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Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish?

I know it's going to be hard but name ONE side dish you are most looking forward to this Thanksgiving. For me it would have to be candied yams made by my cousin. She knows exactly how to incorporate the right amount of brown sugar so that I can really enjoy the sweetness factor that I love about this dish without it being overkill. Mmm I wish I had them right now!

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  1. Stuffing. In fact, I would almost not qualify this as a side dish for me because I eat it almost to the exclusion of everything else. LOVE IT.

    11 Replies
    1. re: biondanonima

      oh yes. Stuffing takes up a large portion on my plate as well. In fact, I usually do a plate of just sides and then move onto the other stuff ;)

      1. re: biondanonima

        +1. It's the only time a year I eat stuffing. My sister made a delicious one last year and I'm hoping she makes it again. Love it.

        1. re: biondanonima

          Stuffing for me too! I make my mom's recipe which must have been her mom's recipe, et cetera, going back many generations! :)

          1. re: biondanonima

            When the stuffing is good, it's tied with the mac and cheese, but in the past few years when I attempt grandma's stuffing it's just not the same.

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              I adore mac and cheese but it's not something my family ever served at Thanksgiving. At Easter, yes - and not being a fan of ham, I always gorged myself on the cheesy goodness!

            2. re: biondanonima

              Same here. I put more effort and love into my oyster -chestnut stuffing than any other part of the meal. And I make a LOT of it.

              1. re: Veggo

                Oyster-Chestnut stuffing, what a unique twist on this dish!

              2. re: biondanonima

                Yup, definitely the stuffing! Assuming gravy doesn't count. :-) Rolls are a close second.

                1. re: biondanonima

                  The same. To me, dressing is coequal with the turkey.

                  1. re: biondanonima

                    I'm jumping onto the stuffing band wagon. There is just something about the stuffing that makes the whole meal come together.

                    My friend Veggo has me intrigued with the Oyster Chestnut stuffing, never heard of that combination before.

                    1. re: jrvedivici

                      I roast and peel the chestnuts the night before. Can be a tedious PITA but good flavor, from crumbs to halves. In the morning I poach Willapoint shucked oysters in their liquor and dice them into about 1/4" pieces. I make Pepperidge farm stuffing with chicken stock and butter, combine everything with a generous amount of sage. One year I added fresh huitlacoche which turbocharged it, but it's a full day trip for me to get it. I make enough to stuff the turkey and make a large pan of dressing. Be sure to know who at your table may not want oysters in their stuffing, you could leave them out of the in-the-bird stuffing if you have persnickety eaters and put them only in the tray. I don't jump through flaming hoops to make my own breadcrumbs, these other flavors do the trick.

                  2. Yes,def. the savory stuffing.....

                    1. I have to agree with everyone else so far and say the stuffing. My second favorite would probably be green bean casserole, followed by sweet potato casserole.

                      1. I know I can have it anytime, but cranberry sauce does it for me. Mix with the right amount of turkey and I'm happy.

                        1. The one that I never get anymore, because we always do Thanksgiving with my in-laws. My Mom's mashed potatoes and turkey gravy.

                          1. Oyster dressing.

                            Specifically , UNCOOKED oyster dressing. Wet and gloppy. Believe it or not, this is how we have had it my entire life. We never cook it.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: JayL

                              I've heard about oyster stuffing/dressing, but have never had it, living in the desert as I do. The first reference I remember was from the creepy movie "Diary of a Mad Housewife" in the '70s.

                              1. re: EWSflash

                                When I had my seafood restaurant I would gift my grandfather a 7# gallon of oysters early Thanksgiving morning. He would dump the entire bucket in his big bowl of dressing.

                              2. re: JayL

                                Dear JayL, I would very much like to hear more details regarding this uncooked oyster dressing. We always have cornbread-oyster dressing in addition to wheat bread-herb stuffing, but this idea of an uncooked version is very intriguing!!

                              3. A really close race between my wife's fruited stuffing (based around lots of sliced and chopped apples and halved grapes) and a good sweet potato casserole loaded down with melted & browned-just-right marshmallows (and your cousin's brown sugar, I'm sure). Although another family member, 2 hours away, is hosting the family this year, the request is in that my wife bring everybody's favorite stuffing. Great! How somebody else will do the sweet potatoes/ yams this year will remain a mystery for another couple of weeks (we can hope for marshmallows and brown sugar.)

                                1. Oh man- a good dressing, mashed potatoes, if there's Waldorf salad I can't resist that, plus I like turkey a whole lot. I like green bean casserole the way I make it, to, with fresh green beans, sauteed fresh mushrooms, etc, but i will eat the original gross recipe, too... sorry, but i am a Thanksgiving Food Whore. I'm hating to admit it, but if the turkey isn't dried out, that's a great start. I like the whole thang.

                                  1. Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta

                                    1. stuffing of course....I have to make at least 2 versions!

                                      but the most asked for is the pearl onions cooked slow in brown sugar, butter, season salt and shot of sherry pepper sauce at the end.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                        I'm not the cook for thanksgiving this year, but I'm guessing those onions would also be amazing with Christmas' prime rib.

