Giving Thanks for Family Feasting Recipes

Around This Time Every Year, We’re Inundated With Delectable Side Dish Recipes For The Holiday Table. 

I find this to be cooking creative overload, besides which, these recipes always send me on a culinary scavenger hunt in search of an ingredient unknown to this part of the country. Well, I promise you that my holiday recipes are every bit as delicious and ingredients can be found at your local grocer. This is not the time to try out new and complicated cooking methods. Stick to what you know. It sounds simple, but use what got you there in past holidays and just make a few tweaks here and there.

My holiday table is not complete without the Walker Family Praline Sweet Potato Dream. I can remember the year my Grandma added this to our yearly Thanksgiving spread. I swore up and down that I hated sweet potatoes until she made me try a spoonful. I was a changed child from that meal forward. It probably helped that these sweet potatoes taste more like a dessert than a side dish. So, I dare you to make this and not fall in love like I did so many years ago.

I also love to serve a fresh vegetable instead of the canned variety I grew up on. One of the easiest and most flavorful fall veggies to prepare is green beans. The secret is to roast them. They only take about 20 minutes to cook, so they are quickly plated and ready for the table. My favorite part is that it looks holiday perfect with the pop of green and red!  

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Praline Sweet Potato Dream

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 c sugar

1/3 c brown sugar

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t nutmeg

1/2 t salt

1 T vanilla extract or vanilla paste

3/4 c half and half 

Praline Topping

1/2 c all-purpose flour

1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

1 c pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9" x 13" casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Mash the sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Then, using an electric hand mixer, beat in the butter, eggs, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla and half and half until there are no lumps. Pour the sweet potatoes into the prepared baking dish.

To make praline topping: In a medium-sized bowl, combine the sugar, flour and butter using a pastry blender, forks or even your clean fingers (that’s how my Grandma taught me). You know it’s ready when small pea-sized granules form. Stir in the pecan pieces. 

Sprinkle the praline topping over the sweet potatoes and bake for 1 hour or until puffed and golden brown on top. Serve warm.

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Roasted Green Beans with Ginger Dressing

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

3 T dried cranberries

2 T slivered almonds

Olive oil

Sea salt and pepper

Ginger Dressing

Juice from ½ large orange

1 t finely grated fresh ginger

2 T seasoned rice vinegar 

2 t honey

sea salt to taste

¼ c extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the green beans in a large bowl with the garlic, dried cranberries and slivered almonds. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss. Place the green beans on the baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Serve the green beans on a platter and drizzle with the dressing.

Categories: Eat & Drink, Food Lover’s Guide