Thanksgiving is an important day for food and family. A great deal of time and attention goes into food preparation, and the sheer number of dishes and recipes overwhelms some hosts. Easy side dishes let you focus on the turkey in the oven and the guests in your home. Mixtures of textures and flavors keeps a big feast interesting, and Thanksgiving celebrates sweet and savory together in the main part of the meal.
Sweet Potatoes and Yams
Roast the sweet potatoes or yams in their jackets for about 40 minutes until they are soft. Pull them out and slip off the peels. Roughly mash the potatoes with a fork. Chop up 1 cup of pecans, and add to the potatoes. Mix together orange juice, brown sugar, chili powder salt and pepper and pour over the sweet potato mixture. Beat one egg with a little water, and stir into the potato mixture. Put in an ovenproof casserole dish, and cook for about 20 minutes until it is puffed and browned.
Chop up three tart apples, Peel a small jicama and cut it into matchstick size pieces. Roughly chop ½ cup of walnuts. Finely chop one-half of a small red onion. Dice two celery stalks. Toss all the ingredients together. Prepare a dressing by whisking together orange juice, sugar, white balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and finely diced fresh thyme. The dressing is oil-free and tangy. Its bright flavors are a good foil to roast turkey and stuffing.
Brussels sprouts are delicious when prepared with a light hand. Overcooking sprouts causes the sulfurous odor that gives them a bad name, so undercook them slightly. The internal heat of the sprouts continues the cooking process after the veggies leave the oven. Cut large sprouts in half. Coat with some olive oil and freshly cracked pepper. Put in the sprouts in the oven alongside the turkey and roast them about 15 minutes, or until tender. Mix together orange juice, brown sugar and a dab of brown mustard. Bring the mixture to a boil on the stove top and reduce. Toss the brussels sprouts in the pan briefly to coat them all over. The dressing also works well on green beans.