Monday, November 16, 2015

Top 5 Thanksgiving Sides

Welcome to a foodie edition of The Cherry On Top.

We asked around to friends, family and fans what their favourite sides and desserts were to see on the Thanksgiving table and now we're sharing healthy(ish), easy and quick versions of all of them.

Let's dig in to those lists so that you know what should be on the table.  We'll focus on the sides today and do the desserts later this week.

The resounding, most popular, by far side, was sweet potatoes.  They are preferred in many different ways and we'll share a few of them.

Check out this one!  The image is linked up to the full recipe.  So many fans like their sweet potatoes even sweeter, by adding marshmallows.  This recipe even has a pecan streusel.  This might be a new favourite for you, if you like it extra sweet.

 sweet pot recipe

If you haven't got your slow cooker already set up with something else than you could just chuck them in there, but it does take a really long time.  I just wash cut and steam, then put them in a serving dish with a generous pad of butter.

 slow cooker recipe

Mashed potatoes were an easy second and definitely a favorite of ours, too.  Consider adding some sour cream instead of milk for some added richness. This image is linked up to a very basic recipe.

 basic recipe

If you want to try out something different this year, then why not give this recipe a try. It sounds fabulous.  It's a loaded mashed potato casserole.

 loaded mashed pot

Coming in third place is stuffing, but it definitely gets tricky.  There are so many ways to make this family favourite.  As a child, I did not like my mother's stuffing, but these days I make a very similar rendition to it.  You can find this very traditional, basic recipe in last year's Thanksgiving Special, right here.

I love BuzzFeed and this image is linked up to 25 stuffing recipes.  Some classically basic and some totally different.  It's definitely worth a look. I'd like try a few, myself.

 stuffing recipes

It might be a no brainer, but number four is gravy.  Once again, there are many different ways to make gravy.  Your basic liquid should come from your meat and or your vegetables and potatoes if you are making those as well.  I use a mix of all of those.  The next main thing you need for gravy is a thickener.  In Europe, they don't do gravy.  They do saus which is basically the same, just a bit thinner.  You can use flour, corn starch or potato starch to thicken your gravy.  I've weened off of the flour and now use potato starch.  You need a fraction of it and it keeps your gravy tasting more like the meat and veg rather than the thickener.

Try out this basic recipe from Serious Eats.

 gravy recipe

Click here if you'd like to see a video.

The way I make gravy is a lot different than recipes I've seen and it's the way mom makes it.  Kind of. I might call it lazy mama's gravy.  Hehehe...There is no rue.

Reserve potato, meat juice and or vegetable water to equal at least a cup, depending on how much you need.  (If you forget, no worries.  Just get water from the tap.) This amount is good for four.  Don't fret if you don't have good stock from your meat.  I don't always have it.  If you do have stock from your turkey, make sure it is isn't too greasy.  You may have to skim off the fat.  (You'll see a visible layer or fat bubbles.) When I don't have enough meat stock for the gravy, I add half of a cube of bullion.  Either beef, chicken or vegetable depending on your main course.  I warm my pan or pot, add the liquids and when it starts bubbling, I add the bullion, stir and add pepper and any other herbs that go with the meal.  (Italian seasonings are often a safe bet.)  Then, in a separate lidded container, mix 1 teaspoon of potato starch with 2 teaspoons of COLD water and shake until combined.  (You can use corn starch or flour, but it will give your gravy a floury taste, too.)  Pour this in your gravy stirring slowly all the while.  If it isn't getting thick enough, make another small mix and slowly add the mix whilst stirring.  Wait before you pour it all in to see if the mix is thickening. It shouldn't take but a few seconds.  Keep tasting until it's to your liking.

Should I not be surprised that vegetables were the least mentioned side?  Green beans and broccoli were the only mentions.  Although corn is definitely a classic and really easy as well.  We'll link you up with this green bean casserole from Girl On A Mission.

 green bean recipe

Here are some fun printables from A-Manda Creation to distribute left overs or keep your own food organised in the refrigerator.

 Amanda's shop

Bringing a little something extra to a family or friendly dinner?  Consider these fun, festive additions to your favourite bottle of wine or bubbly.

 Amanda's Shop

Last Year's Thanksgiving feature was quite a doozy with many more recipes, tips and other related stuff.  Check it out here.  Our Thanksgiving/Fall Pinterest board is full of ideas of all sorts.


Here are a couple of our freebies from last year. Napkin and utensil holders that ar ready in mere minutes and place cards.

 free download

 free download

And here is our current free printable. There is also a free template so you can designs your very own placemat.

That's a wrap.  We're coming back with the desserts, more games and activities for the big day.  

We'll see ya then!

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