I loved my Thanksgiving menu from last year and am not especially eager to make too many changes. But it’s always fun to try something new, so I’m tweaking the menu a little bit. I have some reluctant omnivores coming this year so dinner had better be good!

We’re trying a new sweet potato recipe, made with coconut milk. And there will be three kinds of cranberries on the table (you can never have too many cranberry dishes!) I’m also going to try to create a veggie version of that wonderful green bean casserole with French onions, although I haven’t worked out the details of that yet.

I’m serving White Wave Vegetarian Stir Fry Strips again because they are still the best meat substitute I know. (And I really would say this even if my husband was not a consultant to White Wave!)

Here is what will be on the Thanksgiving table this year:

  • Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Veggie Strips sautéed with Onions
  • Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
  • Baked Stuffing with Walnuts and Dried Fruit
  • Traditional Cranberry Sauce (from the back of the package of Ocean Spray fresh cranberries) with added pears
  • Cranberries with Sweet Onions
  • Mama Stamberg’s Cranberries with Horseradish
  • Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Milk and Ginger
  • Green bean casserole (maybe) or Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Apple
  • Wild Rice with onions and celery

Drinks: Red and white wines from local wineries, beer from the local brewery, apple cider.

For dessert: Homemade apple pie and pumpkin cheesecake, Clementines, coffee, and Chocolate Port.

The recipes for stuffed mushrooms, veggie strips, gravy, stuffing, and pumpkin cheesecake are all in my entry for last year’s Thanksgiving dinner.

Here are the new recipes for this year:

Cranberries with Sweet Onions

The original recipe, which I found online, calls for Vidalia onions. Here in Washington State, we are partial to Walla Walla onions instead. It doesn’t matter, though, since neither is in season at Thanksgiving time. So just use any sweet onion you can find. Our grocery stores are carrying Mayans right now.

1 large mild sweet onion
1 tablespoon margarine
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup dry red wine like shiraz or cabernet
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 12-ounce package fresh cranberries

Coarsely chop the onion and sauté in the margarine until tender. Add the dried cranberries, wine, and salt. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, fresh cranberries, and 1 cup of water. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until the cranberries have popped and mixture has thickened. Stir in the onion mixture.

Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Milk & Ginger

We’re using real sweet potatoes–the yellow ones that are less sweet than orange yams.

About 6 sweet potatoes
1/1 2 cups canned coconut milk (use “lite” if you prefer)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
Salt to taste

Prick the potatoes with a fork several time and bake at 425 degrees until tender, about an hour.
When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and discard. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher and then stir in the other ingredients. Heat in the microwave for a couple of minutes before serving.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Apples

1 large apple
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons olive oil plus 1 teaspoon
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
12 ounces fresh Brussels sprouts

Cut the apple into thin wedges and soak in a bowl filled with water and the lemon juice

Wash the Brussels sprouts and slice them thinly into ribbons.

Heat the oil and sauté the minced garlic for about 30 seconds. Add the maple syrup and the drained apples.

Scrape the mixture onto a plate and set aside.

Add another teaspoon or so of olive oil to the pan, turn up the heat, and add the shredded Brussels sprouts. Stir fry them for about 3 minutes until they are bright green with some golden crusty bits.

Stir the apple mixture back in and ½ of the pine nuts. Serve immediately, garnished with the remaining pine nuts.