A Twist On The Traditional Thanksgiving

Posted by Annette Bellisari on

A Twist on the Traditional Thanksgiving


Planning a Thanksgiving menu can be overwhelming.  The shopping, cleaning, setting up and then the cooking-it is no easy feat.  Thankfully we all have our favorite recipes that we turn to year after year but it is nice to shake it up a bit with new ingredients and a twist on the old.

 Unfortunately, I don’t use my cookbooks that much anymore.  There is nothing better than the worn, folded down pages of the tried and true traditional cookbook that you can rely on every holiday season.  Each year it is a group effort in preparing our Thanksgiving meal. We end up with multiple turkeys…fried, baked, boneless, deconstructed, beer brined, you name it we will have it.  We have a family that includes many “home chef’s” so each family member has their one item that we all love, and they make and bring with them.  Here are some old standbys that we played around with in our Bellisari’s kitchen.

Blue Cheese Honey & Shallot Mashed Potatoes


3 pounds large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut in 3/4-inch chunks

5 large garlic cloves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces of Bellisari’s Blue Cheese, Honey & Shallot Spread

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1/2 cup half-and-half or milk

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the potatoes, garlic and 1 tablespoon salt in a large pot with enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until very tender.

Drain the potatoes and garlic and process them together through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade set on top of a bowl. While the potatoes are still hot, stir in the Bellisari’s Blue Cheese, Honey & Shallot Spread, butter, sour cream, half-and-half, 4 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons pepper until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 9-by-12-by-2-inch oval baking dish, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until lightly browned. Serve hot.

Barista Mexican Street Corn

Yields 4-6 servings


1 Jar of Bellisari’s Barista Sauce

7 ears of corn

1/4 cup of mayonnaise

1/2 cup of sour cream

1 cup of grated jack cheese

1 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 knob of butter for greasing

1 egg

a handful of chopped cilantro

wedges of limes

a handful of crumbled cotija cheese


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, jack cheese, parmesan, and egg and mix until combined. Cut the corn off the cob and add corn to the mayo mixture. Stir to combine.  Grease a casserole dish with butter. Pour the corn mayo mixture in and bake for about 35-40 minutes.  To serve drizzle Bellisari’s Barista Sauce, sprinkle cotija and cilantro.

Balsamic Green Bean Casserole

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


For the topping:

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Nonstick cooking spray

For beans and sauce:

½ Cup Bellisari’s Balsamic Shallot & Black Garlic Spread

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1-pound fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and halved

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

12 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup half-and-half


Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Combine the onions, flour, panko and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Coat a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and evenly spread the onions on the pan. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Toss the onions 2 to 3 times during cooking. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees F.

While the onions are cooking, prepare the beans. Bring a gallon of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan. Add the beans and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and simmer for 1 minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add Bellisari’s Balsamic, Shallot and Black Garlic Spread and the half-and-half. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all the green beans. Top with the remaining onions. Place into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

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