My Two Absolute Must Have Thanksgiving Side Dishes

It’s the final countdown!  Only 1 week until Thanksgiving! You know that “Final Countdown” song by Europe that’s in a Geico commercial right now, well that’s what’s playing in my head as we head towards Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Plus, my toddler loves when that commercial comes on so she can dance to it, and by dance I mean doing her one and only move that looks like Chris Kattan and Will Ferrel in A Night at the Roxbury.

I love traditions, and Thanksgiving is full of them.  From baking the night before to watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in the morning, and then all. the. football. I love how one day can bring back so many memories just because you do the same thing every year.  Although as we get older, have our own families, etc. traditions change.  A few years ago I wanted to make my own stuffing and sweet potatoes (don’t get me wrong, I love some Stove Top and marshmallow topped yams) and found the most amazing recipes.  Since then I declare those two side dishes are a new Thanksgiving tradition and make them every year.  My mouth is literally watering thinking about them!

Stuffing

This recipe is from the Food Network and originally made by Bobby Flay.  The flavors and amount of extra goodness in this stuffing is amazing.  It’s not just some bread and seasonings.  The recipe is as follows:

Ingredients

1 pound hot Italian sausage, removed from casings
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing dish
1 large red onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 large egg, slightly beaten
4 cups stale country bread, cut into 1-inch dice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 to 2 cups warm chicken stock

Directions

Heat large saute pan over high heat. Add the sausage and cook until golden brown. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Add butter to the rendered fat in the pan, and then add the onions, celery and carrots and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove the mixture from the heat and fold in the sage. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and let cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

When the vegetable mixture has cooled slightly, add the sausage to the bowl. Add the egg and bread and mix to coat. Add the chicken stock until the mixture is moist. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Butter a large baking dish and scrape the mixture into the dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

TDH Tips Graphic
If you are overwhelmed with how much cooking you have to do on Thanksgiving, there are a lot of parts of this recipe that you can make ahead to save time.  I always cut the bread up days in advance so it has plenty of time to get stale.  You can also do all parts of the recipe up until you add the egg and bread to the mixture and just let it hang out in your refrigerator until you’re ready to throw it all together.

Sweet Potato Casserole

If you like your side dishes to taste like dessert this recipe is for you.  It’s definitely on the sweet side, but it’s sooooooooo good.  You can indulge just one day, right?  I found it on Allrecipes.com, and it’s been made 2,000 times and has a 5 star review, you can’t go wrong with that.

Ingredients

4 cups sweet potatoes, cubed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Put sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Cook over medium high heat until tender; drain and mash.

In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, white sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a 9X13 inch baking dish.

In medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse.  Stir in the pecans.  Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.

TDH Tips Graphic
If you want to save a little time, I buy canned yams and just mash them up to get 4 cups of sweet potatoes, that’s also probably why this dish is always so sweet because the yams are canned in a syrup.  I also find that for the crumb topping 3 tablespoons of butter is a little too much.  I recommend using about half as much butter, but just be sure to mix the crumb topping ingredients really well so you don’t get little pools of butter on top of your dish.

You still have plenty of time to go to the grocery store and pick up everything you need to make these delicious side dishes for your Thanksgiving meal, and believe me, you’ll want to add them to your menu.

What are your Thanksgiving traditions?  Is there a Thanksgiving food you can’t live without?

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6 Responses to My Two Absolute Must Have Thanksgiving Side Dishes

  1. Kerrie November 19, 2015 at 8:28 am #

    Your post is making me get excited about Thanksgiving!

    Both of the recipes seem simple and tasty. Stuffing is my my favorite Thanksgiving side dish… with gravy of course. Actually, stuffing might be my year-round favorite side dish!

    • dailyhostess November 19, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

      Of course topping it with gravy makes it 100 times more delicious. They are fairly simple, although cooking everything that day usually doesn’t seem simple because my kitchen is usually a disaster!

  2. Marcus November 19, 2015 at 9:18 pm #

    I’m pretty excited about partaking in both of these dishes next week, along with one of those amazing pecan pies! Of course, don’t feel like you have to wait for Thanksgiving, I’m happy to eat them anytime of the year!

    • dailyhostess November 20, 2015 at 7:12 am #

      Why do we wait to only have them once or twice a year? I guess stuffing in July doesn’t sound like a good idea!

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