Unique Recipes to Try This Thanksgiving

4 mins read

Here are some recipes that are fun additions to your traditional Thanksgiving dinner. There are some twists on classics, from upgrading your traditional apple pie to a more complexly flavored apple cranberry walnut pie, and adding butternut squash to your mac and cheese. We also included recipes for the perfect flaky pie dough to go along with the apple pie, and the best pumpkin muffins. 


Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Adapted from Food Network


  1. 1 pound of your favorite kind of macaroni pasta (best if it has some kind of lines to hold sauce)
  2. Extra virgin olive oil
  3. 2 tablespoons of butter
  4. Half of a medium yellow onion
  5. 2 tablespoons of fresh or dried oregano
  6. 3 tablespoons of flour
  7. 2 cups chicken stock (or mock-chicken stock)
  8. 1-2 cups of cubed butternut squash, fresh or pre-cooked frozen
  9. 1 cup half and half
  10. 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  11. ½ cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (adjust cheese based on preference)
  12. Sprinkle of nutmeg
  13. salt and pepper to taste



  1. Make the pasta. Take it out a minute or two early so it’s al dente. 
  2. If you are not using pre-cooked butternut squash, put the butternut squash cubes on a pan, drizzle, with olive oil, and then place on the top rack of an oven at 400 degrees, and cook for 15-20, or until soft enough to cut like butter. 
  3. While the pasta is cooking make the sauce. Cover the pan with a thin layer of oil and about a tablespoon extra, and add the butter until it’s completely melted. Grate the onion directly into the melted butter and add oregano. Cook for 2 minutes then add the flour and cook for a couple more. 
  4. Stir in stock slowly. Add the cooked butternut squash. If you like chunks keep as is, but if you prefer a smoother sauce, masah with a fork, potato masher, or immersion blender. Add half and half and bring sauce to a bubble.
  5. Add cheese and additional spices. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more cheese if desired.
  6. Combine cooked and drained pasta with sauce. Garnish with extra butternut squash cubes, but cut them down so they’re bite-sized.


The Best Flaky Pie Dough


Traditional pie dough uses water water to hold the flour and butter together in order to get the rollable consistency needed. The trick is to use full-fat sour cream instead of water. This makes your dough extra flakey. 



  1. 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  2. ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  4. Pinch of salt
  5. 2 sticks of slightly defrosted butter, cut into about 1 tablespoon cubes 
  6. ½ cup full fat sour cream



  1. Mix flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Add the pieces of butter, and using your fingers press the butter into the flour mixture until the pieces are about the size of beans. Be careful not to overwork the butter too much or make the butter pieces too small, or else it will melt and lose its flakey texture. 
  3. Add the sour cream and work with your hands until fully incorporated. The dough should have a shaggy and delicate texture.
  4. To ensure extra flake, you can laminate the dough. To do this roll your dough into about a 10”x12” rectangle on a liberally floured surface. Fold the dough in thirds like a letter, flour both sides, and then roll out again into the same sized rectangle. Fold again and repeat one last time, so you have a total of three folds. 
  5. Split dough in half, forming into disks, then wrap it in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator while you make the filling.


Apple Cranberry Walnut Pie 

(Adapted from Art of the Pie)




  1. 8 cups apples (about 4 large apples)
  2. 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
  3. 1 cup chopped walnuts
  4. ⅔ cups sugar
  5. ½ teaspoon salt
  6. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  7. Pinch of nutmeg
  8. Teaspoon allspice
  9. 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  10. ½ cup flour
  11. 1 eggwhite whisked with 1 tablespoon of water
  12. 1-2 tablespoons of butter




  1. Cut apples into thin ¼ slices. 
  2. Mix all ingredients except egg white and butter together.
  3. Roll out one of the dough disks and place in the bottom of your pie pan. Prick it with a fork then fill the shell with the apple filling. Dot with the butter.
  4. Roll out the other disk, and either cut into strips and make a lattice top, or put the entire piece on top of the filling, trim edges and cut 4 slits in the center.
  5. Brush with egg wash and bake 425 for 20 minutes, then reduce to 375 and bake for an additional 30 minutes.


Pumpkin Muffins

Adapted from Martha Stewart 


  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. Pinch of salt
  5. 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  6. 2 teaspoon ground ginger
  7. ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  8. ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  9. 1 cup packed brown sugar (preferably light)
  10. 1 cup granulated sugar
  11. 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled 
  12. 4 large eggs
  13. 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
  14. Optional: 1 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cupcake pans with liners or grease with cooking spray or butter. 
  2. Mix dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder, baking soda,salt, spices).
  3. Light beat eggs, then mix in remaining ingredients until it’s a smooth consistency. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  4. Fill tins about three quarters up with batter for 20-25, or until a knife can be inserted cleanly. Afterwards, remove from tins and cool completely before frosting.


Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. 1 stick butter, softened 
  2. 1 (8oz) package of cream cheese
  3. Teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 2 cups powdered sugar plus more as needed



  1. Beat butter and cream cheese together with a fork or an electric mixer until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla extract.
  2. Slowly add powdered sugar in increments while stirring. Add additional sugar until it has your desired thickness.


Thai Carrot Soup

Adapted from: Minimalist Baker  



  1. 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  2. 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  3. 4 cloves garlic diced, or 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  4. 4 cups (or 1 pound) carrots, peeled and chopped
  5. pinch of salt and pepper
  6. 2 cups vegetable stock
  7. 2 cups water
  8. 1/3 cup peanut butter
  9. 2 tsp Thai chili sauce, plus more or less to taste



  1. Put garlic and onions in a large pot on medium heat with the olive oil, and then add carrots and cook for five minutes.
  2. Season with salt and pepper, then slowly add the vegetable stock and water, be careful not to splatter. 
  3. Bring the soup to a boil, and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for around 20 minutes, or until the carrots are soft enough to cut with ease. 
  4. Either use an immersion blender, or transfer into a blender, and blend until it becomes a smooth, homogeneous mixture. 
  5. Add desired amounts of peanut butter and chili sauce and blend again. Taste and adjust flavors. Optional: add some maple syrup or honey for sweetness.
  6. Serve immediately, or transfer back into the pot.

Mae Richman is a sophomore and a first year journalist. She is new to Menlo Park, and hopes to learn more about her school and her community.

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