Diamonds In The Rough Thanksgiving Special Edition

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In this special edition of Diamonds in the Rough, I will spotlight the player to look at in each of the three Thanksgiving games.  But what makes this a special edition is the dissection of the undervalued Thanksgiving foods as the holiday approaches.  Why should Turkey get all the play at this time of year?  But before I delve into that, here are the three games we get to sit back and watch while ignoring … wait I mean spending time with our families.

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions

Matt Flynn (Green Bay Packers) – There is a Matt Flynn sighting in Green Bay and it is actually a good thing.  He went 21 of 36 for 218 yards and a touchdown as a mid-game replacement for the ineffective Scott Tolzien.  I think he will thrive back in Green Bay, a place where he is very comfortable in that offense as a backup to Aaron Rodgers.  Granted those numbers last week were against a struggling Vikings’ defense, but this week he gets the struggling Lions’ pass defense.  While the Lions have been stout against the run all season, they have struggled against the pass (giving up 277 yards per game).  Flynn will be throwing in order to take advantage of the weakness in the Lions’ defense and will get 280 yards passing with two scores.

Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys

Rod Streater (Oakland Raiders) – Denarius Moore will miss a second straight game due to a shoulder injury as he’s yet to take the practice field so far this week.  This vaults Streater into the role of number one passing option once again, a place where he is producing quite well.  Last week, he had twice as many targets as any other Oakland player (nine targets) and converted those targets to five receptions for 93 yards.  There is also the plus that he has become Matt McGloin‘s favorite target over his few starts.  The Cowboys’ pass defense has had its troubles throughout the season and should struggle to keep the explosive wide receiver under wraps.  Streater gets five catches for 80 yards and a score. 

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens 

Shaun Suisham and Justin Tucker (Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens) – This is going to be another classic Ravens versus Steelers close slugfest, one usually filled with field goals.  Suisham is averaging over 10 points per game over his past three games.  With Big Ben and the Steelers’ offense struggling to punch the ball into the end zone with their many red zone opportunities, Suisham has picked up the slack and knocked through field goal after field goal.  On the other side, there was another perfect day for the clutch Tucker, hitting all four field goals last week.  As with Suisham, Tucker’s offense has been having trouble converting drives into touchdowns, leaving the kicker plenty of chances at field goals.  This game will be one full of field goals and both kickers will convert at least two field goals on the night.

Now that the games are out of the way, we will move on to the important part of this special edition article … let’s talk about Thanksgiving food.  While the turkey may get all of the pub as the premier Thanksgiving option, there is more than just the bird that impacts a great day of eating.  Of course there are the other main staples of mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey gravy (has to be the turkey kind), and pumpkin pie that have the ability to steal the show, but there are other foods, ones that don’t get the attention they deserve, that makes Thanksgiving so great.  Here is my list of five of those undervalued foods:

Stuffed Mushrooms – Stuffed mushrooms is one of my personal favorites from Thanksgiving as a great appetizer to the meal that is forthcoming.  It is different depending on where you are in the world.  Some people use crab, sausage, or another type of meat.  I like my stuffed mushrooms pretty straight up: fresh mushroom caps with a mixture of onions, locatelli cheese, breadcrumbs, and garlic which is then topped off with mozzarella cheese.  Put it in the oven and, after a little while, you have poppable treats that you can enjoy while you sit down watching the early football game. 

Green Beans – It can be in casserole form with the cream of mushroom soup and topped with the crispy fried onions (which are amazing and the best part of that dish).  But, I like the green beans the way my grandma made them.  Fresh green beans with some garlic salt, pepper and a touch of canola oil.  It makes the perfect fresh vegetable side dish option with the heaviness of the turkey, gravy, stuffing and mashed potatoes.  It also makes a good late-night snack in its cold form.

Yams/Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows – Marshmallows for the win!!  Sweet potatoes are pretty good with some brown sugar, but the addition of the melty goodness of marshmallows takes the dish to another level.  Yes, it is sweet on sweet, but it is a difference maker at the table, one that will stand out from the rest of the dishes.

Cornbread – I need something to sop up the extra gravy on my plate and there is no better option than cornbread.  It’s got to be the real thing, not some box mix.  With this selection, you get a great sweet bread with real corn kernels and the ability to be versatile, as a stand alone option or by teaming up with the other parts of your meal. 

Pecan Pie – Let’s move on and get to the dessert portion of the meal.  I am not a big fan of pumpkin pie as there is just something about it is not that appetizing to me (Hey I guess I’m just weird like that).  Instead, I’m going to make a move to grab the pecan pie.  It is seen as a Southern staple, but I’m a Northerner that just loves eating this on Thanksgiving and it is becoming more and more popular across the nation.  In fact, there are actually Pecan Pie Pringles now (yes the potato chips).  It is the sweet dessert ending of a great meal with the added crunch of the pecans throughout the entirety of the pie.  It has the upside of passing pumpkin pie as your go to pie at Thanksgiving well into the future.

Leftover Extra Credit: Hawaiian Rolls – These great rolls are the perfect leftover roll that not too many people know about.  I use the sweet rolls to make turkey sliders for lunch or dinner with my leftovers across the next few days.  I cut the roll in half and add the layers of mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey and gravy.  It is literally a little Thanksgiving in each bite and the sweetness in the roll provides a nice undertone to the heaviness of the other ingredients.

And so this ends a look at the underrated foods of Thanksgiving.  I hope you enjoyed my take on this topic and invite you all to comment on the article below or let me know your thoughts on Twitter (@DJ_Gilman).  Let me know if you agree, disagree, what you would add, etc.  I would love to hear your opinions on this great topic.

I hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving by having a great meal with family and friends.  It is a special time of year and I am so thankful for all the support of my family and friends.  A major thanks to you all for reading and I will see you for more “Diamonds in the Rough” on Black Friday, seems like the right day for deals on players, right?