Help-Thanksgiving Veggies/Sides Without an Oven!
Dear Good Chowhounders--
I need your help. I have been assigned to bring the veggie sides (except for mashed potatoes) for a Thanksgiving dinner for 12 people and have been told that there will not be ANY oven space for me. There is also limited refridgerator space for holding prior to cooking. Do you have any delicious recipes that involve broccoli or green beans and/or onions that can be made on the stove top or microwave. I am a lover of roasted veggies and I was planning on those plus some veggie gratin's prior to being told about the oven scene. Please help me!
Can you bring a crockpot or electric skillet? You can pre-cook a lot of things and keep warm in the crockpot or reheat on the electric skillet. You can do all your prepwork at home too- veggies don't usually take fridge space - or at least are fine to leave out for the day.
A veggie gratin might be ok if you pre-cook and reheat in a micro. Gratins don't usally lose too much flavor/texture in my experience.
If no one has taken sweet potatoes- that's an easy one to do ahead and keep in the crockpot.
The green been casserole is traditional. You could prep the green beans, make a homemade mushroom cream sauce ahead (keep warm in a thermos), and fry some shallots or onions at home and put in an airtight container. The beans can be reheated by running under hot water in the sink (just don't overcook the first time around), sauce can be poured on top (still hot in thermos), and the fried onions sprinkled on top at the last minute.
I love roasted veggies too..but I think they can get soggy when reheated and can lose some of that 'roasted' flavor.
Happy Thanksgiving! :)
Is there space to plug in a crockpot?
I cook a pretty mean fresh green bean dish with bacon and onions and garlic... boil the fresh beans until they're tender but NOT overcooked, saute the other ingredients and then mix them together and add apple cider vinegar to cut the bacon fat. You can put toasted nuts on top when you've reheated it if you want a texture contrast.
Last year I parboiled cubes of butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and rutabagas and put them into a crock pot with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a bundle of thyme and rosemary. They cooked on high while the turkey and other things cooked in the oven. They were delicious and I received many compliments from my guests.
Do you have access to chafers? If not, Walmart and most party supply stores sell disposable chafer buffet kits that comes with the aluminum pans, stands and sternos to heat them. Also, some Dollar Tree stores sell the pans, stands and sternos separate (I got some there once)
If you can get these, you can do your roasted veggies or whatever else you want to make and pack them in a cooler once out of your oven. Then, when you get to your dinner location, you can set them up & keep them warm.
I have a client for whom I'm cooking a Xmas dinner in two weeks for 30; all of the food will be set up in those disposable kits....and no clean up!
These 2 recipes can be made ahead and re-heated in the microwave.
String Beans with Shallots (or you can use broccoli). You blanch the string beans, make the sauce separately and let it all cool. Refrigerate separately and reheat and assemble when ready to serve.
Also, these Balsamic-glazed Sweet and Sour Cipollini Onions can be made ahead and re-heated. They are delicious.
When I know my stove/oven will be busy when I have guests, I have made veggie dishes, refrigerated in a serving dish, and reheated in the micro at serving time. Green beans are good this way (but we don't do the traditional one, it is more likely to be beans with shallots, red bell pepper, butter or something like that). A sweet potato dish can be reheated without any loss of flavor, and I think a gratin would reheat perfectly as well. If your dishes are room temp when you put them in the micro, they should reheat in only about 5 minutes each, and should stay warm for a while.
These can alll be cooked ahead of time and don't need refrigeration once you are at the host's:
You could precook asparagus spears--figure 3 each since there will be other sides.
Steam or boil till al dente, then dress while warm with a thin honey-Dijon-garlic vinaigrette.
Serve room temp. dressed with some roasted red pepper strips.
Ditto with preroasted carrot and parsnip strips--garnish with carmelized shallots and fresh thyme.
Precooked edamame make a nice room temp veg 'salad' mixed with cooked pearl onions and napped with a favorite delicate dressing.
I LOVE oven-roasted whole med sized onions. Baste with a bit of garlic butter and serve cut in half.
If you can find them, some ripe tomatoes sliced on a platter. sort of a farewell to Fall.
re: toodie jane
Asparagus, carrotts and edamame were my first thoughts as well. As long as you don't overcook them - they all maintain their color, texture and taste quite well. Another thought would be to pre-roast a variety of vegetables and serve them room temp. Is a green salad being served?
Err...just re-read your post...good call on roasted veg :)