Unusual Thanksgiving Dishes that You Must Have

You’re invited to Thanksgiving dinner by people who aren’t family. What Thanksgiving dish will you bring along, because you doubt they’ll be cooking it, and you must have it with Thanksgiving dinner?
(Please list only one.)
Mine is Creamed Onions. Mmmm, mmm, mmm.

-Another Primate

Creamed spinach with bacon and onions, recipe stolen from Gulliver’s Prime Rib in Costa Mesa, CA and made a family fave.

Also Brussel sprouts --caramelized, with crystallized ginger sprinkled on top.

Stuffed Celery appetizer - Celery stalks with olive and pimento cream cheese. We’ve been doing it every year since I can remember, and I don’t even know how unusual it is.

My dad does the creamed onion thing. He’s the only one who eats it, he only eats about 5% of the amount my mom makes, but it’s always there.

Cinnamon Salad - like grandma used to make:

2 cups applesauce, 2 packages of lemon jello, 2 cups boiling water & 2 tsp of cinnamon red hots.

Melt red hots in boiling water, stir in lemon jello & let dissolve. Pour in applesauce and chill.
Served in an aqua bowl that my aunt now has. I’ve been searching antique stores for another one for years.

My mom’s 7-layer salad. We only have it once a year, on Thanksgiving. After you see the ingredients, I think you’ll understand why.

A HUGE bowl with alternating layers of lettuce (just enough to make it a salad), mayo, cheddar cheese, bacon bits, frozen peas, and shredded carrots.

And we eat every bit of it. I have no idea where this tradition came from but I know Thanksgiving would not be the same without it. My mom has never changed the recipe, not once in 25 years, except for that one time she used non-fat mayo.
We don’t talk about that year.

One for the creamed onions, too. Actually I don’t care for them at all, but a family friend brings them every year and even though there’s only one spoonful taken from them by the end of the meal we always ask that she bring them every time. A familiarity thing, I guess.

My “must have” in recent years has been some kind of blue cheese before the meal. Last year it was celery stuffed with small amounts of blue cheese and cream cheese. This year it’s a blue cheese vegetable dip and maybe some sliced blue cheese with the cheese & cracker platter.

Corn Pudding - My mom’s recipe and definitely a family tradition.

I have had this dish at every Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember. We lost my mom just three years ago and on Thanksgiving that year we took my dad out to a restaurant for dinner. One of my sisters thought to make the corn pudding and brought it along.

Aunt Norlene Salad:D
It’s been around,nobody knows what the real name of it was,although it’s speculated that Aunt Norlene Salad is a form of Waldorf Salad or something.It’s green with pineapple and coconut bits and marshmellows and pistachios…yummy yummy!We always have it and usually the MIL has to make more because it goes so quickly.


Sweet-potato casserole (I guess that’s what you’d call it – my family just calls it “sweet potatos” or “candied yams”.) Sweet potatos all mushed up with cinnamon and sugar and butter and stuff, and baked with a crunchy crust full of sugar and nuts on top. Better than dessert.

grandma’s pea salad. AWESOME

Definately the celery stuffed with cream cheese and green olives, just like Cheesesteak said.
Of course, in my family, it’s just called ‘celery.’

Sweet potato Tsimmus. Tsimmus is a jewish dish and my mom makes it with Sweet potatoes, carrots, honey, cinnamon, orange juice, raisins, dates or figs.

It’s not as sweet as Candied yams. People eat every last bite and it wouldn’t be turkey day without it.

For my husband’s family, it’s twice-baked potatoes. Bake potatoes, then cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the centers. Whip the potatoe and put it back in the skin shells and cover with waaaaay too much cheddar cheese. Bake until cheese melts.

While my aunt was alive, the running joke was about her ambrosia. You know, a fruit salad from hell with lots of whipped cream. This stuff was an actual living organism- no matter how much people ate, there was more left over than we started with! Other family members are too scared to make it now that she’s gone, because she may have been the only one who could control it!


This sounds almost like the “green stuff” the my MIL makes and my daughter insists we must take to my mother’s this year. Pistachio instant pudding, crushed pineapple, mini marshmallows, and cool whip. Way too sweet to be healthy, and just too irresistable to have any leftovers.

Share! Share! Share both, please?
(Recipes, I mean – I don’t expect you to ship to me!)

I ate at Gulliver’s in 1972 and, yum, the Prime Rib and Yorkshire pudding!


Sure thing.

Gulliver’s Creamed Spinach (with improvements)

2 packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
1 yellow onion, minced fine
.5 pound bacon, diced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
6 tsp flour
.5 pint of heavy cream (or half-and half. I’ve even used milk, and it still comes out good)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg, or to taste
salt and white pepper, about 1/2 tsp each, or to taste
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese

In a saucepan, render the bacon until crisp. DRain the bacon off and reserve about 1/2 the fat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic, stir. Add the salt, white pepper and nutmeg. Stir twice. Sprinkle the flour in, mix it with the onion/flou/spice mix. Add the bacon back in. Add the cream, stirring constantly–you’re making a cream sauce here. Add the thawed, drained spinach, stir until the cream sauce and the spinach marry. Pour into a greased ovenproof dish, top with cheese and pop into a 350F oven until it’s hot through and the cheese has browned slightly. Serves four as a side dish or two as a pig-out.

Variations: Omit the nutmeg, stir in cayenne pepper. Also, you can use breadcrumbs( buttered or un, as you like) for the topping. This is even good cold, and makes an omelet filling that’ll make you want to slap your granny.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Ginger

1 lb FRESH Brussels Sprouts. Frozen won’t work, canned sure won’t work. Cut 'em in half vertically.
3 tbsp olive or canola oil
2 tbsp sugar
4 oz water, chicken stock or white wine
2 oz crystallized ginger, chopped fine (I get mine at Trader Joe’s, where an 8 oz bag sets me back 3.00USD. Don’t buy the stuff in the little jars or at Williams-Sonoma unless you like getting ripped off. It can be got cheaply, especially in Asian markets.

Okay, after you’ve cut your sprouts, heat up a wide, heavy frying pan. Put the oil in the pan, swirl it around, then place the sprouts CUT SIDE DOWN into the pan. You may need to do this in batches. Over medium heat, continue cooking the sprouts until they have a nice brown color on the cut side. Sprinkle the sugar over them, then use a spatula to turn and cover them with the oil/sugar mixture. I usually do a saute flip, but to each their own.
Once the sugar has been distributed, pour in your liquid. It will spatter and there will be a lot of steam. Thiis is what you want, but step back. Once the liquid has evaporated, pour the sprouts into a serving dish and sprinkle the ginger all over 'em.

Variations: Add chopped walnuts or pecans; omit ginger altogether; use bacon fat as an oil and garnish instead with chopped cooked bacon.


Aw shucks ma’am, ‘twarn’t nothin’.

Well, I was going to chime in with creamed onions, too, only it looks like they’re not that unusual. Maybe they’re unusual in the sense that in my family, those suckers are GONE at the end of the meal.

The only other slightly unusual one is my mom’s Jell-O salad recipe, made every year only at Thanksgiving. It’s made with one package each of cherry and strawberry Jell-O, a can of cranberries, chopped walnuts, grated apples, and strawberries. Delish.

And every year, we have mixed ginger ale and cranberry juice to drink. Yum!

I second the thanks, False_God! I am almost crying at the yummyness of both recipes.