Foodie Nation: On your marks… Get set… Loosen your belts!


Bob Fila/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service

Exciting Foodieday Thanksgiving treats can spice up the traditional turkey day holiday.

Thanksgiving, a holiday centered around food. Most of the other holidays can’t compete. This is a time when we all come together, unbuckle our belts, put on our fat pants, and eat to our heart’s content and then some.

Thanksgiving can be traced back to the year 1621, when the Plymouth settlers had a harvest feast after an abundance of growth in their garden season.

Today, mine and many other growling stomachs are forever grateful to the many men and women who sacrificed so much for this foodie day of Thanksgiving!

The turkey is a featured item on the table on this delicious holiday. Traditional sides are stuffing, mashed potatoes (with gravy of course), cranberry sauce, corn, and my personal favorite, pumpkin pie.

Preparing a turkey is a lot of work, but as we all know, beauty is pain. Everyone should endure preparing a turkey for their family at least once in their life. It should be a requirement to go through the hell that is preparing a turkey. To help you escape this hell, I will provide a few alternatives for a non-traditional turkey day meal.

Let’s start with an easy one.

Pumpkin Lasagna

This one just screams Pinterest, because who would think of making this? Sure glad I did.

I have seen this recipe all over the Pinterest boards this month. The website is known to pinners for their simple and easy recipes.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large skillet, melt two tablespoons of butter mixed with one onion and a clove of garlic, both finely chopped. After about five minutes, add one-fourth teaspoon of nutmeg.

Separately, combine a 15 ounce can of pumpkin, two cups of heavy cream, and one and one-half cups of grated parmesan cheese.

Add both combinations into one bowl.

At this time, you will begin to layer refrigerated cheese raviolis and top each layer with the ingredients from the bowl. I had about four layers because I bought a 24 ounce bag of raviolis. Cook in the oven for about 35 minutes until golden.

This delightful dish is sure to fulfill the centerpiece on your Thanksgiving table.

Now, for another taste bud winner.

The Turkey Burger

Yes, the turkey burger. Usually, the healthy person’s choice, but it can now be your flavorful Thanksgiving turkey substitute.

Food blogger Meg has quite a following on Pinterest. Meg’s site is an inspiring webpage to help us foodies make some new and delicious meals.

In a big bowl, mix together seven ounces of plain Greek yogurt, half a lemon, and a small dash of salt. Leave this bowl in the fridge for safe keeping until the end.

Thaw two ounces of frozen spinach and chop as small as possible to prevent the annoying long stringy pieces. Also, chop up one sundried tomato, one-fourth of a red onion, and mix together with two pounds of ground turkey.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you may also add some additional ingredients like a half a cup of crumbled feta cheese, one-half teaspoon of garlic, one egg, and one-third cup of bread crumbs.

Stir everything until all is combined and evenly mold six patties. Like usual, cook the burgers on the grill or a stovetop.

Spread the yogurt you put in the fridge on both sides of your bun, and insert the turkey burger to warm the yogurt, and enjoy!

Let’s end on a sweet note.

Cheesecake Stuffed Baked Apples

The only thing more delicious than a juicy, fresh apple is an apple filled with cheesecake!

This nontraditional recipe straight from my mother’s kitchen is destined for greatness. It serves six, if you think you’ll be able to share.

Chop off the top of six apples and scoop out the inside flesh, and throw away.

In a large bowl, mix together eight ounces of softened cream cheese, one-fourth cup of sugar, one teaspoon of vanilla, one egg, and one teaspoon of cinnamon.

Fill each apple two-thirds of the way with the cheesecake mix. Place each apple on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-23 minutes.

Served either chilled or warm, this mouthwatering dessert will transform your traditional pumpkin pie dish.

Together, lets to branch away from the usual, traditional fare this Thanksgiving and try something that might start a new family tradition.

Have a Happy Foodieday Thanksgiving!