Are you making the exact same sides and desserts that you've been making for Thanksgiving for years? This year, kick things up a notch and try some non-traditional side dishes and desserts.

Does Aunt Joan insist on bringing her green bean casserole? Make a pan of Cream Cheese Corn and see which one your guests dive into.

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I like to make my Cream Cheese Corn in the oven, but if you're short on oven space, it comes out great in the crockpot too. Here are a few recipes to try.

Stovetop Cream Cheese Corn

Crockpot Cream Cheese Corn

Oven-baked Cream Cheese Corn Casserole

Your guests will not miss mashed potatoes one bit when you put a casserole dish of the best Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole on the table. This one has some secret ingredients that are key to making this the tastiest cheesy hashbrown casserole you'll ever put in your mouth. If you do decide to go with mashed potatoes though, do me a favor and put sour cream and cream cheese in those taters. Two ingredients that elevate your Yukon golds to a new level of deliciousness.

Pumpkin pie is a traditional Thanksgiving dessert that many look forward to each year. We have a different pumpkin dessert that will blow your taste buds. This recipe was originally made with chocolate pudding but for Thanksgiving, I make it with pumpkin pudding.

Best Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole

The recipe for this fits in a 9 X 13 baking dish and makes about twelve 1/2 cup servings. I will warn you, no one will eat just 1/2 cup of this cheesy goodness, so you may want to double this recipe and make 2 pans if you're having a larger crowd for the holiday. The reason it's so delectable? Two secret ingredients.

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Ingredients:

4 cups of hash browns in a box. NOT FROZEN. Part of the reason these are so good is because of the potatoes. It is crucial to use the dehydrated version and not frozen or fresh. I get these at Sam's Club. They're called Idaho Spuds Golden Grill Hash Browns. It's a big box, but you can use the leftovers for hash browns or more batches of cheesy hash brown casserole. Select dollar stores carry smaller boxes of Hungry Jack hash browns if you can find them.

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1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup

1 cup sour cream

1  8-ounce block of cream cheese, softened

2  8-ounce packages of shredded Kraft Deliciously Paired Cheddar/Gouda for Potatoes. This is secret ingredient #1. This combination will send your potatoes over the top.

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2 tablespoons melted butter

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder. Do NOT substitute prepared mustard. This is secret ingredient #2. Dry mustard makes cheese taste cheesier.

I do not add salt. The potatoes, cream of mushroom soup, and cheese provide enough salt.

Instructions

Prepare the hash browns according to the label instructions. You'll soak them in hot water for about 16 minutes to rehydrate them. Drain the potatoes and put them into a large bowl.

Combine the rest of the ingredients and reserve 4 ounces of shredded cheddar/gouda for the top.

Pour into a greased  9 x 13 casserole dish and sprinkle the reserved cheese on top. Bake uncovered for 55 minutes-1 hour or until edges are golden brown.

Next Best Thing to Rick Springfield Pumpkin Layer Dessert

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What started out as a butterscotch dessert has evolved into a chocolate dessert, and now, a pumpkin-flavored dessert for the holidays. The original recipe I saw in a church cookbook called for butterscotch pudding. My friend's mom made it with chocolate pudding and called it "The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford" (which we renamed "The Next Best Thing to Rick Springfield"). Fast forward 30 years and by experimentation, I found this also tasted terrific with pumpkin spice pudding mix. There are several recipes online for this type of dessert, but none of them were perfect. This one has just the right amount of everything.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cold butter cut into cubes

Pinch of salt

1 cup chopped walnuts

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2 8-ounce tubs Extra Creamy Cool Whip. Trust me, use extra creamy!

12 ounces cream cheese

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

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1 3.4-ounce box pumpkin spice instant pudding mix

1 3.4-ounce box french vanilla instant pudding mix (you could eliminate this and use two boxes of pumpkin spice pudding, depending on how pumpkiny you want your dessert

2 3/4 cups whole milk or half and half.

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Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put flour and salt in a bowl and cut in butter or put mixture into a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Stir in 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. Lightly spray a 9X13 baking dish with non-stick spray and press the mixture onto the bottom. Bake 13-15 minutes or until light golden brown. Completely cool this layer before you add the next three layers.

Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth and fold in 1 tub of Extra Creamy Cool Whip. Once your crust is cool, spread this over the crust layer.

Mix milk or half and half and pudding mixes until it sets up. Spread over the cream cheese layer.

Top with one carton of Extra Creamy Cool Whip and sprinkle with 1/2 cup walnuts.

Serve chilled. This can also be made with a graham cracker crust. There are many recipes online for graham cracker crusts. Choose one that fits a 9x13 baking dish.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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