Thanksgiving Side Dishes

By Dorothy Johnson


While several of my friends have adopted nontraditional menus (spaghetti, lasagna , roast pork) for Thanksgiving, here on the farm we have always served  the traditional menu (turkey, vegetables, dressing and pies for dessert). Several readers have asked for a new side dish, one that can be made without a lot of fuss, to perk up their regular menus.  It was with that in mind that I searched the Internet for a few new ideas. Following are two recipes I found on the Food Network website. I hope at least one of them will fit with the traditional menus at readers’ tables. The first is for an oven dish that may be baked in the oven after the turkey comes out.  The second recipe is for a dressing that is cooked in a slow cooker (crock pot) so it may be put in an out-of-the-way place to give cooks more room in the kitchen.

Sweet Potato Casserole


Two and one-half pounds sweet potatoes (about four large) scrubbed

Two large eggs lightly beaten

Three tablespoons unsalted butter melted plus a bit more for preparing the pan

Two tablespoons packed dark brown sugar

One teaspoon kosher salt

One-half teaspoon ground cinnamon

One-half teaspoon ground ginger

A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

A pinch of freshly ground black pepper

One-fourth cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and pierce each one two or three times with a fork.  Bake 45 to 50 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Turn oven down to 350.  Scoop out of their skins and into medium bowl. Discard skins.  Mash potatoes until smooth.  Add eggs, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and pepper to taste. Whisk the mixture smooth.

Butter an 8 by 8 inch casserole.  Pour the sweet potato mixture in the pan and sprinkle top with pecans.  Bake until puffed-about 30 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Seasoned Sausage Dressing


One loaf bread

Salt and pepper

Poultry seasoning

Garlic powder 

One medium onion

Two celery ribs include leafy part

One-fourth chopped fresh parsley

One-half cup butter

One pound bulk sausage

One and one-half cups chicken broth


In a large bowl put one loaf of bread, break up and dry overnight.

Season crumbs with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and garlic powder. (No amounts are given so I would be on the conservative side for my first attempt at this dish.)

In a pan saute’ one chopped onion, chopped celery and the chopped parsley in butter.

In another pan brown and break up bulk sausage.

Pour the sauted vegetables and sausage over bread.

Moisten with chicken broth. Place in slow cooker on low for three hours (Time depends on the size of the slow cooker.)

(Give the dressing a stir to check, if the edges of the dressing is getting too dry. Chefs may always add a bit more broth if needed.)