Last-minute Thanksgiving dinner tips and recipes from celebrity chefs
On the off chance your Thanksgiving menu hasn’t been meticulously planned and prepped for weeks, why not pull off a last-minute miracle with some chef-approved recipes and tips?
Celebrity chefs Jamika Pessoa, David Rose and Lorena Garcia joined “Good Morning America” to talk all things turkey day and share a full slate of recipes from the star poultry and trimmings to sides and desserts.
Last-minute Thanksgiving side dish recipes
Pumpkin Cornbread with Cranberry Honey Butter
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons melted butter
For the cranberry honey butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
In a bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk thoroughly until dry ingredients are well combined.
In a separate bowl, combine vegetable oil, melted butter, pumpkin puree, eggs and milk. Whisk until all wet ingredients are well incorporated and smooth.
Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients. Stir well until just combined.
Spread batter in prepared baking dish and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool before slicing into squares.
For the honey butter: Place butter in a bowl. Using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, fold cranberry sauce, honey, orange zest, and salt into soft butter. Mix until smooth.
Spoon cranberry butter into serving dish and chill until ready to serve.
Serve alongside warm cornbread.
Spinach Alfredo Mashed Potatoes
Pessoa said this recipe is essentially a hybrid of creamed spinach and garlic mashed potatoes.
2 pounds russet potatoes (about 6-8 medium potatoes), washed, peeled, cut into cubes
10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, cut into chunks
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Place potatoes in a large pot with enough cold water to cover. Pour salt into water and bring to a boil. Cook for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until tender but firm. Drain, cool slightly, and mash. Set it aside and keep warm.
Thaw frozen spinach. Using a dish towel or several paper towels, squeeze the water out of spinach. Set it aside.
In a skillet or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant, not brown. Lower heat and pour in milk.
Using a whisk, slowly stir in cream cheese. Whisk more vigorously as cream cheese melts and a smooth sauce begins to form. Add in 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Continue to whisk until cheese melts. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in spinach. Mix until well incorporated and cook for 3-5 minutes until spinach softens.
Pour warm sauce over mashed potatoes. Stir until well combined. Place in serving dish and top with remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Serve warm.
Loaded Skillet Corn Casserole
This versatile recipe can be made with canned, fresh or frozen corn; the latter two choices will have a slightly longer cooking time.
Additionally, cream cheese works as a great substitute here if you do not have sour cream.
1/3 cup chopped white onion
1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons flour
2 (16-ounce) cans whole kernel corn, drained well
1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons sliced green onion or chopped fresh parsley
Using a cast iron skillet or heavy bottom frying pan, fry bacon until cooked crisp. Remove bacon from pan and slightly cool. Chop bacon into pieces and set aside.
Reserve about a tablespoon of bacon grease in pan. Over medium heat, sauté onion and bell pepper for 1-2 minutes as vegetables begin to brown and soften. Stir in flour. Cook for an additional minute. Add in corn and butter. Season with Cajun seasoning and sugar. Cook for 3-5 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and stir in sour cream. Return to low heat and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Heat oven broiler to high. Evenly sprinkle chopped bacon and shredded cheese on top of corn mixture. Place skillet under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until cheese melts and top is golden brown. Immediately remove from under broiler and garnish with green onions or parsley. Serve warm.
Last minute Thanksgiving turkey recipes (and a non-turkey option)
Rose tackled the main Thanksgiving dish, sharing two turkey recipes as well as an alternative poultry with a roasted chicken, sauces and a side dish, below.
BBQ Dry Rubbed Spatchcock Turkey
Servings: About 12 to 15 servings
1 cup apple wood chips (soaked in water for at least an hour and drained)
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons dried mustard
For the rub: Place all ingredients in a small bowl, and whisk until fully incorporated.
For the turkey: Thaw turkey in fridge in refrigerator for 3 to 4 days until completely thawed, remove turkey thermometer and plastic trust from legs.
Remove turkey from fridge, pat dry all over, and generously season with barbecue dry rub all over and allow to come up to room temperature, about 1 hour, use aluminum foil to wrap wing tips. (*So they won’t overcook, remove aluminum foil last hour of smoking).
Set grill to 350 F, indirect heat, place drained apple wood chips over hot coals.
Place turkey in a roasting rack, breast side up, and smoke for about 2 hours until thickest part of turkey breast reads 160 F, and thigh reads 175 F to 180 F.
Lightly tent (cover) the turkey with aluminum foil and rest about 15 to 20 minutes, to allow carryover cooking and juices to re-distribute.
Honey Garlic Ginger Turkey
Prep time: About 15 minutes
Servings: About 20 to 25 servings
One 17-pound turkey (cleaned/pat dry)
1 cup large diced yellow onion
1 cup large diced carrots
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger root
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
Add olive oil to medium sized saucepan, bring to medium high heat and sauté garlic and ginger lightly until fragrant, about 30 to 45 seconds.
Add honey, chicken stock, vinegar, and soy sauce to pan, and whisk.
Bring contents to a boil and reduce to a simmer until glaze like consistency, about 3 minutes.
For the rub: Combine all ingredients in small mixing bowl and mix until well incorporated.
For the turkey: Remove turkey from fridge and let it sit out until it comes to room temperature, about an hour; liberally season with rub on all sides of turkey.
Divide vegetables equally, half of veggies go inside the turkey cavity. Tie legs together with butchers twine.
Place the other half of veggies on the bottom of the roasting pan along with chicken stock.
With turkey right side up (turkey breast side facing up) set in roasting pan, and place pan in an oven preheated to 350 F.
