Food for Thought: What’s Your Go-To Thanksgiving Side?

Everyone has one. The one they take seconds and thirds and fourths of. Or the one they always have to have or make or it’s not Thanksgiving. What’s your go-to, must-have Thanksgiving side dish.

Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday meal all year. I love everything about it. I love my own family’s traditions, I love that everyone has very specific Thanksgiving-only traditions, and I love creating new ones with my husband and his family and our collective family as we grow. I love remembering which dish is or was everyone’s favorite, and I love that while so much of the traditional meal is consistent from table to table, how much those consistent ingredients and elements and dishes can vary, too.

My go-to has changed. It used to be my Grandma’s stuffing. Now that I wrote that, it totally still is. I could live off only my Grandma’s stuffing and never get tired of it. But I’m now the fresh cranberry sauce lady.

Here’s a version I’ve made the past few years and will make again next week.

What about you?

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Mango Cabbage Slaw

That’s not an exciting post title, but this slaw is GOOOOOOOD. I promise. It might even be exciting. This slaw is simple and quick. It features some subtle Asian flavors, but isn’t necessarily cuisine-specific. Tonight I served it on top of lime chicken tacos and it was, well, it was awesome. But it would be a great stand alone salad with a lot of meals and any proteins. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1 large mango, chopped
* 2C chopped green cabbage
* 1C chopped cilantro
* 1/2 a red onion, diced
* 1C shredded carrots
* zest and juice of 1 lime
* 1t sea salt
* pinch sugar

WHAT TO DO
Add the mango, cabbage, cilantro, red onion, and carrots to a large bowl. Zest the lime and then squeeze the juice right over the bowl, then season with the salt and sugar and stir well to combine. Taste and add say or lime juice as needed.

Parmesan and Garlic-Roasted Acorn Squash

I am committed to cooking with more squash this year. I get in a zone sometimes with certain ingredients and neglect others. Squash is one of those. And since fall is squash season, the time is now! This very simple dish is so incredibly tasty and luscious. It would make a beautiful Thanksgiving side, if you’re in holiday menu-planning mode. With just 4 ingredients and 30 minutes total cook time, this dish is fall and weeknight perfection. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1 small acorn squash
* 2T olive oil
* 1/4C grated Parmesan cheese
* 2t garlic powder

WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 400F.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the insides, and slice the two halves into 1/2″semicircles.

Place the squash, olive oil, cheese, and garlic powder together in a bowl and toss to coat.

Lay the squash out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes until the squash flesh becomes tender and the cheese crisps up a bit. Add 5 minutes if the squash is still a bit hard.

Easy Baked Honey Mustard Chicken

This should just go right into your weeknight rotation. Trust me. It is one of the easiest meals you’ve ever made, totally appealing to any eater you might be feeding, and so flavorful and delicious. Plus, you probably have all the ingredients on-hand already. It is savory, and moist and  juicy, and it will pair well with any vegetable or side you want to pair it with. And it’s almost no work. So what do you think? Duh! Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
* 1/2C honey
* 1/2C yellow mustard
* 1/2t Italian seasoning
* 1t garlic powder
* 1t paprika
* 1t salt
* 1/2t black pepper

WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the honey, mustard, and seasonings together until blended.

Place the chicken breasts in the sauce to coat, and then put them in the prepared baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the chicken.

Bake for 30 minutes, then turn chicken over and bake for another 10 minutes or until cooked through.

That’s it! Serve over rice or cous course.