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Thanksgiving - your BEST side dishes

  • m

I'm trying to collect some ideas, as my family has volunteered to bring most all the sides since I'm hosting this year and wanted me to give them the receipes to execute :)

So what are the sides you serve that are always gone FIRST, year after year?

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  1. Congratulations on getting help with the cooking!

    I make two things that generate the greatest oohs and aahs (and disappear promptly), one being a pumpkin shrimp bisque and the other a swiss chard gratin, both of which appear as recipes in a terrific cookbook, The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld. They are not simple preparations, insofar as they require a number of steps, but they are unquestionably delicious. If you'd like, I can post the recipes.

    17 Replies
      1. re: 280 Ninth

        Would LOVE you to post the recipes! I will be getting this cookbook for Christmas, but it would be awesome to get a jump start especially if you think the recipes are particularly good.

        1. re: Maya

          I'm at work now (shh....) but will post when I'm at home with the cookbook. Absolutely awe-inspiring bisque is all I can say. All you can hear at the table are the sounds of slurping and moaning from the greatness of the flavors.

            1. re: 280 Ninth

              So you don't have to type it all in, I just found the Herbfarm pumpkin shrimp bisque recipe on epicurious:


            2. re: Maya

              Without further adieu, here's the swiss chard gratin recipe:


              2 Tbl. butter, softened
              2 - 3 Tbl. breadcrumbs
              1 Lb. swiss chard
              1 Tbl. EVOO
              medium shalllot finely chopped
              2 cloves garlic
              1/2 tsp. salt


              2 Tbl. unsalted butter
              2 Tbl. flour
              1 1/2 cups milk
              1/4 tsp. salt
              1 bay leaf
              1/8 tsp. nutmeg
              2 Tbl. fresh oregano
              2 tsp. fresh thyme
              1/2 cup Gruyere cheese


              1/4 cup breadcrumbs
              1/2 cup Gruyere cheese

              1. Prepare the dish: Coat the interior of a 1 1/2 qt. gratin dish with the softened butter. Spoon in the bread crumbs and tilt the dish until they adhere to the buttered surface. Preheat oven to 400 deg. F.

              2. Chard: Slice the chard stems and leaves with ribs attached into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Wash in a colander but don't dry. Heat olive oil in 6 qt. dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring constantly until softened but not browned, about one minute. Add chard, sprinkle with salt, and cover tightly. Let chard steam for 2 -3 minutes, until abt. 1/2 its original volume. Remove lid and stir, until water is evaporated, 3 - 5 minutes. Season with pepper and set aside.

              Sauce: Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the fliour and mix until mixture bubbles up and turns lighter in color, about one minute. Pour in cold milk all at once and whisk vigorously. Add the salt and the bay leaf and continue to whisk until it comes to a boil and thickens. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in oregano, thyme, and cheese. Remove and discard bay leaf.

              Combining and baking: Stir the sauce into the swiss chard in the large pot. Taste and add salt or pepper as necessary. Sprinkle bread crumbs and cheese evenly over the top. At this point you can cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to 1 day. Bake the gratin until it bubbles over the entire surface and the top is browned, 25 - 35 minutes. If you wish, you can finish in the broiler for the last minute or two. Serve hot.


              1. re: 280 Ninth

                Thanks for that. I tried it tonight. I didn't have chard on hand but had red russian kale and that worked well. I wasn't sure how much it weighed (it was just a big bunch), so I kinda winged it a bit for the measurements. We very much liked the breadcrumbs aspect of the dish. What a great texture. Thanks so much for the recipe!

                1. re: LNG212

                  Terrific! With savory dishes like this, exact amounts aren't necessary...glad you enjoyed, and even found a way to alter the recipe to your satisfaction!

                2. re: 280 Ninth

                  Smitten Kitchen has a sweet potato swiss chard gratin that is to die for also. Will have to try yours.

              2. re: 280 Ninth

                After reading through these 135 (so far) replies (and searching the board), I can't find your pumpkin shrimp bisque recipe. Would you please post it?

                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                    Fortunately, it is great. I live in an apartment building, and I've had neighbors come over to ask what I'm cooking because they can smell the aroma in the hallway...and then there's the taste! Try and enjoy!

                    1. re: 280 Ninth

                      I did make this, w/butternut squash instead of pumpkin. I had some gorgeous shrimp and some shrimp stock already made. Whipped it together in no time. I was worried about my husband not liking it as he generally turns up his nose at sweet potatoes and squashes of all kinds. May wonders never cease: he loved it. It was good, but I was especially taken with how fetching it looked--velvety texture, rich golden orange hue, the contrasting white of the plump shrimp. I sprinkled chopped chives on top for a dash of green. The finished dish screamed holiday, but it would be a lovely (easy) first-course for any dinner party.

                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                        What a lovely outcome (and report!), It really is a terrific starter that I intend to use this T-giving....glad it worked out so well!

                1. re: 280 Ninth

                  As much as I love Jerry Traunfeld's food, I personally feel that making each of his dishes requires undivided attention. If I had several dishes to prepare, I personally would opt for something easier. Every year I make a sweet potato souffle dish that everybody loves, plus it's super easy to make. It's somewhat similar to the whipped sweet potatoes dish that JungMann posted below, but even easier to prepare, since it saves you the step of peeling, cutting and boiling the yams (if you use candied yams from a can). The step-by-step directions are below:

                  This dish is a winner - easy to make and virtually error proof, plus it taste delicious. It's usually the first one to go, plus it saves me time to concentrate on more complex dishes. Good luck!

                2. My favorites aren't the same as the ones that are always gone first and get the most rave reviews. Since you're passing out the recipes, Ruth's Chris's sweet potato recipe is a super easy one to do and always a hit:


                  Another one that people love (my SIL's contribution and she's had to triple it for family gatherings) is Jiffy corn muffin pudding:


                  My favorites are things like oyster sausage stuffing, sweet potato rolls, and I love these glazed chestnuts with haricots verts (I can't stop eating the glazed chestnuts):


                  It really comes down to the type of crowd you're serving. My in-laws love the green bean casserole type dishes best.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: chowser

                    People go nuts for that Jiffy corn muffin pudding. I never like to admit what's in it. I lighten it a bit by cutting the butter a bit and using at least part low fat sour cream. Don't detect any difference.

                    Your chestnut haricots verts recipe sounds great! Love chestnuts and love maple syrup.

                    1. re: karykat

                      I'll bet there is a good recipe for the corn muffin pudding, without using the creamed corn and jiffy mix. I'll bet it would be great in the summer w/ fresh corn. I used to try to make the from scratch version of foods my in-laws enjoy but they love what they're used to so I stopped trying.

                      The chestnuts make the haricots verts dish. I have to make extra because I keep snacking on them. I also like that it can all be done in advanced and just reheated. I've also used brussel sprouts instead and that turns out well, too.

                  2. I love this recipe for Brussels Sprouts and Pearl Onions in a Horseradish Cream Sauce from Epicurious.


                    3 Replies
                    1. re: susan1353

                      I love brussel sprouts braised in cream with fresh nutmeg. O. M. G.

                      1. re: girlwonder88

                        girlwonder, I love this , too. So easy, so delicious! I'm placing susan1353's link on my to-do list. Sounds awfully good.

                      2. re: susan1353

                        I love brussels sprouts, in any style. However, I would not expect them to be "always gone FIRST, year after year."

                        I can tell you another dish for which there were plenty of leftovers: a vegetable terrine.

