Non-Traditional Recipes for Thanksgiving

Here are a few new recipes to try with the wild game from the fall hunt.  These might be great options for a non-traditional Thanksgiving feast!

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Prep Time: 1 hr

Cook Time: 4 hrs

Total Time: 5 hrs

Servings: 24 


1 (3 lb.) whole chicken, deboned

salt and pepper to taste

Creole seasoning to taste

1 (4 lb) duck, deboned

1 (16 lb) turkey, deboned

3 C.  prepared sausage and oyster dressing


Preheat the oven to 375° F. Lay the deboned chicken skin-side down on a platter and season liberally with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Lay the deboned duck skin-side down on top of the chicken and season liberally with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Cover and refrigerate.

Lay the deboned turkey skin-side down on a flat surface. Cover with a layer of cold sausage and oyster dressing and push the dressing into the leg and wing cavities so they will look as if they still have bones in them.

Lay the duck on top of the turkey skin-side down and cover it with a layer of cold dressing. Lay the chicken on top of the duck skin-side down and cover it with a layer of cold dressing.

With the help of an assistant, bring the edges of the turkey skin up and fasten them together with toothpicks. Use the kitchen string to lace around the toothpicks to help hold the stuffed turkey together. Carefully place the turducken, breast up in a large roasting pan.

Roast covered for 4 hours or until the turducken is golden brown. Continue to roast uncovered for 1 hour or until a meat thermometer inserted through the thigh registers 180° F and a thermometer inserted through the stuffing registers 165° F. Check the turducken every few hours to baste and remove excess liquid. Carve and serve


Roasted Duck


Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 2 hrs

Total Time: 2 hrs 10 mins

Servings: 4


2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

1 (5 lb.) whole duck

1/2 C. butter, melted, divided


Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Combine paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl; rub spice mixture onto skin of duck. Place duck in a roasting pan.

Roast in the preheated oven for 1 hour.

Spoon 1/4 C. melted butter over duck and continue cooking for 45 minutes more.

Spoon remaining 1/4 C. melted butter over duck and cook until golden brown, about 15 minutes more.


Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Maple Cinnamon Sage Brown Butter


Level: Intermediate

Total: 55 min

Prep: 40 min

Cook: 15 min

Yield: 6 to 8 servings



2 lbs. sweet potatoes

2/3 C. whole milk ricotta cheese

1-1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1-1/4 C. all-purpose flour, plus 1/3 C. for the work surface


Maple Cinnamon Sage Brown Butter:

1/2 C. unsalted butter (1 stick)

20 fresh sage leaves

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 T. maple syrup

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


For the Gnocchi: Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Pierce the sweet potato with a fork. Bake the sweet potatoes until tender and fully cooked, between 40 to 55 minutes depending on size. Cool slightly. Cut in half and scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Mash the sweet potatoes and transfer to a large measuring cup to make sure the sweet potatoes measure about 2 C. Transfer the mashed sweet potatoes back to the large bowl. Add the ricotta cheese, salt, cinnamon, and pepper and blend until well mixed. Add the flour, 1/2 C. at a time until a soft dough forms. Lightly flour a work surface and place the dough in a ball on the work surface. Divide the dough into 6 equal balls. Roll out each ball into a 1-inch-wide rope. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces. Roll the gnocchi over the tines of a fork. Transfer the formed gnocchi to a large baking sheet. Continue with the remaining gnocchi.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the gnocchi in 3 batches and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the gnocchi using a slotted spoon onto a baking sheet. Tent with foil to keep warm and continue with the remaining gnocchi.

For the Brown Butter sauce: While the gnocchi are cooking melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted add the sage leaves. Continue to cook, swirling the butter occasionally, until the foam subsides and the milk solids begin to brown. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the cinnamon, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Careful, the mixture will bubble up. Gently stir the mixture. When the bubbles subside, toss the cooked gnocchi in the brown butter. Transfer the gnocchi to a serving dish and serve immediately.


Deer Poppers


Cook Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 30 mins


Yield: 20 appetizers


1 lb. venison steaks, cubed

1/2 tsp. Greek seasoning, or to taste

1/4 tsp. steak seasoning, or to taste

1 (16 oz.) bottle Italian salad dressing

1/2 C. jalapeno pepper slices

10 slices bacon, cut in half

toothpicks, soaked in water


Season the venison meat with Greek seasoning and steak seasoning. Place in a bowl, and pour in enough Italian dressing to cover. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to marinate, but preferably overnight.

