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Recipes to Mix Up Your Thanksgiving

I’ve always been a big food person. In the days before COVID-19, going out and trying new restaurants was my favorite thing to do. Finding new and inventive recipes to make at home was a close second. As you can probably imagine, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and over the years I’ve found a lot of recipes that put twists on old favorite Thanksgiving dishes. Some of my favorites are below. 

Mashed Potatoes: Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Goat cheese is one of my favorite cheeses. Mixed with mashed potatoes it makes a surprisingly delicious Thanksgiving dish and is one of my favorites of all time. If you’re looking for a new flavor dimension to take your mashed potatoes to, I recommend checking out this recipe. 

Salad: Autumn Tossed Salad

This salad is a Thanksgiving dish that is a little on the lighter side, which can be a nice relief during Thanksgiving. It takes a more autumnal twist to the typical side salad, with ingredients like apples and pears. It’s incredibly delicious, for those who tend to enjoy salad and those who don’t alike. I would definitely recommend adding it to your Thanksgiving table if you’re looking for something new and different! 

Veggies: Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I’m going to be honest, I’ve never been the biggest fan of veggies. And normally during Thanksgiving, I only go with a small serving. But with that being said, these brussel sprouts always get piled onto my plate. There’s something about them that makes them not taste like veggies, and instead like crispy, smokey deliciousness. If you’re as hesitant as I was about brussel sprouts, try this recipe and I guarantee you’ll change your mind. 

Mac and Cheese: Martha Stewart’s Family Mac and Cheese

At first glance, this mac and cheese recipe doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary, but looking closer at the ingredients you see two strange choices: tomato paste and sour cream, for serving. This mac and cheese recipe is for all the kids that knew they were right when they put ketchup on their mac and cheese. While others might be hesitant to try it out, as soon as they take a bite they’ll realize just how delicious it is. As a kid, this was one of my favorite mac and cheese recipes, and as an adult, it makes a great addition to a Thanksgiving spread.

Turkey: The Turducken

A friend of mine has a Thanksgiving tradition of making a Turducken, or a chicken wrapped in a duck wrapped in a turkey; a recipe of his own invention that he has perfected over the years. But beware, this dish is only for the most advanced of chefs, but if you can pull it off, it is definitely worth it. Keep scrolling for the full recipe. 


  • 1 deboned, large turkey

  • 2 chicken breasts, butterflied

  • 2 duck breasts, butterflied

  • 1 cup of salt

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1 gallon of water


  • 2 bags Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing Mix

  • 1 stick of butter

  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 lb. tube of sage pork sausage

  • 2 apples, chopped

  • 1 cup pecans, chopped

  • ½ cup of dried cranberries

  • Fresh sage leaves, chopped

  • Chicken stock or broth


  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Paprika

  • 1 stick room temperature butter

  • Long wooden skewers

  • Baking string

  • Baking thermometer




  1. To make the brine: Mix kosher salt and sugar with the water. Brine is ready when the mixture is completely dissolved. If the water is heated to quicken the process, make sure it is cooled to room temperature before placing meat in. Let the 3 birds sit in brine in the refrigerator overnight.



  1. To make the stuffing: In a large bowl, dump the two bags of stuffing mix. Set aside for later.

  2. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter.

  3. Add the chopped celery & onion – sauté until they start to soften.

  4. Add the tube of sage sausage – break it up and brown it.

  5. Add the chopped apples, pecans, cranberries and sage leaves – continue to sauté for 5 minutes.

  6. Dump the contents of the sauté pan into the large bowl.

  7. Moisten with some chicken stock, but it should not be mushy. Set aside for later.

Turducken Prep

  1. Remove brine from refrigerator and put in sink near large cutting board.

  2. Set bowl of stuffing near cutting board along with salt, pepper, paprika, butter and baking sticks.

  3. Find a friend.


  1. To make turducken: Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Lay turkey flat, skin side down, on cutting board and season generously with salt and pepper. Cover the inside with ¼ inch thick with stuffing.

  3. Place 2 open butterflied duck breasts on top of stuffing, season and layer ¼ inch with stuffing.

  4. Place 2 open butterflied chicken breasts on top of stuffing, season and layer ¼ inch with stuffing.

  5. Close the turducken with a friend: one person holds turkey closed, the other inserting the skewers ½ from the edges of both sides. 

  6. Use baking string to thread around the skewers and tighten shut, continuing down to legs.

  7. Generously rub the butter on turkey skin, dust with paprika, season with salt and pepper.

  8. Place turducken in roaster.

  9. Insert cooking thermometer into the center – unless you’re using an electric one – periodically.

  10. Roast turducken at 500 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 225 degrees and roast for about 3 hours, until internal temperature gets to 155 degrees. If it does not within 2 hours and 40 minutes, turn up to 350 until it does and outside is golden brown.

Francesca DeGiorgio

Columbia Barnard '24

Francesca (she/her) is a sophomore at Barnard College majoring in English and minoring in History. She's originally from Los Angeles, California. She loves reading, writing, astrology, and watching way too much tv.
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