8 Dishes to Get You in the Thanksgiving Mood

If food bloggers have a Superbowl, it’s Thanksgiving Day. Oh, sure: There’s the giving thanks and the cornucopias and the shoes with big brass buckles and all that. There’s also no other holiday where you are given permission (nay, encouraged), to eat as much as is physically possible, pressing well beyond the point of simple satiation and into a terrifying new zone of stretched stomach lining gluttony and overindulgence. The pressure of preparing a perfect meal and the arrival of long lost friends and family means plenty of midday drinking, and that distinctly guilty feeling you get when you wake up  from an afternoon nap feeling just as fat and full as you were before you slipped unwillingly into slumber like a huge hibernating bear.

Here at From Away Worldwide headquarters, you can count on a November filled with Thanksgiving recipe ideas and tips, as we count down to the big day. Here are a few of our favorites, to help get you in the mood:

1. Caramel Apple Sweet Potato Casserole
I was looking for an alternative to the usual marshmallow-topped canned sweet potato casserole. While kids seem to love it, and it’s unmistakably delicious, it’s a little too much like a bowl of hot liquid candy for my taste. This dish remains true to the original’s intent, where the natural sugars of the sweet potatoes and the tart apples are enough to sweeten the dish. Oh, who am I kidding?

2. Bourbon Cranberry Compote
Adding bourbon to a fresh cranberry sauce never hurts. It simmers long enough to cook off all the alcohol, but not all of the taste; this cranberry sauce ends up just the right amount of boozy. And if you’ve never thought that cranberry sauce should be “boozy,” you’ve never spent the holidays at our house.

3. Green Beans with Warm Bacon Fat Vinaigrette
Once the turkey is tented, the cranberries have burst, the potatoes have been mashed, the rugs have been shampooed, the placecards have been set, the candles have been put in their holders, the dog’s been neutered, you’ve made a turkey by tracing around your hand on construction paper, and someone has brought over the pies, what’s left to do? Cover some green beans in bacon fat, that’s what.

4. Mushroom Medley Au Gratin
You can use any blend of mushrooms you like. Often, you can find a packaged assortment of “exotic” mushrooms at the supermarket; ours contained pre-rinsed baby portobellos, shitakes, and oyster mushrooms. Sometimes, you can even find them pre-sliced, which may cost a tiny bit more, but it’s money well spent at the holidays, where every minute you save slicing mushrooms is another minute you have to pad around the house in sheepskin slippers drinking scotch.

5. Spicy Baked Spaghetti Squash
This twist on a traditional spaghetti squash casserole is infused with spicy jalapeno cream.

6. Brie and Chive Buttermilk Biscuits
These biscuits are phenomenal, and the finished product doesn’t at all overwhelm you with the strong taste of cheese. After baking, the chunks of cheese vanish away completely, leaving only a smooth, creamy textured biscuit, with hits of flavor coming from the bits of rind that you mixed into the dough.

7. Ancho Chile Pumpkin Pie
You’ll love the way the gentle heat of the chilies complements the pumpkin, and remember, if it gets too spicy, you can always cool it down with more vanilla ice cream.

8. Baked Apple with Ginger Cookies and Whiskey Whipped Cream
My current fall favorite for eating is the Macoun. It rules.

Looking for even more ideas? Click here for our full collection of Thanksgiving recipes.

Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as the junk food blog "Spork & Barrel," and "Brocavore," a blog about food trucks and street food culture. His contributions include Serious Eats, Down East, Eat Rockland, L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post and his food truck, "'Wich, Please," was named "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015 by Eater. Finally, he finds it very silly to be trying to write this in the third person.

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