Maybe it's your first Thanksgiving alone and you want to try a few new things. Maybe it's your first time hosting the holiday at your place and you want to surprise your guests.  Maybe you just want to bring something new to the table-- literally-- at a friend's Thanksgiving bash.

Whatever your reasons for wanting to think outside of the box, we're here to help.  We have five fun new recipes for you to stun your pals with this holiday season and become a living part of a new Thanksgiving day tradition.

1. Expected: Sweet potato casserole/ Mashed yams.

What to do instead: Sweet potato fries

Look, you've already got a ton of stuff on the plate with that weird mashed-up consistency (potatoes, stuffing, even cranberry sauce), so why not go in a different direction with your sweet potatoes?  Sweet potato fries are insanely easy to make and even if you wait to prepare them at your host's house, you won't be hogging the kitchen for very long.

 

2. Expected: Mashed potatoes

What to do instead: Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese will always be my one true love, and last year, my parents decided to incorporate it into their Thanksgiving dinner.  It was a HIT, but with such a creamy, cheesy dish, you might want to skip your traditional mashed potatoes.  If you use the recipe linked below, you might be able to replace the veggies, too.

 

3. Expected: Green beans/Green bean casserole

What to do instead: Roasted broccoli

I've got to take a deep sigh for this one, because green bean casserole is sort of my dish.  It's what I'm in charge of every year (because it's impossible to mess up) and it's always the highest-piled thing on my plate. If you aren't a green bean casserole fangirl like I am and you want something new, try roasted broccoli with garlic and parmesan-- like the sweet potato fries above, they don't require a ton of prep and taste so crunchy and delicious when you take them out of the oven.

 

4. Expected: Cranberry sauce

What to do instead: Cranberry martinis

I get it, this one seems like a stretch.  However, not everyone likes an overload of cranberry sauce and in my house, it seems like people skip over it altogether.  That punch of fruit is so important for such a salty, hearty meal, but if you think no one's going to go for the sauce, why not mix a cold drink instead?

 

5. Expected: Roasted turkey

What to do instead: Turkey meatballs or Tofurkey

The turkey...NOT THE TURKEY!  This is about being unconventional, though, and the most conventional part of Thanksgiving day is that big, fat turkey sitting in the middle of the table.  Some have tried to be different by frying the turkey but we're going totally out of the box here and offer the idea of making meatballs instead.

If you have vegetarian guests, they can feel unwelcome if you let them know they'll only be eating sides for the rest of the night.  Maybe make something great for everyone and...oh, yeah....try a meatless turkey.