                      3. I do a loaded mashed potatoes that everyone seems to love. Standard mashed potato recipe (2-3 lbs. of any potatoes you like, I prefer Yukon Gold), one stick of butter, add heavy cream until it becomes a creamy consistency, and salt and pepper to taste. Then add (to taste) sour cream, chives, cheddar cheese, and bacon.
                        Paula Deen's Corn Casserole is also a terrific hit. However, I do mine without the cheddar cheese crust/topping. It's like a super-moist, super tasty corn spoon bread.
                        My 7 cheese mac and cheese is also a favorite. Undercook the macaroni in salted water by 2-3 mins. Make a standard bechemel sauce while the pasta is cooking. Add the following cheeses: sharp cheddar, monterey jack, asiago, and fontina. Throw in drained undercooked macaroni, fold mixture. Add the following cheeses: parmesan, mozzarella, and colby. Fold mixture. Top with sharp cheddar cheese and toss in a 350 oven until the cheese is completely melted.

                        1. Without fail, Garlic Mashed Potatoes are always gone first. I don't have the recipe written down, but basically I simmer whole peeled garlic cloves in chicken broth until they're soft, then whip them into boiled potatoes (using a stand mixer) along with neufchatel cheese, salt, and pepper. I don't really measure anything, just do it by taste. Yum.

                          My best friend brought this Beet Salad to our Thanksgiving last year and it was a huge hit:
                          Since there were a lot of us, she made one big salad in a springform pan rather than individual servings as the recipe calls for. I thought it was very clever of her! It's nice to have a salad to go with all of the hot dishes.

                          This sweet potato recipe also performed very well:
                          Nothing crazy, just really really good.

                          Hope that helps!

                          1. You are lucky! My family tells me what sides they expect me to put on the table. Most of them are somewhat boring (sides, not family!), but one favorite is Mustardy Creamed Onions.

                            I'm also planning to try out a new recipe this year, family be damned! I have to look for the recipe, which i clipped last year, but it's a Thai-inspired sweet potato gratin, w/coconut cream or milk.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                              I love creamed onions. Would you post your recipe for Mustardy ones please?

                              1. re: rabaja

                                Here it is, Rabaja. I've been making these for years, ever since I saw the recipe in SLC's Cold-Weather Cooking; there's a nearly identical recipe on epicurious.

                                Mustard Creamed Onions (adapted slightly from Sarah Leah Chase’s Cold-Weather Cooking)

                                • 2 lbs small white onions, peeled
                                • 3 c. water
                                • 3 T unsalted butter
                                • 3 T all-purpose flour
                                • 1 cup whole milk
                                • 3 T cream Sherry
                                • 1 T grainy Dijon mustard
                                • 1 T smooth Dijon mustard
                                • pinch grated nutmeg
                                • salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
                                • 4 T. freshly grated parmesan cheese
                                • 2 tsp. sweet paprika

                                Cook onions in medium saucepan, cover w/ water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until the onions are just tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.

                                To prepare cream sauce, melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in reserved cooking liquid, then milk and sherry to make a smooth sauce. Whisk in both mustards and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper cook. Simmer, stirring occasionally, over low heat for 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat.

                                Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a gratin dish large enough to hold onions in one layer. Combine onions and cream sauce and transfer to prepared dish. Sprinkle parmesan and paprika over onions. Bake onions until sauce is bubbling and top is golden brown, 25-30 minutes.

                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                      I took a look at the recipe on Epicurious and, instead of peeling those onions raw, they say to let the onions cool to warm (after the boiling) and then peel.

                                      Seems easier.

                                      Also, one review said dry sherry was okay.

                                      I'm definitely going to try this recipe, sounds delish.

                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                        Thank you NMCW, this is definitely going on the list for my Thansgiving dishes 2010.
                                        I may have to make a mini version to test it out, just for me.

                                  1. Make this: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                    It's delicious and makes a rich vegetarian main dish if you need one, as well as a yummy side dish. Use a bigger pan than specified to bake it in, and you can use any mushroom mix you like.I've also substituted a mushroom stock made from dried mushrooms for part of the cream.

                                    18 Replies
                                    1. re: Isolda

                                      That looks wonderful; I may have to try that one this T-day too--or maybe sooner.

                                      1. re: Isolda

                                        We make something similar from the second Herbfarm book. It's a wild mushroom bread pudding. No cream in that one. But is uses the same approach you do -- liquid from soaking the dried mushrooms for flavor. Really very good. We have it instead of a bread stuffing.

                                        (We add one more egg than the recipe calls for so it holds together well.)

                                        1. re: karykat

                                          Would you mind sharing your recipe? Also, I have a huge container of mixed, wild mushrooms from Costco. Do you think I could use those, and should I use about 7 ounces?
                                          Thanks for any help!!

                                          1. re: bxgirl

                                            Can do. Book is at another house. Do you need it before tomorrow? (If so, could quickly get via phone.) Otherwise, look for it tomorrow.

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                This most definitely looks like the recipe. I forgot to ask my SO to bring the book to me. Once I do get it, I can confirm.

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  GHG and BX - This is indeed the recipe. (Except that we add a seventh egg.) Also, he calls for 1/4 cup marjoram. That should be fresh margoram. That reflects the authors interest in fresh herbs.

                                                  The thing I like about this recipe is that it doesn't have a lot of fat but you really don't miss it. Especially at the Thanksgiving table! Great taste.

                                                2. re: karykat

                                                  Thanks so much. karykat!! No real rush at all. I have lost my taste for "creamy" things, and would prefer something like what you make.
                                                  Do you think I can use those Costco mushtrooms?
                                                  Thanks so much

                                                  1. re: bxgirl

                                                    Good. I will double-check but am quite certain that GHG's recipe is the one.
                                                    We have a standing joke. After the first year, I asked him to add an egg, because the recipe was really good but a tad watery. With the seventh egg, the recipe has turned out great. Great consistency and really great flavor. We've loved it. But I always joke on Thanksgiving morning, "Did you add the seventh egg?"

                                                    Anyway. Think you'll like it. It has the flavor with out the cream. And you won't miss it at all.

                                                    1. re: bxgirl

                                                      bxgirl -- I forgot to answer your question. Are your Costco mushrooms fresh mushrooms or dried mushrooms? Either way, they'd work. You could substitute your 7 oz mixed wild mushrooms for some of the fresh button or cremini mushrooms called for. Or, if dried, use about 1 oz of your dried mushrooms for the dried porcini mushrooms called for?

                                                      Or were you thinking of something else? Like using fewer fresh if you used more dried?

                                                      Anyway, whether fresh or dried, they are going to work great in this recipe.

                                                      1. re: karykat

                                                        Again, thank you so much for your quick responses. I think I will try the Costco mushcrooms, and, really, how bad can it be?
                                                        I did look at the recipe GHG linked, and I do hope that is the same as yours!! It looks easy and delicious.
                                                        By the way, karykat, are you a vegetarian? I am always looking for tried-and-true vegetarian recipes for my daughter.

                                                        1. re: bxgirl

                                                          bxgirl, there are a zillion great vegetarian recipes and ideas here on the HC board. when you have the time, start reading through the results of this search:


                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                            Oh, my goodness, good healthgourmet, thank you, thank you, thank you. That link should keep me busy for a few days!!!
                                                            Also, thank you for the link to the mushroom bread pudding (which kerykat does believe is the same one she makes).
                                                            I definitely will be making the bread pudding for Thanksgiving. It looks easy and yummy!!

                                                            1. re: bxgirl

                                                              you're quite welcome! i'm guessing you'll have enough reading material there for a loooong time ;)

                                                              anyway, if you're a big mushroom family, after you've tackled the bread pudding try one of the ragout recipes i linked to here:


                                                              hearty, comforting vegetarian fare, and a totally satisfying meal when served over polenta, noodles or risotto.

