While the turkey is arguably the center of attention at the Thanksgiving table, what would the meal be without all of the side dishes? And really, think about it, side dishes take up about 90 percent of your plate. While those of us hosting Thanksgiving, or any other big meal during the year, always end up serving an array of side dishes, we sometimes like to change things up and get out of the same old side dish rut. If that sounds like you, here are a few Thanksgiving, and any time, side dishes that will be the hit of the meal.
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Say what?! Our favorite, classic side dish just got crazy simple. Yes, you really can make these mashed potatoes ahead of time, up to two days even! Just reheat gently with a bit of dairy and they will be as velvety and yummy as if you had whipped them up right before the meal. How does that work? Well, when you combine butter with hot potatoes, the butter fats coat the potato starches keeping them from getting sticky or gummy. So don’t be afraid to take this twist on a classic for a spin.
- 4 lbs medium Yukon Gold potatoes
- Kosher salt
- 2/3 – 1 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 – 1 cup whole milk
- 1 ¼ cups of unsalted butter cut into pieces
- ½ cup sour cream
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with at least 1 inch of cold water. Add a large handful of salt (the water should taste salty like the ocean). Bring them to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender but not crumbly, usually 30-40 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes to a warm pot to dry.
- Mix 2/3 cup of cream and 2/3 cup of milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it is about to simmer. Reduce heat and keep warm until it is time to add it to the potatoes.
- Pass the hot potatoes and butter through a ricer into a large bowl to help them combine quickly. A lot of the skin will stay behind. Season generously with salt and mix with a potato masher until the butter is melted and mixed well.
- Stirring constantly, gradually add the warm cream mixture to the potatoes and then stir in the sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- To reheat the potatoes later, add them to a small pot and add 1/3 cup of heavy cream and 1/3 cup of whole milk. Reheat over medium low stirring often to prevent scorching.
Slow Cooker Creamed Corn
Leaved the canned cream corn in the pantry this year and make it from scratch in the crock pot. It’s so rich and creamy and easy to make that you won’t even miss the store bought, premade variety. Plus, it has only 5 ingredients and can be cooked in the crockpot freeing up space in your oven or stove top.
- 3 (15.25 ounces) cans of whole kernel corn, drained
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
- 1 stick unsalted butter cut into slices
- Place the corn into the crockpot and stir in milk, sugar, and pepper until well combined. Without stirring, top with cream cheese and butter. Cover and cook on high heat for 2-3 hours.
- Uncover and stir until butter and cream cheese are well combined. Cover and cook on high for 15 more minutes then serve immediately.
Maple Bourbon Glazed Carrots
Bourbon is perfect to cook with, especially when it is combined with a sweet veggie like carrots. These carrots will literally taste like candy, but the sweetness is toned down a bit thanks to fresh herbs, salt, and pepper. They are the perfect addition to your meal and can be made ahead of time and kept warm in a low oven. They actually taste better after sitting for an hour or so in the oven.
- ¾ cup good-quality bourbon or whisky
- ½ cup butter
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- Salt and pepper
- 1 ½ pounds carrots peeled and sliced into ½ inch pieces
- Fresh dill for garnishment
- In a saute pan, add the bourbon and cook over medium high heat until the bourbon has reduced to about half – approximately 10 minutes.
- Add the butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, and a sprinkle each of salt and pepper to the chopped carrots and then toss to combine.
- Reduce the heat to medium to medium-low and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
- Remove from heat and garnish with fresh dill and serve immediately.
Slow Cooker Cranberry Pecan Stuffing
While your turkey is baking away in the oven, it’s time to prepare your stuffing in the slow cooker. After all, stuffing is a Thanksgiving staple. But with this recipe, there are a few added twists to make this the perfect side dish at any meal!
- 12 oz. bag sage & onion cubed stuffing
- 1 cup leaks or green onions chopped
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 3 cups chicken broth
- ½ cup melted butter
- 1 beaten egg
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- Toss your cubed stuffing, leaks, cranberries, raisins, and pecans in a 5 quart slow cooker that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, butter, egg, salt and pepper, and ground mustard. Pour over the mixture in the slow cooker and gently fold together.
- Cook on low for 3-4 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
No more room in the oven, on the stovetop, and all the crock pots are busy? That’s okay! We’ve got you covered with this cool salad that you can prepare and hold in the refrigerator. It is full of all tasty things, topped with a creamy dressing, and is so easy and delicious! The star ingredient may be broccoli, but don’t let it fool you. This recipe is loaded with flavor. And don’t forget – bacon!
- 1 broccoli head – approximately 5 cups of florets
- 8 slices of bacon
- 1/3 cup red onion diced
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled
Salad Dressing Ingredients
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Add the bacon slices to a parchment lined baking tray and cook for 15 minutes or until crispy. Remove it from the oven and transfer to a paper towel to cool.
- While the bacon is cooking, slice off all the broccoli florets into bite sized pieces. Add them to a large mixing bowl along with the red onion, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and goat cheese.
- To make the dressing, add the mayonnaise and yogurt to a small bowl and stir together.
- Crumble the cooled bacon into the broccoli mixture, add the dressing mixture to the broccoli mixture and stir until everything is well combined.
Now you’ve got a side dish to serve everyone on the list, even the most picky among you. So the next time you are hosting dinner, Thanksgiving or otherwise, pull out one of these recipes and enjoy!