New Recipes for Thanksgiving and Christmas

Updated on November 22, 2016
W.W. asks from Reston, VA
21 answers

Hello! I'd like to try something different or add something different to the menu for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas.

I'd like to be able to make it over the weekend to see what the response will be.

I don't mind traditional - turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries....

is there something other than green bean casserole? Yesterday, my husband's office had a green bean dish that he just raved over. Unfortunately, he doesn't know who made it, so I can't get the recipe. He is asking around the office to see who brought it and get the recipe.

There is a Cranberry relish that I am doing - mandarin oranges, pecans, cranberries.

do you do something special with your mashed potatoes? I add cream cheese and hidden valley ranch dressing (dry).

dinner rolls?

Recipes welcome! thanks for sharing!

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answers from Washington DC on

reading with relish!
i want to shake up my dull old traditional menu a little this year.
thanks for the question.
ETA i printed out diane B's whole post!
:) khairete

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

One dish I've added in the last couple of years is risotto.
Search Ina Garten, Easy Parmesan Risotto... it's cooked in the oven, so it's easy and delicious!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Jacksonville on

Corn casserole...a can of cream corn, can of regular corn, box of nifty cornbread mix, 8 oz sour cream...bake in a casserole approx 45 mins at 350. Yummy and easy!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I make this salsa as an appetizer, and serve it with tortilla chips. It has become a favorite. I never use pumpkin seed oil because, well, I rarely find it. Instead I use either a good olive oil or a walnut oil.

Also, I make a salad with Israeli couscous (the larger, pearl couscous), fresh baby spinach, mandarin orange segments, dried cranberries, shelled cooked edamame, chopped walnuts, and a vinaigrette made with olive oil, a little red wine vinegar, and pomegranate juice. The colors are so bright and festive, and it's nice to have something fresh amid all the gravies, baked dishes and pies. Don't put the dressing on until the last minute, or serve on the side.

A quick and easy dessert, when everyone has had so much pie and just needs a little sweet touch: melt a combination of 60% and 72% cacao (I use about 4 of the 4 oz Ghiradelli bars). Place about a teaspoon of the melted chocolate on parchment paper on a cookie sheet, and swirl it with the back of a spoon so it's a very thin, flat disc, about an inch and a half to two inches across. Sprinkle with chopped dried cranberries and chopped pistachio nuts, and just a touch of coarse or Kosher salt. Chill until firm.

I also add cream cheese to our mashed potatoes. I boil Yukon gold potatoes, mash them roughly (my favorite mashing tool is an avocado masher - works much better than a potato masher, and potatoes should never be whipped in a mixer), add a block of cream cheese, a stick of butter, and just enough cream to make it the consistency that we like. Then I put it into an oven-safe baking dish. I do this the day before, or even 2 or 3 days before. While the turkey is baking, I remove the mashed potatoes from the fridge so they start coming up to room temp, then while the turkey is resting, I bake them until they're slightly golden on top and heated throughout.

Quick dessert idea: make your favorite chocolate brownies (scratch, box mix, whatever). While they're cooking, unwrap a bag of York Peppermint Patties (in this case, it's best to use the brand name, and I use the ones that are about the size of a half dollar coin). When the brownies are just done, cover them with unwrapped peppermint patties, closely, like shingles on a roof. Return to the oven for about 2 minutes, until the patties begin to soften. You don't want them to melt and liquefy - they should just begin to look like they're glistening and soft and spreadable. Quickly remove from the oven and use a spatula or knife to spread the melted chocolate and peppermint filling over the top of the brownies, like frosting. Sprinkle with finely and coarsely crushed red and white peppermint candy canes. Cool and cut into squares.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Happy Thanksgiving W. W.!

Here are some of the recipes that we use for Thanksgiving. We don't do the usual mashed potatoes. Instead, we use that Pecan Toped Sweet Potatoes and the Crusty Potatoes, which are very tasty and easy. We also do a Cranberry Mold, which is a crowd pleaser.

I hope you have a great holiday, and have lots of good food!


