The Best Thanksgiving Day Side Dishes You Must Try

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 The Best Thanksgiving Day Side Dishes

The hardest part of Thanksgiving, for me, is deciding which of my favorite Thanskgiving day side dishes to make.  Since I’m usually not feeding 100 people I can’t make everything, but I usually do anyway! 🙂  Well I’ve narrowed it down for you with a few of my favorites.  These are tried and true recipes that will not fail to impress your guests.

Brussel-Sprouts-Au-Gratin-with-Horseradish-and-Parmesan-Cheese-682x1024

Brussels Sprout Au Gratin with Horseradish and Parmesan Cheese

I found this recipe last year on Natalie’s Daily Crave and now this is a must have recipe for Thanksgiving.  I am salivating just thinking about it.  It is creamy, cheesy goodness with just a hint of horseradish flavor.  This will turn any brussels sprout hater into a lover.

 

  corn_casserole_1

Paula Deen’s Corn Casserole

I have made this recipe several times and it always get a lot of compliments.  It’s Paula Deen so you know it’s going to be rich and buttery.  I mix in the cheese instead of putting it on top, but either way would be delicious.

 

 

 

 

sweetpotcasserole

Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole

This side dish is almost dessert, but since it’s a Cooking Light recipe you don’t need to feel any guilt.  Does anyone really feel guilty for indulging on Thanksgiving?

 

 

 

  cranberry

Cranberry Relish

I have not made this cranberry relish recipe before, but it is on my list for this year.  I love orange flavor with my cranberry and I think the ginger will add an interesting zing to it.  Can’t wait to try it!

 

 

 

 

  best thanksgiving day side dishes

Sausage Stuffing

I usually don’t follow a recipe for my stuffing, but I found this one that is pretty similar to how I make it, with the exception that I use Italian sausage instead of breakfast sausage, but either would be good.

 

 

Of course I have to have green bean casserole.  I just follow the recipe on the fried onion container and I use frozen beans, not canned.  I also make mashed potatoes and gravy as well as some turkey.  So invite 100 or so of your friends and make all these great recipes, or just pick a couple of your favorites! 🙂

Caramelized Fig Ice Cream with mascarpone and candied pecans

with mascarpone and candied pecans My obsession with figs is a relatively new thing.  I probably had never eaten a fresh fig until my friend gave me some from the tree that was growing at a house she was renting.  I sliced them, put them on my greek yogurt and drizzled them with honey.  I was hooked.  It was then that I decided, that I too must have a fig tree.

Here’s my little fig tree

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After taking the Arcadia Edible Garden Tour last year and seeing an  espaliered fig tree, I knew I must build an espalier for my fig tree.  This would help keep the fig tree manageable and make reaching the figs relatively easy.

This is how it will look someday!  (Hopefully)

934 Picture courtesy Landscape Resource

Anyway, on to the Caramelized Fig Ice Cream with mascarpone and candied pecans.  Another friend of mine has a giant fig tree at her condo (I know, I pick good friends, right?).  She had tons, literally tons of figs, so she gave me half a ton.  Okay, maybe I exaggerate a little.  She gave me a large quantity of figs so I decided to make fig ice cream.  I searched the internet and found this recipe from Happyolks.  I used a different ice cream recipe and candied pecans instead of the honey roasted pecans and it was delicious.  My niece agreed.  I think she was a little disappointed the next time she came over and I told her that I had eaten it all.

First I made the caramelized fig mixture.  I could have just eaten it with a spoon, but decided I should save most of it for the ice cream.  After I cooked the mixture, I let it cool and refrigerated it overnight.

caramelizedfigmixture

Then I started the ice cream base.  In a sauce pan I combined milk, cream and 1/2 cup of sugar.  I cooked it until the sugar was dissolved.  While the milk, cream and sugar mixture was heating up, in a separate bowl, I beat the eggs and 1/4 cup of sugar until they become thick and pale yellow.  It looked like this-

beateneggs

Next I took a 1/2 cup of the warm milk mixture and beat it into the egg mixture.  Then I slowly added the egg mixture into the pan with the milk mixture.  I cooked it over low heat until it thickened and the mixture coated the back of a spoon.  About 7-10 mins.  I poured the mixture through a mesh strainer and then stirred in vanilla extract and cooled it overnight in the refrigerator.

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The next day, I froze the ice cream.  This is the most exciting part, because I got to finally taste the ice cream.  Ice cream is not a good thing to make if you need instant gratification.  It is a long project.  When the ice cream was almost frozen, I poured in the fig mixture, nuts and mascarpone.  I dropped little spoonfuls of mascarpone so it wouldn’t be one giant lump.  I froze the ice cream for a few hours.  It was worth the wait.  I need to make more soon.  Hopefully I can use my own figs this time!

