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Thanksgiving tapas appetizers

Bored with traditional turkey? Tired of getting up at the crack of dawn to start cooking? This year, do something different. Make Thanksgiving tapas instead!

Turkey meatball tapas

A Thanksgiving take on tapas

Even though tapas are Spanish and Thanksgiving is an American holiday, we can still make these tasty finger-licking treats with traditional Thanksgiving ingredients and create a new, fuss-free take on the elaborate Turkey Day dinner. But, if your family and friends wouldn’t dare celebrate Thanksgiving without the usual Thanksgiving dishes, serve these tapas as lip-smacking delicious appetizers before the big feast.

Turkey meatballs with cranberry sauce recipe

Serves 6-8


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (plain or Italian-seasoned) 
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground sage
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • Oil for cooking
  • 1/2 pound fresh cranberries
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup white grape juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar


  1. In a mixing bowl, mix the turkey, eggs, breadcrumbs, thyme, sage, salt and pepper together, then roll the turkey mixture into one-inch balls and set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add enough oil to cover the bottom. Cook the meatballs in batches (if necessary) so they don’t touch each other in the pan. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through. Drain on paper towels.
  3. To make the cranberry sauce, put the cranberries, orange zest, grape juice and sugar in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and stir occasionally until the cranberries have popped. For a chunky sauce, simply transfer the mixture to a serving dish; for a thinner sauce, strain through a sieve.
  4. Arrange the meatballs on a platter with a cocktail toothpick inserted into each one and serve with the cranberry sauce on the side.

Mashed potato bakes recipe

Serves 12


  • 6 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 strips bacon, fried and broken into bits


  1. Place the potatoes in a pot with a healthy pinch of salt and cover them with cold water. Set the burner on high and bring it to a boil. Boil until fork tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drain the potatoes, but leave a little bit of water in the pot.
  3. Transfer the potatoes back to the pot and add butter, cream, garlic powder and cheeses. Mash until the potatoes are to the consistency of your liking (feel free to add more or less cream, butter, seasonings and cheese).
  4. Once the potatoes are mashed, spray a cupcake pan with cooking spray and fill each opening to the top with mashed potatoes. Top with bacon crumbs.
  5. Bake until the potatoes are firm, 10 to 20 minutes. Let them cool and serve.

Fried green beans recipe

Serves 8


  • 1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup lemon-lime soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • Oil for frying
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup fried onions, divided


  1. Blanch green beans in boiling, salted water for two minutes. Immediately dunk them in icy cold water to stop the cooking process, then drain and set aside.
  2. Beat flour, soda, egg and salt in a mixing bowl with a fork to form a batter. It should have the consistency of pancake batter.
  3. Dip the green beans in the batter individually and set them on wire racks to rest for about one minute. Put them back in the batter for at least five minutes before frying.
  4. In a high-sided frying pan, bring the oil to about 375 degrees F. Fry the green beans in small batches until they are golden brown. Transfer them to a cooling rack or paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
  5. To make the creamy dipping sauce, stir soup and cream in a saucepan with half of the onions. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Pour sauce into a serving bowl and top with the other half of the onions. Serve with the green beans.

More creative Thanksgiving recipes and entertaining tips

A Thanksgiving get-together for girlfriends
How to make an eco-friendly Thanksgiving feast
Vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes

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