Adrienne Wolter shares local restaurant reviews, day trips and cooking adventures
Thanksgiving is probably the most eagerly anticipated meal of the year. It’s also the one that elicits the most vocal opinions — like the great debate over whether cranberries should be served right out of a can and whether or not stuffing should be cooked inside the bird.
I won’t even get into the disputes about the best way to cook Tom the Turkey (not today, anyway. I will cover that next week!). But many people, including me, look forward to the side dishes even more than the turkey. They are often the highlight of the entire meal and the best part of the leftovers.
Also, while one person is in charge of the bird, almost everyone has to bring or make a side dish for their Thanksgiving meal. So, whether you are spending this day of gratitude with friends or family, in-laws or out-laws, here are seven mouthwatering Thanksgiving side dishes for you to consider.
Green beans are a staple on most Thanksgiving tables, but the traditional casserole with cream of mushroom soup and fried onions can get tired.
Even a plain ol' green beans dish pan-fried in butter with a few add-ins isn't really doing your waistline any favors.
As families become more health conscious, many are looking for a way to incorporate green beans without the added calories.
These green beans with shallots and red pepper are a tasty and healthy alternative that will add color to your table.
So, I am not a fan of cranberry out of can and chances are you’ve got a few people at your table who prefer the fresh option, as well. This citrus spiked cranberry sauce is a traditional dish with a modern twist, and will be perfect to put on leftover turkey sandwiches. This style of cranberry sauce can be made up to a week before Thanksgiving. You can cross one menu item off your list well before Thursday!
One of the perennial Thanksgiving puzzles is figuring out which dishes need to be cooked on the stovetop and in the oven, and at which times. Will there be enough burners? Will the turkey cook thoroughly if we put the potatoes in the oven as well? The logistics of cooking during Thanksgiving are a brain teaser!
That’s why I love this recipe for slow cooker stuffing, no burner or oven space required. Throw your stale French bread, carrots, celery, onion and sausage into the slow cooker. Add the seasonings you’d like, thyme or rosemary, and cook for about four hours. If your guests help themselves Thanksgiving buffet style, serve this right out of the slow cooker, or you can move this into a serving dish to place on your table.
I know that rolls are easy to buy at the grocery store or local bakery, but there really is nothing like a warm homemade dinner roll. Your guests will be duly impressed that you didn’t go for the easy store bought option. These rapid rolls take only an hour to make and they can be baked in a cast iron skillet for that down home feel. If you enjoy this recipe, you can use it to make loaf bread or pizza dough, too. Serve warm with butter and use the leftovers to make turkey sliders!
With all of the pies, rolls, wine and stuffing, I’m always looking to sneak another vegetable on the table. You know a way to turn a veggie-hater into a Brussels sprout super fan? Add bacon. This recipe for roasted Brussel sprouts with bacon, mustard and a walnut vinaigrette is a crowd pleaser and helps diversify your Thanksgiving spread. Did you know Brussels sprouts are good for your skin? All that protein, iron, and potassium makes it a great addition to a meal.
Another side dish that takes up a lot of time and stovetop space on Thanksgiving morning is mashed potatoes. After getting up early to start the turkey, do you really want to spend time pounding away at potatoes? No, you don’t. This recipe for mashed potatoes can be made a few days ahead and stored in the fridge. So, make the potatoes when you have the time and pull them out of the fridge in the morning to bring them closer to room temperature. Then just heat them in the oven.
Speaking of potatoes, is sweet potato casserole a favorite in your family? I have a few family members who could take or leave sweet potato casserole, but I’m going to use this recipe to convert them.
This take on the classic calls for a topping of crushed cornflakes, pecans and brown sugar to give you a nice crunch to go with the gooeyness of the traditional marshmallow topping.
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to visit with family and friends, express gratitude and give thanks. With these seven mouthwatering recipes, it is also the perfect time to try new recipes and update old favorites.
What is your go-to Thanksgiving side dish recipe? I want to hear about all your favorites – leave them in the comments!