Recipes: 3 new things to try for your Thanksgiving meal

Chef Leo Aguirre shares appetizer, dessert & leftover ideas for your family feast

Whipped pumpkin feta dip is a great appetizer option with a nice crusty bread. (Eat Fredericksburg Texas, Eat Fredericksburg Texas 2023)

SAN ANTONIO – Thanksgiving is next week, and while you’re gathering your family’s favorite recipes for the dinner table, here are a few new ones you can add to your repertoire from Eat Fredericksburg Texas.

Chef Leo Aguirre assembled a trio of recipes to try with leftovers, for appetizers and for dessert. You can find more of his recipes here.

Stuffing croquettes are a great option for Thanksgiving leftovers. (Eat Fredericksburg Texas 2023)

Friendsgiving Croquettes and Bourbon Cranberry Sauce



  • 6-ounce box Stove Top Turkey or Chicken Stuffing Mix (you can use any stuffing as long as it’s cornbread-based)
  • 1 cup chicken or turkey, finely chopped
  • 2 cups Progresso Parmesan Bread Crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 cups oil for frying (grapeseed oil recommended)

Bourbon Cranberry Sauce:

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 2 ounces Sisterdale Distilling Bourbon (or more if you’re feeling saucy)
  • 2 tablespoon agave
  • 1 1/2 cups water


For the Croquettes:

Cook stuffing according to directions on box or use your own recipe (works great with leftovers, too). Mix in cooked chicken or turkey and cook for a few minutes in order to meld all the flavors together. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature or place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix 1 egg with a few tablespoons of water, then gently fold into the stuffing mixture.

Prepare a breading station by filling a medium mixing bowl with bread crumbs and a small bowl with the other egg, whisked. Scoop out your desired amount of stuffing mixture and form your desired shape of croquette in your hand. Dip into egg wash then in bread crumbs. Be sure to coat evenly. Repeat until you’ve used up all the mixture. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes for best results.

Heat oil to 350°F in a small saucepan and place croquettes in gently, rotating to be sure to cook evenly for a few minutes. Remove and place on paper towels to drain excess oil before placing on your desired serving dish. Top with Bourbon Cranberry Sauce (directions below).

For the Bourbon Cranberry Sauce:

Place water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add cranberries and fresh thyme. Bring down to a simmer and add bourbon. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Add agave and stir. Remove from heat and let cool down for 5 minutes.

Whipped pumpkin feta dip is a great appetizer option with a nice crusty bread. (Eat Fredericksburg Texas 2023)

Pumpkin Whipped Feta Dip


  • 8-ounce block of feta cheese, drained from brine
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (higher fat content will be less tart)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree, unsweetened
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey (plus more, to serve)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme)
  • Black pepper (freshly cracked)


  • Fresh thyme
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Honey drizzle

Serve with:

  • Crusty, toasted bread (like sourdough or baguette)


Make whipped feta by adding the feta cheese and Greek yogurt to a food processor. Blend ingredients together for a few minutes until smooth, scraping down with a spatula as needed.

Add pumpkin puree, 1 or 2 tablespoons of honey (depending on desired sweetness), thyme and a pinch of black pepper to the food processor. Blend again until all ingredients are combined.

Transfer whipped feta to the fridge and chill (covered) for 30-60 minutes. This is necessary to harden and chill the dip.

When you’re ready to serve this recipe, transfer the whipped feta to a large bowl. Garnish with a handful of chopped walnuts (optional), a generous sprinkle of fresh thyme, an extra drizzle of honey and more pepper.

Serve with crusty/toasted bread or crackers for dipping.

Gooey marshmallow tops this homemade panna cotta. (Eat Fredericksburg Texas 2023)

Sweet Potato Panna Cotta


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons powdered unflavored gelatin (1 pouch)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree, unsweetened
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • Marshmallow creme or mini marshmallows


Pour the milk into a medium saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin onto the milk in an even layer and set aside for 5 minutes for the gelatin to “bloom.” The surface of the milk will turn dry and wrinkly.

Turn the heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the gelatin is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar, turn off the heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved, returning the pan to low heat to rewarm if needed. Stir in the vanilla and salt.

Pour the milk mixture through a sieve into a large bowl other heat-proof container with a pouring spout. Add the cream and sweet potato puree and stir to combine. Divide the mixture among the prepared glasses or ramekins, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.

Serve the panna cotta directly from the ramekins. Top the panna cotta with marshmallow cream or mini marshmallows, toast slightly and serve.

About the Author:

Diana Winters is a San Antonio-area native, Emmy award-winning and GLAAD-nominated journalist who loves the Alamo City. She is the executive producer of SA Live, creator of South Texas PRIDE and co-creator of Texas Eats.