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Suggestions for Thanksgiving day sides

Hi! I am doing Thanksgiving (as always) and I want some new ideas for sides or appetizers. I really appreciate it! I usually make, the turkey, gravy, homemade cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, glazed sweet potatoes, mac and cheese, asparagus w/procuitto, New England clam chowder, homemade stuffing, stuffed mushrooms, quiche...I am probably forgetting a couple of other things, but that is most of it. I have about 35 - 40 people every year.

So, if you think of something good I am missing, please post! Thanks and Happy Thanksgivivng!!

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  1. We, on the west coast love our fresh fruits and vegetables. How about adding a side of spiced apples (saute w/unsalted butter, cinnamon, and pumkin spice) with carmelized pecans/walnuts. And fresh green beans or a creamed spinach. I also love to saute sweet potato with yellow/orange banana squash. I saute with unsalted butter and at the end add some maple syrup to carmelize the whole dish. Top with carmelized pecans. My appetizer of baked brie is always a big hit too. I wrap a wedge into a rolled out pie shell and bake. Sometimes I fill with other yummies like sundried tomatoes, artichokes and pesto or for sweet cover a baked wedge with fig jam - yum! For a change in dessert; make individual pumpkin and pecan tarts and serve with a side of vanilla bean ice cream or a spiked whipped cream. Kids love tart size too. Complement with chocolate brownies. Yum - Can I join ya! :)KQ

    2 Replies
    1. re: Kitchen Queen

      WOW! I just read your post and my mouth is salivating!!! Thank you!! You could join in, but we are in NJ...thanks for the West coast recipes!!

      1. re: Kitchen Queen

        You know what? We in the midwest also love our fresh fruits and vegetables. I suspect east-coasters do, as well.

      2. hi, a couple of years ago I discovered a receipe from the Cooking Light message board for a sweet potato casserole- I now make it every year. If you search the board, you'll find the receipe. Basically it is mashed sweet potatoes, cream, maple syrup, and a nut topping, very tasty. I also make Paula Deen's pumpkin gooey cake, it is a sinful dessert so I save it for special occassions, Thanksgiving being one of them. Enjoy!

        1. All three are from Epicurious, and are excellent (and perfectly fine made ahead): Maple and Tangerine-Glazed Carrots; Brussels Sprouts with Marjarom and Pine Nuts; and Wild Mushrooms with Chestnuts and Thyme.

          Ummm...only a month away.

          1. Last year I didn't think of it until a couple of days before Thanksgiving (I was going away - so not cooking myself, otherwise I would have thought of it a lot sooner) but after reading hundreds of posts about Thanksgiving and what to serve, it hit me like the proverbial ton o' bricks: of course - mashed rutabagas! They are the perfect side. Easy too. All they want is plenty of butter to be absolutely perfect with turkey.

            4 Replies
            1. re: niki rothman

              Oh add a dab of Amontillado sherry to the mashed rutabagas. It is magic.

              I used to torture myself with mashed rutabagas then one day the light wnet on. Peel, steam and then puree in the food processor instead of using the laborious Foley food mill. Why was I using the foley? 'Cause as many people have done, it is the way my mother did it.

              1. re: Candy

                Rutabagas are really easy to mash - I have a food processor but I just use a potato masher from my collection of vintage ones. I don't think a lot of people know how delicious mashed buttered rutabagas are. They are also good in a soup like beef veg. or mushroom with lamb and barley.

                1. re: niki rothman

                  Niki, my mother always made rutabagas for us when we were kids!! SHe would mash them up and put bacon in them as well!! ohhhh sooo good!!!

                  1. re: Angelina

                    If you had rutabagas for Thanksgiving as a kid I think their taste just always makes you think of Thanksgiving, because it wasn't something we ate very often, although they are really a perfect accompaniment for any roast meat. And they, like yams, seem to make you think of the autumn season more than any other - not exactly a taste one would associate with summer.

