Sides that Steal the Show
Thanksgiving just wouldn't be the same without mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, (fill-in-the-blank) and other side dishes. After all, who wants to eat the turkey without the delicious trimmings? These vegetable-rich dishes bring so much variety to the holiday table in both flavor, texture and color (here's looking at you, cranberry jelly). What's more, it's the sides that enable the Thanksgiving meal to appeal to everyone on your guest list, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
Stragetize Your Sides: Think Logistically for a Stress-Free Holiday
Planning and advance preparation: That's what makes the mad dash to the finish line (er, the Thankskgiving feast) completely manageable. The same basic tenets apply whether you are making three, six, nine or twelve different side dishes.
- First, make sure you have the counter/oven/refrigerator space to prepare/cook/store all the dishes you want to make.
- Secondly, as with any meal, choose sides with a variety of tastes, textures and colors, and even temperatures.
- Stack your menu with make-ahead side dishes as possible; chutneys and relishes and breads can all be fully prepared in advance.
- Pick casseroles and stuffings that can be baked the day before and then reheated just before serving.
- For sides that require last-minute cooking, do all the prep work (chopping vegetables, toasting nuts, etc) a day or two in advance.
- Dishes that can be served at room temperature (such as a green bean salad) are always good options, since they won't take up limited oven/refrigerator space.
- Keep in mind: Even mashed potatoes and other vegetable purees can be prepared a couple hours ahead and kept warm over a hot water bath.
- Vary the cooking techniques so you don't have to struggle for oven space; make good use of your stove-top burners by pan-roasting, sauteeing, blanching or steaming vegetables.
You really can't go wrong so long as you don't load up on too many starchy carbs. Make sure there's at least one green vegetable (better yet, two) on the menu; we've got some that even the kiddos will love.
Stuffings and the like
Assorted Stuffings: Apple, Pecan and Sausage Stuffing, Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing, Chestnut Stuffing
If you plan to stuff the turkey, read this.
Rice and other grains
Mashes and purees
Gratins and casseroles
Steamed, sauteed or braised vegetables
Tossed Brussels Sprout Salad (with dried cranberries and pear)
Relishes and chutneys
Quick breads and rolls