Caramelized Fig Ice Cream with mascarpone and candied pecans

Caramelized Fig Ice Cream with mascarpone and candied pecans

Ingredients

    Caramelized Fig Mixture
  • 1 lb of fresh figs, sliced in half
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2-4 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Ice Cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Mix ins
  • 1 cup candied pecans
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone

Instructions

    For carmelized fig mixture-
  • Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Dissolve brown sugar into melted butter.
  • Mix in figs, lemon juice and water.
  • Cook over medium heat breaking up the figs until it's a thick jammy consistency.
  • Stir in salt.
  • Let cool and refrigerate until ready to mix into ice cream.
  • For ice cream
  • In a sauce pan combine the milk, cream and 1/2 cup of sugar. Cook until sugar dissolves.
  • In a separate bowl beat the eggs and 1/4 cup of sugar until they become thick and pale yellow.
  • Next take 1/2 cup of the warm milk mixture and beat it into the egg mixture.
  • Slowly add the egg mixture into the pan with the milk mixture.
  • Continue cooking over low heat until thick and the mixture coats the back of a spoon. About 7-10 mins.
  • Pour mixture through mesh strainer, stir in vanilla extract and cool overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Freeze ice cream
  • Follow your manufacturer's instructions for freezing your ice cream.
  • Once ice cream is almost frozen, mix in caramelized fig mixture, nuts and spoonfuls of mascarpone.
  • Freeze at least a few hours before serving.
http://gardengirlcooks.com/2014/08/caramelized-fig-ice-cream/

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

strawberryshortcakecupcakes I was craving strawberry shortcake.  I usually need an excuse to make dessert, otherwise I will end up eating the whole thing.  So I decided to make these cupcakes for a little get together I was having.  My friends that moved away to Colorado, were going to be in town for a wedding, so we planned a little reunion party with all our old co-workers.  It was really fun and great to see everyone.

Strawberry shortcake is probably not the best dessert to serve to a big crowd.  Who wants to assemble a large quantity of strawberry shortcakes?  Not me!  I thought strawberry shortcake cupcakes would be perfect, so I started my search for the perfect cupcake and frosting recipe.  I came across this recipe from Damn Delicious and thought it sounded really good.  I doubled the recipe and it made about 24 cupcakes in a regular size cupcake pan.  I couldn’t find freeze dried strawberries for the frosting so I decided to see what other strawberry buttercream recipes I could find.  I found this recipe from Add a Pinch.  Instead of the strawberry syrup I used strawberry jam.  I used a natural strawberry jam with no added coloring and the frosting came out a little off white, so I had to add some red food coloring.  I really don’t like to use food coloring, but I didn’t want to have ugly cupcakes.  I should make my own red food coloring out of beets 🙂  I will put that on my do to list!

These cupcakes were a huge hit!  The cupcakes were the perfect combination of cake and biscuit.  It really seemed like I was eating strawberry shortcake!  In my opinion, buttercream frosting is the best frosting for cupcakes.  This strawberry buttercream was creamy with the just a hint of strawberry to compliment the strawberries mixed into the cake. You should make these Strawberry shortcake cupcakes immediately!  They have fruit in them.  That makes them healthy, right?

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake

Ingredients

    Cupcake
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup corstarch
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 24 strawberry slices for garnish
  • Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 1/2-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 4 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons half-n-half, heavy cream or whole milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 3-4 drops of red food coloring

Instructions

    Cupcake
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Combine flour, cornstartch, baking powder and salt.
  • Beat sugar, eggs and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in vegetable oil and butter, beat until combined well.
  • Alternate adding in dry mixture and milk. Start with a 1/3 of the dry mixture, then add 1/2 of the milk, continue until all ingredients are incorporated. You should start and end with the dry mixture. Do not over mix.
  • Fold in diced strawberries.
  • Fill 24 regular cupcakes liners that have been inserted into regular sized cupcake baking tin. Fill to a little more than 3/4 full. These cupcakes don't rise a lot. Bake for 15-18 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely on a cooling rack.
  • Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
  • Cream together butter and powdered sugar, adding powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time.
  • Add the strawberry jam and beat until mixed in.
  • Add half-n-half, cream or milk one tablespoon at a time until the frosting holds it's shape.
  • Add a pinch of salt and the red food coloring.
  • Beat slowly at first then increase speed for a final 20 seconds or until the red food coloring is mixed in and the color is consistent throughout.
  • Refrigerate for about 30 mins until the frosting firms up. Pipe onto the cupcakes and add the strawberry slices to decorate.
http://gardengirlcooks.com/2014/07/strawberry-shortcake-cupcakes/

Stetson Chopped Salad

Stetson Chopped Salad

I was reminded of a chopped salad I had at Citizen Public House in Scottsdale when I was at a party and was served a similar salad.  The following day I found the recipe online.  I had to make it.  You should too.  It’s easy and so delicous.  The salad actually has it’s own facebook page, you can visit here.   Next time I make it I’m going to try a differnt combination of ingredients.  I’m thinking pear, blue cheese, candied pecans or bacon, blue cheese, avocado.  The comibnations are endless.