            2. Sounds like you have a great meal planned! If you are looking for a few variations, I've tried:

              4 Tbsp light butter, melted
              1 c liquid egg substitute
              1 c fat free reduced sodium chicken broth
              1 loaf day-old bread (16 slices) cut in 1/2 cubes
              1/2 cup minced scallions
              1/2 cup chopped celery
              1 c dried cranberries
              1/4 c. chopped parsley
              1 tsp. grated lemon peel
              1/2 tsp. black pepper
              1/4 tsp. salt
              1 tsp. poultry seasoning

              Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat 16 muffin cups with cooking spray (PAM). (Do not use paper liners.) In a large bowl combine butter, egg and broth. Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Set aside for 15 minutes.

              If bread mixture appears too dry add up to 1/4 cup warm water, re toss and spoon into muffin cups with an ice cream scoop. Bake 20-25 minutes. Mixture should be soft and spongy but not mushy.

              Sweet Potatoe Puree with Bananas and Buttered Pecans

              6 lbs. Sweet potatoes (about 6)
              2 ripe bananas, skins on
              1⁄2 stick unsalted butter, softened
              1⁄2 cup pure maple syrup
              2 T. ground cinnamon
              2 tsp. Pumpkin spice
              1⁄2 tsp. Salt

              1 lb. Pecans
              1⁄2 cup unsalted butter
              1 T. salt
              2 T. brown sugar

              Preheat oven to 425. Pierce sweet potatoes with fork and bake till tender, about one hour. Roast bananas with skins on for the last 15 min. When cool enough, peel potatoes and bananas, transfer to a food processor and puree until chunky. Add butter and maple syrup and puree until smooth. Add cinnamon, pumpkin spice and salt; puree to combine. Transfer to a shallow baking dish and smooth top surface.

              In a skillet, cook pecans in butter over low heat and sprinkle with salt. Sauté until well coated, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Arrange pecans on top of puree and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake at 300 until heated through, about 20 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.


              Sweet Cornbread
              1⁄2 cup butter (1 stick)
              1 cup sugar
              2 eggs
              1 cup yellow cornmeal
              1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
              2 tsp. Baking powder
              1⁄2 tsp. Salt
              1 cup milk
              1⁄2 cup steamed sweet New Jesey corn (off the cob)

              In a mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs; beating well. Then add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan and heat oven to 375 degrees. Fold the steamed sweet New Jersey corn into the batter and pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown.


              1 Reply
              1. re: HillJ

                Cornbread...I make it all the time and never for Thanksgiving!! Imagine??? Thanks for the recipe!! I will be adding this to my party!

              2. Yum. I'll have to pull up this post as Txgiving gets closer.
                Last year I mad Grits and Greens Casserole from Mary Kay Andrews' book Hissy Fit, of all things! My relatives, who are not prone to liking anything not usually on the list, raved about it; it reheats- my housekeeper took some home and raves about it also, to this day:

                2 cups whipping cream or 1/2&1/2
                8 cups chicken broth,divided
                2 cups grits- not instant or quick cooking
                1 lg bag frozen collard greens (or equivalent in fresh)
                2 sticks butter
                2 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese
                1/2 tsp ground pepper
                1 cup cooked and crumbled bacon

                Grease 13x9 casserole. Combine cream and 6 cups chicken broth and bring to a boil. Stir in grits and cook over medium heat until grits return to a boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer, and stir frequently to keep from burning, 25-30 minutes. Add milk, if needed to thicken to proper consistency. Think of slightly runny oatmeal

                While grits are simmering, cook frozen collards with remaining 2 cups of chicken broth till tender, about ten minutes. Drain well in colander, squeezing out remaining liquid. Add butter, parmesan, and pepper to cooked grits, and stir till butter is melted. Stir in cooked greens, and spoon into greased casserole. Top with additional parmesan, and crumbled bacon. Dish can be served at room tmep, or heated in 350 oven till browned on top.

                1. I just recently saw a recipe for Pumpkin Risotto, try allrecipes.com. This could be a new but seasonally appropriate side for you!

