Thanksgiving is about family and friends. For some, it's a little football too. And nothing brings family, friends and football together quite like FOOD. Chefs love to cook no matter the season, but if you look closely,you'll see a little extra sparkle in their eyes as they prepare the ultimate comfort foods around the holidays - sometimes with a twist! 

Salad with Sass

Chef Ron Canady has been serving up fine food as Executive Chef at Char's Tracy Mansion in Harrisburg for more than a decade. 

Chef's Tip: "Prep the day before!" Cut your vegetables and measure your seasonings to set aside in baggies or containers. 

Recipe: Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad (Download)

The Skinny: This colorful dish presents a light and fresh alternative to the traditionally heavy sides we see at Thanksgiving. Quinoa, sauteed shrimp, vegetables and apples combine for an aromatic dish that guests will love. 

Corn with Character

After ten years as a fine dining chef in Hershey, Chef Scott Levy followed his dream of opening a family restaurant. Smiling at the counter of his Hershey Road Family Restaurant, he says he's all about "comfort food with flair!" 

Chef's Tip: Chef Levy says his best Thanksgiving Tip comes from his Pennsylvania Dutch wife, who swears by brining the turkey in salt water for 48 hours. It eliminates all the impurities and creates the juicy meat we all love.  

Recipes: Corn Souffle and Chicken Corn Noodle Soup (Download)

The Skinny: Move over plain corn! There's a new model in town and it's a baked version that fits squarely on the comfort food menu. Chef Levy beefs up your side of corn with this creamy, filling dish.  

Corn Souffle at Hershey Road Family Restaurant 

If Pumpkin Pie Had a Really Awesome Little Brother... 

Travis Lukenich is the Executive Sous Chef at Susquehanna Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar. He says his favorite sides are "all of them!," and looks forward to Thanksgiving more than any other time of year. 

Chef's Tip #1: Baste. Baste. Baste. Basting a turkey continually through the cooking process will keep the turkey juicy on the inside but give the skin a nice crispy finish. 

Chef's Tip #2: The menu at Susquehanna Harvest is full of fresh, light alternatives. In that spirit, Chef Lukenich suggests roasting your potatoes and sweet potatoes. Swap out the blobs of butter for a little olive oil on your white potatoes and a bit of maple syrup for your sweets. 

Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Mousse (Download)

The Skinny: Thanksgiving is for...elastic waistbands. You know it. We know it. BUT, what if we told you there was a dessert that can cure those pumpkin pie cravings without putting you over the proverbial, "I ate so much I can't move" edge? Whip up this light dessert for all the pumpkin taste you love, with a little less guilt. (But still bring the elastic waistband pants. Let's not get carried away!)

*Coming Next Month: Christmas Dessert Recipes!