2021 Thanksgiving Recipes from Esker Employees

Hannah Denning

As the world returns to normal, so do our annual holiday traditions. Getting together with friends and family means good food, laughter, and fun. If you’ve been perfecting your cooking skills throughout the pandemic, this is the perfect opportunity to put them on display and try a new recipe to share at Thanksgiving this year.

Thanksgiving Recipes from Esker Employees

  • Cinnamon Applesauce
  • Buffalo Chicken Dip
  • Baked Brie
  • Citrus Turkey Brine
  • Turkey Stuffing
  • Roasties
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Cheesy Potatoes
  • Cranberry-Mustard Relish
  • Squash Pie
  • Berry Brie Bites
  • Scalloped Pineapple

Cinnamon Applesauce

Recommended by Lauryn Branham. Very simple to make but very tasty!

8-9 medium-large sized apples (10-11 small)
5 tablespoons lemon juice
Lemon peel, usually 2-3 pieces
⅓ cups sugar (can add more or less, based on preference)
½ tsp cinnamon (can add more or less, based on preference)
½ tsp salt
1 cup water

Peel all apples and chop into smaller chunks. Combine all ingredients above and bring to a boil on the stove. Once boiling, lower to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove lemon peels and mash the apples. Let it cool down before tasting. Then you can add more sugar, cinnamon, or lemon juice if needed.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Recommended by Ashley MacHolda. “Our family tradition is on the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving to host family and friends for an appetizer cocktail night. This is a staple appetizer for that event!

4 chicken breasts
8 oz block cream cheese
1 packet dry ranch seasoning (Hidden Valley is best)
1-2 bottles Franks Buffalo Sauce
Shredded cheddar cheese
Hawaiian rolls or chips

Add the chicken, cream cheese, ranch seasoning, and majority of buffalo sauce to a crockpot. Cook on high for 5-6 hours. About an hour before finishing, shred the chicken and add more buffalo sauce if you like. Add in the cheese (as much or as little as you’d like). Mix and finish cooking for 1 more hour. Serve with chips or Hawaiian rolls.

Baked Brie

Recommended by Renee Platto. “Super easy appetizer to make! The oven is already in use so we just throw this in to snack on before the big dinner!”


Citrus Turkey Brine

Recommended by Michelle Venturini. “This makes the best tasting turkey that isn’t dried out. Leftovers are delicious!”

1 cup salt
1 orange, cut in wedges
1 onion, cut in wedges
3 cloves garlic
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried herbs of choice
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 ½ gallons cold water

Place slat in water and stir to dissolve. Add remaining ingredients to salt water. Place turkey in large bag; add brine. Refrigerate for 18-25 hours, turning occasionally to make sure all of the turkey has some time submerged. Prep turkey for roasting by rinsing and drying thoroughly. No need to baste or add anything else. (I find that cooking time is reduced by 15-20%.)

Turkey Stuffing

Recommended by Kristina Buth. “My great grandmother wrote this recipe down for my mom and I on an index card. We laminated it and reference it each year.”

2 packs cornbread mix
10-12 biscuits
3 slices bread
1 cup minced onions
1 ½ cups chopped celery
1 tablespoon sage
3 eggs, beaten well
Pepper to taste

Mix well and add broth. Split between two pans and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown.


Recommended by Paul Scrivens-Smith. “Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated in the UK but we still observe it with you. We have a vegetarian version using elements of your traditional dinner but always add an English favourite of roast potatoes, or ‘Roasties.’”

Potatoes (the more starchy, the better)
Vegetable or olive oil (goose fat is traditional)
Semolina flour

Preheat oven to 390 degrees. Cut potatoes into thick slices, about ¾ inches). Parboil potatoes for 10-15 minutes. While ethe potatoes are boiling., heat a large roasting pan in the over with about 1/8 inch of oil. Drain potatoes then rough up surface with fork. Toss in bowl with semolina flour so they get a light coating. Take pan out of oven and carefully lay the potatoes in and place back in oven. Roast for 15 minutes. Rotate them and roast for another 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown all over. Sprinkle with salt and enjoy!

Mac & Cheese

Recommended by Kirsten Short. “My aunt used to make this for Thanksgiving and Christmas every year and all of the kids (over 20 cousins) LOVED IT! It was always the first thing gone. Not entirely healthy but calories on Thanksgiving don’t count.”

1 stick butter
1 can evaporated milk
½ – ¾ loaf of Velveeta cheese
1 box macaroni pasta

Cook macaroni according to box. Drain pasta and add it back to the pot. Add butter and stir until melted. Add can of evaporated milk. Cut up the Velveeta into cubes and put a few into the post at a time, stirring until melted. If you like it cheesier, go with ¾ of the loaf of cheese (I wouldn’t do more than that otherwise it’s too thick).

Cheesy Potatoes

Recommended by Becky Sue. “This is one of my favorite recipes for all occasions.”

1 pint (2 cups) sour cream
1 can (10.75 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
½ cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 bag (30 oz) frozen country-style shredded hash brown potatoes, partially thawed
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine sour cream, cream of chicken, melted butter, garlic salt, onions, hash browns, and cheese. Stir until well blended. Add contents into a 9×13 pan. Bake for 45 minutes.

Cranberry-Mustard Relish

Recommended by Madeline Sall. “My mom makes 2-3 different cranberry sauces for Thanksgiving every year (because she’s a cooking machine), and this mustard one has always been my favorite. The combo of sweet & savory really takes it to the next level. I usually want extra for sandwiches!”

12 oz package fresh or frozen cranberries
4 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 ½ tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard

Combine cranberries and sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking until cranberries begin to pop, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Let the mixture cool completely. Stir in both mustards. Cover and chill. Makes a little over 2 cups. Relish can be made 1 week ahead!

Berry Brie Bites

Recommended by Samantha B. “This is such an easy appetizer to make and share with guests while the rest of the food is being prepared. Even better if you share it with them OUTSIDE of the kitchen to keep them occupied while they wait for dinner!“

Crescent roll dough
Brie cheese
Berry jam (whatever type you prefer)
Fresh Rosemary sprigs (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Roll out crescent roll dough & cut it into 24 equal-sized squares. Place squares into muffin tin slots. Cut brie into small wedges and place inside dough squares. Top with generous spoonful of your berry jam/sauce, and a little sprig of rosemary. Bake for 15 minutes until dough is light golden brown. Enjoy warm!

Scalloped Pineapple

Recommended by Cheryl Stalowski.

3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, undrained
½ cup butter, melted
¼ cup 2% milk
4 cups cubed bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine eggs, sugar, pineapple, butter, and milk. Add bread cubes and toss to coat. Transfer to a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake uncovered, until a thermometer reads 160 degrees, about 30-35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

Thanksgiving Tips

Squash Pie
Recommended from Andy Luksik. “It is more delicious than pumpkin, I think. It is a very similar taste but a little less sweet.”

Instead of using pumpkin to make your pumpkin pie, replace with squash!

Brined Turkey
Recommended by Matt Kulas. “Brining makes the turkey so good and moist, never have dry turkey again.”

Cooking Turkey
Recommended by Kenyon Strobeck.

When the turkey is about 2/3 done, cover the breast with a layer of bacon. This prevents overcooking and automagically bastes the turkey.


Author Bio

Hannah Denning

As the Digital Brand Marketing Specialist at Esker, Hannah focuses her time around content creation for the Esker blog and social media pages. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her puppy, Queso.

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