With the coming of Thanksgiving, there will be last minute preparations on birds, hams and other savory main dishes. There will be too many side dishes, including the green bean casseroles, cranberry sauce and yams, all with their own twists, tastes and flavors. Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without those traditional dishes.

But there’s always those who want to bring something new and different to the table. Whether it be Tofurkey, or any other non-traditional meal. Sometimes we just want to “mix it up” a bit.

When I was growing up, there was always the mixture of traditional American and Cajun fare mixed up on our table. I love them both, and have continued to carry on that tradition. I tend to lean more to the Cajun side of things, but still want my cornbread dressing and green bean casserole thrown in.

Included in this column, there will be a couple traditional and a couple not so traditional recipes. Those of us at The Record Newspapers would like to wish our readers a Happy Thanksgiving filled with love, laughter and good food.

Coming from columnist Nancy McWhorter’s kitchen are the following recipes:

Fried Turkey

1 10-12 pound turkey, defrosted

1 bottle Cajun injector marinade

4 gallons cooking oil

Remove the insides of the turkey, and hold turkey up to drain out any water that stayed inside while defrosting. Inject about 15 ounces of marinade into the turkey at the breast, thighs and legs. Heat oil to 350 and fry turkey for about 4 minutes per pound.

Glazed Sweet Potato Casserole

(Also easy to prepare ahead)

3 16 ounce cans of sweet potatoes in light syrup, drained

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup honey

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 teaspoon grated orange rind

2 Tablespoons butter

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Arrange sweet potatoes in lightly greased 11x7x11-1/2 inch baking dish, set aside. Combine brown sugar, honey, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, grated orange rind, butter and pineapple juice in saucepan. Stir constantly over medium heat until mixture boils. Boil 1 minute. Pour over sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with pecans, cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours. Remove from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Five Layer Pecan Pie

1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell

1 cup pecan halves, plus more for topping

6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 ounces sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)

Preheat oven to 300. Sprinkle pecans evenly in unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of pecans layer. Drizzle caramel topping on top of chocolate chips. Set aside. In medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, beating on low speed just until combined. Pour over caramel topping. Bake about 45 minutes or until center appears set. (The last 15 minutes if baking, I cover the edges if crust with store bought  shield to prevent edges from over browning.) Cool on wire rack. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving. OPTIONAL: Sift cocoa powder and extra pecans over pie.

Columnist Evelyn Brandon shares the following recipes with our readers:

Stuffed Pork Roast

1 4-5 pound pork roast

salt, pepper, garlic powder and Cajun seasoning to taste

finely chopped onion, green bell pepper and minced garlic

Injectible marinade (I like a garlic butter flavor)

2 envelopes brown gravy mix

2 envelopes Lipton onion/mushroom gravy mix

Cooking oil

Butter

Flour

Bottled roux

Sprinkle seasonings on roast, then generously inject marinade into the entire roast.  Take a large point butcher knife and slit openings all over roast, stuff in garlic and onions – don’t be afraid to stuff the garlic and onions, you can’t over do it.

In a large cast iron Dutch oven, on a low/medium heat, heat up a small amount of cooking oil and butter to brown roast in.

Roll seasoned roast into seasoned flour, covering entire roast in flour. Put roast into Dutch oven and brown to a dark golden/medium brown color. Add gravy mixes to 4-5 cups water and pour into Dutch oven.

Remove roast from Dutch oven, leaving flour and oil residue. Add a small amount of onions and garlic to oil and flour making a roux type gravy. After mixing up gravy mixes, check color of your gravy. If you prefer a darker gravy mix, add a little Doguet’s Roux to obtain desired color.

Add the rest of the onions, garlic and bell pepper (sauteed), let cook in gravy for 15-20 minutes.

Keeping fire on a low/medium heat, add roast to gravy, cover and allow to cook approximately 4-6 hours, or until desired tenderness is reached. Allow roast to rest about 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving.      

Seafood Cornbread Dressing                                

2 boxes Jiffy Corn Bread (or you can make a large skillet or your own cornbread)

1 cup margarine

1 small container of chopped seasonings onions, celery, bell pepper, green onions

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can chicken broth

1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined

1 pound crawfish tails

1 pound lump crab meat

garlic powder, salt, black pepper and red pepper to taste

Prepare Cornbread mix according to package directions or prepare your own cornbread. When done put in large bowl and crumble.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt margarine in skillet and add chopped seasoning mix and sauté until wilted.  Add, soup, broth, shrimp and crawfish and crabmeat. Mix well and heat but do not boil. Add seasonings a little at a time, taste and adjust until you get the desired taste you like.

In a large greased baking pan, put the bread mix. Add your seafood mixture a little at a time and mix; keep doing this until all is mixed together. You may have to add a little more moisture (broth) to the mix if it is not moist enough. Don’t add a lot at a time, you don’t want it to be runny.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes until golden brown.

Sweet Potato Pie

2 Pie shells

1 large can evaporated milk

2 cans water (use milk cans)

6 large sweet potatoes

1-1/2 cups sugar

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon nutmeg

In large pot add milk, water, sugar, vanilla extract and nutmeg. Cut potatoes into small chunks and add to pot.

Cook for about 30 minutes on medium fire until potatoes are soft.

Remove from fire and drain all liquid from the pot. Mash potatoes with potato masher and distribute mixture evenly between pie shells.

Bake at 425 for 5 minutes, then bake at 325 for 40 minutes.