Thanksgiving 2013 Part II – Side Dishes and Desserts, by Beverly Hicks Burch

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Yesterday we started looking at some ideas for Thanksgiving dinner. I’m doing “the best of” from some earlier post I’ve used in previous holiday meals or I’m offering suggestions to help break the monotony of the same ol’ same ol’ every year. I know that’s tradition in many homes, but sometimes you may just like to shake things up a bit. Also, I’m keeping is mind some dietary restrictions and the fact you may be celebrating Thanksgiving in a location where the temps are a balmy 90 degrees. In that case, normal Thanksgiving food might be a tad too heavy.

Yesterday was starters and entrees. Today we’re doing side dishes and desserts.

So, here’s how it works. I’m going to give you the name of the recipe as a link. It will be highlighted in red. Click on it and it will carry you back to the post with the full recipe. I’ll provide a brief description and picture here. That way you’ll know a little about the dish before clicking over.

When we think of Thanksgiving the first thing that pops into our mind right after turkey is dressing (or stuffing). Around here we tend to make ours as dressing and not stuff the bird, especially since Tall & Handsome packs the cavity of the bird with heavenly aromatics that infuse the turkey with a mouthwatering, lip smacking, juicy flavor. Yeah, I know – words seldom heard or associated with “turkey”.

Several years ago I came across a dressing recipe that has become my stand-by. My Good Old Country Dressing was inspired by a Paula Deen recipe I discovered about 8 years ago. As usual I’ve tweaked it over the years to make it my own version. One – it’s not loaded with butter. And, I adjusted the seasoning. The original was a little heavy on the sage and too much sage and my tummy don’t mix well. There’s a couple of surprised ingredients, but this is one of the best dressings I’ve ever tasted.


Are you or someone you love gluten intolerant? Need a dressing substitute or a dish for them while everyone else is eating their dressing? How about Brown Rice and Cashew Salad with a Honey – Lime Dressing? Gluten – free and taste bud friendly, this yummy dish is excellent year round, but would be fitting at the Thanksgiving table. The nutty chewiness of the brown rice can hold its own with fellow Thanksgiving dishes while surprising guests with a refreshing taste not commonly found at Thanksgiving. Add the cashew crunchiness and the honey dressing with the hint of lime and you just might have a dish that is requested time and time again.


Next we’re going to look at a couple of “salads” for folks living in those warmer climates. But, I have to confess my family loves Broccoli Salad anytime of the year and it shows up quite often during the holidays. My original recipe was from an American Heart Association cookbook but again over the years I’ve made some changes. I use center cut bacon (can’t afford center cut? Make you own – cut off the ends of the bacon that tend to be big hunks of fat!) and I use low fat mayo.


Looking for something really different? How about something with an explosion of color and explosion of summertime taste year round? Corn, Lima Bean and Roasted Red Bell Pepper Salad will do just that for you. And, it’s easier and easier to find fresh ingredients at the supermarket these days. My favorite ingredient in this recipe is the roasted red bell peppers. I love them so much I have been known to sneak a whole jar in.


Do you normally have coleslaw at your Thanksgiving table? How about something new this year? Many of you know I was born in East Tennessee. That’s back home for me. My Daddy was born in a little town called Townsend which is nestled in the hollows of the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. In Townsend there is a world class inn and restaurant called Blackberry Farms. My Back Home Coleslaw was inspired by a version of their coleslaw.


Tired of Green Bean Casserole for Thanksgiving every year? (I will admit it would be hard for me to tire of green bean casserole.) I have a “green” side dish that even I have to admit I’m surprised I’ll acknowledge I love enjoy. Brussels Sprouts. Yes, you heard me correctly. T & H and I had the battle of the Brussels Sprouts for years. He – loving them. Me – hating them and calling them bitter balls. But, I can be a determined person (on good days T & H calls that tenacious 😉 ), so I set out on a quest to find and/or develop the best Brussels Sprouts recipe on planet Earth, well, maybe Alabama – or at least in my house. End result was Crock Pot Dijon-Mustard Brussels Sprouts with Golden Raisins. Two things: Good golly, Miss Molly are they good and they free up your stove top because these babies cook in your handy, dandy crock pot.

Crock pot brussels sprouts

Okay, I’ve got to throw in ONE true, Southern Thanksgiving side dish here. That would be my Southern Sweet Potato Casserole. I’m not bragging, but this is so good, it’s like the old timer use to say, “That will make you as happy as a pig in slop.” Yeah, that good – even good enough for dessert. By the way, you can (and I have) doubled this recipe.


And, last for side dishes, my little momma’s Mixed Vegetable Casserole. Super easy with big pay-off, this recipe is one of my most re-pinned recipes on Pinterest (along with my Refried Rice recipe).


Okay, now let’s talk serious – desserts 😉

Years ago I stumbled upon a recipe for little Miniature Applesauce Muffins. Again, easy and tasty. When I was a room mother, I would make these for class parties and they would disappear like free money at a casino. So, kid friendly and adult yummy – a win win.


While we’re talking apples, how about a Fresh Apple Cake? Chocked full of, what else, freshly chopped apples and nuts and the right balance of spices, this is one of my favorite cakes. I like it so much I’ve even requested it a time or two for my birthday cake.


Want a super easy dessert? This cake is kind of a version of a “dump” cake. The technique is everything goes in one bowl/pan – mix it up, bake, and you have your cake. We’ve been baking the Ugly Ducking Cake for decades. I don’t even recall where the original recipe came from – just the fact it’s good, I held onto the recipe and I make it ever now and again, especially if I need a dessert “to go” or for a big meal. This cake will get more moist the longer it sits, so serving it for a group is an excellent idea.


Everything is all about cupcakes now. So why not surprise every one with the Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes. You’ve heard of manna from heaven – I’m pretty sure this would be on my top 10 list of “possible foods that were manna from heaven”. Of course, bacon is pretty high on that list, too.


Will you have a candy lover at your table this year? Candy making can be a frustrating venture unless you have the right recipe. That’s translates into – one that is easy and delicious. Well, Tasty Toffee scores on both points. And, like Lays potato chips, bet you can’t eat just one.


And, lastly, don’t forget about the heavenly Orange Dreamsicle Pound Cake I just shared with you a few days ago. This little pound cake is perfect for Thanksgiving. It adds color to the table and taste big time with the creamy orange – vanilla flavor.

Orange Dreamsicle Pound Cake B

From my house to yours – Have a blessed, Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for supporting The BamaSteelMagnolia’s Bistro.

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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