What’s Cookin’ by Jeanne Briggs — November 25, 2009

Jeanne Briggs

Jeanne Briggs

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Most of us are creatures of habit when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner. It’s usually the same vegetable sides every year. There is change in the air this year. We can still pay homage to our cherished favorites, but there can be some vegetable magic this year if you take the time to check these recipes. One or two of them just might put some flavor magic into the meal to perk up the same old, same old veggies that have been served for years. Bon appetit!

Carrots au Gratin

1 pound carrots, sliced 1/2 inch thick (3 cups)
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 can condensed cream of celery soup
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
1 to 2 teaspoons snipped fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 1-quart casserole; set aside. In a covered saucepan, cook carrot slices in a small amount of boiling water for 10 to 12 minutes or just until tender. Drain well. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs and butter; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine carrots, condensed soup, cheddar cheese, parsley and rosemary. Spoon mixture into prepared casserole. Sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture. Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through. Serves 6.

Sweet Potato Casserole

1-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, cubed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 cup pecan pieces

Grease a 2-quart baking dish; set aside. Scrub and peel sweet potatoes. Cut off and discard any woody portions and ends. Cut potatoes into cubes. In a covered large saucepan, cook sweet potatoes in a small amount of boiling water for 25 to 35 minutes or until tender. Drain and return potatoes to pan. Preheat oven to 350F. Add granulated sugar, milk, egg, 3 tablespoons butter, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg to hot potatoes in the pan. With a wooden spoon, stir to break up potatoes but not completely mash them. Transfer potato mixture to prepared baking dish. For topping, in a small bowl, combine brown sugar and flour. With a pastry blender, cut in 2 tablespoons of butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecan pieces. Sprinkle topping over potatoes. Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until set. Serves 8.

Glazed Roasted Vegetables

8 medium carrots, bias-sliced 1 inch thick (4 cups)
4 medium parsnips, bias-sliced 1 inch thick (4 cups)
12 baby beets, peeled and halved, or 3 small whole beets, quartered
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons snipped fresh marjoram, thyme or rosemary, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons olive oil, or cooking oil
4 cups peeled, seeded winter squash, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375F. In a covered large saucepan, cook carrots and parsnips in small amount of boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain. In a 13x9x2-inch baking pan, combine partially cooked carrots and parsnips with beets. Sprinkle with parsley, marjoram, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss gently to coat vegetables. Bake, covered, in preheated oven for 30 minutes, stirring vegetables once. Stir in squash pieces. Cover and bake about 20 minutes more or just until vegetables are barely done. Remove vegetables from oven. Increase oven temperature to 450. Stir brown sugar into vegetables until combined. Return vegetables to oven and roast, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender and glazed. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serves 8 to 10.

Broccoli-Cauliflower Casserole

1 16-ounce package frozen broccoli cuts
1 16-ounce package frozen cauliflower florets
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1-1/4 cups milk
2 3-ounce packages cream cheese with chives, cut up
3/4 cup soft breadcrumbs (about 1 slice)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 400F. Cook broccoli and cauliflower according to package directions. Drain well. Place in a large saucepan and set aside. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter until tender but not brown. Stir in flour, salt, garlic powder, basil and pepper. Add milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add cream cheese; stir until cream cheese melts. Stir into vegetable mixture. Transfer mixture to an ungreased 2-quart casserole. In a small bowl, toss together breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and melted butter. Sprinkle over vegetable mixture. Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through. Serves 12.

Wild Rice-Stuffed Squash

1 14-ounce can chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/3 cup uncooked wild rice, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped leeks
1/3 cup uncooked long grain rice
6 small winter squash, each about 3-1/2 inches in diameter, such as acorn
1/2 cup dried cranberries or dried currants
1/4 cup snipped dried apricots
4 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350F. In medium saucepan, bring broth and thyme to a boil, add wild rice and reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 30 minutes. Add leeks and long grain rice. Simmer, covered, 15 minutes more or until rice is tender. Let stand, covered for 5 minutes. Drain liquid, if necessary. Add dried fruits to rice mixture. Stir in melted butter, salt and pepper, and cover. Meanwhile, wash squash and cut off top third including stem end. With a teaspoon, remove seeds. Place squash, cut sides down, in a shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Turn cut sides up. Bake, covered, about 20 minutes more or until tender. Remove from oven and set aside. Increase oven temperature to 425F. Mound stuffing into squash. Place in shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered, in the 425F oven about 10 minutes or until heated through. Serves 6.

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