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What do people who cook for a living make on Thanksgiving? We were curious too, so we asked four cooking pros to share their ideal Thanksgiving menus and recipes. Even for chefs, Thanksgiving isn't the time for exotic ingredients or hard-to-pronounce dishes – they like comfort food like anyone else. But their styles of preparation are something to admire, and easy enough for all of us to try in our own kitchens.

Sausage brioche dressing

From turkey to side dishes to desserts, here's a look at their best Thanksgiving menus and recipes:

Claire Robinson

Host of "5 Ingredient Fix" on the Food Network

Robinson has her priorities when she sits down to Thanksgiving dinner. "I'm a classic girl who likes to see the turkey and gravy but, most importantly, the dressing," she says. "And, of course, cranberry sauce. Those are my only musts."

Turkey: "I don't worry about trussing the bird," she says, referring to tying the legs together. "It actually makes for crispier skin." Butter and rosemary add amazing flavor, she says.

Sides: Dressing, or stuffing, made with "really good bread" is the star – this year's version has brioche and sausage (recipe below). Green bean casserole using her grandmother's recipe is always on the table, too. Cranberry sauce gets a kick from lime and jalapeno.

Dessert: Pecan pie. Think about making this classic dessert as a bar, she says, so that people don't have to sit at the table to enjoy it.

Sausage brioche dressing recipe

By Claire Robinson, courtesy Food Network

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 brioche loaf, cubed
  • 1 pound pork breakfast sausage
  • 4 celery ribs, chopped
  • 4 cups stock
  • ¼ cup chopped sage leaves
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Spread brioche on a baking sheet and lightly toast in the oven, about 10 minutes. Set aside in a large bowl.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add sausage, breaking it into pieces with a spoon. Cook until browned, then transfer to the bowl with the brioche.
  4. Add celery to the sausage drippings and cook until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the celery to the brioche bowl.
  5. Stir in stock and sage and mix until brioche absorbs most of the liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Transfer dressing to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and cook uncovered for 20 minutes. Cover with foil and bake until golden brown on top, another 20 to 25 minutes.

Up next: Andrea Beaman's Baked pears >>

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