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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.

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.

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 (I like Bell's)

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

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. Sometimes I 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!

TELL US: What are your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes? Share in the comments below.

The Teller of Truth November 19, 2012 at 10:44 PM
The wife uses Jimmy Deans HOT/Spicey sausage in the stuffing . Its not too hot like you'd think. It does seem to bring out the flavors in the stuffing though. Anyone else have any secret granny family recipes to share?
Vince November 19, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Yeah I do, TOT....The birds I shoot (turkeys, pheasants, ducks, geese, quail) don't need no stuffing....er, I mean "I HARVEST", not shoot,,,,sorry. Ya just remove the intestinal tract, along with the stomach, lungs, and bowel (to include a coupla other little "thingies"), and voila---they's already mostly "stuffed", but do go ahead and put a big apple slice, or orange wedge in the cavity, and it's ready for the roaster, barbeque, or a stick (preferrably mesquite) held over a camp fire...Fancy Schmancy After Market "Stuffing"? Dang near as big an affront as After Market Bolt-On bOObies....No wonder this country is going to hell in a hand basket....sheeeesh.
The Teller of Truth November 19, 2012 at 11:20 PM
I don't know about about that. You probably wouldn't be sayin that if you tasted some of her Grandmas secret recipe turkey stuffin! And its not about how it tastes. Theres something magical about how its made. The entire day she sings and dances around the kitchen, making her feast that shes perfected throughout the years. She happy & full of laughter and joy as shes preparing this impressive meal out of pure love! Then the relatives start showing up......and it all goes to hell in that hand basket you were speaking about! ssssshhh*t... Thank God for football!
Constant Comment November 20, 2012 at 01:48 AM
My favorite recipe for Thanksgiving? Easy... one bottle of Jack Daniels sipped slowly all day! That way it doesn't matter what relatives show up or how bad the bird is burnt! }~)
Vince November 21, 2012 at 04:49 AM
CC, Black Jack...Old #7!! Used to be that the Black Label was 10 proof higher then the Green Label (90, and 80 back in the day---and they do have a SPECIAL 100 Proof this time of year if you can get yer hands on it) ---proof was the main distinction twix't the Black and Green...a little Jack Daniels Trivia for ya there, since you may have wondered "why for" the different labels...I had to give up the ol' "Jack Attacks" a few years back though...But I do sip on the new one some... And I wonder, have ya tried that J.D. Tennessee Honey yet? At room temp ya get a bit of the Jack Burn along with the distinctive Jack flavor as an after-taste---Also, if ya mix that 50/50 with regular Old #7 , it cuts some of the "honey sweet", and gets it to about 75 proof---AND, it is pretty dang good mixed thataways actually...or TOT could even try some in his stuffing mix, what the heck.
The Teller of Truth November 21, 2012 at 07:04 AM
Good idea! I think I'll try the Wild Turkey American Honey in my stuffing. That just seems like the right thing to do!

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