                                                              and if you're into brussels sprouts and your daughter is okay with anchovies/anchovy paste, this one is always a huge hit:


                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                You are the gift that keeps on giving!!
                                                                Thank you, again, for the new ideas and links. My daughter would not eat anchovies (does not eat meat, fish, or poultry at all) but the recipe looks quite doable w/o the anchovies. I might give it a try. (I love anchovies,BTW)

                                                                1. re: bxgirl

                                                                  try a bit of white or blonde miso in place of the anchovy - it's not quite the same, but as a salty, umami replacement it's one of the better veg-friendly options.

                                                          2. re: bxgirl

                                                            BX -- I'm an omnivore. But we do like a lot of fresh vegie dishes.

                                                            A web site I just came across looks like it has lots of good ideas in it:


                                                            It has a browned butter pumpkin mac n cheese recipe that looks fantastic. Am going to make that and freeze for lunches.

                                                            Maybe some things on this site your daughter would like?

                                                            1. re: karykat

                                                              Thank you for confirming that the recipe that GHG linked, is indeed the one you make (with the addition of that 7th egg!!!)
                                                              Thanks, also, for the link to that other website that you just discovered. As I previously said to GHG, I have weeks of recipes to sort through.
                                                              You people rock!! Thank you both so much.

                                              2. I make a wild rice with caramelized onions that is always a huge hit. Believe it or not, I originally found it on the back of a craisins package...I always bump up the amount of onions and brown sugar a bit.


                                                1. My folks like:
                                                  1. Roasted veggies (tons of recipes abound on CH and internet)
                                                  2. a savory recipe for sweet potatoes/yams: cut into fingers, sautee with red chili powder, ginger, salt, cinnamon, and a touch of honey or molasses or syrup. Salt of course. If you can do the recipe right and get the outsides sort of crunchy yet honey glazed, and the insides soft, it's heaven.

                                                  1. I initially hated sweet potatoes, but this made me a believer: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                    On the side I usually have an Italian sausage and parmesan stuffing: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                    12 Replies
                                                    1. re: JungMann

                                                      That sweet potato recipe sounds great. I'd like to give it a try but I think I'd be strung up by my family who always insist I make my sweet potatoes w/ amaretto dish. <<sigh>>

                                                      For the OP: I also find that this recipe I use for brussels sprouts gets devoured: http://nymag.com/listings/recipe/roas... . (I like the corsigano for the pecorino toscano, though I'm not sure I'm spelling it correctly.)

                                                        1. re: LNG212

                                                          though I'm not sure I'm spelling it correctly
                                                          you were close! just missing an n...it's Corsignano

                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                            hey, thanks! I never get that right. :)

                                                          2. re: LNG212

                                                            Oh, that reminds me - we had these Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Figs last year and the dish was a great success:


                                                            We sliced the brussels sprouts in a food processor as the recipe calls for, but I think next time I would simply halve or quarter them - I like 'em chunky.

                                                            1. re: LNG212

                                                              I did make these brussels sprouts tonight. Wow. Simple and delicious. A definite keeper, easy enough for any night. (I used parmigiano as that's all I had on hand.) Thanks for that link.

                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                Hey cool. I too think that one of the great things about the recipe is its simplicity. Especially for Thanksgiving when there is just so much to do, it really helps to have at least one simple, straightforward thing!

                                                                Glad you liked it.

                                                              2. re: LNG212

                                                                Brussels sprouts + nuts + salt + acid is always a winning combination. Bacon, when made correctly, can take the place of nuts and salt.

                                                                1. re: JungMann

                                                                  HA! Yes, I know about the bacon. And I'm sure some in my family would love that. But I'm veg, so I make at least one or two things that I can have too! :) Maybe I should tell my sister though because she and her husband like this recipe too on a regular-dinner basis.

                                                                2. re: LNG212

                                                                  The sweet potatoes are my favorite. I use less sugar than specified as I don't have much of a sweet tooth.

                                                                3. re: JungMann

                                                                  Re: the whipped sweet potates- tried it for Thanksgiving, 2010. Thanks, but not a keeper. I was especially disappointed in the topping. I expected a real nice crunch, but the pecans were their usual soft nut texture- not what I was looking for at all. It all got eaten. One guest really thought it was terrific.

                                                                  1. re: Florida Hound

                                                                    Sorry the recipe didn't work out for you. I don't totally pulverize the cornflakes as the crunchiness of the bigger pieces makes for a nice contrast with the slightly crunchy, slightly chewy texture of the pecans.

                                                                4. My roasted vegetable and porcini mushroom stuffing is the thing that FLIES off my table. It's based on this recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo..., but I chop the carrots and celery finely and use larger pieces of fennel, shallot and cremini mushrooms, more herbs, liquid and butter, and I make my own french bread for the bread. I add sausage to half of it for non-vegetarians. Heaven.

                                                                  Another one that gets slurped up quick is my cranberry sauce: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo.... I don't change it at all, it's truly perfect as written. Just don't cook it too long - the cranberries taste better if they retain some of their texture. SO good over ice cream, too.

                                                                  ETA - I just found a note I made about this sauce in my Epicurious box - I've been making it for years, and apparently one year I was short on port so I used less than called for (just half a cup less) and it turned out better than usual. Other reviewers have said that simmering the liquids to reduce is a good idea as well, so apparently the concensus is that it does fine with less liquid.

                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                                    That cranberry sauce looks delicious! Question - do you think you HAVE to use port? Would another red wine do? Nobody in my house drinks port and I'd hate to buy a whole bottle only to use 1 2/3 cups...

                                                                    1. re: aching

                                                                      I really don't think another red wine would give the same results, although I suppose you could try it with a blend of marsala and a fruity shiraz or something, and add some extra sugar if necessary. I use a pretty inexpensive port for this and it still turns out beautifully. Also, port keeps longer than other wines do so if you can find another recipe to use the remainder within a few months it should be fine. You could also make a double recipe - it freezes well, and a single batch really isn't a lot - I've made a triple batch before and only had a couple of spoonfuls leftover!

                                                                      1. re: aching

                                                                        You can buy port in 375 mL bottles which should be just enough for the sauce along with a bit for after dinner.

                                                                      2. re: biondanonima

                                                                        Biondanonima, the link for the cranberry sauce just took me to Epi's Recipes and Menus page. If you can tell me the title of the recipe, I can find it. Thanks.

                                                                        1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                          You know, I keep having that problem with links from Epicurious - I don't know what it's all about. Here's the link again: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo....

                                                                          In case that doesn't work, the name of the recipe is Cranberry Sauce with Port and Dried Figs, and it's from Bon Appetit, 2001.

                                                                            1. re: aching

                                                                              Thanks you two. That looks fabulous. I'm curious about subs for the port as well, but if I have to buy port for the recipe, the boyfriend likes it well enough. I doubt it will go to waste. And I could probably use it in the creamed onions instead of the cream sherry.

                                                                          1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                            FYI to all, the problem with the original link was the period at the end.

                                                                          2. re: biondanonima

                                                                            Hi Biondanonima - Just wanted to check in to say thank you for steering me to this recipe - I just made it for Thursday and it's GORGEOUS. The flavors are more subtle than I expected, but absolutely delicious. In fact, I'm thinking I may need to make another batch to make sure there's enough for my 17 diners. BTW, I got a 375 mL bottle of port at Trader Joe's for about $10, and it turns out that's exactly 1 2/3 cups, as called for in the recipe.

                                                                          3. brussels sprouts sauteed in maple syrup..
                                                                            garlic mashed pot's..