Roast turkey until digital thermometer reads 160 F in the thickest part of the turkey thigh, about 3 to 3 1/2 hours, basting turkey with pan juices every 30 minutes.
Glaze turkey with honey-ginger glaze the last 10 to 15 minutes of cook time, at least 2 to 3 times every 5 minutes, until nice, lacquered and sticky.
Remove turkey from oven and lightly tent (cover) with aluminum foil, and rest about 15 to 20 mins, to allow carryover cooking and juices to re-distribute.
Lemon-Rosemary Roasted Chicken
Servings: About 10 to 12 servings
Kosher salt and black pepper
5 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed and minced
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Pat dry the chicken with paper towels.
Liberally season both sides with salt and pepper.
Allow the chicken to sit out uncovered on the counter for about an hour.
In a medium sized bowl, combine oil, rosemary, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper, and whisk until well incorporated.
Rub down chicken with oil mixture on both sides and place breast side up in roasting rack.
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cook chicken about 2 hours until the internal temperature in the breast reaches 160 F and the chicken skin is crispy.
Remove the chicken from the oven, lightly tent (cover) with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 12 to 15 minutes before carving. Carryover cooking will bring the internal temperature to 165 F and allow the juices to distribute evenly.
Cranberry Grand Marnier Sauce
1 cup grand marnier (orange liqueur)
Zest and juice of one fresh orange
Put Grand Marnier in medium sized pan, and reduce by 1/2 in volume, about 2 mins.
Add zest and juice of one orange, 1 cup orange juice, sugar and frozen cranberries; bring to a boil, then simmer for 12 to 14 until reduced to syrupy consistency.
Set cranberry sauce aside to cool to room temperature.
Black Pepper Turkey Gravy
Cook time: about 10 minutes
3 thinly sliced garlic cloves
1/2 a medium yellow onion, small diced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup strained turkey pan drippings
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground green peppercorn
1/4 teaspoon ground pink peppercorn
On medium high heat, add butter and olive oil to medium sized sauce pot.
Add onion and garlic to pan, and lightly sauté about 30 to 40 seconds until fragrant.
Whisk in flour until a blond roux forms, about 1 minute, continually whisking.
Add chicken broth and turkey pan drippings and bring to a boil, continually whisking until thickened and sauce-like consistency.
Reduce to a simmer, add ground peppers to and season to taste with kosher salt.
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Citrus Maple Vinaigrette
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, diced into 1-inch cubes2 tablespoons olive oil1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/3 cup citrus maple vinaigrette (see below)
2 cups fresh arugula or spinach
1 Granny Smith or Gala apple, diced
1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries
1/4 cup walnuts or pepitas
1/4 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese (optional)
For the citrus maple vinaigrette
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Zest and juice of 1 orange
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss sweet potatoes with oil and salt. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Set aside to completely cool.
In a bowl or mason jar, combine all vinaigrette ingredients together. Whisk or shake (in jar) well and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes, salad greens, apples, dried cranberries, and walnuts. Pour about 1/3 cup of dressing over salad and gently toss. Top with crumbled feta or goat cheese and serve immediately.
Last-minute Thanksgiving desserts
Chef Lorena Garcia took on the dessert table, sharing three recipes below that are easy to whip up and make ahead of time.
No-Bake Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake
16 ounces cream cheese softened
9-inch pre-made graham pie crust (Ready Crust)
4 1/2 cups Cool Whip, thawed or whipped cream
1 cup ginger snaps, crumbled
For the spiced caramel sauce
2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
In a large mixing bowl beat together cream cheese, pumpkin, tahin, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves with an electric mixer until combined and there are no cream cheese chunks. Gently fold in the thawed whipped topping. Spoon the cream cheese mixture into the Ready Crust.
Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm.
For the sauce: Add all of the caramel sauce ingredients, except for pumpkin pie spice in a medium sauce pan, and heat over medium-low heat. Let it cook, while constantly whisking it, for about 5-7 minutes. That is until it starts to become thicker. Turn off heat, and whisk in the pumpkin pie spice, whisk until well combined. Store in jar or serve warm.
To serve, cut a slice, drizzle with pumpkin spice caramel and sprinkle with ginger snap cookie crumbs.
Tres Leches Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
Caramelized pineapple topping1 cup diced pineapple
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
Sift flour and baking powder together; set aside.
Beat sugar and butter together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add flour mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until well blended. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Pierce cake all over with a toothpick; let cool to room temperature.
Mix whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together in a bowl; pour over the top of the cooled cake and allow to soak in (better overnight).
Whip cream, remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a chilled glass or metal bowl with an electric mixer until thick. Spread over the top of the filling. Keep cake refrigerated until serving.
To serve, slice a portion of the tres leches cake and serve with caramelized pineapple on top (directions below).
For the caramelized pineapple: Place all ingredients in a saucepan at medium-high heat, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the pineapple is translucent and created a syrup consistency. Set aside until ready to use.
Chocolate hazelnut cookies
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon salted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped
Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, espresso powder and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to blend evenly.
Combine butter with both sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or use a hand mixer and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until slightly fluffy. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times during mixing. Beat in egg and vanilla until well combined. Add dry ingredients and mix on low until it just begins to incorporate then fold in the chocolate chunks until the dough is evenly combined. Turn the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and wrap well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Let dough sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly so it is easier to scoop.
Scoop up about 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into smooth balls. Place onto prepared baking sheets spacing them 2 inches apart and flatten slightly. Place a few extra chocolate chunks and hazelnuts on top of each dough ball if desired. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes until the bottoms are evenly browned and the tops are cracked but they are still soft in the middle. Transfer baking sheet to a rack and let cookies cool on trays for 3 minutes before transferring individually to the rack and serve.