                                        1. re: autumm

                                          YEP!..........they come up there too.Usually with a good splash of Marsala wine near the end

                                      2. Tie between green bean casserole (the original one! not the frou frou one that I'm seeing all over the place now!lol) and my mom's broccoli cheese casserole made with bisquick. Poor mom has to make 3+ dishes of that stuff because it's EVERYONE's favorite.

                                        Honorable mention goes to mashed potatoes, which I love, but those other two are gobbled up much more quickly :-)

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Meowzerz

                                          Broccoli casserole recipe, please?

                                          1. re: sydthekyd

                                            We didn't get the recipe from this site, but it's exactly the same so why not save myself the typing and share the link :-) (I have yet to start digitizing recipes lol...index cards for me ;) )


                                        2. Gravy. Gravy, gravy, gravy. Can it have gravy on it? Then it's a winner. Absence of gravy would be catastrophic, Thanksgiving-wise. My folk like turkey, but for me I could forego the flesh; my turkey-roasting motivation is always about the gravy.

                                          I'm always a bit fascinated by those whose traditions are grilling or frying the turkey - my gravy-making sensibilities are flummoxed, as I just can imagine no pan drippings for gravy. I'm sure those preparations are delicious, but the lack of turkey gravy would certainly leave my Thanksgiving wanting.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: cayjohan

                                            The year my brother deep fried the turkey, I brought the gravy. Well, what I brought was a big pot of very dark reduced turkey stock, which I made by roasting turkey wings on a "rack" of carrots and celery. To this I added a dark golden roux made from flour, butter and the fat from the chilled turkey stock. Everyone loved it and there was plenty of it!

                                            1. re: cayjohan

                                              We always had gravy, but never once in my life used the pan drippings.

                                              Different strokes...

                                            2. stuffing with mushrooms and sausage or wild rice stuffing with almonds and craisins. close second would be the day-after turkey day pot pies.

                                              1. I like to make Bombay Potatoes - hardly traditional but an excellent addition to the regular fare. What you have is nicely spiced chopped and parboiled fingerling potatoes and onions then further sauteed with more spices. If you Google Bombay Potatoes you can find several easy recipes. The (adjustable level of) spice nicely contrasts with some of the other dishes

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: kagemusha49

                                                  Nice. I love potatoes and chiles together.

                                                2. Butter . . . on almost everything

                                                  Auntie J's wild rice stuffing with sausage after that. Mashed potatoes come in a close third (no, I almost never have them any other time of the year.)

                                                  Waddaya mean butter is not a form of gravy???

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                    oh, and if there are no pillsbury crescent rolls my brother curls up into a ball on the floor and moans and wails. these also require butter.

                                                  2. New Mexico red chile used as a gravy.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                      You and I are on the same page with the need to spice up the traditional menu a bit. My solution is Bombay Potatoes but I think NM Red Chili would work too. BTW at Christmas I think you'd have to use Christmas chili

                                                      1. re: kagemusha49

                                                        In New Mexico, posole is a Christmas tradition, but I can make it Christmas style. :O)

                                                    2. Oyster stuffing goes without saying. After that, it would be either mashed potatoes topped with sauerkraut and kielbasa, or carrots in white sauce with lots of white pepper.

                                                      1. Like so many others, stuffing was always my favorite. However, a few years ago the sister who traditionally hosts Thanksgiving moved to a new town with a wonderful bakery. So now I'm really looking forward to the variety of rolls I'll be served in a few weeks.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: gaffk

                                                          Blargh, OK now I can't decide and have a list of things I most look forward to. Thanksgiving is the week of the year that I eat foods that I don't eat any other time - rolls among them. Just set the basket right next to my plate.

                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                            With the really good farmer's market butter please.

                                                        2. Macaroni and cheese. I've only recently learned it's not present on most Thanksgiving tables but it was a staple at ours and probably the only time during the year that I indulge.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                            Not an item I grew up with and I don't think of it as "Thanksgiving." But the extended family "Covered dish" list is going around re: who's bringing what, who's "assigned" what dish, and a niece is definitely bringing the Mac & Cheese. And I will probably have a pretty large helping of it myself.

                                                            1. re: Florida Hound

                                                              I demand an entire batch for myself for leftovers that all weekend long!

                                                          2. Yes, it's the stuffing & turkey gravy, as I never eat those at any other time of the year.

                                                            1. A couple. And both are cheese-heavy.

                                                              The first is fried cheese balls, and the second is an old fambly dish called "wonderful cheese." It is actually a cheese log made with x-sharp cheddar, cream cheese, various spices and seasonings, and rolled in minced pecans.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                I used to make a cheese log a long time ago, with cream cheese and green chilis; rolled in nuts. It was outrageously good. Thanks for the reminder.

