T-minus 8 days until the biggest food holiday of the year. Do you need some help figuring out what to serve for Thanksgiving dinner?
For me, the sizzle has always been in the side dishes, which I think should have starring roles.
Here is a selection of side dishes and desserts that I hope will float your Thanksgiving boat! Click the links to get the recipes.
- EGGS: While everyone mills around, starving (“Mom, I am so hungry my stomach hurts!”), you just need a little something to stick in their gaping maws until the main event. These Mediterranean Deviled Eggs are the perfect flavorful appetizer. You can make them ahead of time, too.
- MUSHROOMS: Want something a tad lighter for an appie? These Asian Citrus-Marinated Mushrooms can – and should! — be made at least a day ahead, and they are bright with citrus with just a hint of zippy pepper. They were the surprise hit of last year’s meal.
- CHERRY TOMATOES: Tapenade Tomatoes are a favorite because they don’t repeat any Thanksgiving flavors.
- EDAMAME: Truffled Edamame. Do I need to say anything else?
- My brand new, caliente cranberry sauce is New Mexican Hatch Chile Cranberry Sauce. This is sweet, spicy, deeply flavored, tangy…and will keep you awake if the turkey threatens to make you sleepy.
- My most requested version – Best Ever Hall of Fame Cranberry Sauce – is fragrant with warm spices and orange zest. Make it this weekend — highly recommended — and it will be perfect by Thursday. Keep this around all December, too.
- I often serve more than one cranberry sauce or relish to give diners an option, and this Fresh Cranberry-Ginger Relish is zippy with candied ginger and a welcome change from the usual cooked sauce. It was a contest finalist, too, so it has some serious kitchen cred.
- APPLE: Want something a bit different? Serve Rustic Chunky Applesauce, which goes really well with roast bird.
- PINEAPPLE: Even more unusual, I devised this Quick Curried Pineapple Sauce for ham, but it complements turkey magnificently!
- Dorothy’s Southwest Stuffing won 1st place in a magazine recipe contest, and may I just say it deserved the ribbon! I nicknamed this one “self-esteem stuffing” because I can count on getting raves every time I serve it. If you say, “Southwest was so ’80s,” you’d be right, but who cares what decade when it’s delicious?
- POTATO: Garlic and Herb Potato Gratin doesn’t get any more holiday-worthy than this easy, elegant, creamy version fragrant with garlic and parsley. Comfort food at its finest. Bonus: you can use the mandolin gadget hiding in the back of your cupboard.
- POTATO: Rustic Truffled Mashed Potatoes. Go big or go home. This goes big.
- CORN: I don’t usually serve stuffing AND potatoes AND corn (starch overload!), but I’m going to make an exception this year for this exceptionally tasty Corn with Black Garlic and Parmesan. This has umami coming out the ying yang, and that’s a good thing!
- RADISHES: Want to make something that is bound to be entirely new to everyone at the table? Roasted Radishes! Prepare to be amazed! Roasting sweetens it, tames some of the bite, and gives it a softer, fuller flavor.
- KALE: This has been the year of kale, and for good reason, both from a flavor and nutritional point of view. I have two raw kale salads that are to die for, and either one would be a fab Thanksgiving leafy green – Tuscan Kale Salad, or Raw Rainbow Kale Salad of the Gods.
- PUMPKIN MINI: Mini Pumpkin-Maple Tarts with Toasted Pecan Streusel. Oh my. A little bite of perfection. These were a huge hit!
- PUMPKIN PIE: Creamy, expertly spiced, classic Winchester Sun Pumpkin Pie. Save me a piece for breakfast!
- PUMPKIN CAKE: Pumpkin Cake Rolls are elegant simplicity. Show off for your family!
- PECAN PIE: With 1st, 2nd and 3rd place ribbons pinned to it, this Coffee-Toffee Pecan Pie is a winner both objectively and subjectively. Make it yourself and see what all the fuss is about. You might need two pies.
- CINNAMON PIE: It’s not Thanksgiving in the Reinhold house without a second or third pie. This one has a funny name – Bob Andy Pie – but sports a delicious, simple, cinnamony flavor. It also naturally layers itself while baking, for an added attraction when cutting. Everyone who tries this asks for the recipe.
- NUT & FIG TART: Who would say no to featuring several delicious desserts? Not me! Pastry chef Kristine Bocchino’s Nut and Mission Fig Tart is on my personal baking list this year. It won a 1st place in the Malibu Pie Contest, and I predict it will earn me dessert accolades from my family.
- LEMON PIE: How about a lemon pie to brighten things up? Meyer Lemon Chess Pie will satisfy the lemon lovers.
- NUTMEG CAKE: This Nutmeg Bundt Cake is spicy warmth in a sweet slice of cake. If you like nutmeg, this one’s for you.
- PUMPKIN CAKE: Spiced Pumpkin-Pecan Bundt Cake with Maple Glaze. Did we forget any classic fall flavors? Nope!
- ICE CREAM: Sick of pumpkin and nutmeg and pecans? Wow everyone with a scoop of Nutella Ice Cream. This is dreamy and milk chocolately.
Hope that gives you some ideas for your own feast! And if something doesn’t make the cut for Thursday, save the idea for turkey leftovers in the days following.