Getting Ready for Thanksgiving – Some Side Dish Ideas

Snoopy_Woodstock_Thanksgiving_DinnerThanksgiving is a week away so you better start thinking about your menu! There are certain things you know you’re going to have, like a turkey, but for the most part you get a free range with your sides. Cheryl and I have been doing Thanksgiving together for eight years now and we’re always trying out at least one new side dish, or a twist on it. Here are a few which ideas which might come in handy next week.

Sausage Stuffing. I might as well start off with this, as it is THE BEST stuffing you’re ever going to have. Seriously. It’s my Grandma’s recipe and I can’t think of preparing Thanksgiving dinner without it. I have a friend who made this last year and it was such a huge success, he made it again at Christmas. He recently told me he was getting requests for it in August. That’s how good it is. Trust me, make this stuffing.

Pecan Toffee Crumble for Sweet Potatoes. This ‘upgrade’ made its first appearance at the very first Thanksgiving dinner I cooked for Cheryl. We don’t have it every year since sweet potatoes are a very easy dish to improvise, but we always seem to come to the toffee topping a year after trying something new. Like when we tried to make Bourbon Sweet Potatoes which ended up being Drunken Sweet Potatoes. Adds a nice crunchy texture to the pureed sweet potatoes.

Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions. I can’t imagine Thanksgiving without sausage stuffing, Cheryl can’t imagine it without Green Bean Casserole. In fact she’s in charge of it (which is why there’s no link here…yet) and keeps her recipe a secret. But I do know she doesn’t use cream of mushroom soup in hers. Instead she actually makes the sauce from scratch with real mushrooms and béchamel sauce. It’s her only responsibility for Thanksgiving and she does a great job with it!

Creamed Onions. For me, creamed onions is like an old ballplayer. Times have changed and he really should retire but there’s a lot of nostalgia and he’s a sentimental favorite. Fond memories for me with creamed onions. Also not a regular but I like to trot them out every once in a while. And while you may not think so, it’s actually pretty tasty.

Macaroni and Cheese (Truffle Cheese that is). Normally, this is our Christmas Day side dish to go with glazed ham but since there are a lot of people out there who also cook a ham on Thanksgiving I thought I’d throw this into the mix. I consider using béchamel sauce an absolute must in order to get the proper amount of creaminess in a good mac n cheese. It is also quite the guest favorite at our annual Christmas party.

Pumpkin Pie. Look, there’s apple pie, and pecan pie, but Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without some pumpkin pie. It’s like Egg Nog and Pumpkin Beer, there’s only one time of the year when pumpkin pie is acceptable. That time is now!

Pumpkin Risotto.For those of you who eschew the traditional and search every year for something totally different. It’s got pumpkin in it so yes, it can work for Thanksgiving dinner.

Sweet Potato and Spicy Sausage Soup. Another non-traditional idea. This is a rally great soup and you can easily substitute roasted butternut or acorn squash for the sweet potatoes.

Cocktails. Maye this should have gone first? Ha! Makes dealing with family just a little easier, no? Two great cocktails which use delicious American whiskey are the Manhattan and Old Fashioned. You need something to cut through all those heavy carbs!

 

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6 comments

  1. I’m always torn at Thanksgiving. I like the traditional sides so much, and I have them so rarely, that I really want them straight-up on T-day. Your sausage stuffing looks interesting! I was right with you, until it came to rehydrating the bread. That’s not so strange … I’ve seen other recipes that use soaked, dry bread. Like you, I wonder what that’s all about.

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