A Contemporary Thanksgiving Dinner Menu That Retains Old Fashioned Elements

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

I love Thanksgiving.  It’s a wonderful time of year to just step back and think about the things in our lives that we should be thankful to have.

It’s also a good time for good memories and good food.  Traditional Thanksgiving recipes are usually pretty identifiable, and they are always something to cherish.

However, if you are feeling creative on your family holidays and want to consider some fresh ideas on some old fashioned favorites, here’s a Thanksgiving dinner menu that takes the proverbial cake, or pumpkin pie we might say.

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Plan:

Pumpkin Soup From a Crockpot
Cranberry Glazed Pork Chops
Squash Puff With Mandarin Oranges
Caramelized Onions on Cornmeal
Pecan Clouds With Hot, Sugar Free Cocoa or Hot Apple Cider

 

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Recipes:

Pumpkin Soup From a Crockpot

1-29 oz. can pumpkin pie filling
2-32 oz. chicken broth
1 Tablespoon corn starch
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and white pepper to taste
4 oz. heavy cream

Stir cornstarch into ½ cup of room-temperature chicken broth.  Whisk until dissolved.

Pour remaining chicken broth into slow cooker and blend with pumpkin pie filling.

Add broth / cornstarch mixture and rest of ingredients except for cream, and cook on low for 4 hours.

When ready to serve, add heavy cream.

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Cranberry Glazed Pork Chops

6 boneless, thin cut pork chops (Turkey cutlets work well too)
1 ½  Tablespoon olive oil
1-16 oz. can whole cranberry
¾ cup French salad dressing
4 teaspoon onion soup mix

Saute pork chops on both sides in oil in a large skillet for 10 minutes or until juices run clear.

Combine cranberry sauce, salad dressing, and soup mix in a microwaveable bowl.  Cover and microwave on high for about 2 minutes, until heated through.

Serve cranberry mixture over pork chops.

Squash Puff With Mandarin Oranges

2-10oz pkgs. Frozen cooked winter squash, thawed
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmet
1 egg, beaten
½ cup light cream
½ cup mandarin oranges
1 ½ cup mini marshmallows
¼ cup finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup honey

Mix the first 9 ingredients together and pour into a 3-quart casserole dish.

Bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with marshmallows.

Return to oven for an additional 10 minutes.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Caramelized Onions on Cornmeal

1 ½ cup cornmeal
Fine grain sea salt
4 cups yellow onions (about 3 medium onions), finely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup Parmesan cheese
3 cups water or vegetable broth (divided)

Preheat over to 375 degrees.

Butter and flour a 9 x 12 inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal with 1 ½ cup water and ½ teaspoon salt.  Stir and set aside.

To caramelize onions, heat a splash of olive oil in a large skillet with a pinch of salt.  Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally but more often as onions get increasingly brown.  Continue cooking until the onions turn deep brown in color.  Remove from skillet, and set aside.

Bring 1/1/2 cups water or broth to a boil in another medium sized saucepan, add the water and cornmeal mixture, and bring back to a boil, stirring until it is thicker than frosting, about five minutes.

Remove from heat, and stir in cheese and 2/3 of the onions.

Spoon mixture into the prepared pan, spreading evenly, and drizzle with approximately 3 Tablespoons olive oil.

Bake about 50 minutes or until bottom is golden and cornmeal begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Serve topped with the remaining onions and more grated cheese if desired.

Pecan Clouds

2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup brown sugar
2 cups pecan halves

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks.

Gradually add sugar, continuing to beat until whites form stiff peaks.

Stir in vanilla and pecans.

Drop in rounded spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet.

Bake one hour in the preheated oven.

Turn off heat.

Turning the oven off but keeping the oven door shut, keep cookies in oven at least another hour or overnight.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Plan

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Plan of Attack

Cook Pecan Clouds the night before Thanksgiving, removing in the morning.

Begin Pumpkin Soup in Crockpot 5 to 6 hours before dinner, keeping hot pumpkin in crockpot on warm setting until needed.

Set up table settings and décor early in the day as much as possible to have this step completed before you start your final cooking steps.  (See below for some contemporary Thanksgiving decoration ideas.)

Mix glaze portion of Cranberry Glazed Pork Chops, and set aside to microwave when dinner is almost ready to serve.

Assemble then bake cornmeal crust of Caramelized Onions on Cornmeal recipe and then Squash Puff With Mandarin Oranges recipe, baking both in same oven.  (Squash Puff will be removed for a few minutes to add marshmallows before baking final 10 minutes.)

Cook pork chops and complete recipe.

Remove casseroles from oven, and place all food on the table.

 

Contemporary Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Ideas

For a more contemporary Thanksgiving look, add small, polished black stones to the bottom of cylinder, glass jars, and place an orange candle on top of the stones, making sure the rocks are level and the candle is sturdy.  Add a little water in the bottom of each vase to keep the vases cool and magnify the rocks.  Place candles of various heights and sizes in various locations around the room.

Top a gold charger with a white plate and a burgundy red toile fabric napkin, then top that with a very small cluster of fake red berries on top of the burgundy red toile napkin, or use beige, brown, and off white dinnerware and incorporate corn husks or wheat shocks and dried corn on the cob.

Table runners are fast and easy ways to add color and style to any dining area plus it is easy to get them just about anywhere to match any theme or color combination.

The Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner Menu for Your Family

Upon a closer look at the Thanksgiving dinner menu I provided above, you can see I considered traditional Thanksgiving menu foods and generated new ways to use timely ingredients in different and sometimes surprising ways. 

Corn came to the table in the form of cornmeal topped with caramelized onions.  Pumpkin soup took the place of pumpkin pie.  I planned for pork chops to be completely avant-garde, but using turkey cutlets would work to be different yet traditional as well. Sweet potatoes did move to the side for squash, but the overall color, substance, and taste of the squash casserole was certainly comparable to sweet potatoes and seems a good substitute.  I also omitted rolls, noodles, and dressings, watching our carbohydrate intake, plus I would use Splenda, Splenda brown sugar, Stevia, coconut palm sugar, honey, or maple syrup when sugars are called for just because that is what we do in our home usually. 

(Update:  Although I do work at keeping our carb intake low to moderate, I no longer use artificial sweeteners in my cooking, opting instead for coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey, stevia, or fruit sweeteners.)  

 The point is though, that you can take traditional Thanksgiving dinner menus and, with a little creativity and then a little modification, if necessary to fit your family’s health style or concerns, you can generate the perfect Thanksgiving dinner menu that is both new and exciting yet traditional and memorable for those Thanksgiving family holidays you spend with those you love and enjoy this world with.

Do you have any unique Thanksgiving dinner menus based on traditional Thanksgiving foods?  If so, please share your ideas and how they worked out!  

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