Janet's Notebook
Simple Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Amaretto Sweet Potatoes

We know turkey is the focus when planning Thanksgiving dinner. But, it's the side dishes that fill the plate (and guests). Some may argue they're the best part of the meal (I'd argue that's desserts, though, and I'll write about those next week). These Blue Ribbon side dishes will help make your Thanksgiving dinner a tasty one.

There's only one thing difficult about JoEllen Fortenberry Ford's (Vallejo, CA) Grandma Lee's Party Rolls - being patient enough to let them rise.

"This was my mother's best recipe and we love it beyond description," reveals JoEllen. "It is worth the overnight rise, as it must rise slowly to be so light. Grandma Lee would be happy to share it."

It's no wonder there's a party every time these rolls make an appearance. They're soft, light, and airy. Serve with a pat of butter and these are perfect for sopping up all the extra gravy.

Carrots are a very easy side dish to prepare and I like Teresa Bailey's (Pittsburgh, PA) Roasted Carrots, Thanksgiving Favorite.

"I made these for Thanksgiving and the family said they were the best carrots they had ever had," explains Teresa.

Carrots are sweet and roasting makes them even sweeter. The seasonings are just right in this recipe. Teresa adds fresh thyme, salt, and pepper. Then mixes them with shallots, lemon juice, and melted butter. Once roasted, they're out of this world good. You'll get everyone to eat their veggies.

I love fresh homemade cranberry sauce and making KC Quaretti-Lee's (New Port Richey, FL) Whose Side Are You On Cranberry Sauce.

"The great cranberry debate; canned or homemade," asks KC. "When I started cooking myself one of the first holiday meals I tackles was Thanksgiving and the cranberry sauce was my highest priority to investigate and make my own. Over the years I have developed this easy cranberry sauce that is a continual crowd-pleaser."

What I love the most about this cranberry sauce is the addition of apples and pears. They add another layer of great flavor. It's definitely on the tart side but a nice alternative to typically sweeter canned cranberry sauce.

"This tastes wonderful with the apples and onion in it, " says Jo Webb (Poteau, OK) of her My Stuffing Dressing recipe. "The cranberries and pecans are optional, but it is great with them in the stuffing as well."

This easy to prepare cornbread dressing is super yummy. It's savory, lightly sweet and very moist. In the Test Kitchen, we left the optional pecans and cranberries out of the recipe so we could try the dressing alone. We sprinkled them on top of when tasting and we loved the addition. They add a nice tartness and crunch. This will be a delicious and pretty addition to your holiday table.

There aren't any spices added to Darlene Sweet's (Hendersonville, TN) Amaretto Sweet Potatoes so the flavor of the amaretto is noticeable but not overpowering in this easy sweet potato casserole.

Darlene says it's "a must for any Thanksgiving gathering" and I think so too. I loved the pairing of amaretto with the naturally sweet potatoes. This is creamy and a traditional sweet potato casserole with a twist. When tasting this, if you don't know about the amaretto you can't put your figure on what's different. Marshmallows on top are the perfect touch. They're crunchy outside and gooey inside.

Hopefully, some of these recipes spark menu ideas for your Thanksgiving dinner. If you are looking for a new turkey recipe, check out my post from last week with five methods for preparing turkey. And, if you want even more Thanksgiving meal ideas, we have a collection filled with Thanksgiving recipes. Happy Pinching!

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