                                                                            1. Last year, JungMann posted a link to a recipe for brussels sprouts w/apples and creme fraiche. I made it several times, and it is fabulous. I plan to use it for my BS this Thanksgiving (only about half the attendees are likely to touch BS so it probably doesn't much matter how I prepare them). If you're interested, I'll look for it--or if JM is listening and has easy access, maybe he will.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: JungMann

                                                                                  Thank you. Those are fabulous, and so are you for finding so quickly!

                                                                              1. I do a brussels sprouts and chorizo that gets demolished. It's a little labor intensive (I separate most of the leaves off of the sprout) and needs fresh chorizo rather than dried, but it's really good. You take the chorizo out of the casing and sautee it until it's crumbly, drain most of the grease, then add the separated leaves and sautee until done. The nice thing about the individual leaves is that they hold chorizo bits like little cups. You can also just halve the sprouts and add a little chicken stock to soften them if you want to save time.

                                                                                1. For the past 7 or 8 years, finely-shredded brussels sprouts braised in (shudder, yum) bacon greas with some shredded onions, dressed with a shot of vinegar, salt and pepper, and heavy cream, topped with crunchy bacon bits and bacon-fat-toasted walnuts.
                                                                                  Darling daughter loves roasted cubes of butternut squash basted with a mixture of dark maple syrup, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, topped with candied nuts of any kind. She tops it at serving time with creme fraiche.
                                                                                  Mr. Chef loves roasted Harvard beets - we use as many colors as we can find.
                                                                                  I Need Galic Mashed potatoes with sour cream and herbs.
                                                                                  #1 son, the former veggie haaaaaater, likes pureed broccoli with sharp cheddar.
                                                                                  And it wouldn't be Thanksgiving to son #2 without Grandma's Fruit "Compost"; a mixture of every possible canned fruit imaginable, bound with applesauce, flavored with brandy or sherry, topped with streusel and baked. Even better cold.

                                                                                  17 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                                                    Ok. In the spirit of being a CH I will let this secret out. This is to die for. It does not taste anything like squash. Note: finding the frozen squash is difficult in my area. I can only find it at RALPHS which is KROGER in many areas of the country.

                                                                                    Squash Kugel (Kosher Pareve)
                                                                                    2 12-oz. boxes frozen squash
                                                                                    1 stick margarine, melted
                                                                                    1/2 cup sugar
                                                                                    1/2 cup flour
                                                                                    Pinch of cinnamon
                                                                                    3 eggs
                                                                                    1/2 cup non dairy liquid coffee creamer
                                                                                    Pinch of salt

                                                                                    Defrost squash, and drain off as much liquid as possible. Mix with melted margarine. Add sugar, flour, and cinnamon.

                                                                                    In a small bowl, beat eggs with coffee creamer. Combine egg and squash mixtures. Add a pinch of salt put in greased 8"x8" pan.

                                                                                    Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake uncovered for 1 hour at 350°F (until it stops jiggling when you shake it slightly)

                                                                                    1. re: SIMIHOUND

                                                                                      This sounds like it's absolutely to-die-for. Total yum. And I'm guessing that it's the frozen part that makes or breaks it. I know where to find that squash here (thank you, Berkeley Bowl) and I'm going to make it over the weekend and serve it with roast chicken. Thank you!!

                                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                                        Mamachef...You said "the frozen part makes it or breaks is"..I don't quite understand what you mean.

                                                                                        1. re: SIMIHOUND

                                                                                          Simi, it's been my experience that sometimes a substitution of fresh-for-frozen completely changes the recipe's flavor and character, and vice-versa. I just meant, that this recipe sounds like it should be made exactly as written, no fancy stuff. : )

                                                                                          1. re: mamachef

                                                                                            Mamachef-correct. Make as is and be sure to drain all the liquid out. I put it in a spaghetti strainer, let it defrost and then squeeze whatever extra liquid out. This is so simple and darned good. Watch for firmness.

                                                                                            1. re: SIMIHOUND

                                                                                              Love it. It's part of our Shabbat dinner tonight, along with roasted chicken and salad.........will let you know, but am sure we'll LOVE it. Thanks!

                                                                                              1. re: SIMIHOUND

                                                                                                That was some really good stuff, SIMI. Thanks. It's going in the repertoire.

                                                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                  YES!! I was waiting to hear from you. Passover we use matzah meal instead of flour. SHHHH. Be sure to keep it a secret and especially don't put it on any food sites on the internet. PS. I got it from my sister in little Jerusalem (North Miami Beach). You would not believe what recipes go around there.

                                                                                                  1. re: SIMIHOUND

                                                                                                    Oh, yes, I so would believe it. That's where my rellie lives who gave me the Matzah Crack recipe - which will not be a side dish, but will be available with the rest of the non-pumpkin desserts this year. (And next year, in.....wherever.) Seriously, woke up at 2 am to what felt like an empty bed, and I was right - Mr. was in the kitchen eating the leftovers with a spoon directly from the fridge, and he finished it off at breakfast. A true winner. And I'm sure our secret is safe. : )

                                                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                      If you want email me and maybe we can exchange recipes as the holidays go on. Look at my profile.

                                                                                                      1. re: SIMIHOUND

                                                                                                        Rather than trading recipes by email, can we ask that you share them here on the boards? Recipes sent via email help only one person, while ones posted publicly help all the many thousands reading along. We're sure lots of people will be interested.

                                                                                        2. re: SIMIHOUND

                                                                                          How critical is the flour? 1/2 cup is too much to just omit it...but would love to try to tweak this one to make it gluten free. Sounds amazing. Goodhealthgourmet (or anyone else!!)--any ideas?

                                                                                            1. re: mom22tots

                                                                                              sorry i'm late to the party - just seeing this now :) use sweet white (mochi) or superfine rice flour for this - standard rice flour will be too grainy.

                                                                                            2. re: SIMIHOUND

                                                                                              Do you think it can be prepared and refrigerated overnight, then baked on T day? Or should I completely bake it, then just reheat it the next day?

                                                                                          1. i do smashed red potatoes with a twist of sorts... i cook the potatoes, chop some by hand. i roast some garlic and caramelize some onions. i toss the garlic cloves and the onions in a food processor and puree til smooth. i hand smash the potatoes with milk, cream cheese, and butter, salt and a healthy dose of pepper. also a *dash* of nutmeg, seriously a dash... it adds some unique dimension. then i mix in the onion/garlic puree. no one can identify the dimensions, but they love them.

                                                                                            1. I love this cranberry sauce recipe -- Triple Cranberry Sauce...very easy and can be made ahead.


                                                                                              And I cannot actually say I have made this recipe for Brussels Sprout Hash, but it sounds great, and it's on my list. Unfortunately, I never get to make Thanksgiving dinner...it's my sister's holiday.


                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: valerie

                                                                                                I thought of some more involving onions....

                                                                                                This one is delicious:


                                                                                                I have not had this one, but I am always eager to try it in the fall:


                                                                                                1. re: valerie

                                                                                                  This is fabulous

                                                                                                  Roasted Cauliflower, Raisins and Anchovy Vinaigrette
                                                                                                  Yield 8 servings
                                                                                                  Time 45 minutes


                                                                                                  Reserve the remaining (rather strong) vinaigrette for tossing with the cauliflower at the last minute, along with the raisins, whose sweetness counters the anchovies beautifully.


