Thanksgiving Sides

The traditonal Thanksgiving menu can be updated and brightened with some new variations on side dishes!

(Alaina) This green bean recipe is adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe. It is delicious and I plan to make it for our celebration. I like that it is served at room temperature and the vinaigrette adds great flavor. I wasn’t sure about the mint but it added a whole flavor profile that was amazing.

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1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 c. minced red onion
3 Tb. plus 2 tsp. Champagne Vinegar
2 Tb. chopped fresh mint
1 1/2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. black pepper plus additional (for sprinkling)
1/3 c. dried cranberries
1 1/2 lb. trimmed slender green beans (such as haricots verts)
1/2 c. walnuts, toasted, chopped

Whisk first 6 ingredients and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Mix in dried cherries; set aside. DO AHEAD Vinaigrette can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature; whisk before using.

Fill large bowl with water and ice; set aside. Cook green beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain. Transfer to bowl with ice water; cool. Drain. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in paper towels; enclose in resealable plastic bag and chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before continuing.Toss green beans, walnuts, and vinaigrette in large bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Transfer to platter and serve.

(Stephanie) We are big fans of broccoli around here and I’m always looking for new variations.  This is a tasty, slightly sweet/slightly tangy recipe I created. Feel free to mess around with the honey and mustard quantities to suit your taste.

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2 heads broccoli separated into large florets
6 oz frozen pearl onions
4 slices bacon
1 Tbsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp honey
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
water (optional)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, drizzle melted butter and 2 Tbsp olive oil over broccoli and onions; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a greased baking pan and roast until fork-tender, about 25 minutes.  Place strips of bacon on baking pan and bake until crisp.

Mix together, remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, honey, dijon mustard, and minced garlic (if it seems to thick, thin down with a 1-2 tsp of water).

Drizzle honey mustard mixture of broccoli and onions, toss to coat.  Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Top with crumbled bacon.

Here are some Thanksgiving ideas from previous posts!
Roasted Sweet & Savory Squash
Mashed Potatoes & Turnips
Green Beans & Walnuts w/Lemon Vinaigrette

Real Creamed Corn Pudding
Catherine’s Streusel Cranberry Sweet Potatoes

Market Fresh: Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a wonderful seasonal addition to your fall table. Some of you may be lucky enough to find mushrooms such as these (below) at your local farmer’s market. The rest of us must choose from the selection at the grocery store.

Wherever you find your mushrooms, here is an amazing side dish that I recommend you try. We all loved it so much that the ingredients to make it are in my fridge again. You can make the sauce a day ahead of time and refrigerate it so all you have to do is cook the beans and mushrooms.

(greatly adapted from
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1 pound green beans, trimmed
8 oz small white mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp. chopped chives (optional–I didn’t feel they were a necessary component)
5 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. grated fresh root ginger (essential)
1 Tbsp. honey
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

butter for sauteeing mushrooms

Melt two tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Saute the mushrooms (leaving plenty of room between them) in several batches until they are nicely cooked (about 5 minutes). Add more butter as necessary.

Cook the beans in boiling water for 5-7 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain.

Put the remaining ingredients in a jar and shake well. Mix the beans and mushrooms, pour over the sauce.

Serves 6.

For more mushroom ideas, check out these recipes:

Supreme Pizza Pasta Salad

Orzo with Mushroom, Snow Peas, and Pine Nuts

Savory Mushroom Meatloaf

Mushroom Soup

Spinach Mushroom Bacon Swiss Casserole

Mushroom and Goat Cheese Frittata

Baked Garlic Butter Mushrooms

Market Fresh: Green Beans

Fresh green beans are hard to beat. They are tender crisp and delicious. These two recipes were SO GOOD and I can’t remember where I found them but I modified both a little. The salad was one of our top favorite salads ever. It would be great for pitch-ins!

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1 lb. fresh green beans
1 Tb. butter
2 tsp.  minced fresh thyme
Salt & pepper to taste
3 Tb. slivered almonds, toasted

Place beans in a steamer basket. Place in a saucepan over 1 in. of water; bring to a boil. Cover and steam for 10-12 minutes or until crisp-tender.

In a large skillet, melt butter; add the hot beans, thyme, salt and pepper, & almonds. Cook and stir for 5 min. or until heated through.

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1 lb. fresh green beans, cut into 2 in. pieces
1/4 c. blue cheese, crumbled
1/3 c. red onion, diced
1/2 c. olive oil
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. pecan pieces, toasted
salt and pepper to taste

Place green beans in a steamer over 1 inch of boiling water, and cover. Cook until tender but still firm, about 6 min. Immediately put in ice water to stop the cooking and chill them. 

In a medium bowl, combine beans, onion, blue cheese, and pecans. Stir in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Weekend Fare: Oven Stew

My mom often made this oven stew when we were growing up and we loved it! It can be slow-cooked in the oven or layered into a crockpot. It’s great for putting in the oven on Sunday morning before church and coming home to a wonderful and fragrant meal. You can make it stretch your meat or make the meat a star – whatever you prefer. I like it paired with salad and fresh bread. It’s perfect for weekend company and any extra makes delicious leftovers. This stew is one of my favorite comfort foods.

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8 potatoes, medium diced
10-12 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 lg. onion, sliced
1 can green beans (drain juice & save)
2 stalks celery, diced (opt.)
1-3 lbs. stew beef
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
2 Tb. cornstarch
Salt & Pepper

Layer in lg. casserole: meat, potatoes, carrots, onions, beans, and celery. Combine tomato sauce, reserved bean liquid, and water to make 2 c. Add 2 Tb. cornstarch and mix together. Sprinkle 1-2 tsp. salt and 1/2-1 1/2 tsp. pepper over layered stew. Pour liquids over all. Cover and bake at 250 degress for 5 hrs. May be assembled and refrigerated to bake later.