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New Options for Thanksgiving Sides: Our Readers’ Favorites

Mix up your holiday meal with suggestions from our readers.

You could make the turkey, and mashed potatoes in your sleep, but somehow, the question of what to serve with those Thanksgiving pillars is vexing. Some guests want traditional: Grandma’s stuffing, green beans, squash or sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Others like to think outside the box a bit, with exotic root veggies or a fresh take on Brussels sprouts.


So we asked our amazing Main Line Parent Facebook Community for some of their favorite dishes, figuring a little crowdsourcing might help us all have a more delicious Thanksgiving meal. If you try one (or more) of these recipes, tell us how your crowd liked it in the comments! Many thanks to everyone who shared their recipes, and have a great holiday!



Ashlee Avery Doemling
George’s Turkey Stuffing

14 — 16-pound fresh turkey
1 1/2 cups butter
3/4 cup minced onion
1/2 pound non-seasoned cooked sausage (Leidy’s is great)
1/2 cup parsley
4 1/2 quarts Pepperidge Farm bread stuffing
2 1/4 teaspoons  salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

Saute onions and celery in butter. Toss together all other ingredients and stuff! Or if by itself, bake at 350 for 25 – 30 minutes until golden brown. (Editor’s note: we recommend cooking separately; if you do cook it inside the bird, make sure it’s reached 165 degrees!)


Sarah Lacy
Cheesy Crockpot Potatoes

1 bag red potatoes
8 ounces of Cream of Chicken soup
8 ounces of sour cream
4 – 5 tablespoons of melted butter
1 bag shredded Cheddar cheese
1 box of Stove Top stuffing


Chop potatoes and place them in the bottom of a crock pot. In a separate bowl, mix the soup, sour cream, and melted butter. Add to potatoes in the crock pot, and add a bag of shredded cheese. Top with uncooked stuffing mixture and more melted butter. Cook for 7 — 8 hours on low.


Jamie Jones
Homemade Cornbread

1 cup yellow cornmeal
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 15-ounce can creamed corn
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 large beaten egg


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8×8 baking dish. Blend all ingredients in a bowl and place in baking dish. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the edges pull and a toothpick comes out clean.



Stephanie Mullen
Pineapple Casserole

¼ pound (one stick) butter or margarine
4 eggs, beaten
5 slices white bread, cubed
½ cup sugar
1 can of crushed pineapple, drained


Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs. Fold in crushed pineapple and bread. Bake in greased 8×8 casserole pan at 350 degrees for 50 – 60 minutes. Double the recipe for 13×9 pan.



Ann Marie Detavernier
Broiled Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos with Cream Cheese

1 bag fresh jalapenos
1 block  cream cheese
1 pound sliced bacon
Disposable gloves


Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place two cookie cooling racks on it. Overlap if needed. Put on gloves and slice peppers in half and remove the seeds. Use the back of a spoon to scoop and moosh a dollop of cream cheese into each pepper half. Discard gloves. Cut bacon pieces in half. Wrap each pepper with a small slice of bacon and secure with toothpicks if you’d like to be fancy. Place on cookie racks in boat orientation (cream cheese up.) Broil on low in the center of your oven until bacon and peppers are cooked.



Carolyn Longo
Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Filling

9 medium potatoes, peeled
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
5 slices white bread, with crust
¼ cup margarine
3 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place peeled potatoes in a medium pot. Cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, cook for an additional 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. While potatoes are boiling, in a separate pan, place the chopped celery and onion with ¼ cup margarine and saute until the mixture becomes soft (not brown). Add salt and pepper to taste. Soak 5 slices of bread in enough milk to moisten (reserve the remaining milk). Grease a 3-quart casserole dish with margarine. In a mixer, combine potatoes, and celery/onion mixture. Add eggs and beating well after each addition. Add bread. The mixture should be at the consistency that you would serve mashed potatoes. If it’s too dry, add the milk mixture. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 – 60 minutes.



Dishes for Little Chefs

Want to get the kids involved? Try one of these choices.



Frances Munoz

1 marble
Cold heavy cream
A pinch of salt
1 jar with a tight-fitting lid

Combine heavy cream, salt, and the marble into the jar and have a child shake it. Bonus: to make whipped cream, use sugar instead of salt and just stop sooner!


Lauren Kove
Stuffing Muffins

1 large sweet onion, chopped
6 stalks celery, chopped with leaves
2 cups oil, but use rendered fat from the turkey if possible
Chopped kidneys and heart from turkey innards bag
1 ½ to 2 boxes saltine crackers, crumbled
1 dozen eggs, or 2 eggs for every sleeve of crackers
1 cup milk
Salt, pepper, and spices to taste

Heat the giblets in the oil, adding the celery, onion, and spices (sweet marjoram, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper).  Crush crackers (this is great job for kids: put the crackers in a Ziploc bag, give them a rolling pin, and let them go to town.) Add some garlic and paprika to the crushed cracker mix. In a separate bowl, add sauteed mixture to crumbled crackers and mix until lightly coated. Add eggs and mix.  Add about 1 cup of milk and mix, keep adding milk until it is slightly soupy, the crackers will absorb the excess milk. Bake as muffins in a muffin tin (until edges are golden brown), fry like latkes on the stove, or stuff the turkey (my family likes to do all of the above.) Use gluten-free crackers to make the recipe gluten-free.


Jessica Ferry

Apple ‘Turkeys’

Take any type of whole apple and use toothpicks, mini marshmallows, raisins, olives, or whatever you can think of to make a “turkey.” She says, “Hard to explain but really cute. It can get really ridiculous and creative and keeps them out of our hair for awhile!”



If one or more of your guests is meatless, these options are a lifesaver.


Jennifer Haje Schaefer
Roasted Root Vegetables

2 large beets
2 parsnips
1 giant carrot
1 yam
1 red onion
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
¼ cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel veggies and cut into 1-inch pieces. Toss in olive oil and spread out in a sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and lay thyme and rosemary over the top.  Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, mixing every 15 minutes or so until the veggies are soft. Put cooked veggies in a bowl and wait for the compliments.


Noelle Singer
Roasted Butternut, Portabello, and Barley Pilaf

⅔ cup pearl barley
1 medium butternut squash (about 4 – 6 cups chopped)
2 large portabello mushroom caps, chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons grapeseed or coconut oil (divided)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon pepper
2 cups of packed dinosaur kale, chopped
½ cup of sweetened dried cranberries

In the morning, soak the barley in water or soak for an hour before preparing dish. Drain the water from the barley after soaking. Add barley to a medium pot and cover with water and cook for 20 minutes. Drain and let cool while preparing the roasted veggies. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the chopped butternut squash with balsamic vinegar, 2  tablespoons of the oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Spread evenly on baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes. Afterwards, add the chopped portabello caps and toss with the squash. Bake for another 15 minutes. Once veggies are cooked, add them to the bowl with barley. Add the chopped kale and toss in the cranberries. Add a little more balsamic, oil and salt and pepper to taste.



Photograph by Ann Marie Detavernier.