                                                                                                  1 large cauliflower, cored, trimmed and separated into florets
                                                                                                  1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
                                                                                                  Salt and freshly ground black pepper
                                                                                                  2 tablespoons sherry or balsamic vinegar, or to taste
                                                                                                  4 minced anchovy fillets, with a little of their oil, or to taste
                                                                                                  1/2 cup raisins, preferably golden
                                                                                                  1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

                                                                                                  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put cauliflower in roasting pan, drizzle with 3 tablespoons oil and some salt and pepper; toss. Roast, turning once or twice, for 15 minutes or so, until cauliflower just starts to soften.
                                                                                                  2. Meanwhile, make vinaigrette by combining remaining oil with vinegar, anchovies and a little salt and pepper; taste and adjust seasoning. Remove pan, drizzle cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette, and toss. Roast, turning once, until a thin-bladed knife pierces a piece with little resistance, for 15 minutes. (Recipe may be cooled at this point, covered tightly and refrigerated for 2 days.)
                                                                                                  3. At last minute, put cauliflower in salad bowl and add raisins, parsley and remaining vinaigrette and toss. Taste and sprinkle with salt, if needed, and lots of pepper, then serve.
                                                                                                  Source: The New York Times

                                                                                              2. I usually try a new side dish every year and these are the ones I keep going back to (I've tweaked them over the years, but all are good as is):

                                                                                                "Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook": Grand Marnier Apricot & Sausage Stuffing (I make a day ahead & add chestnuts and Bell's Seasoning)

                                                                                                Gourmet Magazine: Mashed Potatoes and Leeks with Thyme (I make a day ahead).

                                                                                                "Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook" Thanksgiving Potatoes are also very good, easier, can be made ahead too, and if I have less time I'll make these.

                                                                                                and two from Chowhound recs over the years:

                                                                                                Bon Appetit: Cranberry Sauce with Cherries, Marsala and Rosemary

                                                                                                Bobby Flay's "Bold American Food": Sweet Potato Gratin with Chipotle. Note: it's one canned chipotle, not one can of chipotles - a friend asked for the recipe once, and made that mistake.

                                                                                                13 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                  I'm intrigued by your Sweet Potato Gratin (and ouch, one whole can of chipotles would be painful). I played with the idea of making one last Thanksgiving but was discouraged by the lack of recipes on Epicurious - it made me wonder if there was some reason why sweet potatoes don't gratin well. But now I'm thinking, I have a great recipe for regular Potato Gratin (with goat cheese and nutmeg) - I think I'll try adapting it to sweet potatoes!

                                                                                                  1. re: aching

                                                                                                    My first time making a gratin with sweet potatoes too. Your potato gratin sounds delicious also, care to share the recipe?

                                                                                                    The last time I made the sweet potato gratin (only 3 of us at Thanksgiving so half-portion):

                                                                                                    1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                      On the Thanksgiving plate (with the Thanksgiving potatoes, Grand Marnier stuffing, and marsala cranberry sauce mentioned above):

                                                                                                      1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                        Mm, that looks goooooood. I wonder why this isn't done more?

                                                                                                        And sure, here's my recipe:

                                                                                                        POTATO GRATIN WITH GOAT CHEESE

                                                                                                        1 cup cream or half-and-half, divided
                                                                                                        1 T. all-purpose flour
                                                                                                        1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
                                                                                                        1 cup milk
                                                                                                        1 t. salt
                                                                                                        ¾ t. black pepper
                                                                                                        ¼ t. ground nutmeg
                                                                                                        1-2 garlic clove(s), minced
                                                                                                        5 cups Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

                                                                                                        • Preheat oven to 400˚.
                                                                                                        • Combine 2 tablespoons half-and-half with flour in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.
                                                                                                        • Add the remaining cream or half-and-half, cheese, milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and garlic, stirring with a whisk.
                                                                                                        • Arrange half of the potato slices in a single layer in an 11x7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
                                                                                                        • Pour half the milk mixture over potato slices, stirring the milk mixture immediately before adding.
                                                                                                        • Repeat procedure with remaining potato slices and milk mixture.
                                                                                                        • Bake at 400˚ for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown on top.

                                                                                                        1. re: aching

                                                                                                          The Bobby Flay gratin with chipotle cream has become a popular side dish. I made it for the first time last Thanksgiving, and we loved it. I've made it a time or two since, and plan on making it on T-day. The leftovers were perfect alongside a turkey sandwich the next day.

                                                                                                          But that goat cheese thing you've got going on up there might make it onto my menu this weekend, with the bag of red potatoes I've got on hand.

                                                                                                          1. re: aching

                                                                                                            That looks delicious. We have out-of-town guests staying next weekend, so I'm going to make this. Thanks for posting the recipe!

                                                                                                            1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                              You're welcome - I hope you like it!

                                                                                                              The more I think about it, the more I really think it would work great with sweet potatoes. I think I would add some sage as well (which would actually be good with regular potatoes too)...

                                                                                                              1. re: aching

                                                                                                                I tried my gratin recipe this weekend with Garnet yams - it looked beautiful, but I wasn't crazy about the taste. I think the problem is that I don't love yams, and I do love potatoes, so the yam version was bound to suffer by comparison! The yam flavor was very pronounced, and overpowered the goat cheese to my palate. Now I'm considering a mixture of yams and potatoes, like this recipe:


                                                                                                                Randomly, there seemed to be a run on sage this weekend - both Whole Foods and Ralph's were out, so I had to use thyme instead...

                                                                                                                1. re: aching

                                                                                                                  why not stick with potatoes if that's what you really love? or how about mixing in some turnip/rutabaga which will be milder than yams?

                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                    I've already got mashed potatoes on the menu and everyone loves them. Serving potatoes mashed AND scalloped seems like too much - plus, my husband prefers yams. And I keep thinking there's a recipe out there that's going to make me love yams!

                                                                                                                    1. re: aching

                                                                                                                      ahh, okay. i was assuming it's the sweetness of the yams that turns you off, which is why i suggested the milder turnip/rutabaga option...is that the case?

                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                        I think it may be - and turnips are a great suggestion. I love turnips.

                                                                                                                        1. re: aching

                                                                                                                          is your husband okay with a little spice in his food? i know it's not traditional Thanksgiving fare, but the creamy chipotle angle is always a hit...


                                                                                                    2. Earlier this year I found a spinach bake recipe called Spinach Brownie (brownie because it's made in a square pan and sliced). It's incredibly easy and very flavorful. It's def. going on my Thanksgiving table this year. If you'd like the recipe, I'd be happy to guide you to the online source.

                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                        I would like that recipe, HillJ. Easy and delicious? Yes please!

                                                                                                        1. re: twilight goddess

                                                                                                          Spinach Brownies

                                                                                                          (10 ounce) frozen package spinach (be sure to drain the pkg. really well) or prepare the same amount of fresh by saute or steam method
                                                                                                          1/2 cup all-purpose flour
                                                                                                          1/2 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                          1/2 teaspoon baking powder
                                                                                                          1 egg
                                                                                                          1/2 cup milk
                                                                                                          1/4 cup butter, melted
                                                                                                          1/2 onion; chopped
                                                                                                          1/2 medium red pepper; chopped (I use roasted peppers out of the jar; alot more flavor)
                                                                                                          1 clove garlic
                                                                                                          2 pieces of bacon; chopped
                                                                                                          1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

                                                                                                          1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 8×8 inch baking dish.
                                                                                                          2. Place spinach in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook until spinach cooked, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, drain thoroughly and set aside.
                                                                                                          3. Sautee red peppers, onions, garlic and bacon in a pan over medium heat until vegetables are slightly softened.
                                                                                                          4. In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk and butter. Mix in spinach, pepper mixture and mozzarella cheese.
                                                                                                          5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Can be served warm or room temp.

                                                                                                          I've doubled this recipe with excellent results and played around with the cheese, herbs and peppers variations. Enjoy!

                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                            This sounds perfect for my plans this year! About how many servings does this make?

