Mastering Thanksgiving, side dishes part one

16 Nov

Celebrating Thanksgiving can be a demanding job especially if you are hosting many guests and family members. My wife has a huge family so each year I cook Thanksgiving dinner for about 20 people. What can be done to reduce the stress? A large supply of holiday wine helps but so does planning, lots of planning. Here are some tips and side dish ideas for enjoying the simple pleasures of Thanksgiving.

Gearing up for a perfect meal

If you have had the experience of eating cold turkey and potatoes for Thanksgiving, I don’t have to tell you this is not a utopian dinner. Here are some appliances to help free up the oven and keep foods steamy.

3-Crock Slow Cooker Buffet– These buffet style slow cookers are amazing for large get-togethers. I use them as servers; simply fill a compartment up when a dish is done, and set to warm. This model also comes with its own serving spoons

Roaster Oven– A must have for Thanksgiving cooking. These roasters cook turkeys great and free up the oven for cooking side dishes

Slow Cookers– There are many uses for slow cookers and they come in many different styles and sizes. This one would work great for potatoes and gravy.

Digital Cooking thermometer– Poisoning guests would make an awful Thanksgiving experience so cooking thermometers are important and also helpful with programmable timers.

Conquering the side dishes

It difficult to please everyone with side dishes; one man’s spam is another man’s steak. I usually prepare foods I know turn out great and do not experiment with new recipes. If you have some picky eaters that do not like your spread, drop a reminder that there are many fast food restaurants open on holidays (don’t use on the in-laws).

Here are a few side dish ideas:

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes– These potatoes are great and the link has somehow to videos

Green Bean Casserole– Casseroles work great for thanksgiving, prepare a day of head of time and set in the refrigerator for Thanksgiving baking.

Butternut Squash Soup– Soups are wonderful additions to any meal and during Thanksgiving they can sit on a back burner needing only mild attention. I have heard this is a great fall soup.

Cranberry Sauce– It’s just not Thanksgiving without cranberries.

Sweet Corn Bread Pudding– Amazing recipe


• Plan ahead and get your shopping done early; last minute shopping is not relaxing and many important items can be sold out
• Organize your cooking priorities; what can be cooked early and what needs to be oven fresh
• Keep hot food hot with cheap small appliances
• Use a cooking thermometer on the turkey
• Have plenty of wine on hand


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