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Thanksgiving Recipes: How to Cook Stuffing and Other Sides

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 companions on the side? Sometimes 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 — but familiar — taste to your Thanksgiving feast.

Roasted Winter Squash

Gauge the amount of squash you’ll need by allowing one 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 easily pulls away from the skin. After removing squash from the oven, let it cool for a bit, and then scoop the cooked flesh out and transfer it 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
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup dried cranberries (about 2 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced orange peel
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • Optional: 1-2 chopped Granny Smith apples to taste

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

  • 2½ 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 roasted (you can buy them already roasted)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Pepper

Toss the green beans in a large pot of salted boiling water and cook until bright green and tender crisp, about five 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 two tablespoons in the pan. Add the shallots and sauté for about five minutes. Sprinkle in pepper flakes and sauté for about one minute more. Add the green beans and almonds and cook until heated through, about five 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

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 a 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.

Note: Cool all cooked ingredients before grinding. Do not stuff raw poultry with warm ingredients.

Traditional Mashed Potatoes

  • 6 medium russet potatoes
  • ½ cup milk (start with this, you may need more)
  • ¼ cup butter softened at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of pepper

Directions:

Peel the potatoes. Cut them into 1½-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 one 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 them in the comments below.

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