4 pounds sweet potatoes or yams, cooked and peeled
3 eggs
¾ cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoon salt and cinnamon
1 cup pecan halves
About 1 cup orange juice

Mash sweet potatoes; beat in eggs, ½ cup of brown sugar, and half of the melted butter, salt and cinnamon. If potatoes seem dry, beat in orange juice until soft and fluffy. Put in casserole; refrigerate at this point if you are preparing ahead of time.

Before baking, arrange pecan halves on top, sprinkle with remaining brown sugar and drizzle remaining melted butter. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.


Combine 1 ¼ cups sugar and ½ orange, seeded and cut in quarters (leaving the peel on), in the bowl of food processor. Process to chop coarsely.

Add 3 cups raw or frozen cranberries and chop.

Soften 2 packages unflavored gelatin in 1 cup cold water. Bring to a boil in microwave.

Pour boiling gelatin mixture through the feed tube of the food processor with machine running.

Pour into a 4 cup ring mold and chill until firm.

Turn onto tray lined with greens.


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt 1/3 cup butter in jelly roll pan.

Add 3-4 large potatoes pared, cut crosswise in 1 inch slices.

Mix together:

¾ cup crushed corn flakes
1 ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon paprika

Sprinkle over potatoes.

Bake ½ hour.

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answers from Springfield on

we have a potato casserole thats better than mashed potatoes
my greenbean casserole does not contain a soup mix, but rather cheddar cheese and sour cream. its been requested 3 years in a row over the cambles one with the soup in it.
my sister in law makes a delicious corn casserole and my aunt brings a sweet carrot casserole if you don't want beans.
i am sure pinterest could help you in finding new recipes to try!
if you want any of the recipes i mentioned, just send me a pm and i will link you the ones i have
forgot to add that i have the most requested dinner roll recipe. i have to make it every year, theres no comparison to it. (and added bonus its a refrigerator recipe that allows for make ahead dough and refrigerate up to 7 days prior to baking)

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answers from Portland on

I make a derivative of this:

I use egg noodles instead. And I generally use chicken I've roasted earlier in the week-- this is a 'leftovers' soup for us. Leftover juices in the pan from roasting, (it's been cooled, easy to remove the fat), a can of broth, big handful of egg noodles...) I love the lemon in this. It adds a ton of flavor. I'm giving you a bona-fide recipe since mine is more 'pull out what we've got in the fridge and make it work for me', without exact measurements. The egg noodles really hold the sauce (which is what happens if you add more noodles/less liquid)... delish!

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answers from Atlanta on

My personal 'it's not Thanksgiving without this" dish is stuffed acorn or buttercup squash. I started making it many years ago when I attended a friend's Thanksgiving with a theme of foods from the Americas. I cut several winter squash in half, put them upside down on a cookie sheet and cook in a 350 degree oven for about a half hour, until the flesh yields to a fork poke. Turn right side up so they settle nicely. I make a mixed brown rice and W. rice stuffing, seasoned with sautéed chopped onion, celery, garlic, chopped fresh sage, sunflower seeds, and salt. First I saute the onion, then add the celery, etc, and then put in the rinsed rices to saute briefly. After that, I add the appropriate amount of water (1 1/2 cup water per 1 cup brown rice, 4x water per 1 unit W. rice), bring to a boil, and then simmer for 45 minutes. Once the stuffing is all cooked, fill the squash cavities with the stuffing and reheat in the oven when it's close to dinner time. One half squash can serve up to 4 people, depending on how you slice them. It looks really pretty and is quite healthy and tasty.

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answers from Santa Fe on

I had cranberry relish one year that also had pomagranite seeds was sooo yummy! That might be fun to add to your recipe.

We once made a super spicy, garlicky greenbean dish. Saute them in lots of fresh chopped garlic, lots of red pepper flakes, salt and some olive oil until slightly crispy. One time a friend made homemade fresh basil pesto and mixed this with her green beans...with a little grated parmesan on top. It was a huge hit with everyone.

Yum...ok, now I'm hungry.

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answers from Houston on

I started cooking a different dinner for Christmas after my mom died. Christmas was her favor holiday and it was so damn hard. So, I have a new tradition and my family loves it.

