumpkins. While you pick the bigger ones for carving jack-o’-lanterns, use the smaller pumpkins for this easy Thanksgiving recipe created by Two Broads Abroad

Ingredients

8 mini pumpkins 

Cinnamon

Maple syrup

1 pound pork sausage 

1 large brown onion, chopped

6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 large shallots, chopped

½ stick of butter, divided

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped and divided

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped and divided

1 large sage leave, chopped and divided

2 large tart apples, cored and diced into small cubes

3 stalks celery, chopped

½ cup white wine

1 cup apple cider

Poultry seasoning

15-ounce package of bread stuffing

½ cup pine nuts, toasted

Salt and pepper

2 cups chicken stock

1 large egg, beaten


Directions

1. Cut off the tops of the pumpkin and scrape out the pulp.

2. Place them in a baking dish. Add a sliver of butter inside each pumpkin along with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup.

3. Pour 1 to 2 cups of water into the baking dish, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. (Add more water if it evaporates in the oven.)

4. Place a large sauté pan over high heat and cook the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces as it browns.

5. Add onions, garlic, and shallots. Stir in the butter and half of the chopped herbs, then cook for two minutes and lower heat to medium.

6. Pour in apples and celery, and cook for another four minutes (or until they soften).

7. Add in the wine and cider, and crank up the heat to high. Boil until the liquid is almost evaporated and give it a taste test. If it lacks a little taste, add a sprinkle of poultry seasoning.

8. Meanwhile, place the bread stuffing in a large bowl. Once the liquid of the sausage mixture has evaporated, pour it into the bowl with the stuffing.

9. Add toasted pine nuts and remaining fresh herbs, then season with salt and pepper. Pour in chicken broth and the beaten egg, and mix thoroughly.

11. Fill each pumpkin with the stuffing.

12. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes.


Easy Thanksgiving Desserts

Pumpkin spice + churros = heaven. Seriously, it's the perfect combination. Photo courtesy of Louisemellor.

5. Pumpkin Spice Churros

What happens when you combine Thanksgiving with carnival food? You get pumpkin spice churros. This delicious and simple Thanksgiving dessert contains all the best flavors of autumn. Louise Mellor is the mastermind behind this scrumptious treat; the culinary genius created this easy Thanksgiving recipe for the entire family to enjoy after the large feast.

Ingredients

1 cup water

⅓ cup unsalted butter

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup all-purpose unbleached white flour

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

3 large organic eggs

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

3–4 cups canola oil

½ cup organic granulated sugar

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice


Directions

1. Place water, butter, and salt in a pot and heat to a low boil.

2. Once everything is incorporated, add flour and pumpkin pie spice and stir until everything comes together and begins to roll into a ball.

3. Turn off the heat, and continue cooking and stirring for a few more minutes.

4. Remove from heat and let cool.

5. Once the mixture is cool enough to handle, stir in the eggs one at a time. Then, add the vanilla.

6. Pour the dough into a pastry bag with a medium star tip.

7. Heat canola oil in a large, heavy-bottom pot to 375 degrees.

8. As soon as the oil is hot enough, squeeze out three inches of the dough into the hot oil, cutting off each churro with a knife or your finger.

9. Once the oil bubbles begin to die down and the churros are golden, flip over to the other side and repeat with the remaining pieces, allowing each side to fry for about a minute.

10. Remove churros from the oil and place onto a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

11. Toss each churro in sugar and pumpkin spice until the surface is thoroughly coated.

12. Indulge in the dessert immediately.

Everyone will devour this divine pecan-crusted caramel pumpkin pie and demand another slice. Photo courtesy of Cooking on the Weekends.

6. Pecan-Crusted Caramel Pumpkin Pie

For a gluten-free Thanksgiving dessert, this pecan-crusted caramel pumpkin pie is the answer. Valentina Wein, the chef behind Cooking on the Weekends, created the delightfully smooth and rich treat that’s also simple to make.

Ingredients

2 ½ cups whole roasted salted pecans

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

¼ cup granulated sugar

Spiced caramel sauce 

1 cup pumpkin puree

½ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

⅛ teaspoon cinnamon

⅛ teaspoon ginger

1 tablespoon whole milk

½ teaspoon cornstarch

2 large eggs


Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Use a food processor to grind the pecans—make sure not to overmix, you only need them to be finely chopped.

3. Transfer the ground pecans to a medium bowl, and add in the melted butter and sugar.

4. Pour the mixture into a pie plate, and press it evenly into the bottom and sides of the plate.

5. Bake the crust for 15 minutes. The crust may lose its shape in the process, so make sure to use a large metal spatula to reshape the crust. Set aside.

6. Warm the spiced caramel sauce until it becomes pourable.

7. Mix the pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla, and spices together in a medium bowl.

8. In a separate small bowl, combine the milk and cornstarch, stirring until smooth.

9. Add the cornstarch and milk mixture along with the eggs to the pumpkin mixture, and stir until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

10. Combine the caramel sauce and the pumpkin mixture, and mix until smooth.

11. Pour the mixture into the prepared pecan crust, place on a baking sheet, and bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes (or until the filling is set).

12. Let the pie cool for at least two hours before serving.

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