Easy, Delicious Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Thanksgiving side dishes

It’s almost time for Thanksgiving Day! It’s a holiday that celebrates family, friends, and of course, food. As we give thanks this year for all that we have, we do it with a feast of gratitiude. That feast usually includes the turkey as the centerpiece, but as everyone knows, the sides are the real stars of the show!

Which Thanksgiving side dishes are holiday favorites? According to WalletHub, the best side dishes at the table include mashed potatoes, stuffing or dressing, bread or rolls, sweet potatoes or yams, and cranberry sauce – in that order. But did you know that 26% of respondents to the WalletHub survey wanted to see other options for side dishes? Alert1 has got that covered with some unique dishes, such as shredded Brussels sprouts, and even some nostalgic holiday recipes with a creamed onion dish.

When you’re in the kitchen this year, make it easy on yourself. Don’t lift that turkey out of the oven without help, so you can avoid burns and even the possibility of a back injury. Carefully plan meal preparation so you can take frequent breaks. Prepare as much as you can in the days before Thanksgiving so all you have to do is heat up the dish before it hits the table. Enlist helpers by asking your guests to bring drinks, bread, salad or dessert to round out the meal. Take care to get plenty of sleep the night before. It’s a good idea to consider wearing a medical alert pendant through it all, as it can give you the peace of mind you need to be more confident in the kitchen.

Without further ado, let’s look at some tasty Thanksgiving side dishes you can make for this year’s feast!

Easy Macaroni and Cheese

This classic favorite comes to the Thanksgiving table in a creamy, smooth version with the addition of a secret ingredient that is a classic in itself: Velveeta cheese.

·         2 cups uncooked elbow pasta

·         5 tbsps. butter

·         3 tbsps. all-purpose flour

·         ¼ tsp. salt

·         ¼ tsp. pepper

·         1 ½ cups milk

·         1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

·         3 ounces Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes

·         4 tbsps. dry bread crumbs

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. While that is cooking, make the sauce. Melt four tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When it is just melted, add the flour, salt, and pepper. Blend it with a whisk until smooth. Add the milk in a gradual stream, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for two minutes or until the sauce thickens.

Reduce the heat. Add the cheeses and stir gently until they are melted.

Pour the prepared, drained pasta into a baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni and mix it all well. Blend the last tablespoon of melted butter and the breadcrumbs together, then sprinkle the mixture on top. Bake in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Crockpot Sausage Stuffing

Let this amazing stuffing fill the entire house with the most delicious aroma you can imagine. It’s easy when you put it all in the crockpot. This wonderfully useful kitchen treasure frees up your hands and time to work on even more side dishes!

·         1 pound ground pork sausage

·         1 pound bacon, diced into small bits

·         ½ cup butter, cut into cubes

·         1 large onion, diced

·         3 celery ribs, diced

·         10 cups bread stuffing (unseasoned is best)

·         ½ cup parsley, chopped fine

·         2 tbsps. rubbed sage

·         4 tsps. dried thyme

·         6 large eggs

·         One 10 oz. can condensed cream of mushroom soup

·         2 – 3 cups chicken stock

Cook the sausage over medium heat in a large skillet until browned and crumbly. Drain the sausage on paper towels while cooking the bacon until crispy. Drain the bacon on paper towels as well. Pour off the drippings but don’t wipe out the pan. You want to keep as much of the flavor as possible.

In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the onion and celery. Cook and stir until the vegetables are tender.

In a large bowl, combine the bread stuffing, sausage, bacon, onion and celery mixture, parsley, sage, and thyme. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, soup, and stock. Pour this over the stuffing mixture and toss well to coat it all.

Pour the stuffing into a greased slow cooker. Cook the dish on low for 4-5 hours. A thermometer in the middle should read at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the stuffing sit for a few minutes before serving.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts get a bad reputation. This is a side dish that benefits from a great presentation at the table by shredding the sprouts into a light and airy salad.

·         1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts (large heads)

·         1 tbsp. olive oil

·         1 onion, chopped fine

·         2 tbsps. minced ginger

·         1 tbsp. minced garlic

·         ½ tsp. salt

·         ¼ tsp. pepper

Trim the Brussels sprouts, cut them in half lengthwise, then cut into very thin slices. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the shredded sprouts for two or three minutes, until lightly browned. Stir in the onion, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat, add a splash of water, and cover the pan. Let it cook for another five minutes or so until the vegetables are tender.

Roasted Root Veggies with Nut Crunch

Sure, those carrots are delicious no matter how you prepare them, but they get a little more oomph when they are paired with squash and sprinkled with a healthy serving of walnuts.

·         12 medium carrots, peeled and cut into cubes

·         1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes

·         ½ cup packed brown sugar

·         ¼ cup olive oil

·         2 tsps. kosher salt

·         ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

·         1 cup chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, toss the squash, carrots, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon together. Add the olive oil and toss the vegetables to coat them well. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a greased, rimmed baking sheet. Roast the vegetables at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle the walnuts over the vegetables and roast for another five minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Corn Spoon Bread

Kick the old spoon bread favorite up a notch by adding in plenty of cheese and corn. If you have some of this left over (and that’s a big “if”), you can serve the leftovers at breakfast with a touch of maple syrup. 