Preheat the grill for medium heat. Drain the marinade from the meat, and discard the marinade. Place a slice of jalapeno on top of a piece of meat, then wrap with a slice of bacon. Secure with a soaked toothpick. Repeat with remaining meat.

Grill the deer poppers for 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally to brown the bacon. Serve and enjoy!


Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups


Yields 8 cups


Pecan & Graham Cracker Topping:

1/3 C. pecan halves

2 graham crackers (1 sheet), broken into 1″ pieces*

1/4 tsp. pumpkin spice blend


Cheesecake Mousse:

6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into 1” cubes

1/2 C. thick, plain whole-milk yogurt 

1/4 C. maple syrup or honey

1 tsp. vanilla extract


Pumpkin Mousse:

1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin purée 

1/2 C. thick, plain whole-milk yogurt

2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 C. maple syrup or honey

1 T. pumpkin spice blend

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Pinch of salt


First, make the pecan and graham cracker topping: Toast the pecans in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 3 to 6 minutes. Transfer the pecans to a food processor and add the broken graham crackers and pumpkin spice blend.

Process the mixture for about 10 seconds, until the pecans and grahams are broken into tiny pieces (you may need to break up a few persistent pieces between your fingers, to avoid turning the mixture into nut butter). Transfer the mixture to a bowl and wipe out the food processor with a clean tea towel for the next step.

Cheesecake mousse: In the food processor, combine the cream cheese (6 oz. of it), yogurt, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Blend until the mixture is completely smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom as necessary. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. It’s ok if a bit of it remains in the food processor for the next step.

Pumpkin mousse: In the food processor, combine the pumpkin purée, yogurt, the remaining 2 oz. of cream cheese, maple syrup, pumpkin spice blend, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Blend until the mixture is completely smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom as necessary.

To assemble, transfer about 2 oz. (1/4 C.) of the pumpkin purée to each of your 8 cups. Top each with about 1 oz. (2 T.) of the cream cheese mixture—you might have a bit leftover; just divide it between the cups. Top each with about 1 T. of the pecan and graham cracker topping.

Serve immediately, or better yet, cover and refrigerate for later (they’ll thicken up somewhat over time, which is also good.  They’ll keep for up to two days in the fridge). 


Caramel Pecan Pie Cheesecake Bars


Total: 9 hours 25 minutes; Yield: 9-12 slices


Cheesecake crust:

2 C. graham cracker crumbs

1/4 C. brown sugar

1/4 C. butter, melted


Cheesecake filling:

3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1/2 C. sour cream, at room temperature

1/3 C. granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 T. white flour

1/4 tsp. salt

2 eggs


Pecan topping:

2 C. pecans, coarsely chopped

1 T. butter, melted

1/4 C. caramel sauce


Cheesecake crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan and line it with parchment paper. The parchment paper will help remove the cheesecake out of the pan easily after baking.

In a medium bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Gradually pour in melted butter, while stirring until mixed well. Press crumbs firmly into the parchment lined baking pan.

Transfer the pan into the freezer to freeze the crust for 15 minutes, to allow the crust to harden.

Cheesecake filling: In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to mix together cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juice, flour, and salt, until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until just blended (Do not over-mix to avoid cracking during baking).

Assemble and bake: Pour filling into the cooled crust and smooth out the surface. Place the square pan into a large baking pan. Fill the pan with 1 inch (2 cm) deep of boiling water. Move the large baking pan into the oven and bake for 45 minutes in the boiling water bath until the filling is set. (Baking in hot water bath helps prevent sudden temperature drop and cracking).

Add pecan topping: In a medium bowl, stir to combine chopped pecans, melted butter and caramel sauce.

Spread the mixture evenly over the top of the cheesecake using a spoon. Save any remaining caramel sauce in the bowl for garnish.

Place the baking pan back into the oven and continue to bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes until the pecan mixture is set. Take the pan out of the oven and allow it to cool down to room temperature, about one hour.

Carefully remove the cheesecake out of the pan using the lined parchment paper and place on a wire cooling rack. This helps the cheesecake crust from getting soggy while being refrigerated.

Transfer the cheesecake to the refrigerator overnight (or for at least 8 hours) to cool down and solidify.

To serve, transfer the cheesecake to a serving dish. Cut into slices and serve with remaining caramel sauce. Drizzle more caramel sauce on top, if desired.


Quote of the Week:

“Yes! It’s Daylight Saving Time. The clock in my car will finally be correct.’’  

~ Anonymous


The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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