When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, there is a lot to look forward to. What’s better than a perfectly cooked turkey and a table full of delicious side dishes and desserts?
While a lot of people are sticklers for tradition, others like to mix things up a little from year to year, adding something new in with the staples everyone has come to expect. A fun twist on an old favorite can be just the thing to make this year’s meal extra memorable. If you’re feeling adventurous, or looking for a bit of inspiration, we’ve got you covered.
Here are 3 of our favorite Colorado-inspired takes on classic Thanksgiving dishes:
1) Green Chili Stuffing
- 2 cups finely chopped onions
- 2 cups finely chopped celery
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 (4 ounce) cans chopped Pueblo green chilies (including juice)
- 2 pickled jalapeno peppers, minced (about 1 tablespoon, to taste)
- 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- salt, to taste
- ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted lightly
- 1 lb homestyle white bread (cut into 1/2-inch cubes, toasted, and cooled)
- 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth (omit chicken broth if using to stuff a turkey)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (omit if using to stuff a turkey)
In a large skillet, cook the onion and celery in 8 T butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and light golden. Add the green chilies with the juice, the jalapenos, chili powder, thyme, oregano, cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Cook the mixture, stirring, for 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, add the pecans, toasted bread cubes, and salt and pepper to taste. Combine the stuffing gently but thoroughly.
Preheat oven to 325°F Spoon the stuffing into a buttered 3- to 4- quart casserole, drizzle it with the broth and dot the top with the additional 2 T butter. Bake the stuffing, covered, in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 30 minutes more.
Note: If you’ll be using this to stuff a turkey, let it cool completely before stuffing the turkey.
2) Colorado Style Peach Cobbler
- Pastry for 2 9 inch pie crusts
- 5 c. sliced fresh peaches (5 to 6 med.)
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 3 tbsp. tapioca
- 1/8 tsp. almond extract
- 1 tbsp. butter
Mix sugars, salt and tapioca. Pour over sliced fresh peaches and mix gently. Sprinkle mixture with almond extract. Line 9 inch pie pan with pastry. Pour in fresh peach mixture. Dot with butter. Cover with top crust. Seal edges by fluting, then prick top with fork. Top crust can be brushed with cold water and sprinkled with a small amount of sugar before putting pie in oven. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue to bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.
3) Colorado Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
- Crust (see Notes below):
- 2 cups finely crushed ginger snaps cookies
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- 6 Tablespoons (3/4 of a stick) butter or margarine, melted
- 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup granulated white sugar, divided use
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix) OR 1 cup cooked mashed pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. (300 degrees F. for a dark springform pan) and position the oven rack in the center of the oven.
For the Crust (see Notes below):
Mix ginger snap crumbs, pecans and butter; press onto bottom and 2 inches up side of 9-inch springform pan.
For the Cheesecake Filling:
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, combine cream cheese, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and the vanilla until well blended. On low speed, add eggs one at a time, mixing each time just until blended. Remove 1-1/2 cups of the plain batter and set aside.
To the remaining plain batter, add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Using a large spoon, stir to combine. Pour 1/2 of pumpkin batter over crust in springform pan. Spoon 1/2 of plain batter over pumpkin layer. Repeat until all batter is used. Using a long butter knife, gently swirl through all layers of cheesecake batter without disturbing crust to achieve a marbled effect.
Bake for 55 minutes or until center is almost set. Do not overbake. Use a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the crust. Cool completely on wire rack. Remove outer pan and refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, before serving.
Notes for Optional Pie Crust: If you don’t want to bother with a springform pan, purchase or make 2 small or one 10-inch oversize graham cracker or gingersnap pie crust shells. Skip the crust part of this recipe above and proceed to the fillings. Divide both fillings equally between the small pie crust shells or use same instructions for large crust and swirl. Bake at 325 degrees F for about 40 minutes for the small crusts and 45 to 50 minutes for the large.