New Side Dishes for Thanksgiving

I always enjoy Thanksgiving planning. Flipping through cooking magazines, various cookbooks and watching Food Network always give me new ideas for recipes and entertaining. I’ve also started an album on my phone for screenshots of recipes, Instagram videos or posts that feature something I might like to cook. Another source of inspiration is the produce department at FRESH. The large variety of vegetables that are available for side dishes definitely get the wheels turning.

Often, we’re expected to be traditional for Thanksgiving and cook the same thing every year, but I do like to change some of the side dishes, just for fun, and the opportunity to try something new.

This year, I am trying something new with sweet potatoes. While some might be disappointed, we won’t have mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows, I think my sweet potato stacks my win over a few guests. Also, my green beans with bacon should also be a hit. After all, who can say no to bacon?

Green Beans with Crispy Bacon & Feta Cheese
Serves: 4

  • 2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Also, fill a large bowl halfway with ice water. Place the beans in the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes to soften. Remove from the pot and place in the ice water to cool.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet. When bacon is crispy remove from the pan and set aside. Let the bacon cool then chop fine. In the same pan you cooked the bacon, add the butter. Melt over medium heat, add red onion slices and cook for 4 minutes until soft and beginning to caramelize. Add garlic and beans and sauté for another 2 to 4 minutes depending on how done you’d like the beans to be.  Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Place on a serving plate and sprinkle with feta cheese and crisp bacon.

Sweet Potato Stacks
Serves: 6

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes (see note)
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped fine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut off the ends of the sweet potatoes and peel. Use a mandoline to slice the potatoes thin. Place potatoes in a bowl and add the melted butter, honey, salt and rosemary. Toss to thoroughly coat the slices.

Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Gather several slices of potatoes in a stack and press tightly into a muffin cup. Fill each muffin cup to the top with slices. Pour any remaining liquid from the bowl over each muffin cup. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and run a knife around the edges of each muffin cup. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are soft and cooked through.

Remove from the oven and run a knife around each muffin cup to loosen. Let cool for 5 minutes. Use an offset spatula to lift the stacks out of the muffin cups. Arrange the stacks on a platter to serve. Garnish with additional rosemary and sprinkle with salt.

Note: Choose sweet potatoes that more narrow in diameter. Slices cannot be wider than the muffin cups. Also, stacks will shrink significantly during cooking. To create height place 2 stacks on top of each other.

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