All About the Sides

Y’all, I know most of the Thanksgiving discussion revolves around the bird but let’s be real – we all know the most delicious part of t-day is the sides.  I could skip the turkey, make a meal out of the sides and be one happy human.  My mouth is watering just thinking about all of the deliciousness.  Last week I supplied you with multiple turkey roasting recipes so this week I’m gonna share my fav T-day sides.  You ready?  Oh, make sure to read down to this weeks meal plan. I know it’s a funky week but we still have to eat!!

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes – So here’s the thing. I know I’m from the south and I’m supposed to prefer rice and gravy to potatoes but y’all, I just don’t.  How can one prefer the seed of a grass species to a starchy crop? (Thank you Wikipedia for making my case) BUT – there’s always a but – cooking mashed potatoes for t-day is a pain in the arse.  I know there are a gazillion mashed “p” recipes that tell you it’s OK to make this dish ahead of time but they are wrong – mashed potatoes don’t sit well and they damn sure don’t reheat well.  Is it impossible, no.  Of course not. But mp’s (can we do this for short) are so much better straight out of the pot – or, in this case, the crockpot!! I found this beauty last year and y’all, it made my turkey day.  I think I talked about this recipe for weeks after whatever Thursday t-day fell on.  My husband can vouch for me.  Just make sure you take into account these mp’s need 3 – 4 hours to cook.  Best part – they won’t take up oven/stove space!  You can push these bad boys into the corner of your kitchen and forget about them.  My kind of dish!!

Paula Deen’s Squash Casserole – I gotta be honest (I looove being honest), a few years ago I would have quickly passed by this cheesy wonder.  If I happened to be getting low on plate real estate, this would have been the dish I walked right on by.  But, no more.  I love this squash casserole.  I mean, let’s be real – this is less a squash dish and more a cheese and ritz cracker dish but damn it’s yummy.  I know there are plenty of other squash recipes out there, that are more veg than cheese, but I prefer this one. Plus, anything Paula D. puts her name on is good enough for me!!

Photo Cred~ Averie Cooks

Stuffing – Gracious there is so much talk about stuffing vs dressing and sausage vs traditional.  Makes my head spin. The truth is this – I could honestly eat Stovetop stuffing and be a happy camper.  I think we are all trying to re-create our childhood version of this dish which for most of us WAS Stovetop.  Am I wrong? What I do know is I love any version of stuffing/dressing and usually alternate between the two recipes below.  One is traditional and one calls for sausage.  You pick – both are delicious! ( Or just grab a box of Stovetop!!)  Simple is Best Dressing  or Sausage and Sage Stuffing

Balsamic Roasted Carrots – You all know I have a love affair with balsamic vinegar.  I’m convinced it has magical properties.  In my humble opinion, roasting carrots is the only way to go as the process releases the sweetness of this veg.  Cook these beauts as soon as your turkey comes out of the oven.  The bird will need to rest so you should have time to pop these in and then serve immediately. 

Creamy Baked Corn – If you’ve been following along since my first post back in August then this one should look familiar.  I think I shared it as a Labor Day side.  My sister-in-law is from Pennsylvania and they take their corn very seriously. Who knew? She makes a killer corn cass but uses corn from her hometown, that I can’t find it in CHS, so I found this amazing recipe instead. And it is legit – a real crowd pleaser.  It’s perfectly creamy and light all at the same time.  And it travels really well too. 

Green Beans with Bacon – Nothing against the traditional Campbells green bean casserole but I kind of like my green beans simple.  And guess what you can use in this dish, y’all??? Costco frozen green beans.  That’s right!!!!! I mean, how fabulous is that?  Sometimes simple really is best!!! 

Patti Labelles Macaroni and Cheese – Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without macaroni and cheese and this is the most southern mac n’ cheese on the market.  Doesn’t get much better than this, y’all!!

Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad – I’m certain some of you are rolling your eyeballs at me for putting a salad on the menu but get over it.  This is a gorgeous, easy dish that will impress your guests.  Everything about this salad screams fall.  Plus, you can make it ahead of time and it doesn’t need to cook in the oven!!!! 

Drop Biscuits – So, my go to drop biscuit recipe is in my favorite cookbook (I will be giving one away via Instagram in the next week ,along with other goodies, so make sure to follow me ASAP) and not available online.  BUT, I found a similar, super easy, drop biscuit recipe you will love! This is a Pioneer Woman recipe and everything she does is fabulous!! You can freeze these ahead of time and pop them into the oven right before you sit down to dig in!!

Photo Cred ~ Ashley Bakery

Pumpkin Pecan Torte – No, I don’t bake this.  I call Ashley Bakery. There are just some things you really should leave to the professionals.  Not sure if they ship but if you live in and around the Charleston area, I’d suggest ordering this decadent dessert ASAP. 

There you have it.  My Turkey Day side favorites.  I know I’ve left off a number of yummy staples but these are my tried and true t-day go-to’s….  And one last piece of advice – relax.  Thanksgiving is solely about being with friends and family.  If the food stinks, that’s OK.  Just drink wine, eat cake and laugh with the ones you love.  Here’s wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving. 

Quick Meal Plan for the week of 11/19

Sunday –  Slow Cooker Balsamic Pot Roast – Does it get anymore Sunday Supper than a roast?  I think not.  This will kick your turkey week off right, y’all.  The perfect comfort, family, meal.  You may even have leftovers so you can skip cooking on Monday!!! 

Monday – Shrimp, Bell Pepper and Onion Skillet – I know it’s the week of T-Day but you have to eat, right?  This will take you ten minutes.  Eat light early in the week so you can chow down starting Thursday. 

Tuesday – Grilled Salmon Greek Salad  – I meant it when I said “eat light”.  Feel free to sub chicken here or whatever protein you have lying around.  Super easy to whip together. 

Wednesday – Order Take-Out.  No one should be cooking dinner the night before Thanksgiving.  Better yet, go out to eat so you don’t mess up your kitchen. 

Friday – You should have tons of leftovers to work with tonight. Check back mid week as I will do a special post on what to do with all that food!!!

Happy Gobble Week!

XO ~ Kelly D.

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