Thanksgiving Feast: Side Dishes

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Thanksgiving Feast: Side Dishes
By Katie Goodman

Some might argue that the Thanksgiving sides are really the stars of the show. There are so many good recipes to choose from and every family has that special dish that better be on the table — or else! For me, it’s hard to decide. I like so many side dishes for different reasons, but I’ve picked a few of my favorites to share here.
Thanksgiving Cranberrysalad

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Orange Caramel Glaze

Thanksgiving Servesweetpotatoes
This recipe is great because the potatoes can easily be prepped a day in advance, giving you less to do on the big day. Then, all you need to do is just make the sauce and pop them into the oven.


3 lbs. sweet potatoes
2/3 cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt
8 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp cornstarch
¼ cup orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
2 dashes cinnamon
½ cup water
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans


Thanksgiving Peelsweetpotato
Bring a large stock pot full of water to boil. Peel the sweet potatoes. Place the sweet potatoes in the boiling water, and boil until tender (but not mushy). The time will depend on the size of your potatoes, but start out with 10 minutes, adding 3 minutes at a time until they’re ready. They should pierce easily with a fork, but not be mashing consistency. Cool the potatoes until they can be handled.

Thanksgiving Sweetpotatoescut
Cut 1½”-thick round slices from the potatoes, and cut each slice into quarters. Spray a 9″ square pan with cooking spray. Place the potatoes in the pan. Heat the oven to 350°.
Thanksgiving Sweetpotatoglaze
Meanwhile, bring the brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, zest, 1/2 cup water, and butter to a boil in a saucepan, stirring. Dissolve the cornstarch in orange juice in a small bowl and gradually whisk it into the boiling syrup. Cook, whisking constantly, until the syrup thickens to the consistency of heavy cream. Pour the syrup over the potatoes, and bake covered, spooning glaze over the potatoes once after about 15 minutes, until the glaze thickens enough to coat the potatoes, about 30-40 minutes total. Check the tenderness of the potatoes before removing them from the oven, as baking times can vary due to oven temperature and elevation. Sprinkle with nuts. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Buttery Dinner Rolls

Thanksgiving Butterydinnerrolls
These rolls are best timed so that they can go in the oven just as the turkey is ready to come out, since you allow the turkey to rest for about 20 minutes before carving. If you own a bread machine, this recipe works well in that too. Simply add the ingredients according to the manufacturer’s instructions (typically liquids first, then dry ingredients, and the yeast on top). Run the recipe on the dough cycle, and form balls after it completes.


4 oz water
6 oz milk
4 Tbsp butter
1 packet yeast
1 egg, beaten
4-5 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
3 Tbsp Butter Buds


In the microwave or on the stove, melt the butter. Add the milk and water, whisking to combine. Warm the mixture to about 115°F. Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow the yeast to rest for 3 minutes. In the meantime, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and Butter Buds in a medium-large bowl. Set aside.
Thanksgiving Butterydinnerrolls Dough
Whisk the yeast into the liquid mixture to blend. Add the egg and whisk it in. Combine the liquid ingredients with the flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until well mixed. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until a smooth elastic ball is formed.
Alternatively, you can do the mixing in a stand mixer (such as KitchenAid) using the dough hook. Knead for 3 minutes, or until a uniform ball is formed.
Thanksgiving Butterydinnerrolls Roll
Grease a large bowl, place the dough in it, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 1½–2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in bulk.
Punch the dough down, cover, and let it rest 5 minutes. Meanwhile, grease 2 pie plates or one 9×13 pan. Divide the dough into 14–16 equally shaped balls and arrange in pans. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for an additional 40 minutes–1 hour.
Thanksgiving Butterydinnerrolls Baked
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 15–20 minutes. Brush the hot rolls with melted butter.

Mixed Greens with Apples and Cranberries

Thanksgiving Cranberrysalad-1
This is one of those great, last minute dishes. With all the rotating dishes in the oven, it is nice to toss a quick salad together that doesn’t need its turn to bake.


5 oz package of mixed greens
1 large Honeycrisp apple
2/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Lemon juice
1/3 cup walnuts, optional
Balsamic vinaigrette
homemade or store bought


Thanksgiving Salad Sliceapples
Put the mixed greens in a large serving bowl. Sprinkle cranberries on top. Set aside. Cut the apple in half from stem to bottom. Slice each half into thin, half-moon slices. Arrange the apples on top of salad. I like to fan each half out.
Thanksgiving Salad Apples
Using a silicone basting brush, lightly brush the apple slices with lemon juice to prevent browning. Sprinkle feta and walnuts on top. Serve, passing the dressing separately.
Still need more ideas for your Thanksgiving sides? How about:

Did you miss last week’s article on How to Brine and Roast a Turkey? Check it out here.
About the Author:
Katie Goodman resides in New Mexico with her husband and two children (a 4-year-old boy and an 18-month-old girl). Learning in the kitchen, eating, trying new recipes, and sharing them with friends and loved ones are some of Katie’s favorite things to do. She wholeheartedly believes that part of the goodness in life is enjoying good food with good friends and family, and goodLife {eats} is a place for her to share what she finds good in the kitchen.

8 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Feast: Side Dishes

  1. THarrow says:

    My friend created this roll, he calls them Stred Bread. I can agree they are delicious and are definitely a family favorite in my house. How did you come about the recipe?

  2. Katie says:

    Wow, small world! I am friends with the sister of the person who makes Stred Bread and she shared it last year when she made it for a group Bake-Off contest we had. I’ve since made a few changes from the original recipe to suit my tastes best. Any time we want buttery rolls, we go for this recipe. So yummy!

  3. THarrow says:

    Oh how cool! It is such a great recipe, I am glad it is being shared. I see you did change it, but I just LOVE all that butter in the recipe I have. Thanks for sharing, Happy Thanksgiving!

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