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Home Cooking: Cozy Thanksgiving sides

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Home Cooking

For many of us, Thanksgiving plans have been upended and downsized. If your Thanksgiving dinner is anchored by a turkey breast or a roast chicken instead of a 20-pound turkey, I’d like to suggest you place your emphasis on creating one favorite side dish and a special dessert.

Below are three suggestions for extra-special side dishes that I hope will make your Thanksgiving dinner feel as festive as if you had a crowd.

And for dessert? This year, I’m not taking any chances with exploding pecan pies at high elevation. (Yes, I’ve tried all the recipe tricks.) Instead, I’ve ordered a chocolate bourbon pecan pie from La Francaise Bakery on Main Street in Breckenridge.

Speaking of supporting local businesses: If you would rather let someone else do the cooking, many of our local restaurants are offering delicious grab-and-go Thanksgiving dinners that include all the fixings.

The closure of indoor dining beginning Sunday creates challenges for local restaurants trying to stay in business and keep their workers employed. So why not order a delicious takeout Thanksgiving dinner and save these recipes for Sunday dinner?

Spinach Gruyere ricotta noodle casserole
Photo by Suzanne E. Anderson / Home Cooking
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach
  • 1 package egg noodles
  • 1 14-ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and lightly butter a medium baking dish.

Boil the noodles, and add the spinach during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain the noodles and spinach.

Mix together ricotta, eggs, half-and-half, nutmeg and half the cheese. Gently fold in the noodles and spinach, and then pour into the baking dish and top with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Bourbon bacon Brussels sprouts
Photo by Suzanne E. Anderson / Home Cooking
  • 1 1/2 pounds of Brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3 pieces of fried bacon
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Gating of fresh nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheese, such as Emmenthaler

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the Brussels sprouts in half and trim off the bottoms. Put them into a pot of boiling water and for about 10 minutes or until fork tender.

While they are cooking, gently warm in a small saucepan one cup of heavy cream and a quarter cup of bourbon with a clove of garlic, a fresh grating of nutmeg, a pinch of salt and pepper, and two sprigs of thyme.

In another skillet, fry three pieces of bacon until crisp, and then break them into half-inch pieces.

Drain the Brussels sprouts and put them into a 9-by-9-inch baking dish. Using a sieve to catch the garlic and thyme, pour the cream into the baking dish, and top with your favorite cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Cornbread dressing with sausage, apple and cranberries
Photo by Suzanne E. Anderson / Home Cooking
  • 1 pound pork sausage (I use sage or hot flavored)
  • 1 leek diced, white part only
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 cups cornbread, crumbled
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1-2 tablespoon fresh poultry herbs, minced (thyme, rosemary, sage)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Fry the pork sausage in a large frying pan and break it into little pieces. As the sausage is cooking, add the diced leeks and celery, and saute together until the leeks and celery are softened.

Add apple (red or green) and dried cranberries to the pan. Remove it from heat and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes before pouring mixture into a large baking dish.

Add six cups of crumbled corn bread and chicken stock. Season with a pinch of freshly ground pepper, kosher salt, nutmeg and a pinch of red pepper flakes, if you wish.

Gently toss all ingredients together. If you’re making this ahead, cover with foil and chill in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook, dot with butter, cover again and bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. Then uncover and allow to brown for another 10 minutes.

<em id="emphasis-6ea6edc35c8479cafd0c6136bfef190b">Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson</em>

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at suzanne@suzanneelizabeths.com.


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