Here’s a terrific roundup of tips for planning and preparing Thanksgiving side dishes that you’re sure to be thankful for as you’re planning the Thanksgiving dinner menu—or any big feast or holiday dinner, for that matter. (For even more tips and a handy to-do list, check out our holiday countdown.) After you peruse the tips, you’ll be inspired to take a look at all the exciting Thanksgiving side dish recipes—from stuffing and potatoes to holiday soups and salads.
Preparing the entire meal may seem a little overwhelming. Consider handling the main items (turkey, mashed potatoes and green beans) and ask your guests to bring a side to round out the meal. You can even suggest a few recipes, such as: Cheesy Stuffed Butternut Squash, Carrot & Parsnip Gratin, Watergate Salad or Cider-Glazed Brussels Sprouts.
Separate your sides into "make-ahead" and "day-of" recipes. For example, Crunchy Green Bean Casserole and Tracy’s Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes can be prepared as directed and refrigerated for a couple days before baking. Check individual recipes for exact instructions on how to finish them the day of the party.
KIS- Keep it simple! When having guests, keep a few traditional menu items and partner them with one or two new recipes to add variety.
STOVE TOP Stuffing is the perfect way to personalize your meal by creating a customized stuffing. Stir-ins can offer new flavor varieties that will tickle your taste buds! Check out these recipes to get your creativity flowing: Bacon, Pear & Walnut Stuffing, Stuffing with Pasilla Chiles, Made-Over 'Sausage' Stuffing or Apple Cranberry & Pecan Stuffing.
Turkey dinner is notorious for its long cooking time. Save precious minutes by leaving the bird unstuffed. An unstuffed turkey bakes in less time than a stuffed one. Cook STOVE TOP Stuffing in the oven, or even in the microwave, just before serving.
Sweet potatoes are often considered the darlings of the Thanksgiving meal, but are they really sweet potatoes or are they yams? Although Americans often refer to sweet potatoes as yams, true yams are not heavily marketed in the United States. There are many varieties of sweet potatoes, but just two of those are widely available. One has a thin, light yellow skin and pale yellow flesh which becomes dry and crumbly when cooked. The other is often erroneously referred to as a yam. It has a thicker, dark orange skin and a bright orange flesh that becomes moist when cooked. Bright orange potatoes sold in cans and labeled as yams are actually sweet potatoes.
Food Facts: The sweet potato has been called a "superfood," since it is a good source of both fiber and potassium, and high in both vitamins A and C. Try out one of these recipes for a delicious way to enjoy this "superfood": Whipped Sweet Potato Bake, Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes or Curried Mashed Sweet Potatoes.
Purchasing Brussels Sprouts: Brussels sprouts should have a fresh green color, a firm body and tight-fitting leaves. Use within 3 to 4 days of purchase or a strong flavor will develop.
Brussels sprouts have long received a cool welcome from most kids - and some adults! - because of their cabbage-like flavor. But properly chosen and cooked, these small vegetables, high in vitamins A and C, can become a standout on the Thanksgiving table. Here are some recipes to get you started: Brown-Butter Brussels Sprouts, Balsamic Roasted Vegetables or Roasted Winter Vegetable Trio.