Shake Up Thanksgiving This Year!

When I think about Thanksgiving, I picture the gathering of friends with armfuls of trays and dishes, surrounding a hot oven. An entire holiday centered around savory and sweet recipes to fill our stomachs–is there much more you could wish for in a holiday? I think not!

Instead of the traditional menu of roasted turkey and gravy, bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and pumpkin pie, I’m going to shake things up a bit and throw some extra thanks in the giving! Here is my 2017 Thanksgiving menu along with two of my favorite Gobble Day recipes.

New 2017 Menu:

  • Smoked Turkey with Gravy
  • Corn Muffin Stuffing with Sausage and Mushrooms
  • Black Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • (My new) Steamed then Sautéed Haricot Verts with Cipollini Onions and Gruyere Cheese
  • Sweet Potato Pot de Crème


Steamed then Sautéed Haricot Verts with Cipollini Onions and Gruyere Cheese 

We all love a little green bean casserole with our Thanksgiving dinner so I’ve come up with version 2.0! My new recipe: steamed then sautéed haricot verts, garnished with a creamy homemade mushroom sauce with gruyere cheese and topped with caramelized cipollini onions. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

Makes four servings

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced~ I prefer baby bella
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon thyme, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 ½ tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup grated gruyere
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound haricot verts, trimmed
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 8 cipollini onions


  1. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and cook until tender and caramelized.
  3. Add mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms start to caramelize.
  4. Add garlic and thyme then sauté until fragrant.
  5. Sprinkle with flour and stir for about 2 minutes.
  6. Add white wine to reduce and deglaze the pan.
  7. Add broth and cream then simmer until it thickens.
  8. Add cheese and let it melt, season with salt and pepper then remove from heat.
  9. Toast pumpkin seeds in a sauté pan until they are fragrant then let them cool.
  10. Bring a pot of water (with steamer) to a boil, add the haricot verts, and cook until they are al dente. Once cooked, place them in cold water.
  11. When ready to assemble, sauté the beans in a little EVOO (extra virgin olive oli) to rewarm them then place them on a plate. Top the beans with the mushroom sauce and garnish with the toasted pumpkin seeds.


Sweet Potato Pots de Crème

Pots de Crème is a French dessert traditionally made with chocolate that dates back to the 17th century. I figured, since sweet potato casserole is a timeless and traditional favorite served with Thanksgiving dinner, why not transform it into a spiced creamy dessert. After a little testing, here is my recipe, it’s even topped off with a delicious marshmallow merengue!

Step 1: Sweet Potato Custard

Makes six individual ramekins

  • 1 ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • ¾ cup sweet potato puree
  • 7 egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cream, milk, syrup, and sweet potato then stir.
  3. Bring to a simmer then remove from heat.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine egg yolks, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and salt. Very slowly, in a small stream, pour the sweet potato mixture into the egg mixture while whisking. Do not allow the eggs to curdle.
  5. Place six, four-ounce ramekins in a roasting pan. (Be sure the pan has high vertical sides.) Pour the sweet potato filling into each ramekin leaving half an inch space at the top. P
  6. Pour hot water into the roasting pan until the water reaches halfway up the ramekins then place the roasting pan on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until the custard has set.
  7. When the custard has set, it will still have a jiggle to it. Allow to cool at room temperature for 10 minutes then carefully remove the ramekins from the water bath.
  8. Place the custard-filled ramekins in the refrigerator and allow them to finish setting for at least four hours or overnight.

Step 2: Homemade Marshmallow Spread

If you choose not to take the time to make your own marshmallow spread, you can use Fluff found in your local grocery store, BUT it’s worth making from scratch (to increase the “yum” factor).


  • ¼ cup and 2 tablespoons of water
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup light corn syrup
  • 4 ounces egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 vanilla bean pod split and scraped


  1. Place the water, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan then warm over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 240°F on a candy thermometer, typically 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. While the sugar is heating, beat the egg whites in a cold bowl into soft peak so they’re ready at the same time as the sugar. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on medium until the egg whites are foamy. Increase the speed to high, and add in the cream of tartar and salt. Continue to mix until soft peaks form.
  3. Once the sugar mixtures reach 240°F, carefully remove them from the heat and let rest for about 20 seconds.
  4. With the mixer running on high, slowly stream the sugar mixture into the egg whites. Continue to mix for 7 to 8 minutes or until the outside of the mixing bowl returns to room temperature. Add in the vanilla; mix until medium-stiff peaks form. You can store in a jar in the refrigerator about 10 days.


Remove the pots de crème from the refrigerator, top with the marshmallow spread then brown using a torch or pacing under a broiler. Yum!


Happy Thanksgiving from our table to yours!