                  1. Nyleve's chipotle sweet potaotes are delicious and Keller's brussel's sprouts with garlic confit and mustard sauce are both delicious. The recipe for the sprouts is in Bouchon. It is overly involved and laborious can be easily simplified in method with no damage to the flavor.

                    1. Everything on the T day table tends to fall on the heavy side so I always enjoy some lighter sides.
                      Arugula salad with red onion and clementines with a honey vin.
                      Green bean salad with toasted almonds and marinate mushrooms.

                      1. Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and chestnuts.

                        1. Thank you all SO very much!!!! Every idea is simple fantastic! I love the risotto idea!! and the brussell sprouts...yummmm

                          Too bad every day was'nt Thanksgiving!! ha ha...yea right..I would be in the gym 8 hours!! I would have to be on ABC "Dancing with the Stars" to burn all that off!!!

                          Thank you all and enjoy your weekend!!!

                          Angelina :)

                          1. Have you tried Martha's recipe for Brussels Sprouts with Vinegar Glazed Red Onions? Here's a link: http://www.marthastewart.com/page.jht.... It'll be lighter and more flavorful than the typical greasy brussels sprouts recipes.

                            1. I usually make mushroom turnovers as an appetizer which practically everyone loves, it's essentially a simple duxelles made with sour cream in a cream cheese/butter crust (I use whole wheat pastry flour & they are quite tender).

                              1. Roasted parsnips - cut them into french fry size pieces & roast in the oven until well done. They carmelize beautifully and have such a wonderful aromatic flavor! Some coarse salt and done! If you're in more of a hurry b/c of oven space, put them under the broiler.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jmrauga

                                  Yes, yes...roasted parsnips are delish! Do try them!

                                2. jmrauga: about how long would the parnsips take in the oven do you think?

                                  Many thanks

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: onefineleo

                                    I also love roasted parsnips so I thought I'd add my $.02. If you do them alone, they take roughly half an hour. You want them nice and browned and sweet. Some people drizzle them with honey, which is very good. I prefer them tossed with olive oil and maybe some thyme or rosemary.

                                  2. We always do wild rice and mushrooms. And roasted root vegetables because there's so many available at Thanksgiving time.

                                    Get any number of cooking magazines right now. There's some really yummy recipes out there. Bon Apetit has some really tasty lookin' T'day sides in their current issue. The roasted vegetables w/ pecan gremolata looks great.

                                    1. If you can get your hands on green tomatoes, I make a Green Tomato Casserole,very easy very delicious! Saute 1/4 inch sliced green tomatoes in a little oil.Layer in a casserole dish with grated cheese and your favorite tomato salsa.Bake about an hour until tomatoes are completly cooked.

                                      1. I'll be having a Thanksgiving dinner of either takeout or restaurant food in Dallas, but for my pre-trip Thanksgiving meal I am definitely making the delicious Chipotle Sweet Potato dish I learned on the Home Cooking Board. I was just very very curious about it, and made a tiny version last night (one potato) and it was astonishingly tasty.

                                        1. It sounds like your 5000-calorie-per-plate menu is really lacking in items. I can see where you'd need more suggestions. Just kidding (wink).

                                          Anyway, as opposed to regular plain glazed sweet potatoes/yams, I prefer a bake of sweet potatoes with sliced apples, pecans, brown sugar and butter (maybe a dash of cinnamon). Less cloying than the glazed sweet potatoes.

                                          1. I found an apples and roasted root vegetable recipe last year, don't remember the magazine. It was very good!

                                            cut up to the same size: some tart and some sweet cooking apples, turnips, potatoes, carrots and yams.

                                            In a large bowl, dress with some (not too much) melted butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and a dash of cayenne, and 1/4" dice of candied ginger (amount to your taste), and juice of a lemon, plus some zest.

                                            Cover and bake in a 9x13 pan at 375 till apples are done. You can do this ahead as it reheats beautifully. Very nice flavor combo with pork or fowl, and not rich. We did this in place of mashed potatoes and yams--much less labor-intense at the last minute, when I need to be getting the turkey plattered up.