By Julianne Wilhelm
Every year, on the fourth Thursday of November, America takes part in a tradition that has been celebrated for centuries. Families gather together to give thanks while enjoying a classic meal generally comprised of a tasty turkey, succulent sweet potatoes, a cornucopia of casseroles, and many other home-cooked dishes. Interestingly, the Thanksgiving meal that began between the Plymouth Pilgrims and Native Americans included foods such as steamed clams, pumpkin polenta, and boiled lobster (try filling that with your delicately seasoned breadcrumbs). Then, times changed. Taste buds wondered. America decided they really liked their carbs. This year, let’s embrace that change once more with some new takes on Thanksgiving side dishes. Try one. Try a few. Add a couple alongside with the classics. If your family rebels the sudden change…don’t use our name. It was your uncle’s idea.
Cranberry-Glazed Sweet Potatoes: Starting out on the sweeter side, these Cranberry-Glazed Sweet Potatoes are a great, fresh alternative to the classic candied yams. It is also one of the easiest! Simply microwave 6 peeled sweet potatoes then coat them with a sweet yet tart glaze made of brown sugar, margarine, orange juice, and whole berry cranberry sauce. The combination of tangy orange juice and whole cranberries makes for a whole new fresh flavor on sweet potatoes. Top with a little lemon zest, and you’re new side dish is sure to be as beautiful as it is delicious.
Creamed Collards: Add a little green among you’re assortment of Thanksgiving favorites this year. Collards, which are traditionally used as a side on New Year’s, also tie in great on Thanksgiving when prepared specially as Creamed Collards. We’re not just talking about regular, plain creamed collards. This recipe calls for one very important ingredient that makes this dish a hit: bacon. To make this creamy dish a savory stand-out, the recipe also calls for butter, onion, chicken broth, apple cider vinegar, and the best part (besides the bacon), a homemade Béchamel Sauce that will have your guests skipping the green bean casserole and coming back for more.
Brussel Sprouts with Pecans: Tagging along with the green theme is the next big veggie side dish; Brussel Sprouts with Pecans. Although these small sprouts usually get a bad rap for their distinctive bite, when put together with these key ingredients, they are sure to transform into a Thanksgiving specialty. By combining the sprouts with sliced garlic, chopped onion, toasted pecans, and a few other special ingredients, this dish turns into a buttery, sweet, nutty creation. Plus, by slicing the Brussel sprouts before throwing them in the pan, the cook time is a short and easy breeze, leaving you time to focus on the main course.
Roasted Squash Stuffed with Cornbread Dressing: Your family will be in awe when you bring this dish to the table on Thanksgiving: Roasted Squash Stuffed with Cornbread Dressing. Not only is the flavor out of this world, but the presentation will have even the stuffed turkey feeling unpopular. The cornbread dressing presents a sweet and succulent flavor with its tart dried cranberries mixed with maple-flavored cornbread. The mildly sweet roasted squash then holds it all together into a delightful spin on ordinary stuffing. You can also cut down cooking time on Thanksgiving Day by preparing the maple corn bread and squash in advance and assembling it before dinner time.
Carrot Soufflé: Finish up your Thanksgiving newbies with this light, airy, nutrition packed side dish: Carrot Soufflé. Similar to sweet potato casserole, this side pairs well with ham or turkey. The naturally sweet flavor of the carrots is enhanced with a little bit of sugar, vanilla extract, and a few other simple ingredients. Simply boil carrots, process in a food processor with added ingredients, and bake until puffed into a fluffy soufflé.
This Thanksgiving, enjoy time with your family both in the kitchen and around the table with these new dishes. These mouth-watering sides are sure to make for new and exciting conversation, if not a brand-new tradition!