Thanksgiving recipes: Four easy side dishes

Plantain Stuffing

  • 2 cups herbed or cornbread stuffing cubes
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon picked fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large plantain with some black areas, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup chicken stock

Special section: Holiday season 2011

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the stuffing cubes in a large bowl and set aside. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the jalapeno, onions, bell peppers, and thyme, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Cook until the onions and bell peppers are tender, and then add the garlic. Cook until the garlic is tender, and then remove to the bowl with the stuffing cubes. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and place back on the heat. Add the remaining butter and olive oil to the pan. When the butter is melted and bubbly, add the plantains and sprinkle with salt. Saute, while tossing, until the plantains are golden and caramelized on the edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Pour over the stuffing in the bowl. Add the chicken stock and stir or mix with hands.

Pour and press the stuffing into an 8 by 8-inch oven dish, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook until the top edges are golden, another 20 minutes.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Ease of preparation: Easy

Recipe courtesy Sunny Anderson/Food Network, 2010.

Thanksgiving recipes: Four easy side dishes

Easy String Beans and Onions

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onions, halved and sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, grated (on a rasp)
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh string beans, sliced into thirds
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Lemon wedge, for spritzing

Special section: Holiday season 2011

In a saute pan with straight sides or a medium pot, add the olive oil and raise the heat to medium-high. Add the onions and season with a pinch of salt and grind pepper. Cook the onions, stirring and moving around, until tender and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and lower the heat. Continue cooking until fragrant and tender, about 2 minutes. Add the string beans and season with salt and pepper. Stir to coat, and then add the chicken stock. Raise the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook until the green beans are very tender, about 25 minutes. Spritz with lemon just before serving.

Yield: 6 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Ease of preparation: Easy

Recipe courtesy Sunny Anderson/Food Network, 2010.

Thanksgiving recipes: Four easy side dishes

Sweet Potato Hash

  • 3 strips bacon, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, about 8 ounces each, peeled and 1/4-inch diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon pickled jalapenos, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Special section: Holiday season 2011

In a 13-inch saute pan over medium-high heat, add the bacon and olive oil. When the oil heats and the bacon begins to sizzle, add the sweet potatoes and spread out as much as possible to allow the potatoes to rest in the pan in 1 layer. Leave the potatoes to cook until a quick toss reveals browning on the side in contact with the pan (about 5 minutes). Continue to toss and let stand until most sides of the potatoes are golden and the bacon bits are crisp, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Then add the onions, garlic, jalapenos, cumin and season with a nice pinch of salt and a grind or 2 of pepper. Cook the same way, allowing everything to sit in the heat of the pan for a minute or two. Taste and re-season if necessary.

Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Ease of preparation: Easy

Recipe courtesy Sunny Anderson/Food Network, 2010.

Thanksgiving recipes: Four easy side dishes

Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

  • 2 cups elbow pasta, cooked until almost al dente
  • 8 ounces Cheddar, 1/2 cubed, 1/2 shredded
  • 8 ounces Colby cheese, cubed
  • 8 ounces Monterey pepper jack cheese, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup finely grated onions
  • 4 slices bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Special section: Holiday season 2011

Special equipment: 2-quart baking dish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss together the pasta with the cheese cubes and pour into the baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dry mustard, nutmeg.

Add the sour cream, egg, heavy cream, half-and-half and onions. Pour over the pasta and cover with the shredded Cheddar. Bake uncovered until the top is just beginning to brown, about 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the bread into crouton-size squares. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter, add the bread cubes and toast until golden. Sprinkle the bread cubes on top of the macaroni and cheese and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes more.

Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 55 minutes
Ease of preparation: Easy

Recipe courtesy Sunny Anderson/Food Network, 2010.