a twist on a typical Thanksgiving

Every year, Thanksgiving is held at my house. There has only ever been one exception to this: November 1994. I was born the day before Thanksgiving that year, so my aunt took over the holiday since my mom had bigger problems (me, of course). This holiday has always been my absolute favorite—possibly because when I was younger, I always associated it with getting birthday presents. Nowadays, however, I associate it with spending time with my family. I was lucky to be born into such a close family. On my mom’s side (the side we see on Thanksgiving) every single family member lives right here in New Jersey, either at the shore or up in North Jersey where I live. Summer holidays are spent at the beach, and winter holidays are spent in the northern part of the state. The bottom line? My family spends a lot of time together.

But the best part about Thanksgiving (besides the family) is, of course, the food. However, not everyone is into putting a turkey in the oven for hours on end and then attempting to carve it. I’ll admit, I’m dreading having to figure this out when I eventually host my own Thanksgiving. That’s why I decided to make these turkey blue cheese sliders; you get the tradition of turkey without all of the added effort!


turkey blue cheese sliders with cranberry sauce topping


–       2 lbs ground turkey

–       ½ tsp salt

–       4-5 tbsp fresh blue cheese, crumbled

–       4 tbsp olive oil

–       10 slider buns

–       Fresh lettuce (optional)

For cranberry sauce:

–       1 c fresh cranberries

–       2 tbsp granulated sugar

–       ½ c water

–       1 tsp. orange zest

Combine turkey, salt, and blue cheese and form into patties. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Then, pulse cranberries in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Combine all cranberry sauce ingredients and let simmer on low for 20-30 minutes, until thickened. Then, heat olive oil in a grill pan and cook turkey patties on medium until fully cooked, about five minutes on each side (should reach an internal temperature of at least 165). Top slider buns with lettuce, patties, and cranberry topping. Tip: Once the turkey patties are cooked, toast the slider buns by grilling them with some butter in the grill pan for extra flavor!


stuffing-stuffed mushrooms 

My grandma makes the most delicious stuffing. There’s never any left by the end of dinner, but when I set out to create a leftover-Thanksgiving-dinner meal, I got the idea to use my grandma’s stuffing as the base for stuffed mushrooms. Although Thanksgiving hasn’t happened yet, it’s almost inevitable that there will be some food leftover. If you’re looking for something to do with all of that extra stuffing, give these mushrooms a try. If there’s no extra stuffing, don’t worry, you can make your own with this recipe. And if you’re really looking to spice things up, make these on Thanksgiving rather than after it.



–       1 c finely chopped sweet onion

–       2 celery stalks, peeled and finely chopped

–       2 tbsp olive oil

–       ½ c chicken stock

–       10 slices of white bread, crusts removed, broken into small pieces

–       12 stuffing mushrooms

–       2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan

–       Garlic powder to taste, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Rinse and hollow out mushrooms. Then, sauté celery and onion in olive oil over medium heat until softened, about four minutes. Add chicken stock and simmer for five minutes. Add bread and heat until bread soaks up all moisture. Stuff the mushrooms with stuffing, top each with a small amount of fresh parmesan and garlic powder, and bake for 12-15 minutes. Serve immediately.


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