·         ¼ cup butter, cut into cubes

·         1 medium onion, chopped fine

·         2 large eggs

·         2 cups sour cream

·         1 15-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained

·         One 15-ounce can cream-style corn

·         ¼ tsp. salt

·         ¼ tsp. pepper

·         One 8-ounce package of cornbread mix

·         2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

·         1 jalapeno, minced (optional, if you like some heat)

In a large skillet, melt the butter and sauté the onion until tender. In a large bowl, beat the eggs well, then beat in the sour cream. Add both cans of corn. Season with the salt and pepper. Stir in the cornbread mix until just moist throughout. Mix in the onion and cheese.

If you are using the minced jalapeno, add that now.

Transfer the mixture to a greased baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool a bit to “set up” before serving at the table.

Herbed Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a staple of the Thanksgiving table. Though they are delicious when laden with butter, they can also be tasty when you go with an entirely different flavor imparted by the tartness of sour cream and cream cheese. 

·         4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed

·         One 8-ounce package softened cream cheese, cut into cubes

·         ½ cup butter, cut into cubes

·         1 cup sour cream

·         ½ cup heavy whipping cream

·         4 tbsps. fresh chives, minced

·         1 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced

·         3 cloves of garlic, minced

·         ½ tsp. salt

·         ½ tsp. pepper

Cover the potatoes with water in a heavy pot. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the potatoes simmer for 10-15 minutes or until they are easily pierced with a fork. Drain and return them to the pot, mashing them with a potato masher. Add the cream cheese and butter in stages, mashing them in with the potatoes as they melt. Stir in the sour cream until well-combined. Then add the whipping cream and seasonings. Stir to combine.

Transfer the potatoes into a greased slow cooker. Cook them on low for 2-3 hours while you prepare other dishes for the meal.

Creamed Pearl Onions

This nostalgic dish is sure to spark memories of Thanksgivings past, when so many of us saw these white jewels on the table. Onions take on an entirely different and savory flavor when prepared this way – even kids who say they hate onions tend to really like these. As an added bonus, these can be prepared the day before, giving you more time to enjoy Thanksgiving Day.

·         4 cups frozen pearl onions

·         3 tbsps. butter

·         3 tbsps. all-purpose flour

·         ½ tsp. salt

·         Pinch of white pepper

·         ½ cup chicken broth

·         ½ cup heavy whipping cream

·         3 tbsps. fresh parsley, minced fine

·         2 tbsps. grated parmesan (plus extra for sprinkling)

In a large pot, boil the onions in water until they are tender. Drain the onions. (Since you used frozen for this recipe, there will be no need to peel them.)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper, and whisk until it’s smooth and bubbly. Stir in the broth and cream. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Stir in the onions, parsley and cheese.

Pour the mixture into a baking dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight. The next day, remove the dish from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking to bring it up to room temperature. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Uncover the dish, give it a stir, and bake for another 10 minutes. Top with extra parmesan before serving.

Make Thanksgiving Easier This Year

As we get older, it can become more difficult to do things in the kitchen. This is especially true if you have developed mobility issues over the years. Fortunately, there are many ways to create a lovely Thanksgiving dinner even if you don’t have the same abilities you used to have. Chef Chuck Sansone offered some tips to New Mobility on how to make the big day easier:

·         Cook things in advance. Anything you can prepare in the days prior to big feast, do it.

·         Turn to adaptive cookware and utensils. This can be especially helpful for those who have arthritis or other issues with their hands that make it tough to use typical kitchen utensils or appliances.

·         Use pressure cookers and slow cookers to make several side dishes.

·         Use shortcuts, such as buying some prepared foods to round out the meal.

There are other tips you can use as well, such as enlisting help from family and friends. As the saying goes, many hands make light work. Ask someone to help with prep, someone to help with cleaning, and someone to lift the dishes out of the hot oven.

Kitchen fires are common on Thanksgiving. If you’re tired or feeling under the weather, it’s best to let someone else handle the major work. Accidents with knives are also a common injury seen during the Thanksgiving holiday – another common injury is getting burned while trying to deep fry the turkey. Physical and mental health issues can also flare up during the holiday, which can certainly take away from the joy of the season.

When you’re working in the kitchen, it’s important to stay safe – and to that end, it’s a good idea to consider medical alert technology. While you likely know it as a system that helps with fall detection and gets help for you immediately if you fall, it’s also an excellent tool to have for any accident or emergency. For instance, the risk of kitchen fires goes up by 2.5 times during Thanksgiving![1] If you have an emergency response system ready at your fingertips, all you do is press the button to get help fast.

However you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, stay safe! Alert1 wishes you and yours a wonderfully happy and safe Thanksgiving.