Beef tenderloin with mushroom rague.
Rub Dijon mustard over the meat with salt and pepper.
Rub Herb de Provoce (sp) on the meat and sear
Cook in the oven until you reach the temp you want on your meat. We like medium rare.

Mushrooms, white, shitake, Portobello. Cut them up and sautee with shallots and garlic. I add Frangelica and heavy whipping cream. Reduce. Yummy. I serve with oven roasted potatoes or rice.

I put sour cream in my mash taters and lots of butter!!! =)

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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answers from New York on

I am going to try maple glazed bacon Brussels sprouts this year. I had them recently at a restaurant and googled a similar recipe. OMG - so good. Try Googling it.

I also make asparagus (I grill it if the weather is ok with olive oil and a heavy sprinkle of garlic powder and salt. Yum! You can make it on the oven or steam them too.

I've done roasted veggies (carrots, butternut squash, parsnips, asparagus turnips) and that went over well. Just a ton of cutting!

And I always make mashed sweet potatoes. Cook them whole and remove skins. Mash with lots of butter, heavy cream (it's Thanksgiving), cinnamon and salt. Put them in a shallow pan and then put a layer of mini marshmallows on top and put under the broiler until browned. It's everyone's favorite!!

Happy Turkey Day!!

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answers from Norfolk on

While many people do variations of sweet potatoes - we find them to be a bit on the heavy side especially with everything else on the table.
We like doing butternut squash instead.
Peel it, slice it, remove the seeds, cube it up, par boil it till tender (can be done in the microwave), then drain it, mash/puree it, add butter, a little brown sugar, some nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste - and you're done.
Our neighbors like spaghetti squash with their holiday meals.

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answers from New York on

We get decedent (ha!) and steam the green beans (leave some snap! no one wants mushy green beans) & then toss them in just a bit of the bacon grease, from the wee bit or not so wee bit of bacon we crumble over top. Lightly salt, can't forget it, you'll be tempted cuz of the bacon grease but add a sprinkle, toss & set them down & watch them get devoured & then even picked up with fingers by all at the end of the meal, you know once everyone is 'stuffed' and sitting around chatting :)

So simple for the easy win.
*The kids can even snap bean ends for you!

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answers from Atlanta on

Okay so I'm intrigued by your husband's office green bean dish that everyone raved over. Since he doesn't seem successful in finding out who brought this dish, ask him if he can remember what was in it or maybe some of the ladies in his office might be able to help remember what it might have contained and then you could post those ingredients on Mamapedia and with all of the super cooks on this website I bet it might just ring a bell with one of the ladies. Happy Thanksgiving to all and God bless.

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answers from Louisville on
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answers from Pittsburgh on

We do both ham and turkey for Thanksgiving.

I offer appetizers like shrimp with cocktail sauce, tortilla chips with spinach and artichoke dip, mixed vegetables.

When we have a lot of people over? This year we are having about 25. I ask people to bring a side dish and I focus on the turkey and ham. Are you having people over or just your family? Maybe ask others to bring their favorite dish to mix it up a bit!

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answers from New York on

For dinner rolls, I love crescent rolls. Pillsbury makes great frozen ones. Or google "Hand Rolled Crescents". (Can't go wrong with bringing HRC to Thanksgiving.)

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answers from Chicago on

We make a corn casserole just like katie d.'s but we also use butter. We have a big family, so it's 2 cans cream corn, 2 cans corn (drain it mostly), 2 boxes jiffy corn muffin mix, 2 sticks melted butter and 16 oz sour cream. Mix it all up and bake at 350 an hour to an hour and a half. It's really good even if you don't like creamed corn because it all bakes in.

We make a no bake cheese cake using cream cheese, cool whip, and sugar. It's good with a graham crust, or mash up some nilla wafers or chocolate cookies and melted butter to make a crust. It's super easy and goes well with strawberry or raspberry on top and is even good plain.

We have a fruit tray with a yummy fruit dip made with marshmallow fluff, cream cheese, and a little bit of cream of tartar. You can add a little vanilla extract as well. It is especially good with strawberries and pineapple.

Something fun my grandma used to do was make a big bowl of rice pudding and put one almond in it. Whoever got the almond in their serving got a surprise gift.