                                                                1. re: laliz

                                                                  We forget the old ways at our peril. ;)

                                                                1. Stuffing. With gravy. Lots of gravy.

                                                                  1. I agree with everyone else and coincidently all in the same order. Stuffing w/gravy, then green bean casserole, then the sweet poatoes. One loop around the dinner track and I need side boards!!! Lol!!!

                                                                    1. Whipped potatoes with gravy. Not to thin.Not to thick.

                                                                      1. My mom's candied sweet potatoes. They are totally different than the "traditional", marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole, or any other sweet potato casserole for that matter.

                                                                        Thinly slice and par-boil some sweet potatoes. Meanwhile make a caramel sauce by melting some butter with brown sugar and corn syrup in a large skillet. When the sweet potatoes are just start to think about getting tender, drain them and toss them into the caramel sauce. Let them simmer for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and the potatoes are kind of mushy. Not quite the consistency of mashed potatoes, but definitely soft. They are divine. I make them more often than for just Thanksgiving, but only a few times a year since they're pretty rich.

                                                                        1. This is a little twist im going to try for us this year..... anyone tried it???

                                                                          2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes (4-6 depending on the size)4 oz. bacon, cut into small dice2 Tablespoons butter1 cup minced onion2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary3/4 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper2 1/4 cups grated Gruyere cheese3/4 cup milk3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs


                                                                          1. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast in a 350 degrees F oven for about 2 hours or until they are very soft. This step can be done 1 day ahead of time and the sweet potatoes can be refrigerated until needed.2. In a small sauté pan, cook bacon until lightly browned.3. Add butter, onions, and rosemary and continue cooking until the onions are soft. When done, remove from heat and reserve.4. Peel the sweet potatoes and place the flesh in a large bowl. Mash the sweet potatoes with a fork.5. Add sautéed onion and bacon mixture, salt, black pepper, 3/4 cup cheese, and milk to the sweet potatoes. Mix well.6. Pour into a 9 x 9 baking dish. Top with remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese and panko breadcrumbs.7. Bake in a 400 degrees F oven for about 60 minutes, or until well browned and hot.Print Recipe

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: shellie76

                                                                            I haven't tried it but that sounds delicious. I love savory preparations of sweet potatoes - their natural sweetness doesn't need sugar.

                                                                          2. these all sound sooo good!! yum.

                                                                            1. my cranberry relish and parker house rolls

                                                                              1. Roasted garlic mashed potatoes with gravy. Hands down.

                                                                                1. it's a tie between stuffing and mashed potatoes :)

                                                                                  1. We all love the rutabegoes, made like mashed potatoes. I fix a stockpot full of them. What is leftover, daughter and I split! I can't imaging thanksgiving turkey without it.
                                                                                    2nd would be stuffing w/gravy, but I do try not to overeat on it. We try to eat low carb all the time.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Nanzi

                                                                                      Thank you for reminder. I love rutabagas and needed one more dish for my Thanksgiving menu. Mashed rutabagas with butter will fill out my menu perfectly. Yum!

                                                                                    2. Perhaps turkey thighs.

                                                                                      Because of course the stuffing is the main dish, not a side dish.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                                                        Agreed. With a side of mashed potatoes. And GRAVY.

                                                                                      2. I love it all but my favorite is a cranberry horseradish mousse that has been in our family for many years.

                                                                                        It really cuts through all the savory elements and makes a stellar sandwich spread the next day.

                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: AdamD

                                                                                          AdamD, you can't drop a bomb like that and not give the recipe. Inquiring minds need to know . . . how do you make cranberry horseradish mousse? Sounds fabulous! Thanks in advance! ;-)

                                                                                          1. re: MrsPatmore

                                                                                            Yes, recipe please! That sounds fantastic!

                                                                                          2. re: AdamD

                                                                                            I cant have thanksgiving without it.
                                                                                            I tend to add a bit less sour cream and sugar and a bit more horseradish and gelatin.

                                                                                            If you try it please let me know if you enjoyed it!

                                                                                            1. re: AdamD

                                                                                              Thank you for posting the recipe. It's great that it can be made ahead. One less thing to worry about on Thanksgiving day itself. I'm planning to give it a try - will let you know how it goes over with our crowd.

                                                                                              1. re: MrsPatmore

                                                                                                This actually looks like the perfect use for leftover cranberry sauce - maybe I'll try it out at Christmas. I love horseradish with beef and I think this would be fabulous with a standing rib roast.

                                                                                          3. Not so much a side dish, but the course before the bird is always some sort of pasta. Usually cavatelli or ravioli.

                                                                                            Then again, I love the antipasta of sliced meats, cheeses, and pickled vegetables before the meal.

                                                                                            1. Cornbread dressing with cranberry sauce on top mmmm. It might be 2 sides but I can't eat one without the other.

                                                                                              1. Ideally, cornbread stuffing topped with creamed onions.

                                                                                                1. After considering the list from other responses, I would have to say a good turkey giblet gravy. It goes on the potatoes, stuffing, and turkey and for breakfast the next morning I always cut up some turkey (white and dark meat) to throw in and pour it over a bowl of stuffing!! YUM!!!