                                                                                                            1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                              meatn3, I have made this so many times, so many different way. The recipe as outlined makes eight nice size squares. I've made it in a round pan. I've doubled the recipe. Changed up some of the fillings. It's fool-proof.

                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                Thank you HillJ!

                                                                                                                There are eight at our meal, so I think I'll double it for seconds.

                                                                                                                My friend always has me make the gravy, so I love the idea of one of my contributions not needing any last minute attention!

                                                                                                                I'm kind of hoping for leftovers. I think it could be nice served for breakfast covered with a poached egg.

                                                                                                                1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                  I'm kind of hoping for leftovers. I think it could be nice served for breakfast covered with a poached egg.

                                                                                                                  absolutely delicious with eggs!

                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ


                                                                                                                    Thank you again! This was delicious. It was terrific having something that needed no last minute attention and tasted great to boot! This one will stay in the rotation.

                                                                                                                    I doubled it (a little more since my spinach packets were larger) and it could have served 20 moderate eaters. Everyone was quite happy to add it to their leftover container.

                                                                                                                    Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!

                                                                                                            2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                              Made this last night. Loved it. Thanks

                                                                                                              1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                                                                                                                meatn3 & Bryan P-I'm so pleased you enjoyed the dish! My family and guests did as well. For brunch I up the egg portion and turn the recipe into a crustless quiche.

                                                                                                          1. The world's best cranberry sauce...
                                                                                                            This recipe came from an ad for Mandarine Napoleon, which is very expensive. I've substituted Cointreau or even Triple Sec with no discernable difference in the outcome.

                                                                                                            4-5 bags cranberries
                                                                                                            5 lbs sugar (Yes, that is correct, an entire 5 lb bag of sugar!)
                                                                                                            1 liter dry vermouth
                                                                                                            2 C Mandarine Napoleon, Cointreau or Triple Sec
                                                                                                            Juice and zest of 2 lemons, 2 limes and 2 tangerines
                                                                                                            9 cinnamon sticks
                                                                                                            1 t ground cloves
                                                                                                            1 t fennel seeds (DO NOT OMIT THIS!)
                                                                                                            1/2 t ground ginger
                                                                                                            Combine all in a large, heavy pot and boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil gently 15 minutes (I usually go a bit longer because I like it a little thicker)
                                                                                                            Cool, pour in jars and refrigerate.

                                                                                                            This will last at least 6 months in the fridge. Makes great gifts!

                                                                                                            1. Haven't tried this but it has been in my file for a while - perhaps other CH have made it?
                                                                                                              It states it is a dessert - but I might also serve it with the meal - thoughts?

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                It doesn't seem like a dessert to me--
                                                                                                                there's no sugar called for, and it does contain garlic. Certainly no more a dessert than sweet potatoes with marshmallows melted on top! I'd serve it for dinner, it looks very good.

                                                                                                              2. This is my favorite cranberry sauce recipe -- it probably is not necessary to use Maker's Mark.

                                                                                                                In a non reactive pot, put 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots, shredded zest of one orange and 1 cup Bourbon. (I've been using Maker's Mark) Bring to a boil and cook uncovered on low 10 min. Add 1 pkg (12 oz) fresh cranberries and 1 cup white sugar. Cook on low another 10 min, stirring to help berries pop. Add freshly ground black pepper, let cool, put in fridge. Let come to rm temp before serving.

                                                                                                                1. This recipe, which I have paraphrased below, was published in the NY Times a couple years ago. It was adapted from Jeremy Fox when he was executive chef of Ubuntu, a Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurant in Napa, CA. I used to not even like Brussels Sprouts. But this recipe won me over. It’s a terrific side dish and has been a big hit every time I have made it for dinner guests. It’s a bit of a tedious task to separate the leaves of the Brussels sprouts. But apart from that. I found it to be a fairly easy dish to make.

                                                                                                                  Brussels Sprouts With Mustard, Apples and Caraway

                                                                                                                  Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

                                                                                                                  2 pounds brussels sprouts
                                                                                                                  4 tablespoons unsalted butter
                                                                                                                  1 ½ cups thinly sliced onion (1 medium)
                                                                                                                  2 pounds Golden or Red Delicious apples (about 6)
                                                                                                                  3/4 cup apple juice
                                                                                                                  2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (do not use grainy mustard)
                                                                                                                  3 shallots, chopped fine (1 cup)
                                                                                                                  1 tablespoon caraway seeds
                                                                                                                  2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar.

                                                                                                                  Wash the brussels sprouts and trim roots. Separate leaves and place them in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate. (This can be completed the day before.)

                                                                                                                  Warm a large sauté pan over medium heat. Melt 2 tablespoons butter, then add the sliced onions and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until onions are soft, about 15 minutes.

                                                                                                                  Peel, core and slice all but one of the apples. Add the sliced apples to the pan with the onions. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until apples soften and begin to break apart, about 20 minutes. Add apple juice and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the mustard and remove from heat.

                                                                                                                  Put apple-onion mixture in a blender or food processor and pulse 6 to 8 times until smooth. Keep warm.

                                                                                                                  Warm a very large sauté pan over medium heat. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, then add the shallots. Cook for 5 minutes, until shallots are soft and translucent. Stir in caraway seeds. Add the brussels sprout leaves and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Add the vinegar and continue cooking until the leaves are just tender, about 5 more minutes. Season with salt to taste. Julienne the one remaining apple leaving the skin on.

                                                                                                                  Spoon the apple-mustard purée onto a warmed serving platter. Pile sautéed brussels sprouts on purée. Sprinkle julienned apple on top. Serve immediately.

                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Sam D.

                                                                                                                    I thought I was the only one who likes Brussels Sprouts. So far in this thread there are 23 mentions of Brussels Sprouts (okay, make that 25).

                                                                                                                    1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                      That's the wonderful thing about CH--so many kindred culinary spirits, folks who love brussels sprouts and beets and cauliflower and clams and chevre and, and, and . . . .

                                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                        Oh my! Replace clams with anchovies in that list, and you've just named my favorite foods!

                                                                                                                        1. re: aching

                                                                                                                          did you say brussels sprouts and anchovies? i just posted this link for bxgirl a bit farther up-thread the other day...


                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                            That looks SO GOOD!!! Thanks for the link...

                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                              Add anchovies to the list!

                                                                                                                              That BS dish sounds fabulous.

                                                                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                yeah, i'm sort of skipping Thanksgiving this year, but i think i'll have to make them for myself anyway :)

                                                                                                                    2. Hi,

                                                                                                                      Our favorites are the Sourdough Parmesan Artichoke stuffing (one of Sunset magazine's most requested recipes), a baked cranberry sauce that contains only cranberries and brown sugar, and a raw chopped cranberry relish that contains cranberries, apples, oranges, sugar and spices.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: Michelle

                                                                                                                        Mmm - that stuffing sounds really good. Here's the link, if anyone else is interested:


                                                                                                                      2. If you're going all out, Alton Brown's Mushroom Crepe Cake is very very good, impressive.


                                                                                                                        1. i make a delicious smashed potatoes with sweet shallots that earns rave reviews. And you can never go wrong with a good wild rice stuffing. i also really like making an apple cobbler wtih a duncan hines yellow cake mix

                                                                                                                          1. The big hit at our table is the stuffing. Since we use bacon fat instead of eggs, I have no trouble with using it to stuff the turkey. I also use the neck with veggies to make stock to deglaze the roasting pan and the gravy comes from that.

