Are you trying to prepare something new for Thanksgiving? If so, why not try something a little different to tickle your family's taste buds.

The bird

The easiest way to add tons of flavor to your turkey is to get under its skin. Literally. Rubbing a blend of herbs and spices both over and under the skin of the bird before roasting imparts tons of flavor.

Brown sugar and cider turkey rub

This wet rub gives turkey a rich and sweet flavor that is a nice complement to the saltiness of a brine. When you combine the ingredients, the mixture will appear curdled and messy. It's fine. Just rub it over and under the turkey's skin.

Start to finish: 5 minutes

Makes enough for a 12- to 14-pound turkey

2 1/2 cups brown sugar

cup whiskey

1/2 cup apple cider

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Zest of 2 oranges

Combine all ingredients in a blender and purée for about 1 minute. The mixture will be loose and a bit watery.

Carefully separate the turkey's skin from the flesh, trying to avoid breaking the skin. Use your hands to work the mixture under the skin, covering the flesh. Replace the skin, then rub the mixture over the outside of the turkey's skin. Roast according to your recipe.

Lemon-Thyme rub

Start to finish: 5 minutes

Makes enough for a 12- to 14-pound turkey

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

teaspoon table salt

teaspoon ground black pepper

In a small bowl, use a spoon or silicone spatula to mix together all of the ingredients.

Carefully separate the turkey's skin from the flesh, trying to avoid breaking the skin. Use your hands to work the mixture under the skin, covering the flesh. Replace the skin, then rub the mixture over the outside of the turkey's skin. Roast according to your recipe.

The vegetables

Green beans are a tradition at many Thanksgiving tables, so many grocers price them competitively during the holidays. Here they are given a sophisticated twist with butter-toasted hazelnuts and melted Gorgonzola cheese. If you like, substitute any blue cheese you like.

Green beans with Hazelnuts and Gorgonzola

Start to finish: 30 minutes (15 minutes active)

Servings: 8

2 pounds green beans, trimmed

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts

1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans, return to a boil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until bright green and crisp. Drain well and set aside.

Return the pot to medium-high. Add the butter and hazelnuts and stir until the nuts are lightly toasted and fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the green beans and stir until heated through.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the cheese and toss until melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Nutrition information per serving: 122 calories; 76 calories from fat; 9 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 12 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 4 g fiber; 363 mg sodium.

The potatoes

If your Thanksgiving isn't complete without the potatoes, why not try twice-baked potatoes or scalloped potatoes?

Twice baked chive potatoes

Start to finish: 2 hours (30 minutes active)

Servings: 8

1 cup coarse salt

1 cup black peppercorns

10 to 12 red bliss potatoes

3 tablespoons sour cream

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

2 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the oven to 375 F.

In a large baking dish, toss together the salt and peppercorns. Arrange the potatoes on top of the salt and peppercorn mixture. Roast for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until tender.

Remove the potatoes from the pan (the salt and peppercorns can still be ground and used) and set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut a circle about the size of a quarter on one side. Use a small spoon to scoop out the insides and put them in a large bowl. Retain the hollowed out potatoes.

Lightly mash the scooped potato in the bowl, or press it through a food mill or potato ricer. Add the sour cream, chives and cream to the mashed potatoes, then whisk together until fully combined.

Transfer the mixture to a piping bag or large zip-close plastic bag with a small hole cut in one corner. Pipe (squeeze) the mixture back into the reserved potato skins. Arrange the stuffed potatoes in an empty baking pan. Bake until lightly browned on top.

Nutrition information per serving: 262 calories; 31 calories from fat; 3 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 11 mg cholesterol; 51 g carbohydrate; 6 g protein; 5 g fiber; 275 mg sodium.

Scalloped Potatoes

These scalloped potatoes can be prepped up to a day ahead. Prepare them up to the point of adding the cheese, then refrigerate. Continue with the recipe when ready to bake and serve.

It may seem unusual to refrigerate the potatoes just before putting them in the oven. This allows the cheese to brown in the oven; if the cheese was sprinkled over hot potatoes it would melt into the milk before it had a chance to brown.

Start to finish: 2 hours (30 minutes active)

Servings: 6 to 8

8 large (about 3 pounds) russet potatoes, peeled and sliced inch thick

6 cloves garlic

4 to 5 cups milk

1/2 bunch fresh thyme

bunch parsley

pound grated gruyere cheese

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes and garlic. Add the milk and set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer.

Using kitchen twine, tie the thyme and parsley into a bundle and add to the milk. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are slightly tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375 F.

Transfer the potatoes to a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Discard the herbs, then pour the milk over the potatoes. Refrigerate until cooled to lukewarm. Sprinkle the potatoes with the cheese, then bake until the milk is bubbling and the cheese is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving: 288 calories; 87 calories from fat; 10 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 31 mg cholesterol; 38 g carbohydrate; 13 g protein; 2 g fiber; 358 mg sodium.

The bread

A blend of buttermilk and honey make these easy-to-prep corn muffins exceptionally sweet and tender. The muffins can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Use any leftover buttermilk to make creamy dressings, fluffy pancakes or even a tangy smoothie.

Honey corn muffins

Start to finish: 45 minutes (10 minutes active)

Servings: 12

1 cups all-purpose flour

cup cornmeal

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

cup honey

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Heat the oven to 375 F. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, honey and melted butter. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted at the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving: 150 calories; 43 calories from fat; 5 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 41 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 1 g fiber; 342 mg sodium.