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Thanksgiving Recipes: How to Cook Stuffing and Other Favorite Side Dishes

A turkey can't just sit alone on the table. Here are some recipes for Thanksgiving's most popular side dishes: cornbread stuffing, sausage stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, roasted squash and mashed potatoes.

What would a turkey be on Thanksgiving without its faithful side companions? Often more popular than the turkey itself, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and other favorites are staples of the food coma-inducing meal.

Need a turkey recipe? See Thanksgiving Recipes: How to Cook that Big Bird

Try one of the recipes below to bring a new taste to your Thanksgiving feast.

Roasted Winter Squash

Gauge the amount of squash you’ll need by allowing 1 small squash (acorn and butternut are good choices) for every four people. Cut each squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Brush sides and inner cavity with olive oil and place flesh-side down on a lightly-oiled baking sheet. Roast for approximately 45 minutes or until flesh is very soft and easy pulls away from the skin. After removing squash from oven, let cool for a bit, then scoop the cooked flesh out and transfer to a large bowl. Using a potato masher, work squash into an almost-purée. Season with olive oil or butter, salt and perhaps a little cream. You can even incorporate some diced ripe pear or dried cranberries (or both). Leftover squash can be used in pies later.

Triple Cranberry Sauce

1 cup frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, thawed

1/3 cup sugar

1 12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed, drained

1/2 cup dried cranberries (about 2 ounces)

3 tablespoons orange marmalade

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

2 teaspoons minced orange peel

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Optional: 1-2 chopped granny smith apples to taste

Directions:

Combine cranberry juice concentrate and sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add fresh and dried cranberries and cook until dried berries begin to soften and fresh berries begin to pop, stirring often, about seven minutes. Remove from heat and stir in orange marmalade, orange juice, orange peel and allspice. Cool completely. Cover; chill until cold, about two hours. (Can be made up to three days in advance, but keep refrigerated.)

Green Beans

2 ½ pounds market green beans, trimmed

Kosher salt

½ pound Brandt Beef bacon, chopped

3 shallots, finely chopped

3 gloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

½ cup Hopkins AG almonds, chopped and toasted (you can buy them already roasted)

Juice of half a lemon

Pepper

Directions:

Toss the green beans in a large pot of salted boiling water and cook until bright green and tender crisp, about 5 minutes. Shock the green beans in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain the beans and pat dry. Cook the bacon in a heavy pan until crisp. Drain off the excess bacon grease, leaving about 2 Tbsp. in the pan. Add the shallots to the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in pepper flakes and sauté for about 1 minute more. Add the green beans and almonds and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Place the cooked bacon back in the pan with the green beans and squeeze lemon juice over the beans. Toss and season with salt and pepper.

Irish Sausage Stuffing

3 medium white onions

3 celery stalks, cut into four pieces

1 loaf stale white bread

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

1 tablespoon celery salt

8 large potatoes, peeled, boiled, drained and cooled

2 pounds ground sausage, cooked, drained and cooled

Directions:

Brown the ground sausage thoroughly. Drain and cool.

Peel and quarter the potatoes. Boil until a fork can separate them. Drain and cool.

Dip the stale bread quickly into a bowl of water and then squeeze out all the water.

Alternating the ingredients, begin running everything through the grinder. Grind only once.

In a large bowl, add the celery salt and poultry seasoning along with a couple of dashes of ground black pepper. Mix thoroughly with your hands.

Please note we have indicated to cool all cooked ingredients before grinding. DO NOT STUFF RAW POULTRY WITH WARM INGREDIENTS.

Cornbread Dressing

cornbread ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain unbleached flour
  • 2 cups cornmeal (Use old-fashioned, stone-ground meal)
  • 1 T baking powder
  • ¼ t. baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 4 T melted butter
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk

other dressing ingredients:

  • 1 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1-2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • Morton Nature Seasoning Blend (to taste); or can substitute salt and pepper
  • saltine crackers, one sleeve
  • 3-4 cups chicken broth – homemade or canned broth – Janet uses homemade

Cornbread:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stirring well to combine.  

In separate bowl, beat together eggs and buttermilk. 

Stir together egg mixture and dry ingredients. 

Add melted butter and stir until fairly smooth. Don’t worry if a little bit lumpy. 

Preheat 9-10” iron skillet in hot oven for 5 min. Grease skillet with cooking oil and pour batter into skillet. May use 10” baking dish instead of iron skillet.

Bake 25 to 30 min or until lightly browned.

Dressing:
 
Cool and crumble cornbread into large bowl.  

Saute the chopped celery and the chopped onions until just beginning to brown.

Add cooked celery and onions, and the jalapeno pepper to cornbread.  

Crush the saltines with your hands and add to the mixture.  

Add ground pepper and salt to your taste, or Morton’s Nature Seasoning Blend.

Add enough chicken broth to make the mixture VERY moist.  

Mix well and spoon the mixture into an 11x7x11/2 glass baking dish coated with cooking spray.  

Bake at 350 for 20 min. or so until lightly browned.  

You can also make ahead and refrigerate covered for a day or so, and bake when you’re ready to serve.

Recipe for homemade broth of you’d like to use that.

Chicken Broth:

ingredients:

  • 1 Whole Chicken
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 3 stalks celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 6 to 8 whole peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

Place ingredients in large pot and cover with water.

prep:

Cook 1 hour or more until chicken is done and falling apart.  

Strain broth for use in dressing recipe.  

Save cooked chicken for other uses.

Traditional Mashed Potatoes

6 medium russet potatoes

1/2 cup milk (start with this, you may need more)

1/4 cup butter softened at room temperature

1 teaspoon salt

Dash of pepper

Directions:

Peel the potatoes. Cut them into one-and-a-half-inch chunks and put them in a saucepan. Add water until potatoes are covered. You may rinse the potatoes and then add fresh water. Bring to boil and add 1 teaspoon of salt, then turn down and simmer for about 15 minutes or until done (when a fork can easily be poked through them). Remove from heat and drain all the water. Put the potatoes back in the pot and add butter and milk. Also, you can mash them off the heat, then give them a quick whisk or two over low heat to warm them up. Beat/mix the potatoes well enough to get rid of any lumps but not so much that your potatoes end up sticky or gluey. Add salt to taste. Serve!

What Thanksgiving side dish is a must-serve in your family? Tell us in the comments.

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