                                                                                                                            2 bags potato cubes (Arnolds in FL)
                                                                                                                            ½ lb JD sausage, browned like you would hamburger for like, chili
                                                                                                                            1 ½ c chopped onion
                                                                                                                            1 ½ c chopped celery, including leaves
                                                                                                                            8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
                                                                                                                            1 T each dried rubbed sage and thyme leaves

                                                                                                                            Mix in large bowl.

                                                                                                                            Deglaze the sausage pan with 1 ½ c homemade chicken stock. Add bouillon paste to taste.
                                                                                                                            Heat 1/3 c each bacon fat and butter together.

                                                                                                                            Drizzle the fat over the stuffing mixture in three batches, stirring after each batch. Repeat this method with the stock until the right consistency is reached.

                                                                                                                            Stuff the turkey with as much of the mix as you can get into it and transfer the rest to an oven proof covered dish. During the last hour of turkey baking, place the pan into the oven. After the bird is done, remove all the stuffing and mix with the oven baked batch.

                                                                                                                            1. Maya,
                                                                                                                              This is great! I'm glad to get all these terrific recipes and will contribute my own below.

                                                                                                                              However, a word of caution: A good rule of thumb for cooking for guests is to never experiment with a new recipe on guests. Try them out on yourself or your family first. Then, if it's a winner, and you have made it successfully several times, add the recipe to your repertoire.

                                                                                                                              I understand that your guests are going to be making the recipes provided by chowhounds, but, if I were you, I'd try out the ones you are going to have your guests making, first, just to make sure that they are doable and 'winners" in your eyes.

                                                                                                                              Steamed Cranberry Pudding

                                                                                                                              2 cups cranberries, cut in two, lengthwise
                                                                                                                              1 and 2/3 cups sifted all purpose flour
                                                                                                                              1/4 cup light Karo syrup
                                                                                                                              1/4 cup molasses ("yellow label," or, to put in another way, non-sulphured, regular old molasses)
                                                                                                                              1 tsp. natural (not artificial) vanilla extract
                                                                                                                              1/2 tsp. salt
                                                                                                                              1 and !/2 tsp. baking soda
                                                                                                                              1/2 cup cold water

                                                                                                                              Combine the above ingredients by hand or lightly mix with an electric mixer. Pour the mixture into a bowl which is about as deep as it is wide, although this is not critical. A mixing bowl is fine. You just want to avoid a wide, flat dish which will cause the mixture to dry out. Place the dish in a roaster, or a similar pan, with boiling water filling the roaster at least half as high as the mixture is in the bowl. (Even high is fine.) Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, which is not touching the mixture. Put the lid on the roaster and steam it in the oven or on top of the stove for at least 1 and 1/2 hours. (Steaming longer is fine. This recipe is very forgiving.)

                                                                                                                              Be sure to cover the mixing bowl with foil when you cook it (see above), because if there is no foil protecting the cranberry mixture in the bowl, water will condense from the roaster lid and drip back onto the cranberry mixture, making it soggy.


                                                                                                                              2 cups sugar
                                                                                                                              1/2 pound butter (2 regular sized sticks)--do not use margarine
                                                                                                                              1 cup heavy or light cream; or canned (not condensed) milk; or Milnot
                                                                                                                              1/4 tsp. natural vanilla extract (do not use artificial vanilla extract)

                                                                                                                              Combine the sauce ingredients with a hand or electric mixer. Bring the ingredients to a low boil in a saucepan and cook until the sugar is dissolved in the milk, about 3 to 5 minutes and the sauce has thickened a bit. (But taste a little bit of the sauce. You really want to make sure that the sugar is dissolved and no longer gritty.)

                                                                                                                              Serve the cranberry pudding in dishes and pour the sauce over it. The tartness of the cranberries is set off nicely by the sweet sauce. Serve extra sauce in a separate container for use by guests at the table.

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                                I have a sort of broccolli gratin recipe from a Quad Cities Sympony fund raiser cookbook my mom gave me from the 1970's that I love to put together. It has blue cheese and a bit of cream cheese. Heavenly.

                                                                                                                              2. Nothing fancy, but the one always requested and always eaten first, no matter how much I make, is blanched green beans tossed in olive oil, kosher salt, minced garlic, and grated Romano with good size torn up pieces of a slightly stale baguette. Toss the ingredients and heat briefly (don't let the beans get overdone).

                                                                                                                                1. 3 all time faves. They were loved but wish I hadn't shared, I could sit down to an entire meal of these 3 and be in heaven!!: Lemon Ginger Scalloped Sweet Potato, Mushroom/Fennel Bread Pudding and 4 Onions gratin:

                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: lexpatti

                                                                                                                                    I made that 4-Onion Gratin tonight and it was excellent. Thanks! Everyone ate it and my sister asked if I could please bring that for Thanksgiving too.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LNG212

                                                                                                                                      so glad you enjoyed, I'll most likely make it for tgiving as well this year. It's soooo frigin sweet which always surprises me.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: lexpatti

                                                                                                                                        You know I thought that too. But I think it's the leeks. That's the flavor-sweetness that I was getting. I also think I might go a little bit easier on the bread crumbs. They were good, but really, the creamy gooeyness is great on its own!! Thanks again for posting that recipe.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: lexpatti

                                                                                                                                      That Noble Pig Scalloped Sweet Potato is heavenly. Made it into my 'Outstanding' recipe file last year - I beg you if you like sweet potatoes and cream, you must try this one :)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: lexpatti

                                                                                                                                        This is the third year I've made some sort of creamed onions, and the four onion gratin was the winner. The boyfriend had always been 'meh' on the dish itself, but could not stop telling me how good *this* one was. I omitted the pearl onions (by necessity, and I used more of the other varieties to compensate), and used half and half instead of whipping cream, and (okay, I'm doing it, the modified review), added a tablespoon of ground mustard. Really very good stuff.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                          Is that recipe posted somewhere, OADL? My absolute favorite creamed onion dish (though not one I can serve on T-giving, as the family would revolt) includes poblanos and cream (instead of bechamel), but your gratin sounds pretty darned good.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                            Lexpatti posted a link right above us. It's from Epicurious. It's funny, I swore to myself that this was the last year I was dedicating oven space to onion gratin on T-day, but this recipe converted the boyfriend so thoroughly that I think I'm stuck with it!

                                                                                                                                            Poblanos and cream, huh? That sounds fantastic. Creamed onions are always so sweet, I think the poblanos would balance it nicely.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                              Duh . . . don't you know I bookmarked all those back in October when Lexpatti posted those, even used the mushroom/fennel recipe when coming up with one of my dressings!

                                                                                                                                      2. I know salad might sound boring for Thanksgiving, but honestly everybody loves it, as it's a nice foil to all the rich stuff on the table!

                                                                                                                                        We do a basic salad of mixed baby greens and sliced pears, crumbled blue cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries and homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                                          My sister does a similar thing, but with mandarin oranges instead of pears. It's really good.

                                                                                                                                        2. This is the cranberry sauce I've been making (and supplying my boss' family with) for the past 2-3 years. My husband loves anything with cherries...and you can make it up to a week ahead. Works well as a topping for greek yogurt as well.


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                                                                                                                                          1. re: dmbfiredncr

                                                                                                                                            > you can make it up to a week ahead

                                                                                                                                            In Rubee's lists of side dishes, she mentions making two dishes a day ahead. I am usually restricted from getting in the way during T'giving prep, and get relegated to non-kitchen activities such as setting up card tables for the kids and cleaning the crystal.

                                                                                                                                            So if I wanted to contribute to the feast, it would need to be as much as a week ahead. I had my eye on GHG's Brussels Sprouts Two Ways, but unfortuneatley it looks like the type of dish that would best be served soon after saucing. I love anything with cherries, too, so I guess I'll contribute a cranberrry sauce.