 

I don’t like salmon and I couldn’t find dried currants or dried corn, so I nixed the salmon and used dried cranberries and  frozen corn.  You could also add chicken to make it a more substantial salad.  I also like to throw in a hand full of chopped romaine lettuce to make it more like a salad.

You can view the original recipe here.

 

Stetson Chopped Salad

Serving Size: 2

Stetson Chopped Salad

Ingredients

    Salad Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup Israeli (pearl) couscous, cooked
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed out
  • 1/2 cup arugula, chopped
  • 1/2 oz asiago cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup toasted pepitas
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • Dressing Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • Blend all dressing ingredients in blender. Refrigerate dressing overnight. Dressing will thicken.
  • Line all salad ingredients up in rows.
  • When ready to serve, mix with dressing. Do not use all the dressing. The extra dressing will stay good for up to a week.
http://gardengirlcooks.com/2014/07/stetson-chopped-salad/

 

 

 

 

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken

I love Spicy Thai Basil Chicken.  If you see me at a Thai restaurant eating anything else, call the police.  It’s a sign that I’ve been kidnapped!  When I saw a Thai basil plant for sale I couldn’t believe my eyes.  That was about 3 years ago and it has now taken over at least a third of my flower bed, but I don’t care.  Last year I found a Thai Chili pepper plant, so of course, I had to get that to go with my Thai basil.  They have been best friends ever since.  See how cute they are!

 

Thai basil and Thai chili plants

Thai basil and Thai chili plants

You may be intimidated to cook Asian cuisine, but it is actually quite simple.  Once you get a few key staples you will be on your way to cooking restaurant style take out food every night of the week.

Ingredients

Ingredients from my garden on left. Sauteed veggies on right.

Recipe adapted from-Food and Wine

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1-2 Thai chili peppers
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of broccoli, blanched
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 handful of Thai basil leaves

Instructions

  • Sautee chili peppers in 1 tablespoon of oil until fragrant.
  • Cook ground chicken until cooked through.
  • Add the garlic the last 2 minutes of cooking.
  • Remove cooked chicken from pan and set aside.
  • Sautee veggies until tender.
  • While veggies are sauteeing mix fish sauce, brown sugar and soy sauce.
  • Add chicken and sauce to veggies and sautee until sauce is hot.
  • Add basil leaves and cook until fragrant.
  • Serve over Jasmine rice.
http://gardengirlcooks.com/2014/06/spicy-thai-basil-chicken/

 

 

Fried Green Tomato Stack

friedgreentomatostack

 

I recently visited one of my favorite Phoenix area food trucks, Short Leash Hot Dogs, at their brick and mortar location, Sit…Stay.  If you are ever in the Phoenix area you must check them out.  They have a variety of locally made weiners and toppings that they serve on the softest naan bread you will ever eat.  Their most interesting concoction, Bear, has peanut butter, Cracker Jacks, smoked Gouda, bacon and BBQ Sauce.  It is a must try!  I was excited to see that their restaurant had quite a few extra menu items including this Fried Green Tomato Stack.  I love fried green tomatoes and I don’t see them on many menus so I had to try it.  It was amazing…  so much so that I decided to visit my local farmer’s market the following day in search of green tomatoes.  I was so excited to find some, along with some fresh Arizona corn.

I sliced the tomatoes about a quarter of an inch thick and dredged them in flour, egg and then panko flakes.  I fried them in a little vegetable oil in my cast iron skillet.  I love finding ways to use my cast iron skillet.  If you don’t have one, buy one.  They are relatively inexpensive and perfect for a variety of recipes.  After they were golden brown I drained them on a cooling rack.  I assembled 3 high and layered sliced avocado in between each tomato.  I topped with bacon, fresh corn kernels that I sauteed in a little bit of the leftover bacon grease, and a few arugula leaves.  I then drizzled blue cheese dressing over top.  I ate this for lunch…and dinner 🙂

friedgrntom

 

Fried Green Tomato and Avocado Stack

Serving Size: 4

Fried Green Tomato and Avocado Stack

Ingredients

  • 3 green tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup of panko flakes or bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 ears of corn, cut off the cob, sauteed for a few minutes
  • 1 avocado
  • 6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled (omit for vegetarian option)
  • blue cheese dressing
  • salt, to taste

Instructions

  • Slice tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick, dredge in flour, egg, then panko flakes or bread crumbs.
  • Fry over medium heat on each side until golden brown. Drain on cooling rack or paper towel. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
  • Layer avocado slices between each tomato and top with corn, bacon and arugula.
  • Serve with your favorite blue cheese dressing.
http://gardengirlcooks.com/2014/06/fried-green-tomato-stack/