It’s Thanksgiving turkey with a twist courtesy of Food Network

New ideas for Turkey Day

Giada De Laurentiis

This Thursday, Nov. 26, Americans will sit down at their dining room tables and consume what has been the national Thanksgiving meal for over a century: roast turkey, gravy, potatoes and stuffing followed by pumpkin pie for dessert. Yawn.

It’s all become so formulaic that perhaps you’re thinking it’s time to break away from the same-old, same-old and try something different. If you answer to that description, Food Network has a few ideas designed to breathe new life into the traditional holiday feedbag and make your guests sit up and take notice – that is, if you can get them away from the football games and parades on TV.

Giada De Laurentiis has a few suggestions in her Food Network series “Giada’s Holiday Handbook” bright and early on Sunday, Nov. 22, putting an Italian spin on the holiday bird with a turkey braciole, served with bacon stuffing with radicchio and chestnuts, and Brussels sprouts agrodolce. And for dessert, it’s a parmesan apple pie. Molto Italiano!

Ina Garten also has a few outside-the-box ideas that morning on Food’s “Barefoot Contessa” which finds her preparing a Tuscan turkey roulade, chipotle smashed sweet potatoes, roasted potatoes and for dessert, a pumpkin flan with maple caramel. Who can resist?

At midday on “Barefoot Contessa,” Garten returns to tackle Thanksgiving sides, offering up ideas for comestibles such as a mushroom and leek bread pudding with gravy and cranberry fruit conserve, haricots verts with dill and hazelnuts, Brussels sprouts with bacon and a celery root and apple puree. Imaginative fare from an imaginative chef.

Over on the digital side, Giada De Laurentiis is at it again on “Giada’s Holiday Handbook” (, putting Italian twists on holiday classics with polenta popovers with lemon butter, baked turkey parmesan, sweet and salty mashed potatoes and a dessert of chocolate pumpkin cheesecake souffle. Deliciosa!

“Thanksgiving on the Grill” (, an episode of Bobby Flay’s “Boy Meets Grill,” finds the New York City native going to “Spaghetti Park” on Corona Heights, Queens, to prepare a feast for the local Italian-American community. On the menu is an apple-sage-glazed grilled whole turkey breast with grilled apples, orange-glazed grilled acorn squash and grilled polenta with morel vinaigrette, all washed down with mulled cider.

And if you want to try your hand at deep-frying a turkey, Alton Brown has a few pointers in a segment from his “Good Eats” series (, as he shows how to do it safely, logically and, most importantly, deliciously. Though the prep takes much longer, the actual cooking time for his small bird was about a half hour.

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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