                                                                                                                                            Am I alone in this predicament?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                              How about some pickled vegies. Like some root vegetables?

                                                                                                                                              Or something that could be frozen and then reheated?

                                                                                                                                          2. For cranberry sauce, I love the fresh (uncooked) cranberry orange sauce. One package fresh cranberries, two oranges (including peel) and sugar to taste (usually about 1-2 cups). Chop fine in the food processor, let sit over night and enjoy. It keep really well too - you can make extra and eat it at Christmas.

                                                                                                                                            I've also had good luck with a cranberry orange sauce made from dried berries, when I couldn't get fresh.

                                                                                                                                            This year I did a harvest pilaf which worked really well; soak dried shitake mushrooms, remove the stems, dice and save the soaking water. Saute diced onions and celery in butter, add the mushrooms and chopped walnuts, then add the rice and saute until the rice starts to brown. Use a combination of chicken stock and the mushroom water for liquid, and add chopped unsweetened dried cranberries. Season with salt, pepper, thyme and sage.

                                                                                                                                            And velvet squash soup is good as a starter. Bake your pumpkin or winter squash, along with an onion onion. Take 3 cups squash, one medium roasted onion, 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup water and simmer. Puree, sieve, and season with a bit of lemon juice, a teaspoon of ground cumin, a teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and salt and pepper. Reheat and Stir in a tablespoon of heavy cream before serving. The high veggie to liquid ratio and the sieving result in an incredibly creamy, rich soup.

                                                                                                                                            1. in case anyone's looking for yet another twist on brussels sprouts, today's NY Times featured one from Fatty 'Cue in Brooklyn that sounds pretty damned amazing...


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                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                I cut that out as soon as I saw it, ghg, much to my husband's annoyance (though he's quite used to encountering holes in the Dining section). Looks fabulous; must find Thai chilies and try that very soon. (Fatty 'Cue must turn out some pretty good food. I did the rib recipe that was in the Magazine several months ago--and they were pretty amazing.)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                  all of my friends who have been there have raved about the food.

                                                                                                                                                  you shouldn't have a problem finding the chilies. many supermarkets carry them these days, and you'll definitely be able to get them at a decent Asian market.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                    Unfortunately, probably the only reliable place to get them is our big Asian market, which is a bit of a trek from where I live--but I'm going to look for them this weekend.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                    nomad - this one is in MY state - so come on up here and I will trade favorite restaurants with you!

                                                                                                                                                  3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                    A friend made these for T-day and they were pretty damn amazing! I am making them tomm night. I dont have maple syrup though, can I substitute?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: drewb123

                                                                                                                                                      assuming you don't have any maple extract or maple sugar either...

                                                                                                                                                      your best bet will be a combination of brown sugar & honey with a bit of light molasses and maybe a touch of vanilla extract.

                                                                                                                                                      but if you can wait and make them another time, i'd get some maple syrup ;)

                                                                                                                                                  4. Corn casserole, Caulifower parmigiana, Zucchini fritters, Roasted asparagus with melted mozzarella, Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows=)

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                                                                                                                                                    1. re: steakrules85

                                                                                                                                                      Do you have a recepie for Corn Casserole?? Sounds good!!

                                                                                                                                                    2. http://realmomkitchen.com/3804/pumpki...

                                                                                                                                                      I just gave these pumpkin biscuits a go and they are delicious. Super simple and light. Def. getting included in the T-day menu this year.

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                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                        do you think they will do well made a day or 2 ahead?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pamd

                                                                                                                                                          A day ahead, yes. Just warm them in the oven prior to serving. They do not taste good room temp or cold.

                                                                                                                                                      2. My very favorite quirky cranberry relish is Susan Stamberg's mother's recipe. It is a pink concoction, frozen, containing sour cream and horseradish and people BEG FOR IT.

                                                                                                                                                        1. This thread is killing me. I was all set to try a Thai-inspired sweet potato recipe I'd clipped from the NYT last year--until someone posted the Noble Pig recipe. And now the question: do I serve pumpkin-shrimp bisque AND sweet potatoes? Then I'll have to decide among five fabulous brussels sprouts recipes, three for cranberry sauce! And it looks like in addition to the two standard dressings on the table, I'll be adding a third w/mushrooms from a recipe somewhere along this thread.
                                                                                                                                                          You guys are great! Besides giving me the ammunition to go rogue on T-day, with some new twists on the standard fare, I've got a whole new collection of fantastic recipes to try out on days not devoted to turkey and the trimmings. Thank you!

                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                            It sounds like you've got your game plan mapped out, ncw, but I have the best and most unusual "adult" cranberry sauce recipe, developed by Darling Daughter. It contains juniper berries, black pepper, ground fennel, cloves and cinnamon - and a little nip of gin. If you'd like I can post it.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                              mamachef, I am not nomadchowwoman; however, I hope you post the recipe for all of us. I love juniper berries.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Wtg2Retire

                                                                                                                                                                Of course!
                                                                                                                                                                XXX Cranberry Sauce
                                                                                                                                                                1&1/2 lbs. whole crans., fresh or frozen
                                                                                                                                                                1/1/4 c. red wine (something decent and fruity)
                                                                                                                                                                3/4 c. balsamic (quality really counts for this)
                                                                                                                                                                3/4 c. frozen oj or tangerine juice concentrate
                                                                                                                                                                3/4 c. sugar
                                                                                                                                                                1 cinnamon stick
                                                                                                                                                                2 tsp. fennel seeds
                                                                                                                                                                2 tsp. black peppercorns
                                                                                                                                                                1 heaping tsp. Juniper berries
                                                                                                                                                                1 tsp. whole cloves
                                                                                                                                                                put first five ingredients into large nonreactive pot. Add cinnamon stick. Grind remaining spices coarsely and add to pan. Bring to boil over med-high heat, and then reduce heat to low simmer, and stir occasionally while it boils merrily away. You want this to be quite soft in texture. Let cool, and add 2 T. gin (can also be added during cooking process; we just like ours a little nippier.) This is also amazing as a prime rib relish. Actually I can't think of anything it wouldn't suit, exeptin' maybe spaghetti. ; )

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                  OK, mamchef, you've just confused the cranberry issue further! I may have to make a few--maybe a sampling tray of cranberry sauces?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                    Wow! This sounds wonderful. Thank you. I think I will do this one for Christmas dinner. Yummmmm.

                                                                                                                                                            2. Last year I made a roasted parsnip & butternut squash puree that to my surprise, was a hit with even the less-than-adventurous eaters in my husband's family.

                                                                                                                                                              I roasted the squash and parsnips, then added them to carmelized shallots, fresh thyme, ginger, and a touch of freshly grated nutmeg. Pureed the whole thing along with chicken stock a little butter and cream until I reached the desired consistency. It's the kind of thing you can tinker with to get the flavors you like and I was able to make it ahead of time and reheat while turkey rested.

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                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bdegregory

                                                                                                                                                                And if you had leftovers, you could thin them down with some chicken stock and a little milk or cream and make a crazy-good soup. Yum. I'm going to make this and make extra just for that purpose. I used to do it in a similar way with butternut only and found it too sweet; I love your addition.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mamachef


                                                                                                                                                                  Soup with leftovers would be great! It does tend to be on the sweet side and the parsnips also add sweetness (but also a nuttiness that is very complementary). I seasoned it with a splash of white balsamic vinegar to balance the sweetness a bit. And plenty of carmelized shallots help make it more savory.

                                                                                                                                                              2. Very simple and old New England....mashed turnip and carrots,, butter,salt and pepper. I like, i like.

                                                                                                                                                                1. A casserole of pineapple, cheddar cheese and ritz crackers.