Almost anything added to the meal is a great addition and something different. My brother brings little smokies in a crock pot with sauce, my cousin brings baked beans, another cousin brings a delicious taco salad casserole, etc. Everything gets gobbled up, lol!

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answers from Boston on

Oven roasted veggies are super easy and you can tailor it to what you want: broccoli, cauliflower, delicata squash, green beans, beets, carrots, fennel, Brussels sprouts, onions, etc. Go for an array of colors. Drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper, and an herb of choice (dill, thyme, rosemary, or something else - depends on which veggies you choose). Bake on a baking sheet at 350 for 30 minutes, gently tossing once. You can put them in a bowl or put in an open casserole or pie plate to keep warm. (You might roast the beets separately so they don't "bleed" over everything else, and just mix them in at the last minute.)

I make a butternut squash puree with chunks of squash cooked in 1/4 inch of water with minced garlic until soft. Meanwhile saute chopped scallions (white part and some of the green) in a little butter for about 4 minutes until soft and even a little brown. Quantities don't matter much. You can also add bacon or turkey bacon - cooked until crisp. Drain the squash and dump the whole thing in a food processor and puree. Throw in some sour cream, puree another few seconds, put in a casserole dish. Optional: top with a little grated cheese.

I do twice-baked potatoes and I make them the day before. Bake potatoes as usual, set aside until cool enough to handle. Cut in half and then scoop out the insides leaving a "boat" with about 1/4 of potato attached to the skin so it holds together- I use a grapefruit spoon or a small melon baller. Put the potato innards in a flat bowl or pan and add butter (it will melt from the warmth of the potatoes), a little milk or sour cream, salt/pepper, and mash. Then add any embellishments you like - chopped cooked bacon, chopped scallions, snipped chives (I usually do some of each) and heap the mixture back into the potato skins. Sprinkle paprika on some or all if you like. I put them on a baking sheet and cover with foil or plastic wrap (I stick a few toothpicks in to keep the cover off the potatoes themselves, then refrigerate until it's time to reheat.

In New England, a lot of people do acorn or similar squash with a maple syrup glaze. The sweetness is a nice balance to the savory dishes that make up the rest of the meal.

I make a version of the Silver Palate cookbook stuffing with apples, celery, onions and a mix of bread colors/types. I skip the sausage it calls for and sometimes use turkey bacon if I'm not using it in another dish. I add cider for moisture and flavor. This is a great make-ahead dish too.

I don't do a lot of rolls since people fill up on so much bread in the stuffing - sometimes I do cornmeal batter rolls or a cranberry nut bread. But I don't think people dive into those much so they are breakfast for the next few days.

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answers from Atlanta on

if you like Brussels Sprouts? Bacon and Brussels Sprouts skewers

My boys love to help with this one!

I do sausage, onions and butternut squash instead of mashed potatoes.
Fry your sausage and onions, while frying, peel your butternut squash and steam until medium-soft, drain meat (sometimes I add ground beef with the sausage) and then combine together with brown sugar, butter and maple syrup.

I will admit this is a "heavy" dish. but it's delish!

I add walnuts or pecans to my stuffing along with chopped celery.

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answers from Washington DC on

We always have broccoli casserole, sweet potato casserole, macaroni and cheese, and hasbrown casserole added to your dish. I THINK I am going to do a corn recipe too that I saw on FB...but I'm not sure. We always have WAY too much as it is.

My kids just realized their aunt is doing the mashed potatoes this year instead of me. Mine are one of their favorite things- they actually picked those over lumpia last week! They keep saying she has a lot to live up to, but she raves on hers and we have never had it's her shot! Here is how I make mine...

However many potatoes I want - boiled, pealed, and tossed in the Kitchen Aid. For a 5# bag, I usually add in a stick of butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Then a splash of milk - just enough to combine everything. Then a container of sour cream. I let the mixer do it's thing so they are mostly smooth.

Sometimes I make them loaded, in which I would add a lot of shredded extra sharp cheddar (I always shred my own, I don't buy makes a big difference!), scallions (fresh cut), and bacon (I typically fry my own and add it in). Then bake it for a while to get a golden brown top.

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